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The weather is finally starting to look like spring in much of the country.  That means it’s time to figure out what to do with your winter clothes for the next few months.  Most people choose to pack away their clothes and store them safely out of the way until autumn.  Below are some tips on preparing, packing, and storing your winter clothes.  If you’ve already completed your Spring Cleaning ritual, you may have already completed part of this process, so skip ahead to the later tips.

winter clothingPreparation is Half the Battle

While it doesn’t require a detailed battle plan to get your clothes ready for storage there are a few steps you should take.  Start by sorting your winter items. First, identify any clothes that you no longer need or want.  These can be donated or discarded depending on their state of wear.  Weaning out these items means you will have fewer things to store, and more things to buy new when the seasons change back.

Next make sure all the clothes are well-cleaned and sorted.  This may require a trip to the dry cleaners and possibly the purchase of new hangars (plastic or wood, not wire) or garment bags.  Sort clothing by type, i.e., sweaters, coats, scarfs, etc., weight, and whether they will be folded, rolled, or hung.

A final preparation step is buying the appropriate storage items.  Air-tight storage tubs are great for folded and rolled items. Garment bags and specialty storage for hanging coats and other clothing that can’t be folded.  Consider investing in vacuum bags for both preservation and space-saving. Lastly, avoid moth balls and buy a few cedar blocks or bags of lavender. These will help keep the insects out and keep your clothes from acquiring that horrid chemical smell.

Pack Well

Since you’ve already organized all your clothes and bought appropriate storage, now all you have to do is pack it up.  Remember to pack like things together and clearly label all containers.  That way when it’s time to pull out those sweaters, you’ll be able to find them quickly without having to dig through coats and hats that you don’t need quite yet.

There will be some hanging items that you want to put into tubs or vacuum bags rather than store on hangars. Be sure to roll these careful to avoid creases. It’s the same principle as packing a suitcase.  It is also a good idea to store the heaviest items on the bottom with lighter weight items on top to avoid wrinkles.

Now cart those tubs, bags, and boxes to your preferred storage location. For many that is a basement or attic, but beware of humidity which breeds mildew and bright, sunny rooms that might fade your clothes.  The ideal location will be dry, dark, and cool, preferably with good ventilation and air circulation. Many people find that a small storage unit is the perfect place to store off-season clothes and equipment.

Last step: pull out those summer clothes and get ready for the sun!

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