How to Store Your Winter Wardrobe

How to Store Your Winter Wardrobe

Winter’s over! Time to pack up your parkas … and that annoying landlord you buried in the drift during that Christmas snowstorm! If you want to look cool when it gets cold again, you’d better store your cold-weather clothes so they’ll be in great shape next season. Your goals should be to optimize space efficiency, keep stuff neat and clean, and protect your clothes against their two natural enemies: moths and silverfish. We spoke to Michael Cioffoletti -- a professional magazine stylist and a former buyer and merchandiser for the Gap, American Rag, Fred Segal and Todd Oldham -- and got the following six steps that will give you maximum lifespan with minimal damage to your duds:

1. Clean everything before stashing it away for a few months. This eliminates the chance of stains setting in and reduces the likelihood of attracting insects. Moths and silverfish feast on the body oils and dead skin particles left behind on clothing.

2. Prepare the clothes properly for their long summer slumber. Hang suits on good wooden hangers to avoid damage to the shoulders. Ask your dry-cleaner to fold everything else, just to make sure it’s done properly. Never store knit items on hangers -- that will cause them to become misshapen.

3. Purchase a few good-quality storage bags and boxes that will last for years. Hanging, zip-around closet garment bags with a window or clear panel that lets you easily see and access what’s inside are ideal. Neatly fold all your clothes and loosely stack them inside -- heaviest on the bottom, lightest on top.

4. Use under-bed storage bags if you don’t have room for the hanging bags. They will protect clothing and let air circulate. Plus, they come with a removable cedar insert that can be used to keep the clothes fresh. Store the boxes or bags in a clean, cool, dark and dry place to avoid mold.

5. Place cedar blocks and/or lavender sachets in the outside container to protect your clothes against insects and keep them smelling fresh. It will also prevent the fragrance from getting on the clothes and the oils from staining light-colored fabrics.

6. Avoid mothballs, which are made from noxious chemicals and will only leave you smelling like your grandparents’ embalming fluid.




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Suzanne Gerber is a writer whose work has appeared in InStyle, Elle, Redbook, Westport and Greenwich magazines. She’s also a former editor of Vegetarian Times and Pilates Style. Suzanne's articles have previously appeared on Style and Tech for Men.