Don't Let Your Closet Cramp Your Wardrobe: 6 Ideas to Store for the Season
July 24, 2017
Are you rummaging through shelves of sweaters in July? Battling bathing suits in your drawers during the winter? Set your closet free by packing away those cozy knits until you actually need them. Seasonal storage solutions make closets feel roomier and help you appreciate your favorite clothing when you reunite later. Careful storage can extend the lifespan of your wardrobe by keeping out dust, sunlight and other fabric killers. Learn how to store smart with these basics, from folding techniques and white glove treatment to finding extra room in small living spaces.
Wardrobe Storage by Season
Divide and conquer your wardrobe for the season by sorting first. In addition to the usual suspects, including winter coats and swimsuits, look for footwear and accessories that you wear only at certain times of the year, such as your favorite fishing hat. Keep an eye out for season-specific material, such as linen jackets and wool dresses. Cull through staples that you mostly wear for warm or cold weather, including tank tops, long-sleeved thermals and skirts, then set aside one or two for year-round use. Rather than sort your wardrobe into tops and bottoms, try sorting by material to streamline storage protocols. Knit sweaters and wool socks can be stored together with extra protection, while leather goods do best in a cool environment away from sun and humidity. Purchase quality packing items, including boxes and tape.
Fold and Nestle to Save Space
Fold clothing before you store it to keep away wrinkles and save space. Neatly fold items into rectangular shapes for space-saving packing. Create vertical stacks of similar items, then nestle the stacks into your storage container. Avoid overlapping folded items, which increases wrinkling. Socks can be folded army-style by rolling the pair tightly from the toes up and tucking the roll underneath the elastic cuff. Store T-shirts horizontally like books on a shelf rather than in vertical stacks. This makes it easy to find a particular shirt if you want it later.
Gather Sweaters and Shoes
Store bulky items and knits in vacuum-sealed bags. These space-savers let you remove the air to compactly store such items as sweaters, wool coats and blankets. Shoes require extra attention. Look for organizers with plenty of room to avoid cramping the material. Choose a large, shallow container to save space if you're storing lots of pairs. Slip a dust sleeper over each shoe to protect it, then nestle shoes into the container. Leather shoes may be damaged if they're sealed in humid climates, so use breathable canvas organizers instead. Light-toned patent leather is especially sensitive and should be stored separately from dark colors or wrapped in acid-free tissue paper to avoid color transfer. To preserve the shape of shoes during long-term storage, use shoe trees. For tall boots, try rolling a piece of acid-free cardboard and inserting it inside of the boot.
White Glove Treatment
Certain treasured items deserve special attention, so do a little homework before storing the choicest items in your wardrobe. Choose a cool, dry part of the house, and store items in light-blocking containers to avoid fading. Acid free tissue paper can protect against scratches and prevent mold. In especially humid environments, insert packets of silica gel, like the kind you find in vitamin bottles, to absorb moisture. Store leather, suede, fur and other hide materials in breathable, cotton canvas or muslin, and protect wool and silk in sealed plastic. Roll up linen items to avoid wrinkling.
Storage up High
Now that your wardrobe is ready for hibernation, look above to find your best source of unused space. Garages and attics provide wardrobe storage for more durable clothing. Install a length of inexpensive plumbing pipe just below the ceiling to create ample hanging space in these areas. In small homes and apartments, you can often find extra room for garment storage above bookshelves and cabinets. Create your own vertical space by installing floating shelves above doorways or lofted storage over your bed. If you have high ceilings, install a line of modular shelves along one wall to maximize your space.
Storage Down Low
You can find unused space close to the floor as well. Under-the-bed options, such as drawers or plastic containers expand storage space considerably, while rolling carts offer organized garment storage within reach. In small apartments, use furniture that doubles as storage. A handsome wooden chest or vintage trunk can serve as a coffee table, and guests never need know your vintage T-shirt collection is hiding inside. Look underneath and behind furniture for extra inches. Pulling your sofa away from the wall not only looks more inviting, but it also provides the perfect space to slide in a slim console table and gain extra storage. Keep an eye out for awkward spaces where you can fit extra shelving, such as underneath the stairs or next to the washer.
Before you store, take this chance to whittle your wardrobe down to your most loved pieces and inspect items for damage. Check shoes for wear, and replace worn-out soles. Remove old stains to prevent them from setting, and launder clothing before you pack it to keep items looking new.
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