Ahh, my favorite task of my favorite time of year. Putting away the bulky winter clothes and breaking out the crop pants, t-shirts, and flip flops. Unfortunately this year, I’m doing mostly putting away. It seems that most of my summer clothes are too big now. (It’s a cross I’ll gladly–and gratefully–bear.)
Looking on the bright side, at least I don’t have a need to buy any office-y summer clothes. 😀
So in the middle of sorting clothes, I decided the subject of storing and organizing (a.k.a. storagnizing, a term I did not originate) off-season clothes might be a timely and useful Makeover Monday topic. Please keep in mind that in addition to being an anti-example of weight loss and fitness, along with not being a physician nor a nutritionist, I am also not an expert on clothing storage. These are *my* steps and although I haven’t lost a piece of clothing to storage in quite a few years, it is entirely possible that I am wrong. (Which would also make me lucky.)
Steps for Storganizing Off-Season Clothes
(Note: rampant linking to The Container Store occurs below, not because I’m affiliated with them, but because it’s one of my favorite stores and I could get all my example links in one place.)
1) Before you dash off to any store to buy containers and such, first seize this opportunity to sort through your clothes and eliminate any that are unnecessary. This would include clothes that are torn, stained, stretched, out of style, etc.
Normally, I might include clothes that don’t fit in the list, but we People of Many Sizes have “special issues”. Some of us are waiting to fit into smaller clothes and others of us (who, me?) are hanging on to larger clothes, “just in case.” My own rule of thumb is to keep only one size up, and only my favorites of those. You do what feels right to YOU, with the knowledge that I understand.
2) Go through the pockets of any clothes you’re putting away. Not only might you get lucky and find ~$14.00 like I did, you’ll also ensure that no pesky lipsticks or other products that could stain when the clothes are packed away are hiding, waiting to attack.
3) Launder or dry clean clothing before you pack it away. Minor stains could set, plus bugs and other icky creatures will eat through your clothing in search of that teensy little grape jelly (sugar-free, I’m sure) on your favorite sweater.
A couple of notes about dry cleaning: DO NOT store your clothes in their dry cleaning bags. The chemicals used in cleaning build up, along with (possibly) mildew and mold. Eeeew. Also, DO NOT have your clothes starched at the dry cleaners before packing them away. Bugs *love* starch.
4) Sort clothes by fabric type. Protein-types like wool, silk, suede, leather, or–Heaven forbid!–fur should be packed together in breathable containers to prevent drying out or cracking.
Plant-type fabrics such as linen, cotton, and rayon should be packed separately. Since bugs are more likely to go for the protein-y fabrics, having these clothes packed elsewhere eliminates them from the feast.
5) Choose your containers. For breathable storage, think canvas or mesh. For airtight storage, I prefer the under-the-bed type storage boxes for their size. I stack them on a closet shelf, instead of under the bed) as I find them to be less bulky to lift than the big tub-style storage boxes.
6) Consider using some sort of moth repellent. (Not everyone can, because of the strong scent.) Cedar is a good choice. Just remember to give the pieces a light sanding between seasons to reactivate the oil in the wood.
If you’re using airtight containers, consider adding some desiccant packs to capture moisture and help prevent mildew.
7) Choose your storage location, which should be a cool, dry place. That, of course, eliminates the storage places most of us have and use: basements, attics, garages, and outside storage buildings. But moisture invites mold and mildew, and excessive heat can break down the fibers in fabrics, a lesson I learned the hard way when I bought my first house. Cool and dry is the way to go.
Guest bedroom closets are great for off-season storage. Under the bed works well if your bed is high enough. If you’ve got room in your main closet, stack the boxes in the back of it.
Another possibility is to create functional storage. Stack boxes bed or sofa arm height, and then put a round piece of wood and a cloth over them to create a nightstand/end table. (I know, too much HGTV.)
And that is all I know about storganizing off-season clothing. Ironically, I am this (–><---) close to not needing any extra storage. After The Big Purge of “too big” clothing, I’ve done a pretty good job of a) not buying too many clothes (sports bras and socks, not included), and b) giving away things as I undergrew them. Given that I have a walk-in closet, I’m thinking I might be able to get away with winter clothes on the right, summer on the left.
Lord, have mercy, I do go on. You know the drill. If you’ve got any off-season clothing storage advice, PLEASE sing out! Do the same with any questions, and I’ll pop back into the comments to offer an answer or an “I don’t know.”
Hope you all have a most marvelous week! It’s gonna be a stressful one for me, but I’m going to survive it. Not without a few tears, I’m sure, but I *will* survive it.