The air smells faintly like a wood fireplace, the leaves are starting to change, and you're so ready to pull on your new leather knee-high boots over your tights. But before you even think about reaching for that cozy infinity scarf, it's time to give your warm weather wardrobe a proper goodbye first. That's right. I'm talking about storing your summer clothes. I know you probably don't want to hear it, but those cute summer wardrobe staples you spent so long picking out at your favorite stores just a few short months ago need to be washed, organized, and properly put away.
Prepping your clothes for storage (and, you know, actually storing them) doesn't have to be painful. In fact, it's a good practice for a number of reasons. For one thing, your clothes will last longer, meaning you don't have to go on a frantic shopping spree to re-stock once the weather starts to warm up again. Come next summer, you'll also be able to find your bathing suits, sundresses, and sleeveless blouses without tearing apart your closet or dresser drawers. Plus, you won't be pulling your hair out because you've discovered your favorite pair of shorts has some sort of mystery smell attached to them after they weren't stored properly.
Perhaps most importantly, storing away your summer clothes now means you have plenty of space in you closet to make way for your new fall wardrobe, because, damn. Sweater weather may be your favorite time of year, but those chunky knits definitely take up a lot of room. So, go grab a couple of plastic storage boxes, a garment bag or two, some cedar sachets, and a handful of dryer sheets, and let's get started. Without further ado, here are five steps for storing your old summer clothes.
1. Wash & Dry
OK, this one is really important: make sure all of your clothes are properly washed before deciding to move them into storage. This will get rid of stuff like random food or drink spills you've forgotten about that might cause your favorite shirts to mold or discolor. It will also keep your clothes looking like new over the winter.
2. Sort Clothing Into Underbed Storage Boxes
Once you've washed and folded your clothes, have your plastic storage boxes ready, like these from The Container Store, which can easily fit under beds and in dark closets. Keep clothes out of sunlight and away from changes in humidity, which can cause colors to fade and mold to grow. Avoid keeping clothing any place near a window. Be sure to lay your shorts, tanks, swimsuits, and light-weight clothes flat, if possible, to avoid potential permanent wrinkle damage.
3. Plastic or Nylon Garment Bags
Sometimes you might have items (like nice summer dresses) that need more TLC than just folding them up and shoving them into a box. That's where garment bags come in handy. Garment bags will protect your clothes from getting wrinkled and dirty, and will also keep your closet looking neat. Be sure to dry clean any dresses or summertime formal wear before neatly placing your items into garment bags. Then, all you have to do is hang it all up.
4. Cedar Works Wonders
You have everything packed up, and you're just about done. Hang in there just a tad longer — your clothes need a little extra protection before you put them away for the season. I recommend a few cedar wood sachets (like these from Ozark Craft Wood on Etsy) to tuck into your storage boxes and tie around your hangers. Cedar is known to ward away insects, like moths, that might damage your clothes over the winter, but it won't leaving behind any unwanted smells.
5. Grab those Dry Softeners
One last tip! When you finally put those boxes under the bed, put a few dryer softener sheets in between your cotton sweaters and summer items. That way, when you pull them out next spring, you won't need to rewash your clothes to have them smelling clean again.
See? That wasn't so bad. And, trust me. In just a few months, you'll be happy you put in the extra effort. Now you may reach for your infinity scarf.