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How to Store Your Winter Clothes

Make sure your winter wardrobe survives the summer by putting it away properly.


  • Step 1: Launder everything Wash or dry-clean everything before putting it away. Insects feed on food and perspiration stains, even ones you can’t see. And oxidation can turn an invisible stain into an unsightly yellow blotch.
  • TIP: Don’t starch anything you iron—bugs like to munch on that, too.
  • Step 2: Remove dry-cleaning bags Before storing dry-cleaned items, remove the plastic and air them out. Dry-cleaning bags can trap moisture inside, leading to mildew stains.
  • Step 3: Fold your sweaters Fold your sweaters in acid-free tissue paper, which you can find online or in good stationery stores. Then store them in a heavy-duty plastic trash bag, a plastic box with a mesh-type lid, or in a new cardboard carton.
  • TIP: If you have an expensive cashmere sweater, put it in a plastic bag and stick it in your freezer for a few days. The cold will kill any moths and their larvae.
  • Step 4: Hang pants and skirts Hang pants and skirts on hangers with clips. Leaving them folded over a hanger can leave a permanent mark.
  • Step 5: Buff your boots Clean your shoes and boots. For leather, brush away dirt with a cotton cloth or shoe brush, polish them with saddle soap, and apply leather conditioner. For suede, use cleaning tools and products made specifically for that material.
  • TIP: Check shoes before storing them to see if any need new tips, soles, or heels. It will save you the effort in the spring.
  • Step 6: Stuff and stash Store footwear in cardboard boxes or fabric shoe bags. Stuff the boots with old newspapers or plain tissue paper so they’ll retain their shape.
  • TIP: Never store leather shoes in plastic bags; they may mildew.
  • Step 7: Find a cool, dry place Store clothes in a cool, dry place—not the attic or basement. Or ask your dry cleaner about seasonal storage; it’s usually offered for a nominal fee.
  • Step 8: Make your own moth chasers Instead of using mothballs, which are toxic, make natural moth repellants by filling muslin sachet sacks with dried lavender. Or soak some cotton balls in lavender oil, put them in the bags, and stick them in closets and drawers.
  • Step 9: Use heavy hangers Hang coats and jackets on wooden, thick plastic, or padded hangers. Leaving them on flimsy wire hangers all summer can cause them to become misshapen.
  • FACT: Contrary to popular belief, cedar closets are ineffective at stopping moth infestations.

You Will Need

  • Acid-free tissue paper
  • Plastic trash bags
  • plastic boxes with mesh-type lids
  • or new cardboard boxes
  • Hangers with clips
  • A soft cotton cloth or shoe brush
  • Saddle soap
  • Leather conditioner
  • Suede cleaner
  • Fabric shoe bags
  • Old newspapers or tissue paper
  • A cool
  • dry storage space
  • Muslin sachet sacks or handkerchiefs
  • Dried lavender or cotton balls soaked in lavender oil
  • Wooden
  • thick plastic
  • or padded hangers
  • Plastic freezer bags (optional)

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