iphone on top of shirt and jeans

How to Pack & Store Your Off-Season Clothes

It’s finally warming up in the Delaware Valley; after a number of false starts, it looks like summer might be here to stay this time. But for many people without walk-in or large reach-in closets, this likely means it’s time to pack away fall, winter and early spring clothes to make room for maxi dresses, shorts, light sweaters, tank tops and even summer-y handbags.

Here’s how best to store your clothes for a few months until the temps cool and it’s time for sweaters again.

sweaters neatly folded and stored for the off season

Clean your clothes

It’s best not to pack away clothes that you’ve worn several times; clean clothes will feel fresher in the fall. In addition, stains that might not even be noticeable now could set in over time and reveal themselves when you unpack your warm clothes come October or November. Ask your dry cleaner to work on them now so you avoid disappointment later. Launder your pants, sweaters and blouses so they are clean. Then, remove wire hangers and also plastic bags, which can trap moisture.

Decide how you’ll store clothes

There are a number of storage options for your winter clothes. First, hanging storage or folded storage? If you have space in a closet in another room, you might be tempted to hang clothes there. But proceed with caution: Leaving most garments on a hanger for a few months can draw the fabric out, which affects the look and the quality. Instead, consider folding most clothes.

While plastic storage bins might seem like the perfect option, those containers can trap moisture, which can make your clothes feel damp and smell musty. Cardboard attracts bugs, so those aren’t a great option either. Instead, your storage containers should allow clothes to breathe; try cotton bins and boxes or specially made under-bed bags. You can also use a suitcase that’s been thoroughly cleaned. Whatever you decide, adding labels to your containers can help you keep track of what’s what.

Wardrobe with clothes neatly organized and stored for the off season

Think cool, dry, dark

When considering where to store your clothes, think cool, dry and dark. Keep clothing away from harmful sunlight and in a cool, dry place where they can breathe but won’t get too hot. This means the attic might not be ideal, but the bottom of a guest room closet or under the bed may be much more suitable.

Safeguard clothes from moths and bugs

If you’ve ever been hit with a moth outbreak, you know how disappointing it can be. You root through sweaters and suits only to find little holes where you least expect them. While you might think that throwing some moth balls into your storage containers will prevent moths from feasting on natural fibers, you’re actually better off reaching for something all natural. Moth balls not only smell bad, they’re also laced with toxic pesticides. Instead, try sachets of lavender or herbal, non-toxic repellents.

Check on your clothes occasionally

Once you pack your clothes away, don’t ignore them for three months. Check on your winter wardrobe occasionally to make sure your cold-weather gear will be in great shape for cooling temperatures come fall.

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