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Autumn is by far my favourite season, so I eagerly await the end of summer when I can pack up all my warm-weather clothes and populate my closet with sweaters and knee-high boots.

Storing seasonal clothing may seem like a simple task—just throw them in a bin and call it a day, right? But a lot of people make some major mistakes that can ultimately harm their clothing. Unless you want to be wearing smelly, mouldy, or even holey tank tops and shorts next year, it’s important to store your summer wardrobe the right way.

So go ahead, grab a steaming cup of tea and get ready to take notes on these seven essential clothing storage tips.

1. Wash your clothes first

Leigh Journal: Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson RuckarCredit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar
Anything that’s being removed from your wardrobe should be washed before it goes into storage. This will get rid of dirt, dust, and grime that might be lingering on the fabric, helping to prevent stains and discolouration and keeping your clothes smelling fresh throughout the winter.

Plus, this will allow you to assess and treat any lingering stains you may have forgotten about. If you accidentally pack away a dress with a food stain, it may very well attract pests that can wreak havoc on your entire wardrobe.

2. Donate unworn items

Leigh Journal: Credit: GettyCredit: Getty
As you’re going through and washing your summer clothes, you may as well put together a donation box of items you don’t want or haven’t worn. Every time I switch my wardrobe over, I always find one or two items that never saw the light of day, signalling it’s time to let them go.

Just remember to check your local charity shops donation rules and Covid-19 regulations before you head out to the high street. 

3. Decide whether to fold or hang

Leigh Journal: Delicate items should be hung up in garment bags. Credit: The Container StoreDelicate items should be hung up in garment bags. Credit: The Container Store

Most summer clothing—shorts, tank tops, sundresses, and light shirts—can be folded up and stored through the winter. However, more delicate or fancier items may need to be stored in garment bags. You’ll also want to ensure you have padded hangers to prevent awkward shoulder lumps.

Take the time to separate out any items that should be stored hanging up—generally things like expensive dresses, suits, and other formal wear—then invest in garment bags for them. The best bags are made from breathable fabric instead of plastic, as the latter material traps moisture and can lead to mould or mildew growth.

Get the One2Select Breathable Clothes Cover (Set of 6) from Amazon for £14.99

4. Invest in the right containers

Leigh Journal: Under-bed storage is ideal for homes with limited space. Credit: ClosetMaidUnder-bed storage is ideal for homes with limited space. Credit: ClosetMaid

As for the rest of your clothes, you’ll want to pack them up in storage containers—there are a wide variety of styles to choose from, including both cloth bags and plastic bins. Generally speaking, cloth containers are better for long-term storage, as they let your clothes breathe, but you might prefer a plastic option if your home is prone to pests—mice will make quick work of a cloth bag!

The best option for you will also depend on where you plan to keep your seasonal clothing. If you’re pressed for storage space, you may want to look for under-the-bed containers or even vacuum-seal bags. If you have an extra closet where you store summer clothes, you might prefer larger plastic stacking bins.

Get the Strata Smart Under Bed Storemaster 35L Storage Box from Amazon for £19.99

5. Don’t overpack your bins
It’s tempting to stuff as many garments as possible into each bin, but this can hurt you in the long run. If the bag doesn’t zip or the lid doesn’t fit tightly, you’re allowing room for pests to get in, and if you try to zip an overstuffed bag, it may end up ripping the seams.

If you’re running out of room and don’t have any storage bins left, try rolling up items like pants and shirts before stashing them away—it saves space and prevents wrinkles. Win-win.

6. Include pest repellents

Leigh Journal: Cedar balls will keep pests away from your clothing. Credit: Cedar SpaceCedar balls will keep pests away from your clothing. Credit: Cedar Space

Pests like moths and beetles are crafty, and they sometimes they manage to worm their way into your storage, even if you think the bins are sealed tightly.

For this reason, it’s best to include a moth repellent in each container of clothing—one of the safest options is cedar, a natural insect deterrent. It will leave your clothes smelling fresh, too! This set of cedar rings is highly rated, super affordable, and chemical-free, and with 30 rings, you can cover a lot of ground adding 2-3 to each bin (1 should do the trick for a garment bag).

Get the ACMETOP Aromatic Cedar Blocks for Clothes Storage (30 pack) from Amazon for £12.99

7. Carefully consider storage locations

Leigh Journal: Avoid storing clothes in damp locations. Credit: RubbermaidAvoid storing clothes in damp locations. Credit: Rubbermaid

Finally—and arguably most importantly—you need to pick the proper spot to store your containers of clothing. This is where a lot of people go wrong, as they just toss the bins in their attic, shed, or garage. All of these locations are prone to moisture and pests, both of which can harm your stored items. You'll also want to keep bins out of direct sunlight, which can fade the colour and weaken the structure of some fabrics.

The best location to store extra clothing is somewhere dark, cool, and dry—such as in a spare cupboard or under your guest bed. If you have a lot of hanging items, you may want to invest in a dedicated garment rack. Some models even come with covers for an added layer of protection.

When you follow these steps, your clothes will stay in pristine condition throughout the winter, and they'll be fresh and ready to wear when the summer weather rolls around again.

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