How to

26 July 2017

How to Properly Store Winter Clothing over the Summer

The changing of the seasons is a time to rejoice for many; the bitter chill of winter has been and gone and in its wake comes the gentle rhythms of spring and the warming light of summer. An eagerness at this point to chuck your winter wardrobe into storage in favour of summer garments is understandable, but be careful in your haste not to unknowingly compromise or cause harm to those items of clothing deemed redundant following the close of winter. Improper storage may render your beloved winter coat all-but-useless when the time comes to dig it back out again, so what can we do to take care of these often-expensive items of clothing? In this article we will endeavour to answer that query.

Proper Cleaning is Paramount

This one should be fairly obvious, but putting your clothes into storage complete will all the dust, dirt and grime they have accumulated while being worn is never a good idea, to say the very least. Unclean clothes will attract insects and possible even promote the growth of mould, both of which will of course have a negative effect on the integrity of the garment. Any stains left behind will also darken and become more stubborn, so it is best to ensure these are removed beforehand.

Clean, Cool, Dark, and Dry

These four words are the backbone of proper storage practices for clothing. We’ve covered the importance of ensuring that clothing is clean before being placed into storage, but cleanliness is far from the only relevant factor. Ensuring that the area is dry should help keep insects and mildew at bay, while darkness will help prevent fading. Heat will speed up the negative aspects of each of the aforementioned factors whilst also having the potential to cause discolouration and warping, so try to keep stored clothing away from heat sources such as pipes and radiators.

To Fold or to Hang?

Depending upon the type, style, and material of the garment in question, the best method of storage will differ. For example, sweaters and knitted items can become misshapen as a result of prolonged hanging, stretching to point of being unwearable. Ideally, anything made of delicate natural fibres such as cashmere or wool should be folded. Best practice is to also place sheets of acid-free tissue between the folded areas.

If you do need to hang any of the aforementioned items, take care to ensure that their weight is supported as best as possible so as to avoid stretching.

Hang heavy structured or down coats on thick, ideally padded, wooden hangers, taking care to ensure they are hanging straight and without folds where possible. Such items tend to fare best if stored hanging in a breathable bag or fabric wrap, but never a dry-cleaning bag; these will trap moisture and potentially cause yellowing.

Selecting Storage Containers

For those items you opt not to hang or simply don’t have space to stack folded away in your wardrobe, additional storage containers may be necessary. There are many potential storage solutions to choose from, but some are better fit for purpose than others.

While many swear by the use of vacuum bags due to their space-saving potential, their use is not recommended over prolonged periods as they do not allow the garments to breathe. Cardboard boxes should also be avoided for anything other than temporary, short-term storage as these are essentially an open invitation to invading insects.

The best solution when it comes to additional storage space is the use of either clear, plastic containers lined with acid-free tissue or an unused suitcase, similarly lined. Be careful however when using plastic containers, as they have the potential to trap moisture is storage conditions are not ideal.

Avoid Using Mothballs

While mothballs may be effective in terms of deterring an invasion of moths or other insects, they are not generally recommended these days due to the chemicals upon which they rely, which can be harmful to children and pets who stumble upon them. Instead, make use of natural alternatives such as cedar blocks or cedar-lined storage, which can perform just as well as traditional mothballs.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.