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You’ve no doubt noticed that the days are getting shorter and colder. You’re probably thinking to yourself that it’s time to do something about your clothes. Namely, switch out your summer wardrobe for fall/winter clothes. Take advantage of this time of year to do some de-cluttering, and cleaning, too.

Inspect Everything

Start with your closet or dressers and take out every item. This includes year-round clothing. Each article needs to be carefully evaluated:

  1. Does it still fit? Try it on if you need to.
  2. Is it free of stains, rips, tears? If not, can it be cleaned/fixed?
  3. Do you actually wear it enough to keep it?
  4. Will you wear it in the future?

If the answer to any of these is “no” then put it in a donation box or the trash (see #2). Be brutally honest. There are plenty of people who will benefit from wearing things that no longer fit you or that no longer fit your personal style. Plus, think about the new clothes you can buy to replace it.

Repeat this process with the winter clothing that was stored over the summer. You don’t want to fill your closet with stuff that you can’t — or won’t — wear.

Clean Everything

stack of clothesThe items that you are taking out of storage need to be properly laundered before being put away. This is especially important if it was stored with mothballs, cedar chips, or other protective chemicals, natural or man-made.

The clothing that you are storing should also be thoroughly cleaned and properly dried. This will prevent mildew and other unpleasant outcomes. Leave out the starch, bleach or fabric softener on these loads as they can attract bugs in storage. Also, if you dry clean items, remove the dry cleaning bag before storing.

While everything is being cleaned, take some time to clean your closets and dressers. Vacuum, dust, and inspect for any sign of insects or other pests. Consider putting in fresh drawer and shelf liners and buying new hangars. Make sure your clothes have a clean, pest-free place to live this season.

Pack Properly

There is an ideal way to store clothing, and it’s not throwing them in garbage bags and putting them in the attic. Keep these points in mind:

  • If possible, store lightweight items in garment bags, still on the hanger.
  • Heavier items should be folded.
  • Use plastic tubs, but not airtight ones. Avoid cardboard boxes.
  • Store in dry, cool areas away from sunlight, water, and bugs. Basements and attics aren’t great. Consider a storage unit with air cooling or air conditioning or storage areas in the main part of your house, such as a laundry room, spare closet, or under staircases.
  • Stack heaviest clothing on the bottom of tubs with lighter, delicate items on top.
  • Use acid-free paper to protect precious items, like wedding dresses.
  • Line wooden boxes with acid-free paper or sheets of cotton to protect clothing from stains.
  • Create an inventory for each tub or garment bag and clearly label them so that you can find what you need next season.

Now it’s time to go shopping to complete your fall/winter wardrobe!

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