If you’re anything like us, you probably have clothes you’re more likely to wear in the fall and winter, as well as those you’re likely to wear the other months of the year. Also, if you’re anything like us, you tend to avoid organization and generally just let things pile up until the last minute. Well, it’s time to get off your ass and clean, prep, and store all your fall and winter gear. Don’t worry though, we’ve got a handy to-do list so it’s going to be as easy and painless as possible. Ultimately, knowing the proper steps, when it comes to taking care of your clothing year-round, is is the best way to ensure you’re extending the life of your wardrobe as much as possible.
Step 1: Cleaning and Prep
Before you think about storage, it’s important to take the necessary steps to clean and prepare all your gear properly.
Clean and Deodorize
You’ve been wearing heavy, warm, and possibly sweat-inducing clothing for about three to five months straight and while probably self- explanatory, anything stored with a stench is only going to get worse over time. Any offending suits or outerwear should be dry cleaned before placing them in storage bags. Also, don’t be afraid to spray a few shots of fabric deodorizer like febreeze into the bag and in any shoes being stored to help them stay fresh.
Steaming vs. Pressing
Even if they are clean and don’t have any noticeable odor, heavier coats and suits still need special attention before putting them into storage. The best method we can recommend is giving garments like these a thorough steam, whether it’s done at a professional cleaner or at home. It’ll freshen up your winter wear and make it last longer in storage.
Prep Your Shoes
If your part of the world is prone to snowfall, there’s a good chance road crews layered the streets with rock salt all winter. This can do a number on your footwear. Before you put away those boots for the season, be sure to brush any excess salt and grime away, as it can damage the material if left long term.
Step 2: Storage
Now that you’re prepped, let’s get to storing. But, there’s more to it than just stuffing it in the back of the closet for four months.
Grab A Garment Bag
Now that it’s time to store, you want to invest in some proper garment bags for the long hibernation. A good garment bag will protect your best threads against everything from moths to mildew odors and moisture. Ideally your garment bags will be of some type of breathable cloth or material since natural materials like wool do actually need to breathe. While it’s tempting to keep them in the airtight plastic bags from the drycleaners, it actually is a less than ideal way to store anything that is made of a natural material if you’re prepping for a long period of storage.
Once properly prepped you want to keep things organized in one spot since you’re not going to be needing these stored garments for awhile. Since you’ve probably got limited closet space, don’t be afraid to pack these garments away under the bed or somewhere that’s going to leave you more room in your closet for Spring and Summer clothes. The more organized you are when storing the less headache you’ll endure as you frantically break out the coats in the fall once that first sudden storm hits
Step 3: Bring On Spring
You're almost done, so hang in there, the last and final step involves prepping the clothes you're actually going to be wearing.
Launder If Necessary
When you break out those shorts that haven’t seen daylight since last April, it’s best to put them through a quick, yet gentle, wash to knock some of the staleness off from the year before.
Renew Your Suits
Spring and summer suits just need a quick steam to get the wrinkles out, but if it’s been awhile, a full-fledged dry cleaning should set you straight.
Have A Look and A Sniff
Make sure to inspect all your items for moth damage, holes, or any other ill-effects from storage and don’t be afraid to give them a quick sniff test too, the last thing you want to do is have someone else (especially female) notice that your shirt and shorts smell like your grandparents attic.