The Best Ways To Store and Organize Seasonal Clothing Items
Seasonal clothes don’t just mean storing winter items — you can store summer clothes during the winter as well. There are several benefits to storing your clothes by season, rather than keeping them in a closet all year round. You can increase the amount of space in your closet for new items, your seasonal clothes will feel newer because you haven’t been looking at them all year, and you can preserve the life span of the clothes by storing them properly.
Storing your seasonal clothes doesn’t have to be a fancy or complicated process — and it’s a great time to review what you’ve been wearing. This way you can clear out unworn clothes for new items, or maintain a seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Clean Your Clothes Before Packing Them Away
It’s important to clean your clothes before you pack them away for the season. This ensures that they’ll remain of top quality during storage, and prevents stains, even small ones, from setting in over time. Dust and dead skin on clothes can also increase your chance of mothballs, while any left behind food particles or smells may attract mice or other insects.
You can simply run your clothes through the washer and dryer before storing them, or have them professionally cleaned. If you want to prevent your clothes from smelling like they’ve been stored for several months, put scented dryer sheets or perfume samples in your storage boxes to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
Don’t Forget About Accessories
You can seasonally store accessories as well as clothes. Certain accessories or larger items, like oversized hats, may need special storage needs. For example, structured hats (snapbacks, trucker hats, hats with rigid brims) may need to be stored with the extra support of a hat shaper, because they’re made out of stiffer material. Athletic hats or all-fabric winter hats like beanies can simply be folded, because they’re made out of flexible material less likely to show creases and other misshaping.
Other accessories that you may store seasonally include:
You’ll want to make sure that your accessories are clean as well before putting them into storage, to avoid the same problems as mentioned above.
Find the Right Storage Spot
The right storage spot for your seasonal clothes can be a variety of different places, depending on where you live and what space is available to you. However, the spot you choose should have the following features:
- Accessible all year round;
- Protected from rain and snow;
- Protected from sun overexposure;
- Clean and dry.
Choosing a place with these characteristics will help ensure that your clothes won’t become damaged during storage, and that you’ll have the ability to access them whenever you need them. Unseasonably hot days in fall, or early spring snow showers, may require you to retrieve certain items for a day or two.
You can use a spot in your house to store your seasonal clothes, or rent out storage space. There are pros and cons to each approach. By storing them in your house, you have more access to your clothes at any time. However, not everyone has the space to do this. Storing in a storage unit or facility allows you access to special features like temperature control, but they are less accessible as you have to travel to and from the storage facility.
Invest in Storage Containers and Organizers
No matter which storage option you go with, you’ll need organizers and containers. Organizers, including labels to mark the contents of the container, will make packing and unpacking items much easier. Additionally, storage containers can help protect the contents from bugs, moisture, and other elements.
You can even buy certain types of containers that make access and organization even easier. For example, clear storage containers give you a view of what’s in each box without ever having to open it. While stackable containers can help you conserve space.
The only thing you should be cautious of is cardboard containers. While cardboard is cheap and can be used to store items effectively, they aren’t weatherproof, and can be easily burrowed into by critters. If you’re storing your items inside your home, this is less of a concern. But if you’re using a shed or external storage unit, you may be safer going with a sturdier material.
Leave a Few Items Out or Accessible Just in Case
Many items in your wardrobe may be transitional items, rather than strictly warm or cold weather. For example, flannel shirts can be great layers for winter and summer. Boots, camisoles, and leggings can all fall into this category as well. This is why it’s smart to have your seasonal items accessible. Or, if that’s not possible, then leave a few transitional pieces in your wardrobe year-round.
A good way to keep these pieces feeling fresh is to buy neutral colors, which can work with any outfit or style, and to invest in quality clothes. A well-made leather jacket can look and feel stylish for years. While fast fashion items can quickly wear down and constantly need to be replaced.
Not Everything Needs To Be Vacuum Sealed
Long-term storage for many people is equivalent to vacuum sealing. And while vacuum sealing can be a great way to store large, bulky items like comforters and large coats, not everything needs to be vacuum sealed. You can damage certain items by vacuum-sealing them. As mentioned, your favorite hats may get bent out of shape or wrinkled in the process of vacuum sealing. Letting these creases sit over months may create permanent marks or bends.
Other easily wrinkled fabrics, such as silk and linen, should also be simply folded or hung, as vacuum sealing may create permanent creases. In the case of formal items, such as wedding dresses, there may be storage directions on the tag or ones that came with your purchase.
Sort Through Your Clothes
As we’ve mentioned, storing your clothes seasonally provides opportunities for you to see what you naturally wear. This can help you pair down your wardrobe for environmental or lifestyle reasons, such as embracing minimalism. Seasonally sorting through your clothes can also help you identify what does and doesn’t fit. Before you put your seasonal clothes into storage, or after you’ve taken them out, try on each piece of clothing to ensure it’s still worth keeping in your rotation.
You can donate any clothes or accessories that don’t fit either your frame or your style anymore. Or depending on the condition, you can sell them to second-hand stores or on thrifting apps like:
This can be a fun, rewarding, and lucrative way to keep your wardrobe fresh.