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Spring brings the promise of warmer days ahead, which means it’s time to shed the heavy layers of winter and make room in your closet for lighter clothing. Taking time and effort to store your winter clothes properly will preserve your seasonal collection and protect your wardrobe investments.
This easy-to-follow plan for editing, preparing, and storing your winter wardrobe, with tips from organizing experts Jane Stoller of Organized Jane and Brenda Scott of Tidy my Space, will put a spring in your step.
Edit your collection
Before you think about how you’ll store your winter wardrobe, consider editing your collection by removing any items you haven’t worn or used during the current season, says Stoller.
If you don’t want to go the resale route, or if items don’t sell, you can help people and the planet by creatively recycling winter wear, says Scott. “Sustainable editing should always be the choice before tossing items into the garbage,” she says.
Offer gently worn items to family members or take them to the nearest thrift store or shelter. Scott also recommends recycling ripped or stained items by cutting them up and using them as rags for cleaning. Many local donation centers also accept textiles for recycling, she says.
Prepare the clothes for storage
- Dry clean or wash and fully dry winter clothes. Clean them as you normally would, whether machine washable, hand washable, or dry clean only. Remove stains and debris to prevent musty odors and bug infestations during storage.
- Repair before you pack it. Clothing takes a beating during the cold months. You’ll thank yourself in the long run if you take the time to replace lost buttons or mend rips and holes, whether you do it yourself or take it to an alteration shop.
- Prevent moths. To deter moths, add cedar blocks or rings or lavender sachets to hangers and in between clothing in containers where you plan to store wool clothing.
- Clean shoes and winter boots. Remove water, dirt, and winter salt stains from footwear before storing to prevent permanent damage.
Organization products can make a big difference
When winter wearables are clean, you’re ready to store them to make space for your fresh spring wardrobe.
When deciding how to store your winter items, you’ll want to take into account the quirks of your particular space. In general, you should be thinking about how to keep your items protected in the space you have available.
From there, you have plenty of storage options available. If you’re looking to maximize existing closet space, tiered hanging fabric shelves, hanging garment bags, and hanging shoe organizers can help you neatly separate and protect your items.
If you’re looking for more space-saving solutions, vacuum seal storage bags and stackable plastic containers with lids should do the trick. And if you’ve got the space,, a cardboard wardrobe box or fabric cubes can help you corral everything.
What’s the best way to store winter clothes?
Once you have the organization products you need, the best way to store winter clothing depends on the item.
Delicates should be securely wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and be stored in fabric cubes or covered storage bins. Place wrapped accessories like wool or silk scarves on top of heavier items, such as sweaters. Stack bins in the back of your closet.
Neatly fold bulky sweaters before storing them, then lay them flat in a neat stack. If you’re working with limited space, vacuum storage bags are an excellent space-stretching sweater storage solution, says Scott. You can stack vacuum bags in covered bins, in fabric cubes, or in empty luggage. Old comforter bags, which offer protection from pests and stack well, are another creative storage strategy for sweaters, says Stoller.
Hang clean coats on a sturdy hanger to help them keep their shape. If you have room in a front entrance closet, use it to hang coats stored in a wardrobe box, says Stoller. If you need to hang coats individually in different areas of your home due to space constraints, Scott says you should protect them from dust with a garment bag.
Use an over-the-door shoe organizer in your closet to store shoes and accessories such as scarves, gloves, and hats, says Stoller. Mittens and gloves will stay neatly matched in pouches, while mufflers and hats will be accessible but out of the way. If you don’t have the capability of adding an over-the-door-organizer, use a hanging closet organizer, or smaller plastic bins that you can stack.
Mistakes to avoid
- Avoid storing clothes in spaces with irregular conditions. Spaces like an unheated garage, damp basement, or outdoor shed have changing temperatures and moisture levels. Clothes should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent damage to fabrics from heat and moisture.
- Never fold winter coats. Creases in heavy coats can become permanent.
- Don’t hang sweaters. Doing so will cause fabrics to stretch and lose their shape.
Making room in your closet for your spring wardrobe doesn’t need to be an extensive chore. Before you store your winter clothing and footwear, edit anything you haven’t worn by selling or recycling it. Before storing them, wash or dry clean winter items to remove stains and prevent musty odors and bug infestations. Make use of creative storage solutions like empty luggage, old comforter bags, and over-the-door shoe organizers to maximize space in your closet.