Fall is officially here (yay!). The air is crisp, the leaves are changing colors, and you’re sooo ready to start adding new pieces to your Fall wardrobe! But before you add any more booties and scarves, it’s a good idea to give your warm weather wardrobe pieces a proper goodbye first. Yes, the time has come to stow away our gauzy sundresses and make room for all our Fall fashion essentials. While it’s not rocket science, there’s a lot more to storing your Summer clothes than just simply tucking them away.
The truth is, dumping our crop tops and bikinis into a box and kicking them under the bed for six to nine months can wreak havoc on our beloved Summer pieces . . . Moths, permanently set wrinkles, sun damage and even mold (yikes!).
Luckily, you can avoid all that mess with just a few simple and quick tasks. Sit back, grab a notebook and pen, and start taking notes. Keep reading for six tips on properly storing your Summer clothes.
Don’t saddle your future self with stuff you don’t need or won’t wear again — even if your past self spent a lot of money on it. Use this as an opportunity to downsize. It can feel overwhelming, but the best way to get started it taking all of you Summer clothes out of your closet and dresser drawers and placing them on your bed or a large table. By emptying your closet, you can work more efficiently and actually see all of the clothes at once! Start by sorting the clothes into categories — tops, pants, dresses, shoes and even accessories. Then sort through and donate, sell, or consign any pieces you haven’t been feeling this past season.
To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time I wore this? If you can’t remember, or the answer is two Summers ago, you don’t need it. Donate it to charity or plan a post-season clothing swap with your friends.
- Can I still wear it during the next season? Before packing up your tank tops, t-shirts, and summer dresses, consider which pieces will still work in the Fall and beyond. Dark-hued sleeveless cocktail dresses, for instance, can be worn all year when paired with the right jacket. And your favorite camisole might look even cuter layered under a cardigan.
Have boxes or bags handy for the donation and discard piles so you can move them out of your home promptly. The point is only keeping the items that will last and that you will actually wear. So when you bring it out next spring, you’re psyched!
Clean & Pristine
Of the clothes you decide to keep, you should definitely wash everything you plan to stow away — even if they seem clean. You never know what could be on your clothes, and pests are more attracted to food and sweat than the actual fabric itself. Any stains that you see should applied with a stain remover (since stains can set and discolor your beloved garments. No thank you!
If you have clothes dry cleaned, like that chic bridesmaid dress you actually plan on wearing again, always remove them from the dry cleaner’s thin plastic bags. These bags trap moisture that can lead to mildew and even discoloration. Gross!
The Right Location
When storing your clothes, don’t store them in the attic, garage, or basement because mildew! You want to store your clothes in a cool, even temperature, dark, dry, and well-ventilated area. You also want to avoid direct sunlight as it can fade your garments. If you are lucky enough to have a spare closet, you’ll want to do a good cleaning of the closet. Vacuum the closet or under your bed to remove any dust, dirt and insects. Even if you’re using the space under your bed or some shelving in your closet, it’s important to do a thorough cleaning.
The Right Containers
When storing your clothes at home, ditch the cardboard boxes which can lead to pests, mold and mildew. Instead, opt for transparent plastic storage bins with tight fitting lids that make it easy to identify your items and protect against insects. You can even make use of any unused luggage to store your clothing. Be sure to clean your storage containers or luggage first, and line them with acid-free tissue paper (which can be found at home stores and wherever storage supplies is sold).
Oh, and it’s best to roll your pieces rather than fold it and loosely packed to prevent hard creases from forming! When it comes to your shoes, I usually just place mine in a wicker basket in the top of my closet.
If you have clothes dry cleaned, like that chic bridesmaid dress you actually plan on wearing again, always remove them from the dry cleaner’s thin plastic bags. These bags trap moisture that can lead to mildew and even discoloration. Gross! Instead, use a proper garment bag. (There’s also clear hanging closet garment bag, ($22.49) instead of bagging each individual item.)
The Right Hangers
While you’re removing the dry cleaner plastic bags, be sure to throw out those wire hangers as well and opt for a sturdier option. To avoid any wrinkles, make sure to store your more delicate and structured items on padded hangers. Be sure to hang skirts by the waistband and hang trousers by the hem or cuff hanging straight to avoid any creases. You don’t need to hang everything, but just consider each piece of clothing’s fabric and where you keep it when it’s in season. If being folded for nine months will cause permanent creases, then definitely hang it.
The Right Protection
Moth prevention. It’s a real thing. You could go the traditional route and purchase some mothballs, or go the more natural route and store your clothing with cedar wood. Whichever method, just make sure the mothballs and cedar wood don’t have direct contact with your garments and make sure your clothes are in a closed container. Layer scented tissue paper or dryer sheets carefully between each item to keep them smelling fresh.
When that first warm day hits next Spring, you’ll be glad you took some time now to store your clothes properly.