These easy steps keep cold-weather gear bug- and mildew-free — because, yes, winter will be back again before you know it.
- Clean everything
The biggest and most effective tip is to machine wash or dry clean everything you plan to store before packing it up for the season. It’s icky, but moths and insects are naturally attracted to our everyday scents, such as perfume, food, deodorant, and smoke—even if the scents are fairly imperceptible to you. 70°F (or below) is the target storage temp to avoid damaging fibers or setting stains, and low light and low humidity are ideal.
- Invest in plastic bins.
Those as-seen-on-TV plastic vacuum bags might be hot right now, but most experts warn against them since you use a vacuum to suck out all the air—again, drying out garments. Clothes need to breathe, so plastic storage bins are fine for non-delicate items like t-shirts, jeans, wool sweaters, or polyester. Just be sure you pack things loosely to maximize airflow.
- Pack delicates differently.
For delicate items like silk, organza, or cashmere, or anything that’s special to you, remove them from protective plastic immediately, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper and place in 100% cotton-canvas storage bags or archival garment storage boxes.
- Don’t hang sweaters or coats.
If you have a spare closet resist the urge to hang your sweaters and coats, as they can become grossly misshapen beyond repair. Instead, fold them and place them in your plastic bins or your fabric storage bags, with the heaviest garments at the bottom. One thing to remember: Don’t shove every sweater in one bin—air needs to circulate, otherwise mold and mildew could form.
- Invest in boot trees.
The last thing you want is to break out your favorite leather or suede boots in the fall only to find them slouchy, misshapen, and creased from being shoved in the back of your closet all summer. Buying a few boot forms can do wonders when it comes to maintaining the shape of taller styles.
- Pack shoes with tissue paper.
If your cold-weather shoes aren’t tall boots, but rather things like ankle booties, pumps, or loafers, loosely packing them with clean tissue paper before storing will help maintain their shape whole they sit in storage. Just make sure to wipe them down first.
TELL US ON FACEBOOK: What's your favorite tip for storing winter clothing and gear?