Store Seasonal Clothing

Rotate and store seasonal clothing between hot-weather and cold-weather seasons.
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Before You Store

Cleaning clothes. Launder or dry-clean clothing before storing it for the season even if it looks clean. Hidden stains may not be evident now, but you'll see them in six months, after the stain has set. Body oils attract clothes moths and cause a deep-set odor if not removed from clothing before storage.

Remove dry-cleaned garments from plastic bags, as the bags trap moisture and encourage mildew. Cotton garment bags or old cotton sheets protect stored clothing from dust, while allowing air circulation.

Choosing a location. Choose a storage location that is cool, dry and well-ventilated. Beware of the attic when storing winter clothing. Hot summer attic temperatures can cause fiber damage, while the heat will set any hidden stains. Avoid storing clothing in an area receiving direct sunlight; it can fade clothing.

Choosing hangers. Select the right hangers when storing clothes for the season. Avoid storing clothing on thin wire hangers. Store jackets and coats on padded hangers or wooden suit hangers. Hang trousers by the cuff or hem, hanging straight, to avoid creases. Hang skirts from waistbands using skirt hangers. Wooden or plastic hangers may be used for blouses or shirts. Dresses and skirts often include hanger loops designed to support the garment's weight; place them around the head of the hanger or on hanger hooks.

Boxing clothes. When boxing clothes for storage avoid boxes made from cardboard. Cardboard is acidic, and the glue it contains is attractive to pests and insects. Lidded plastic storage containers will hold clothing safely, without attracting pests or damaging fibers. Use labels or a permanent marker to label containers to help you identify the contents later.

Clothes moths. In areas where moths are prevalent, mothballs can help protect clothes made from natural fibers, but treat them with extreme respect. Mothballs kill moth larvae with chemical fumes, so they should be used only in sealed containers. Do not place mothballs directly on stored clothing.

The fumes are hazardous to humans, so do not wear clothing immediately if it has been stored with mothballs. Clean clothing or air it in a well-ventilated location for at least a day before wearing. Always keep mothballs away from children and pets.

Cedar blocks, shavings or cedar oil offer less toxic protection against moths when storing clothing. Like mothballs, clothing must be stored in a closed container when using cedar, so that the fumes will deter moths.

Where to Store Out-of-Season Clothes

Try these tips to stash seasonal clothing out of the way when not in use.

  • Rack 'em up. Rolling garment racks are inexpensive, sturdy and make seasonal closet changeovers easy. Roll the rack to the closet, and load it up with winter jackets, suits and trousers. Add a sweater hanger to provide shelf space on the rack. When you are finished, roll the rack to an alternate storage location; cover it with a cotton bed sheet to protect the clothing from dust.
  • Suitcase solution. Suitcases are ideal containers for transporting clothing-and for storing it, too. During the off-season, tuck seasonal clothing inside suitcases. A label or sticky note affixed outside of the suitcase identifies clothing inside.
  • Hang 'em high. If you're blessed with a closet that has a high ceiling, tap that empty space for seasonal storage. Add a hanging rod near the closet ceiling; store out-of-season clothes up in the nosebleed seats for safe, accessible storage.

Saving Strategy: Kids' Clothing Archive

A growing child means outgrown clothes and too often, an outgrown clothing budget. To keep costs under control, many families retain baby clothes and hand-me-down clothing for use by the next youngster. Frugal parents "buy up," purchasing sale clothing in larger sizes for children's use as they grow; garage sale shoppers can collect an entire wardrobe of quality children's clothing as they cruise the yard sales.

Problem is, where do you store the bargains? Most children's bedrooms have inadequate storage for clothing in active use, much less an added cache of "grow-into" clothes. Solution: Set up a simple clothing archive to sort, store and organize kids' clothes.

Ready to Wear

To create a kids' clothing archive, collect or purchase eight to 10 lidded plastic storage containers. Containers should be clean, dry and stack easily.

Sort clothing by gender - boy or girl - and then by size. Assign each pile to a box, and label accordingly: Boy-Size 6; Girl-Size 8. Stack boxes in an accessible storage area in basement, garage or attic, arranging them by gender and size.

Did you find a great bargain on toddler coveralls? Stash them away in the "Boy-3T" box until the baby is ready to cruise the house. When daughter's dresses are all too short, check the "Girl-Size 6" archive box before you shop for new clothes; add her outgrown dresses in good condition to the "Girl-Size 4" archive for use next year by her younger sister.

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