The best way to store clothes

With each new season comes a different set of clothes to wear. Your sweaters take up space on a shelf during summer, while shorts and swimsuits make their way to the bottom of the drawer by winter’s end.

If you’re looking to create more space in your closet, consider storing seasonal clothes. We’ve developed six tips to help maximize space while making sure your clothes are ready to wear for the next season.

  1. Purge. This is a great time to recycle the clothes you no longer wear—the less you own, the less you need to store! It may be difficult to let go of some pieces, but those that no longer fit or those you haven’t worn in several years would likely be appreciated at your local donation store or homeless shelter.
  2. Launder everything. Even if the clothing looks clean now, hidden stains will set and appear by the time you are ready to wear the clothes during the next season. Plus, stains and body oils may attract bugs.
  3. Clean shoes, too! Remove dirt, dust and, after winter; salt may have built up on your shoes. Polish and apply a conditioner to leather shoes.
  4. Make repairs. Replace missing buttons and repair ripped seams and hems. You’ll appreciate the extra effort next season!
  5. Find a location. Clothing should be stored in a ventilated, cool, dry place. Avoid the heat of an attic, the dampness of a basement or a place with direct sunlight that may cause fading.
  6. Use different storage methods. The type of container you use and how you store an item depends upon the garment.

Use these tips for best results:

Sweaters: Sweaters will stretch and lose shape if stored on hangers. Sweaters are best stored in cotton boxes or plastic storage bins. Avoid cardboard boxes as they can attract insects. Stack sweaters in the bin, starting from heaviest to lightest.

Shirts: Shirts can be stored in bins much the same way as sweaters. If you have the space and prefer to hang shirts, use wooden, plastic or padded hangers for best results. Foam-covered hangers can discolor fabric, and wire hangers may distort the shape of your clothes.

Delicate clothing: It is best to wrap delicate fabrics in acid-free tissue paper before storing in a cotton or plastic bin.

Pants and skirts: Hang pants straight, rather than folded, from the cuff or hem to eliminate creases. Use a skirt hanger to hang skirts from the waistband.

Dresses: Hang dresses inside a garment bag. Make sure to secure the hanger loops around the hanger to support the dresses’ weight during the season.

Coats: Coats should be hung on hangers that are large enough to support their weight. Store them in garment bags to keep away dust. Coats may also be folded and stored in plastic bins.

Shoes and boots: If you are storing shoes for several months, stuff them with acid-free paper so that they retain their shape. (Empty toilet paper rolls also work well!) Use shoe storage containers that slide easily under beds or shoe bags and avoid stacking shoes on top of each other.

To ensure your clothes come out smelling their best after a long storage season, add cedar chips or dryer sheets to the storage containers. It’s also good idea to check on your clothes from time to time to make sure they are free from bugs and that your storage containers are doing their job.

With these storage tips, your clothes will be ready to wear at the start of a new season!