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How to store summer clothes

A pile of clean summer clothes
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Operations - Store and Insure

A round-up of tips for storing out-of-season garments

I’ve just pulled out our hats and scarves and gloves out of storage – and I think maybe we should have washed them before packing them away. They had that weird musty old clothes smell to them. Never mind – they’re out on the line now in what must be the last of the sunshine.

The experience made me determined to do better with my summer clothes. I went digging around to see what the experts say about packing away your out-of-season wardrobe.

Sort it out

This is the perfect time to take stock of your summer wardrobe. Are there items that you did not wear? Ask yourself why that was. Wrong size? Wrong style? Take it to charity or stick it on Ebay. If it’s unfashionably torn or completely worn out, recycle it. If you’ve not been wearing an item because it needs mending, either get that done before you store it, or get rid.

If you’ve got children who are growing fast, get rid of anything that is too small, unless you want to save it for a younger sibling.

Empty all the pockets

Go through the pockets of clothes you are about to store. You don’t want to be storing used tissues or receipts or whatever else you stash in your pockets. And if you don’t turn out your pockets you risk ‘losing’ a crucial item such as a spare key or handy gadget until you bring your summer wardrobe out again. Also, you could be rewarded by one of those unexpected tenners: always nice.

Wash it all

Washing is probably the most important step in storing your out-of-season clothes. First, treat stains. Don’t store anything that is irretrievably stained. It needs to go in the recycling!

There are several good reasons, apart from stopping that musty smell, to wash clothes before storing. Food stains, grease and dead skin will attract – and feed – pests like moth, which will damage fibres. Note that your insurance won’t cover damage caused by pests already present in your clothes. We’ve done a blogpost about moth , which you might want to read.

Make sure you follow the washing instructions, particularly those about dry cleaning.

Dry it properly

Do not put away any clothing that is even slightly damp because it will end up smelling musty. If you can, dry your clothes outside in the sunshine, or use an airing cupboard. Just make sure everything is thoroughly dry before you store your clothes.

Clean, climate controlled and dark

The ideal storage setting for clothing should be clean, climate controlled and dark. That sounds a lot like a self-storage unit, doesn’t it!

You might want to invest in some portable garment rails for your unit. That way, you can hang clothes that need hanging. Remember that not all clothing should be hung up, though. Knitted jumpers, cardigans and coats, in particular, can pull out of shape on a rail.

Those soft jumbo storage bags are good for storing clothes (I rather like the range at Jeremy’s Home Store ). But I went for plastic boxes. To save space, you might use vacuum bags – but I didn’t fancy doing all that ironing in the spring!

I hope these tips come in handy as you get your summer clothes ready for storage.