Fall and winter are right around the corner, which means it’s almost time to break out those heavy coats and sweaters you squirreled away in March. Here’s hoping you stored them in the right container.

Picking the right container to store your seasonal clothing can make or break your chances of wearing them again next year. Just like choosing the proper environment to store items, choosing the best container for your long-term storage needs is essential to the longevity of your clothes.

The Container Store

Keep these five tips in mind the next time you put away your seasonal wardrobe.

1. Choose a Container That’s Airtight

If you’re storing your clothes for an extended period of time, you’ll want to make sure that they’re properly protected from moisture, insects, and direct light. Plastic bags and cardboard boxes are cheap and relatively easy to source, but they aren’t ideal for storing clothes long-term. Plus, both plastic bags and cardboard boxes degrade after continuous use, which means you’ll need to replace them frequently.

Do it right the first time and store your garments in airtight plastic containers. It’s a fairly inexpensive investment that will ensure your clothes are protected and come out looking the same as when you left.

2. Colored or Clear?

If you’re storing lots of different seasonal items in one area, color coordinating your containers by season or holiday can make life a lot easier. For instance, you can use red or green containers for Christmas-related items, and another color container for regular everyday household items. Just be diligent in keeping the theme up as you store different seasonal items so you don’t play the guessing game when you need to find something.

If you’re storing your clothing in a dark area, you may elect to use clear containers with colored lids to still have the color coordination you desire, with the added benefit of knowing what items live in which container. Direct sunlight can cause fading, so if you are storing your items in a naturally lit area (like a garage), you’ll want to make sure that you don’t find any surprises the next time you want to wear your favorite coat.

Moving crates

3. Say No to Vacuum or “Space” Bags

Seeing your giant winter coat turn into a thin plastic wrapped packet is always enjoyable, but the if you’re planning on storing your clothes long-term, keep the vacuum bags in the drawer. All fabrics, whether they’re natural or synthetic, need to breathe. This is especially true with leather, suede, wool and down-filled garments. Removing the ability for fabric and threads to breathe can deteriorate and permanently damage a garment.

4. Don’t Cram Clothes into Containers

Typically, storing items means being as efficient as possible with the space that you have, but storing clothes for an extended period of time comes with different rules. Tightly packing fabric can create permanent creases and damage, so it’s best to use more containers with less items in each. For the best results, wrap your garments in acid-free paper, lightly fold, and stack the pieces starting with the heaviest items at the bottom.

5. Make Sure Everything is Clean, Dry, and Cool

Before storing any clothing or linens, make sure that they’ve been thoroughly cleaned. It’s best to professional dry clean and launder expensive items to ensure they aren’t damaged during storage. Any stains left on your garments will worsen and darken during their time in storage. Your garage seems like a great place to store items, but the fluctuating temperature and lack of ventilation can quickly damage garments. If you live in a wet or high humidity climate, opting for a climate-controlled storage unit will help minimize the chance for mold and mildew to appear if you are storing clothing for an extended period of time.

 

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Jake Lane
  • http://www.sabrinasorganizing.com/blog Sabrina Quairoli

    Great tips. Deciding on containers can be overwhelming for people because of the many options out there. I admit I do use space bags for my out of season linens and have been doing it for years. I even have a blanket that I got over 30 years ago that works still looks like new. =) I have severe dust mite allergies so keeping these items air-free works perfectly fine for me.