Giving a warm welcome to summer means bidding adieu to winter clothes. After serving us so dutifully during the harsher months, it's time for these closet stalwarts to take an honorable discharge. It's a good thing! Storing sweaters, coats, and boots makes more room for displaying elegant summer dresses and sun hats. But before you toss your sweaters below your bed, make sure you're providing a healthy home for your cool weather helpers.
Coats, sweaters, hats -- these items took care of you when the temperatures dropped. Now, it's your turn to take care of them! Pricey woolen garments are meant to last a long time, and they will -- if you take good care of them. If not properly stored, cold-weather clothes run the risk of returning moth-eaten and smelling of, well, a few too many months without fresh air. Proper procedure for summer storage is key to giving sweaters and coats a long life. Store sweaters correctly, and they'll be ready to report for duty, come the September chill!
First, Give it a Wash
You know what they say about dirty laundry: don't shove in the back of your closet during the summer! Okay, maybe that's not the phrase, but you still shouldn't store dirty sweaters or coats. Any woolen garment that hasn't been washed should be laundered thoroughly before placed into storage, as wool is the moth's favorite meal. Seemingly innocuous stains could provide a veritable feast for moths and beetles in the summer months. Properly launder your woolen sweaters and coats before storage so that they won't emerge from the closet with tell-tale holes of moth-eaten months.
Brush up Your Coats
Coats also deserve a good wash before storage, but that shouldn't mean you should shell out for dry cleaning. They're just going into storage, after all -- they're not headed to the opera. Coats can also be ripe for moth meals if not cleaned before storage. To clean, take coats outside and brush vigorously in the tight spaces where moth eggs or larvae might live. This includes the collar and any seams on the coat -- tiny moth eggs live in the crevices of the coat. In addition, it's best not to store coats next to a woolen garment that has been dry-cleaned, just in case you missed a few spots. When storing, it's best to hang coats in natural-cotton storage bags. A small cedar plank, available at home good stores, will repel moths during the warm season.
Plastic Makes Perfect
The real goal of winter storage is to protect against critters and moths -- no one wants beetle eggs as their next winter accessory. The best way to protect winter garments such as sweaters, scarves, or even bedding, is to store them in tightly sealed plastic containers. Resealable plastic bags or small plastic bins work wonderfully for keeping garments bug-free. Relegating sweaters to a drawer of shame will leave them at the mercy of the elements. Seal them up, and store 'em!
That's a Wrap!
When you fall asleep, don't you like to be tucked in, cradled by your protective bed sheets? Well, so do your winter clothes. Make sure to tuck your delicate pieces away, properly wrapped! Place a layer of tissue paper between garments when placing them in winter storage bins. This will prevent color transfer between items during the summer months. If you live in a particularly humid climate, wrapping garments in lengths of clean cotton will protect your winter clothing from condensation.
That's What We're Talking A-Boot
Summer is the time to be fancy-free and bare your ankles! This means saying goodbye to your winter boots. Like your sweaters (and everything else), boots and other winter footwear should be thoroughly cleaned before tucked away for the summer. Scrub away dirt and stains with a wire brush and stuff boots with newspaper or tissue paper so that they retain their shape.