How to Switch Out Seasonal Clothing

Keep your clothing organized and well-cared for throughout each season with our how-to list.

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Let the changing seasons be your cue to evaluate what's in your clothes closet. Expert organizer Monica Ricci of Catalyst Organizing Solutions (www.catalystorganizing.com) gives her 10 tips to keep you and your closets organized for each season.

Don't switch everything.

Seasonal switch-out time is the perfect opportunity to evaluate every piece of clothing you wear. Does it fit you like a dream? Do you love the cut and color? Do you wear it at least twice a season? Is it still a current style? If so, it's a keeper. If not, donate it.

Clean the closet.

Vacuum your closet and watch for signs of insects. Be sure that the closet or area is also clean and free of anything that bugs might find delicious. Dust, other insects, crumb or food and beverage stains on your clothing are all attractive to pests.

Clean your clothes before you store them away.

Clean clothing resists pests better, plus invisible spots on your clothing can oxidize and become permanent stains during the time the item is stored. Launder each item or dry clean it, and be sure to remove dry cleaning bags because they can trap moisture and cause permanent stains. Tip: When cleaning before storage, avoid using bleach, fabric softener, sizing or starch. These items are a virtual buffet line for insects.

Toss the wire hangers.

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Hang lightweight clothing on quality hangers and store them in breathable garment bags to keep them wrinkle-free. A rolling garment rack is an easy way to store hanging clothes and the wheels make it a breeze to move from room to room if necessary. It's best to fold and stack heavy and knit items.

Don't use cardboard boxes.

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Avoid storing clothing in cardboard boxes because they can break down and attract insects. For short-term storage, cardboard is fine, but for more than a few months, use plastic containers with lids. Be sure these containers aren't airtight. Air cirulation will help avoid mold and mildew. If you're concerned about air movement in a plastic container, you can always drill several small holes in the top and sides of the container prior to filling them.

Keep clothes out of the basement and attic.

Climate control is key. Store clothing in the main areas of your home or in a climate controlled storage facility. Basements and attics are too humid and are an invitation to mold, mildew and insects. Consider storing out-of-season clothing beneath staircases, extra closets, under beds and even in your main closet if you have space.

Preserve precious clothing.

When storing items long term — such as wedding dresses, baby clothing or other special clothing that you won't be accessing for years on end — consider having them professionally preserved. Another option is to make sure they're spotless (remember, no starch, bleach, fabric softener or sizing), wrap them in acid-free tissue and store in an archival storage box.

Be careful with delicates.

Fold delicate items rather than on hangers to prevent them from sagging, stretching or otherwise becoming misshapen. Remember, when stacking clothing, heaviest items should be on the bottom and lighter items on the top of the stack.

Take advantage of free services.

Remember that most dry cleaners will store anything you have cleaned for no charge. If you're short on space, this is a terrific option.

Be aware that cedar stains.

If you are storing clothing in a cedar chest or another wooden container, be sure to line it with acid-free paper, muslin or even old, clean, cotton bed sheets. This will keep the wood from contacting the clothing directly, which could stain or damage the item.

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