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How Do You Store Summer Clothes in Winter? 7 Tips

December 28, 2020

Storing your shorts, t-shirts, and other warm-weather essentials for the winter seems like it should be a no-brainer: toss them into a container and your job is done, right? But considering that the average adult spends over $160 monthly on clothing, you don't want to ruin your wardrobe investment by making it vulnerable to pests and mildew. Believe it or not, summer clothing requires the same level of preparation and care that winter sweaters and coats need when you put it away.

Here are seven essential tips you need to know to store summer clothes the right way so that they'll last year after year.

1. Make Sure They're Clean

It's all too easy to pack away an unwashed clothing item that was worn for one day or even a few hours. But placing stained or dirty clothing into storage for months can set stains that become difficult to remove later and can even harm some fabrics.

Our summer clothing tends to get sweatier and be more susceptible to food, grass, and soil stains than winter clothing, so it's essential to wash your summer clothing according to the label's directions before storing it, whether it needs machine washing, handwashing, or drycleaning.

Make sure your swimsuits are clean and dry as well before placing them in storage. Lingering chlorine, saltwater, sunscreen, and sweat can fade, stain, and dry out the fibers.

Use a mild detergent and cold water to help protect the dye. Soak your swimsuit for up to a half-hour in the sink, rinse with cold water, and hang until completely dry.

2. Do a Decluttering

Swapping out one seasonal wardrobe for another is a great time to set aside pieces you no longer wear to be donated, given away, or thrown away. Paring down your summer clothing will create less work for packing and storing it.

Any clothing to be donated should be clean, stain-free, and lightly worn.

3. Decide What to Hang or Fold

Some types of clothing should remain on hangers while you store them while others should always be folded to be put away. How can you tell? As a general rule, knitted items such as sweaters or anything that stretches should be folded while any delicate items that wrinkle easily should be kept on hangers.

However, you want to make sure you're using the right type of hangers that will retain the clothing's shape and structure. Use wooden or velvet-covered hangers that are wide enough to support clothing. Avoid wire hangers, which are too thin and tend to bend and lose their shape.

If you want to further protect the hanging item, place a breathable garment bag over it. The best garment bags will ward off moths and other insects.

4. Decide Where to Store Them

Your storage area for clothing will determine what kind of containers you need because some parts of your home—such as the attic and basement—tend to attract pests like rodents and insects that can wreak havoc on fabric. Ideally, storing clothing in a cool, dark, dry place such as a closet or underneath a bed will protect it from pests, humidity, and direct sunlight.

If the area is safe from pests, linen or cotton bags will allow your clothing to breathe and ward off mildew. However, sealed plastic bins and bags are the best option if you have no choice but to use your garage, attic, or basement as the storage area. Just make sure your clothing is completely dry before packing them in plastic.

Whatever you use, don't overstuff the bags or bins. You want the lid to securely seal the container and the bag's seams to stay intact. Holes and openings will allow pests to gain entry.

If it seems you're running out of room, rolling up garments will save you space. You can also use vacuum-sealed bags to remove excess air and create more room, but keep in mind they tend to create wrinkles that you'll be ironing out when you take the clothes out of storage.

5. Use Pest Repellents

An important clothing storage tip is to toss a pest repellent into each bag or bin, even if a bag or container is firmly sealed. However, don't use traditional mothballs—their unpleasant odor will seep into your clothing and is difficult to remove. Cedar is a natural insect repellent that smells great and will leave a fresh scent on your clothes.

Toss a few cedar balls directly into each bag or bin, or place them in a small mesh bag.

6. Pack the Heaviest Items First

When using storage containers to pack summer clothing, start by putting the heaviest clothing pieces on the bottom and placing lighter, delicate items on top. This means denim and sturdy shorts should be packed first, followed by sweaters and tops, and finally your tank tops, swimwear, and anything made of silk. This ensures the lighter items will remain wrinkle-free as they won't be weighed down by anything.

7. Keep Some Warm Weather Items Handy

Lastly, if you live in a part of the country such as New England that gets the occasional warm snap during the winter months, you may want to keep a few pieces of summer clothing out. You'll be grateful that you kept a couple of short-sleeved shirts or other lighter tops available instead of having to dig through your storage containers for them.

Store Summer Clothes Properly With These Tips

Knowing how to store summer clothes properly by following these tips will give you peace of mind that when the weather turns warmer again, your spring and summer wardrobe will look as fresh and new as the day you bought it.

If you're looking for secure, weather, and rodent-proof storage for your summer clothing, The Storage Box can help. Store your loaded box inside one of our climate-controlled facilities. Contact us today for a quote!

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