Here at Consumerist, we like to think optimistically — despite the feeling that winter has always been here and is going to stretch on into eternity, it’s got to end sometime. In the spirit of forward-thinking, now’s a good time to start planning for that gleeful day when you pack up your sweaters, scarves and warm woolens for at least a few months.
Inspired by a very helpful post on Reviewed.com’s laundry section, we’ve pulled together a few things to keep in mind while you’re switching out those long johns in favor of shorts and tank tops.
1. The less you have to store, the easier it’ll be: Now’s the time to trim your wardrobe. Haven’t worn that sweater in years? Give it to Goodwill or your local homeless shelter, or bequeath it to your friend who looks much better in eggplant than you do.
2. Wash everything: It might seem like common sense to store clean clothes instead of dirty, and it is very practical — storing stuff with stains, even the kind you can’t see, could attract bugs to an uninterrupted feast in your closet. Any stain that’s there now will also have all that time to sink in and be even worse when you next pull it out. Launder everything in the hottest water it can take or drop it off at the dry cleaner before packing it up, but skip fabric softeners and starch, as they can attract beetles and moths.
3. This is not your grandma’s closet: No offense to your grandmother, but you don’t want your clothes smelling like musty old moth balls. Good alternatives to keep moths at bay and have your clothes come out smelling nice — cedar blocks or bags of lavender will work just as well. If you’re lucky enough to have a cedar closet or chest, you’re probably laughing smugly at this.
4. Choose your storage containers wisely: For clothes you can fold up and pack away, pick plastic containers over cardboard, and the more airtight the better. Cardboard boxes aren’t much protection against insects or humidity. Even better — resealable vacuum bags, which cut down on space and keep all the bad things out.
5. Fold sweaters and knits, hang heavier things like coats: If you’re storing something that you’d normally hang, roll it up tightly to avoid creases. For coats, choose hangers that can support their weight.
6. Speaking of hangers — noooooo wiiiiiiire hangers, EVER!: Yes, we’re yelling this like Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest. Wire hangers can distort the shape of your clothes over time, so go for plastic or wood, depending on the weight of the clothes. Garment bags are an added layer of protection, if you have them.
7. Think about the future: Next winter you’ll be diving for those woolly sweaters as soon as the first bite of frost hits. Make things easier on yourself by storing like with like to make items easier to find, and store heavier things at the bottom of boxes to avoid creases and wrinkles.
8. The venue is important: Ideally, you’ll want somewhere well-ventilated, cool, dark and dry to store your clothes. Sunlight can fade your clothes during storage and warm, moist places are a bug’s paradise. Storing clothes an area with good air circulation will ward off mildew.
8. Check in now and again to see how your clothes are doing: We know, no one wants to think about that thick turtleneck while basking in the summer sunshine. But it’s a good idea to take a look at your stuff now and again, if only to interrupt any feasting bugs and check for cracks or leaks in your storage containers.
Now with that done, is it summer yet? No? Sigh.
You can follow MBQ on Twitter to see if she goes for vacuum sealed bags or airtight plastic containers. Ah, the suspense: @marybethquirk