safely storing your winter clothes

Spring has most definitely sprung here in Vancouver. I’ve seen many a bare leg this past week! I, like most, am very excited by the prospect of any change (the monotony of CoVid is real and is getting to ALL of us! You’re not alone!)–the weather is no exception. 

Putting away my winter wardrobe and pulling out my spring/summer clothing feels like a real event (in lieu of having real events to punctuate my days). It is, however, an event I’m approaching with apprehension. This past fall, when I pulled out the clothing I’d stored over the warmer months, and was horrified to find out moths had put holes in my very favourite pants and three of my sweaters. They were beyond repair and I was forced to get rid of the pants altogether and relegate the sweaters to be worn as pyjama tops. It was tragic. I have vowed to never let this happen again.

I’ve read every blog/article I could find and this, to the best of my knowledge, should work. Six simple steps to safely store your winter clothing:

 

1 - no need to put away things you no longer wear–set aside items you can’t see yourself wearing again, and drop them by your local thrift 

This sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled articles of clothing out of my winter box only to put them away six months later without ever having been worn. Overstuffing your storage boxes can contribute to damaging your clothing, so the less there is to store, the better!

2 - make sure everything you plan to store is in its very best condition–no stains and/or smells–wash, hand wash and dry clean as necessary

I’m 99% sure this is where I failed last year. CoVid hit and I wore sweats. I don’t think I’d worn any of the clothing I put away for months so my memory on what had been washed was hazy at best. This year I’m erring on the side of caution and washing EVERYTHING I plan to put away. Food and perspiration stains, no matter how minor, can attract critters. Furthermore, the longer stains sit, the more permanent they become.

3 - loosely fold sweaters and tops and place them in a plastic bin with the heaviest knits on the bottom (use acid free tissue to fold anything particularly delicate)

The idea is to have everything keep its shape, so placing heavier items on the bottom can help to avoid unnecessary crumpling. If you have beloved silks and cashmeres, the acid free tissue can act as an additional layer of protection against bugs, fabric snags and colour transfer.

4 - hang anything that could lose its shape (ex pleated skirts, down jacket, etc)

Three is literally nothing worse than a down jacket that never regains its ‘puff’ or a pleated skirt that no longer falls the way it should...

5 - wether hung or folded, ensure the items are then packed away in plastic boxes or garment bags with lavender sachets and/or cedar balls to discourage cloth-destroying critters, such as moths, from making a feast out of your winter wardrobe

*do not overstuff said boxes, no matter how tempting!

It’s important to make sure your clothing has room to breathe, yet is sealed away. I know many use vacuum sealed bags, but I’ve found this creates too much creasing and crumpling for me. I am using plastic containers again this year and am going in HEAVY with the sachets–cedar & lavender to please (or rather displease!) all critter variants.

6 - store your items in a climate controlled space such as under the bed or the top shelf of your closet–avoid attics and basements that are prone to high highs and low lows

Another potential downfall of last winter’s clothing storage. We got a storage locker last year to clear out space for all of the extra time being spent at home. I know for a fact it wasn’t climate controlled so this year, everything is going under the bed!

 

Some useful links...

what to wash, hand wash or dryclean

hand wash detergent

cedar sachets

lavender sachets

acid-free tissue paper