Storing Clothing Outside of Your Closet

May 05, 2022
Pile of jeans
As we head into winter, you’ve probably already taken your summer clothing out of your closet. Before the holiday season, many of us go through our children’s closets to weed out anything that has been outgrown so that it can be passed down to a younger child, either now or in the future. If you’re short on storage space, you might be overwhelmed at the prospect of storing clothing that isn’t right for the season, but that you don’t want to get rid of. Storing clothing improperly can allow it to attract insects or even get mildewy. Also, you’re going to want to find this clothing again someday, and disorganization can make that extremely difficult! Here are ways to store clothing outside of your closet to keep it in great condition:

Wash everything, whether it needs it or not

Even if you are sure that something has been washed, it might have gotten oils from your body or even your hands on it, and these oils are what attracts insects. Also, if there are any untreated stains, storing the item for a few months is sure to set them even more strongly. Go through each item that you want to store, check for stains, and wash it in the hottest water that it can tolerate. Make sure that each item is completely dry, too. If you are storing dry-clean-only items, take them to the dry-cleaner now. While you’re at it, make sure that zippers are working, all buttons are in place, and that there are no torn seams; it’s much easier to fix these things now than it will be on the day that you unpack it all.

Choose the right type of container to store your clothing

You can put clothing in cardboard boxes, but be aware that some insects are drawn to cardboard, and they will not repel dampness. Another option is to use plastic containers. These are great at keeping moisture out, but on the flipside, they’re also great at keeping moisture in, so if something is not completely dry when you store it, you are almost sure to find a mildewy mess when you unpack your items later. If you live in a humid area or will be storing your items in a basement that might become damp, add anti-dessicant packets to help absorb any moisture. (These are the silica packets that come in shoeboxes and inside new purses.)

Protect your clothing from insects

Some people like to place mothballs in with stored clothing to deter insect larvae, but these do not smell good at all, and they’re toxic to children and pets. Another option is to store clothing in a cedar chest, or with cedar chips. A lavender sachet will also deter insects and will leave clothing smelling nice, too.

Create an organizational system

This can range from an inventory sheet listing every item and where it’s stored, to a detailed filing system with the clothing itself. It really depends on how much you’re storing. If you have a lot of clothes to store, label each bin with the size and gender of the clothing stored within. Or, you could separate by type of clothing, such as sweaters in one bin, jeans in another, and t-shirts in a third. Go through your items and see what makes sense for your particular collection

Keeping your clothing stored properly will help keep it nice and in good condition for seasons to come. Take the time now to store your clothing properly and to label it so that you can find it easily later.


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