Storing Off-Season Clothes


While Spring is a good time to begin this, sometimes we wait until the weather heats up before making that big closet change-over. But, whenever you do it, make sure your clothes are properly stored—that is if you want them to be in good condition when you take them out again!


Living on the East coast and traveling often to very different climates, I always make sure I keep a small selection of different “temperature” clothes within easy access, but for the rest of my bulging wardrobe I follow a few simple steps:


This is a really good time to get rid of things you never wear and anything that’s really past it’s best. Sorting into three piles helps you get organized: Wash, dry-clean, good to store. Make sure you do this with hats, scarves and gloves too.



You really do need to wash and clean any clothing that’s been worn to make sure pests don’t attack it. Moths, silverfish and other pests love munching on all the things left on clothing like food residue, sweat and body oils—gross! Stains if left on clothing will only be more difficult to remove later, so attack them now.



Clothes made from natural fibers need air circulation, so things like knitwear are best stored in canvas bags or bins. Airtight containers can hold moisture in fabrics. This can lead to mold, mildew, yellowing and musty odors. If you want to store in plastic, just poke some holes in it to let the air circulate. You can also recycle old bedding like clean pillow cases and sheets to protect from dust if you are storing on shelves.



First, throw out all the plastic dry cleaning bags…never store anything in them because they trap in the chemicals used in cleaning and with the additional moisture can cause yellowing. Tailored pieces like suits as well as dresses, silk and leather items are best stowed in a closet on padded hangers in breathable garment bags, or a clean sheet slipped over them. No room to spare? Then fold items in tissue paper and store in bins.


5.Vacuum Storage Bags

These can save a lot of space, but should only be used for clothing made of synthetic fabrics.


6.Where to store?

An attic is not a good place for clothing, as high temperatures can cause fabrics to become brittle. Bins and bags are best stored in cool, dry, dark places that are ventilated. Under beds work and if you have an extra room, that’s a good place too. If the basement is the only place, then make sure to put some silica-gel packs in the bin and store off the floor.



Remember the moth balls your grandmother used…well they did the job, but everything smelled of them for months! Now there’s a lot more choice: cedar blocks (just don’t let them touch the clothes); sachets of lavender work well or you can get some lovely repellants from Earthkind. They make a line of custom blended StayAway® pouches using only natural ingredients that keep all kinds of pesky pests away from your clothes.