In October I'll be doing a series on how I organize my room, closet, and eventually my sewing area. I'll also be sharing my wardrobe basic picks that work for my personal style & lifestyle -- which will from person to person. To start out the series, we will be having a guest post from Danielle Ames who will be sharing her tips on storing your off-season clothes, and just how to prolong the life of your clothes.
It never fails. Winter rolls around, you decide to unpack your warm cozy clothes in preparation, only to discover they have acquired a strange smell or developed small holes in them. It is a frustration phenomenon that almost everyone has experienced. If this hasn’t happened to you, you’ve probably still experienced other clothing dilemmas such as knits being stretched out and not fitting properly from being on hangers, dusty fabrics or footwear that seems impossible to clean, boots that have lost their shape, or clothing with faded color. It makes trying to dress nicely and present yourself well a more difficult task than it needs to be. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to help prevent all of these problems. Taking some very simple steps will help prolong the life of your clothing and help keep you looking your best year round!
Winter clothing is often found in a variety of fabrics. Many of them are bulky and insects seem to adore them; they are the cause of all those pesky little holes that appear. Most winter clothing is best stored in plastic, airtight containers. You can put commercial made products in with them to help keep them smelling fresh or you can use something natural such as lavender—doing this will also help deter insects. When you unpack your sweaters and winter clothing, watch for small holes. If you find them, you may have an insect problem and should take precautionary measures. One of the easiest things you can do is put the clothing in a freezer for two days, take them out for a day, and place them in the freezer for another two days. This kills any living insects, as well as their eggs and larvae. Be sure to put the clothing in a sealed plastic bag or container to keep them from escaping!
Before storing your footwear, make sure it is clean. This is especially important with winter shoes that may be covered in harsh chemicals such as salt. If you leave this on the shoes, they will break down much more quickly and the color may fade. Leather shoes should also be polished or conditioned before storage to help keep them looking nice. Stuffing your shoes with newspaper or special made shoe forms is also a good idea; this will help them keep their shape. Magazines rolled up are great for boots. Using the original boxes the shoes or boots come in, or using plastic containers, is a great way to keep them from getting dusty or damaged while they are being stored. To help your boots uphold their original form for everyday use, check out shoe racks like many of the organizers found at Taylor Gifts that provide upright hooks intended for this purpose.
Knit clothing, silk, and other delicate fabrics can be difficult to store and maintain. Clothing made of these fabrics lose their shape and can easily be damaged if improperly stored or cared for. The most important thing is to keep them as flat as possible. Avoid hanging these fabrics if at all possible. If you do need to hang them, don’t put the hanger through the neck and shoulders like you would a normal shirt. Instead, carefully fold them in half and drape them over the bar of the hanger like you would a scarf or a pair of pants. This will minimize the distortion of the fit.
Most summer clothing requires little thought. However, linen fabrics are best stored rolled, rather than folded. Rolling the clothing puts less stress on the fabric and will help prevent deep creasing or fading at the fold points. Rolling will also help maximize storage space. If you travel, it is a great way to pack your suitcase!
General Things to Keep in Mind
If you want to use moth balls, don’t let them touch fabric. They will destroy the fabric with prolonged contact so it is best to use them in special pouches or even an old sock. You should also keep fabrics as dry as possible. Opt for plastic over cardboard, as the latter will allow dampness to seep through; Amazon has plenty of bins of various sizes. Having too much moisture in the air when the clothing is stored can cause mold and mildew to ruin the fabrics. With some preplanning and a bit of research on the types of fabric you are storing, it is possible to successfully store all of your clothing for the next year.