Spring Cleaning Series: Store Your Winter Clothes!

Closet1sqSoon, very soon, you will be able to take your bulky winter coat and put it where you won’t have to even LOOK at it for six months. Your boots will be banished, your sweaters hidden from sight, and as for those itchy long johns, you can pretend they don’t exist. At least, till next winter. And next winter will, sadly, come. BUT WE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF THAT. Instead, let’s make it a Thing: The Ceremonial Storing Of The Winter. A celebration that winter has finally ended! You can even do it with wine! And you can also call it “doing your November Self a Favour“. Cause when Winter returns – and it will – you’ll thank yourself for taking a few fab steps right now. Set aside an afternoon, get some Pinot, and go for it.

Step 1. Take it out. Pull out all the winter stuff that you will not need for the next 6 months. Heavy sweaters, woolen trousers, anything you won’t wear til the snow flies again.

Step 1a. Cull it. As you’re going through your wardrobe, be merciless. Did you wear everything in your closet this past winter? If you find things you haven’t worn in a year or three, you probably aren’t going to wear it again. Having it there takes up space and weighs on your mind. Pull it out and put it in a separate pile to donate or consign.

Step 2. Wash it. Yeah, it makes the entire task exponentially larger, but it’s important. Whether you’re keeping it or saying goodbye, everything should be clean. This will remove dirt or oils that could degrade your clothes in storage, and it will also help remove moth eggs and keep pests from munching on your favourite things over the summer months. Unscented products always a better bet for washing but are particularly important for this, otherwise when you open up the bin in six months you’ll get a revolting stale fragrance smell that always makes me wrinkle my nose and you’ll have to wash everything again.

Shelf1Step 3. Pack it. An airtight container is best to help keep things safe, pest-free and dry. Nice big stackable containers are a great option depending on your storage space, and if you can find ones made from recycled plastic so much the better. Another great idea is to use vacuum-sealed storage bags. These are available nearly everywhere now and are great space savers. In my experience, it’s worth it to spend a little more on these rather than get the cheapies. Otherwise, they are prone to ripping and you will have to replace them far too quickly (eco-hostile!).  Whatever route you take, this is gonna be an every-six-months event so you might as well invest in good product.

Fold everything neatly and properly and stack it gently. It’s gonna be sitting like this for six months, so make sure it’s comfortable. You don’t want it all to look like you slept in it before you put it away. Or like it always does by the end of the season on one of my shelves.

Extra Tip:  If you really want to be super duper organized, make a list of what is in each container so that if you need to find something quickly and easily later on, you can.  (You’re welcome again, November Self!)

For things like winter coats, you want to follow the same process: Wash and store. Some stuff could be left to hang in a storage closet, like wool coats. But a well sealed box does the trick too.

For boots and winter shoes, it’s super important to get the salt and muck off them before storage, otherwise it’ll eat at them all winter. Wipe them down with a cloth and some water, or if that doesn’t do the trick use a dilute vinegar solution. Then prop them up to store – a rolled up newspaper will do the trick just fine.

coatsStep 3a. For the things you’re planning on donating or consigning: The bad news is that no shop or charity wants your winter clothes right now. Despite all appearances, summer is coming and they’re filling their shops with clothes you can only wear when there isn’t 3cm of ice on every outdoor surface. So you’re gonna have to store these too. Carry out the same process – wash, fold neatly, and store – but label the containers as “donate” and “consign” so that when September comes, you’ll have everything ready to pop in the car and roll. (Just quickly double check before you take them in to ensure they weathered well and that they’re in good condition to resell or donate – but don’t rescue anything! You put it in that bin for a reason. Leave it there.)

Step 4. Add moth repellant, particularly to wools. Mothballs are not the greatest solution – they’re harshly chemical, eco-hostile and stink to high heaven. Cedar is a good alternative and you can get it at most home stores, or you can make some homemade moth repellent sachets with lavender. That way you can get your craft on and also feel smug about your industriousness. Win-win!

Step 5. Seal tightly and store. Ensure the lids on each container fit well, or if using vacuum bags, remove as much air as possible. If you’ve made lists of contents, affix those to the lids for easy reference. Then store and you’re on your way!

Happy sorting! What’s your favourite part about the wardrobe switch (aside from the fact that it means summer is coming?)

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