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How to store (or get rid of!) your winter clothes

It’s that lovely time of the year when you can pack away your wool sweaters and down jackets and pull out the shorts, t-shirts, and sandals! Here are a few things to consider doing now, as you’re packing up your warm clothes, to make the transition from summer to winter that much easier when we eventually get around to it again.

High-Quality, Plastic Storage Boxes

Purchase high quality, somewhat-matching tupperware boxes for storage. Cardboard boxes, while much cheaper and, thanks to Amazon Prime, probably already in your basement, just don’t hold up over many months, and they definitely don’t protect against accidental water damage or other things that can happen in storage. 

  • Buy the same brand/size of boxes so you can stack them if necessary.
  • Think about what kind of handles you prefer. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and try out  different boxes. If you’re packing a lot of stuff into each box, will you be comfortable picking up that box and moving it around? I find the handles that wrap over the top of the box to be the most comfortable.
  • Think about what type of top you prefer. I dislike flip tops. They inevitably pinch my fingers and, when I even slightly overfill them, their tops pop up and no longer fit on my storage shelves.
  • Think about how large you want the boxes to be. We have a few gigantic boxes that are hard to move around; I prefer the boxes that are small enough that I can move on my own.
  • Purchase some peel-and-stick nametags and put one on the front and back of each box so that no matter which way it is stored, you know what’s in it.

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Storage Bags

Some people swear by the space-saver, vacuum-pack storage bags. I purchased a set of Ziploc bags (like this) to use in my linen closet for extra pillows and blankets. I liked being able to store three vacuum-sealed pillows in the space of one regular pillow, but I found that the bags don’t stack easily. And after taking something out of a bag, I never spent the time to vacuum seal it again. If you have items you won’t need for more than a year, the bags may be a good option, but otherwise, I’d recommend sticking to storage boxes.

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Clean Your Clothes Before Storage

Make sure everything is washed and dried before you store it away. If you get items dry cleaned, many people recommend that you air out your clothes between cleaning and storing so the dry cleaning chemicals have time to dissipate. Also, cleaning items before storing, especially woolen items, will ensure you don’t have moth larvae waiting to eat holes in your sweaters during the long months of summer.

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Donate Old Clothes

You don’t want to use up storage space holding onto clothes you don’t think you’ll ever wear again. Take a moment to identify clothes you didn’t wear last winter, and don’t think you’ll wear next winter. There’s nothing quite as depressing as opening up your warm clothes boxes in the fall to find that you don’t actually want to wear half of what you have stored away.

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Shop the Sales

At this time of year, winter clothes are on all the clearance racks. Head to your favorite stores and browse around. You might find a new sweater, winter coat, or pair of boots at a deep discount that you’ll be excited to pull out when the weather cools off again.

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