Spring Cleaning Your Closet
So spring is having a little stage fright.
Don’t let that worry you. We can feel it in the air. Soon we will be wearing those sandals and tank tops and cute little dresses. But before you go chucking all of your winter clothes into the back of your closet, save yourself the headache next fall and take a few steps to store them properly.
Pull everything out of the closet and your dressers, and wipe down all shelves and drawers. It can actually get pretty gross in those spaces over the course of the season if you aren’t regularly cleaning them.
Now for the part you’re probably going to want to skip (but don’t) - clean your clothes, coats, and shoes before storing for the season. You may not think you clothes are dirty, but body oils, fragrances, products, and even starch can cause yellowing over months and attract bugs. Moth holes…they’re real. So dry clean or wash your clothes, even if you only wore it once. You will be glad you did later.
Don’t leave your shoes and boots sitting in your closet for months covered in the muck of winter. We spend all year drooling over our shoes, so treat them the way they deserve to be treated! Wipe down leather boots with leather cleaner. You can remove mud and salt from suede boots by mixing equal parts warm water and vinegar and wiping off with a clean cotton towel. *make sure to let them dry completely before storing to avoid mold and mildew formation. This may even take a few days.
Now that it’s all spankin’ clean and out where you can see it, you have an opportunity to do a quick purge. As you go along, if you come across anything you didn’t even wear this winter, don’t think twice, just donate it. If you made it through a whole season without it, you probably won’t even remember you’re missing it by the time fall rolls around.
While you’re at it, now would be a good time to go through the whole shebang! Belts, purses, wraps, give it a quick go through and remove unnecessary material items from your life. It will be good for you, and benefit someone else.
You are now ready to pack away! If you are lucky enough to have a huge closet that can hold all of your clothes at once, make sure to place your off-season items in an area that won’t get as much sunlight. If you are like the majority, and one closet just isn’t enough, fold clothes neatly and store in a cotton or linen bag. These bags are breathable and work better at keeping away the critters than plastic or cardboard. If you swear by the plastic bins, however, they will work fine too! We know the power of stackable items…but just know bugs can usually get in these too, and they are attracted to them.
In a perfect world, folding delicate items (silk, knits, etc.) in acid-free tissue paper for storing would happen every season. In reality, it’s an extra step that most of us probably won’t take, but doing so will help to maintain the life of your clothing, so you should try to go all in. Heavy items, like sweaters should be folded so they don’t warp from hanging. Most coats can be hung, but heavier ones should be folded as well to avoid stretching.
Shoes and boots will last the longest if you stand upright and use tissue paper when needed to maintain form and shape. Again, most of us may want to skip this step, but the extra time and attention is how you get longevity out of your possessions. The better you care for your items, the longer they will last you and the nicer they will look for the duration of their life.
However you decide to store your off-season clothes, none of it will matter if you don’t think about where you store your clothes. Cool, dry, and dark spaces are the best. Steer clear of attics, basements, and anywhere else prone to extreme temperature changes and moisture. Imagine opening your clothing bags next fall to find a cesspool of mold and mildew. Tears would be shed. Think of unused, unseen space- maybe under a bed?
A Few Extra Tips…
- If you don’t have several hours of extra time on your hands at once, begin this process by going through your winter items one group at a time. Maybe start by pulling out all pants to sort through and clean. Once this group is finished, if you still have time, move on to another group. If not, wait until you snatch up another free moment to move on to shirts, etc. This will keep you from pulling out your entire winter wardrobe at once and having to end your session early, leaving heaps of clothes on the floor for days.
- Do some research before storing your clothes with bug deterrents. Cedar chips and blocks are recommended left and right, but can actually get their natural oils on your clothes, permanently staining them. Moth balls are toxic, and their smell is hard to remove. Try lavender pouches as a safe alternative.
- Store like items together to make next season’s swap out easier.
- Don’t use wire hangers! They warp, they stretch, they just plain old aren’t good. Recycle them and get supportive fabric or wood hangers. CD One Price Cleaners accepts wire hanger donations. Find your nearest location here.
- We know space can be hard to come by, but try to find somewhere accessible to store your items. Peeking in on them every now and then to ensure they are safely hibernating is advised.
Just keep in mind that the goal here is to create a technique that works for you that you can use every season for a quick and efficient swap-out. Organization is usually a good thing, and it can keep you up to date with what you actually own versus what you actually wear.
Have any tried-and-true seasonal storage tips you want to share? Post them in the comments to spread the word.