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Organizing & Storing Seasonal Clothes

Storing clothes when the seasons change is the perfect time to purge and organize your closet, and you asked for some tips to help you.  It may sound like a simple enough task, but there are some important things to know about optimum storage, and how to avoid moths, mildew, setting stains and discoloration.

Purge & Organize Your Closet

As the season changes we usually have a pretty good idea of the items in our closet that we just haven’t worn in the previous months, now is a good time to pull them from your closet.  If you didn’t wear them this winter/summer you won’t wear them next winter/summer.  Not sure? Create one pile for questionable items – you can store these with a list and reconsider later.  Also children grow – weed out items that won’t fit next year, or were heavily worn this year.

First time doing a major closet organization? To help you purge your closet going forward, hang or store items as you wear them in one area, (one section or end of your closet), or tag them with a rubber band or sticky.  You will quickly start to see the 20 / 80 trend – people generally only wear 20 percent of their closet 80 per cent of the time, and then can whittle out never or little worn items.

TIPS: Only keep clothes that FIT, FLATTER and fulfill your FASHION style needs.

  • Our bodies change; we lose / gain weight and by some phenomenon I don’t quite understand weight can relocate itself!
  • Our clothes can lose their shape; shrink or become saggy with wear and cleaning.
  • We are constantly evolving; that fire engine red blouse that we bought 2 years ago might just not really suit our personality or needs now.
  • Fashions and styles change! Don’t wait for them to come around again – they are never quite the same the second time around!
  • Donate or toss children’s clothes that won’t fit next season or are heavily worn.

Decide Where & How To Store Your Clothes

This may largely depend on your home and where you have space.  Under the bed or a spare closet or bedroom is ideal.  However if you use your garage or basement, dampness could be an issue.  Being able to hang coats, pants, dresses and skirts is ideal to minimize creases.  Always fold sweaters so they don’t get hanger marks or stretch out of shape.  Airtight storage bag systems are inexpensive and very effective and really compress to maximize storage space , and stackable bins for man-made fabrics.

TIPS: TAGGING, BAGGING, BOXING and STORING

  • Use humidy control desiccant packets in all storage containers.
  • Pack the heaviest items at the bottom, lighter on top and don’t pack too full which will cause creasing and decrease airflow.
  • Button and zip up, fold items along the seams or natural folds.
  • Create a list of contents tape it inside one end of the bin facing out, or place top side of the bag and name the owner.
  • Store by owner, type of garment, color, or outfit – whatever makes most sense to you.
  • Consider creating a list of outfits stored – 10 is a good number.
  • Creating a list of items needed to complete your wardrobe next season will enable you to pick a deal if you see a sale and eliminate duplications.

Prepare Clothes for Storage

Launder or dry clean all the clothing you intend to store – stains, grease, minute food particles are food for bugs and stains could set in storage as well as weaken fabrics.  Make sure clothes are completely dry, leaving them a little longer in a hot dryer if possible will help eliminate bug larvae. Dry-cleaning is a good option for natural fabrics as the chemicals can help deter moths. Mending items before you put them away will ensure they are ready to go when you retrieve them.

TIPS: Consider MOTH, MILDEW & SUNLIGHT

  • Moths and moth larvae do NOT cedar oil, lavender oil, tobacco, mothballs and cloves.  The scent of most deterrents fade after 4 – 6 months and needs to be refreshed – sanding cedar planks can reactive their scent.
  • Moth and cedar balls or planks will only be effective in a reasonably airtight container in high concentration according to David Stone, director of the National Pesticide Information Center.
  • Moths and moth larvae LOVE enjoy moderate temperatures and darkness!  Extra heat when drying or even freezing an expensive sweater for a couple of days will ensure you are storing larvae free clothes.
  • Even minor dampness can encourage mildew and produce a musty odor; sunlight, changing temperatures and plastic can discolor clothing, and make natural fibers “sweat.”  Throw in some humidity control desiccant packets.
  • DO NOT seal natural fibers in airtight containers / plastic.  If you are storing natural cashmere, wool or other natural fibers from winter to winter, shake them out every 3 months in the sunlight and air!  Rattan or cedar chests or natural cotton clothing bags make perfect storage.

This is a perfect time to vacuum your closet, shelving or inside drawers; get in all the cracks and crevices as the moths are tiny but the larvae are even smaller!  Moth larvae, carpet beetles and caterpillars other household bugs can lurk in dark corners and eat many different fabrics.

If you find evidence of moth damage vacuum a few times a week for a couple of weeks to try and eliminate all the larvae, then you can reduce to every few weeks and so on.  Brush and shakeout clothing in the sunlight before returning to your closet.

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