How To: Store Off-Season Clothes

Storing off-season garments is a great way to keep your closet uncluttered and your clothing protected. The guidelines in this video make it hassle-free.

Storing off-season garments is a great way to keep your closet uncluttered and your clothing protected. The guidelines in this video make it hassle-free.

What You Need

  1. Check Clothing
  2. Check canvas or muslin storage boxes
  3. Check cloth garment bag
  4. Check wooden hangers
  5. Check cedar moth repellant

Follow These Steps

  1. Start with clean clothes

    Empty the pockets of all the clothes you’ll be putting away, then launder or dry-clean everything—even if you’ve only worn it once. Invisible stains from perspiration, perfume, and clear beverages can set in if you store clothes without cleaning them first, and the resulting stains can become permanent. They can also be a food source for carpet beetles and moths, which will eat through the fabric to get to the food.

    Aha! Avoid starching clothes before putting them away: The starch not only feeds bugs, but it can weaken fabric.

  2. Group clothes by fabric

    Create two piles. In the first, put clothing made from protein fibers—silks, wool, fur, suede, and leather. In the other, store those made from plant fibers such as cotton, linen, and rayon.

    Aha! Clothes made from protein fibers are, in themselves, food for bugs. That’s why they should be kept apart from clothes made from plant fibers.

  3. Choose the right storage solution

    Place wool and protein-based clothing in canvas or muslin boxes, which allow air to circulate. Place cotton, linen, and rayon items in a separate box. Label each box so you know what’s in each one. Place hanging items in cloth garment bags, which are preferable to plastic for long-term storage because they don’t trap moisture, and are essential for leathers and furs, which may crack or break if kept in plastic.

    Tip: Don’t store dry-cleaned clothes in the plastic bags in which they came—they hold in moisture that may cause mildew. If you don’t have cloth bags, hang sheets over garments.

  4. Invest in moth repellent

    The scent of moth repellant discourages moths from laying eggs and helps keep them away. Cedar, which comes in the form of hangers, boxes, blocks, and drawer liners, is best. Place a cedar block or sachet in each box you plan to store, and if you’re not using cedar hangers, place a block or a sachet in garment bags, too.

    Tip: Sand cedar with fine-grade sandpaper after each season, because the moth-repellant scent disappears as the surface oxidizes.

  5. Store clothes in a cool, dry place

    Fabric is negatively affected by extremes in temperature and humidity, so garages, attics, and unfinished basements are off-limits. If you have space in a closet or chest of drawers—or if you have a spare room where you can keep a rolling rack—that’s ideal.