Now that summer is over and winter is already on its way, it's time to put away those flip-flops and swim trunks, and instead, throw on some furry boots and a heavy parka. But what to do about those summer clothing items until you need them again? You could just leave them in the closet per normal, but that takes up vital space. Instead, why not try storing these out-of-season items until summer rolls back around?
To get you started, here are five handy tips for storing clothes the right way:
"Cardboard boxes can damage your clothing."
1. Find the right containers
Perhaps the most important step for storing your clothes is choosing the right container. Most people opt for standard cardboard boxes, but don't recognize the effect these can have. The acidic nature of cardboard will eat away at most shoes, shirts and dresses, and if that doesn't destroy them, then bugs - which are attracted by the glue - will certainly finish the job. Instead, put everything away in plastic containers, which are acid-free and bug-proof. Use labels to distinguish each box.
2. Choose the right spot
Once you've figured out the container situation, you need to then decide where in your house the clothes will spend the long winter months. You need to avoid places with a lot of heat, like the attic, as this spike in temperature can damage the fibers. Similarly, an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight can also be damaging to most clothing. Instead, you want someplace cool, dry and with very little light, which is why most people opt for a basement or a properly insulated storage shed.
3. Fold clothes properly
If there is one downside to the use of plastic containers, it's that these can leave creases within your clothes. One way to avoid that is to fold everything loosely and make sure every item has ample space. That way, clothes won't rub against one another, causing creases. If you really want to be sure, though, you can put everything on hangers and store within a special box. Be aware, though, that the more inexpensive hanger boxes are made of cardboard, so it's better to spring for the slightly costlier plastic versions.
4. Wash everything pre-storage
Oftentimes, people make the mistake of simply putting their clothes into storage as soon as summer ends. However, most storage experts will tell you that you must wash every clothing item before it spends the winter in a container. Not only will the clothes be ready to wear once summer returns, but stains won't be able to set in over the winter. It's also a good idea to toss in a few add-ins to each container. Dryer sheets help with the smell, while bagged cedar chips can deter most pesky insects.
5. Consider a storage space
If you really want to make sure your clothes are stored safely, and won't eat up room in your home, you might consider going with a professional storage space. That way, you'll know your items are in a temperature-controlled space and are always properly monitored. Atlas Van Lines is a leader in storage, and with over 300 warehouses across the U.S., can handle your entire summer wardrobe with no worries.