To be honest with you, I can’t wait to start storing away my winter clothes. Not that I dislike them, it’s just that putting them away means that spring will be here for good. If you’re thinking about cleaning up space in your closet for your spring/summer clothes, here are some tips you'll find useful.
Don’t use cardboard boxes to store your garments, use plastic boxes instead. Cardboard has a smell that tends to linger in clothing, specially the ones with thicker fabric (wool, tweed, etc.). Even if you are going to wash everything before you wear them again next fall, remember that cardboard also lets in humidity and is much more prone to create mold, stain and allow nasty things in, such as moths (they aren’t much fun, trust me). Even with plastic containers, use products to keep insects away.
Wash everything before you store it. If a garment has any stains, perspiration, etc. on it, the longer it stays there, the greater the risks of it remaining permanent. For hard to remove stains, like fruit juice, or lipstick, try alcohol or ether (test on a small spot in the inside part of a hem or other not visible spot to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration or further staining of the fabric), for grease try dishwashing soap, for blood try hydrogen peroxide, for coffee try very hot water and for wine try either alcohol or white vinegar (alcohol vinegar or rice vinegar). Never put a hot iron on top of a stain as heat can make it stain permanently. Sew buttons and new zippers where needed too.
Store garments as flat as you can. If you must hang something for a long time, pad the shoulders with some tissue paper to avoid deformation.
I hate the smell of most mothballs and sachets out there. They give me a very strong headache and I’m usually not that sensitive to smells. My solution to this is, I make my own sachets! I buy mint leafs, dry them outside but away from direct sunlight and then put them in little sheer cloth bags. You can cheat and hang mint tea bags on your closet but you’d have to hang more of them and change them every month or so. If you're using sachets on boxes and you are concerned that they might stain or damage your clothes in some way, try to attach the sachets to the lid of the box and make sure the clothes underneath don't touch the lid.
I also make my own sachets to keep humidity out of my clothes. Where I live, humidity is always very high so we have to pay attention to that. I use chalk pieces on my sheer cloth bags but feel free to use store bough silica baggies (much like the ones that come in purses and suitcases when you first buy them, except for closets you need bigger ones).
Store in dark, clean, cold, dry and ventilated places. Insects are attracted by light and dust and fungi love humidity and higher temperatures. If you need to, open your closet doors every now and then over night to make sure the air inside is renovated.
Remember that this might be the perfect time to choose what you want to keep for next year (whatever fits, is in good condition and you love), give away (what’s in good condition but doesn’t fit your body or your personality) or throw away (whatever is beyond repair).
I hope these tips were useful. Have fun with your spring-cleaning!
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