With the changing of seasons, it’s time to prepare your winter wardrobe for its temporary hibernation.
As you gather up your cozy coats, snug scarves, and reliable boots, remember this: the secret to preserving their quality and freshness extends beyond wearing them with care, it also involves storing them smartly.
Welcome to the realm of winter wardrobe storage, where a handful of simple strategies can determine whether your beloved items emerge from their slumber in less-than-ideal condition or maintain their glory.
To make sure that your winter gear will come out fresh and nice next winter, there are a few things you can do. First, you’ll need to clean everything before you get started. Oils (deodorants, perfumes) can discolour fabric over time and food stains will attract moths.
Low light and low humidity are ideal and don’t store in dry-cleaning bags as they can yellow fabrics and trap moisture. Also, avoid ironing with starch — bugs love it!
Once your winter essentials have been cleaned and are brimming with a newfound freshness, the next crucial step is ensuring their safekeeping until the next frosty season.
The way you store your winter garments can significantly impact their condition and longevity. So, let’s delve into the art of storing different winter items to ensure they emerge from their hiatus ready to embrace the cold once again.
Do up buttons, zip up zippers, and empty out pockets; then hang structured or down coats on thick wooden hangers inside a breathable canvas garment bag. Polyfill-stuffed coats can go in vacuum-seal bags, compressed halfway for space.
Place gloves and rolled-up scarves loosely together in a plastic bin. Stuff shaped hats with tissue paper before placing them in a hatbox or another breathable container.
Remove dirt from rubber and lug soles with a wire brush, then clean the rest with a shoe brush. Sprinkle in baking soda, tuck in shoe trees or stuff legs shortened pool noodles or white tissue paper. Store boots upright.
Fold into thirds, then in half, and stack in a plastic bin with the heaviest knits on the bottom. Place white tissue paper between layers if colour transfer is a concern or to keep any embellishments from snagging.
If clothing isn’t put away properly, bugs and mould are more likely to attack. Although mothballs seem like the number one way to combat pests, they are actually bad for storage some experts say. Mothballs not only smell terrible, but the materials used to make some of them have come under scrutiny in the past. As alternatives, the experts recommend components like cedar (in any form), lavender sachets and even lemon peel rinds, which keep items dry and nice smelling. Be careful around cedar, though, as it can be too drying.
“The problem with cedar is that it dehydrates anything that’s around,” household decluttering expert Jenny Scott explains.
“And when natural materials like real fur and leather come into the picture, it pulls the oils out. When these oils are removed, those fabrics become brittle and shed or crack.”
By embracing these straightforward storage methods, you’re keeping your cherished items ready to face the cold anew. With a little care, your winter essentials will stay fresh and reliable, waiting to be embraced once winter returns.
This article was originally published on July 31, 2016, and has been updated on August 21, 2023.