A lot many people have different clothes, shoes and accessories for each season. If you dress according to seasons too, you probably have a problem dealing with out of season belongings. And if your way of dealing with out of season stuff is simply tossing what you don’t need into the back of your closet or piling all of it in another room, you’ve come to the right place!
Neglecting out of season clothes or shoes is certainly not the right thing to do. If you don’t take care of them, they are bound to suffer irreparable damage from dirt, humidity, mold, and pests like moths. If your out of season belongings are dear to you, you can’t let them deteriorate this way.
So what do you do? Take care of them and ensure that they are well-protected from the elements and pests! If you have no idea where to begin, here are some tips to help you.
Divide and Conquer
You need to know what items you consider as seasonal wear and what items you use all through the year. You also need to decide what items belong to which season so that getting your clothes in order gets easier.
So start with getting all the clothes outside your closet. Make separate piles for each season and go through everything you own one-by-one. Spend some more time and examine each item closely for dirt or food stains, and signs of wear and tear. Make a separate pile of such items so that you can clean them or get them mended later.
While going through your closet treasures, also make it a point to do away with items that you haven’t worn or used in the last one year. Not having used something for a year implies that you didn’t miss it during any season. So trim down your wardrobe and get rid of such items. It will also mean less cleaning, storing, and organizing work!
Don’t forget to go through items that have been handed down to you by a distant relative. If you’re never going to wear them, and if there’s not much of an emotional connect, you’re better off without the extra trouble.
Set about Cleaning Everything Thoroughly
It is important to wash, clean, or dry clean all your belongings before you put them away. Doing so will get rid of insect eggs, and mildew or mold spores from your clothes, shoes and accessories. What’s more, all your seasonal gear will be ready to use next season!
Cleaning clothes will help remove dirt and food stains. Not only can these stains become permanent if not treated immediately, they can also be a source of food for moths and carpet beetles. To get to the food, these pests will eat through the fabric and cause considerable damage.
- Do wash or dry clean even those clothes that you’ve only worn once. Sweat and perfume stains may not be visible right now, but storing unclean clothes for a long time will cause these stains to become prominent and hard to deal with.
- Keep in mind that starching clothes is an absolute no-no. Starching clothes before putting them away for months or years can weaken the fabric and make it brittle. Starch can be a source of food for insects and can cause permanent staining if you store clothes in a humid environment.
- Examine all your woolen wear closely and spot clean stains. Use a mild cleanser and dab at the stain instead of rubbing aggressively. Wash woolen wear by hand using lukewarm water and a baby shampoo, a gentle dish detergent, or a wool safe detergent. Never wring woolen clothes or expose them to direct sunlight to dry.
- Wash or dry clean other clothes as per washing instructions. Rinse everything well to remove all traces of bleaches and detergents.
Remember to clean shoes in a well-ventilated area so that the fumes from cleaners and polishes don’t affect you. Clean shoes outside the house or lay out old newspapers on the floor so you don’t stain it when working indoors.
- Firstly, rid your shoes of visible dirt or salt (in case of winter boots or shoes). You might want to do this chore outside the house.Spot treat any dirt marks or salt stains if your shoes are suede, nubuck, or leather. Test cleaning products
- Spot treat any dirt marks or salt stains if your shoes are suede, nubuck, or leather. Test cleaning products on a small area, preferably on the inside of the shoe before you begin.
- Canvas or athletic sneakers can be cleaned using a solution of warm water and a gentle detergent. Use an old toothbrush or soft brush to scrub away stains with the solution. Some canvas sneakers can be machine washed, but do scrape off mud or hose down the shoes before tossing them in the washing machine.
- Once you’re done with the cleaning part, allow shoes to dry for a day or two. You may want to air your shoes with shoe trees inside; this will help them retain their shape.
- Check if your shoes emit any foul odor. If they do, sprinkle baking soda on the inside and let your shoes remain overnight. Shake off the baking soda the next day, and wipe the inside with a clean cloth.
- Do remove shoe laces, if any, before cleaning shoes and wash them separately. Note that preventing shoes from stains is easier than getting rid of stains, so make use of appropriate protective sprays and creams as required.
If you switch bags according to the different seasons, you’ll have to care for the ones you put away. If you’re not sure of cleaning antique or vintage bags, let a professional do the cleaning for you. Excessively stained or soiled bags can be given for dry cleaning.
- If cleaning handbags at home, be sure to clean keeping in mind the material of the bag. Use leather cleaners and conditioners for your leather handbags, and clean suede bags with a suede brush. Snakeskin is a lot different from leather so if you have a snakeskin bag, get it dry cleaned instead of cleaning it yourself.
- Use a soft cloth and jewelry cleaner to clean handbag hardware and make it shine like new. Pull the lining of the bag out and use a lint roller on it to clean it. If your bag smells, fill a small container with baking soda and leave it inside your bag for a couple of days.
- Refrain from stuffing your bag with newspaper to help it retain its shape. Use bubble wrap instead; it won’t attract moths nor will it stain the lining like newspaper might.
- Place the bag in a dust bag or pillowcase. Do not wrap handbags in plastic.
Say Bye for the Season
Now that all your seasonal items have been cleaned and dried as required, it is time to let them hibernate. There are several varieties of storage containers available for putting away your seasonal clothes. Options include under-bed storage boxes, plastic bins, canvas boxes, space bags, garment racks, etc.
Avoid using plastic bags and cardboard boxes to store your belongings. Plastic bags can trap moisture and encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Cardboard boxes can absorb moisture and damage your belongings. Moreover, they do not offer protection against vermin.
Clear plastic boxes with tight-fitting lids are your best bet to store clothes and accessories. You can line them with clean cotton sheets or acid-free tissue paper before placing your belongings in them. Some plastic boxes may release chemicals, so if you’re storing expensive items or heirloom fabrics, make use of acid-free boxes.
Garment storage racks can be useful to store hanging clothing. Keep in mind that not all clothes can be stored this way; sweaters and cashmere can stretch out and misshapen if hung on hangers for a long time.
There is also the option of vacuum sealing clothing items. This process can crease your clothes though if used to store items for a long period of time.
Don’t forget to moth-proof your belongings by using cedar blocks, balls, or shavings. Cedar hangers can be of great help for clothes stored in garment racks. Avoid using moth balls; not only are these toxic, they’ll leave your clothes smelling terrible.
Always store your belongings in a cool, dry place that has adequate ventilation.
Phew! Seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But don’t worry; you don’t have to do it all in one day. Go slow and steady and you’ll be able to get the job done.
With the tips given here, you now know the right way to store your out of season clothes. Be sure to follow the tips and you’ll have a ready to wear wardrobe next season! If that isn’t enough motivation, what is? So get to work as soon as you can!