How to Store Your Summer Clothes for Winter in Chicago

A couple packing their clothes for winter.

Chicago is amazing in the fall. From Oktoberfest and haunted tours to seasonal events at Brookfield Zoo, there's no better place to enjoy the gorgeousness of autumn than the Windy City. You'll need to make room for those cozy sweaters and warm jackets, though. Learn how to store clothes properly as we transition from steamy summer weather to the cooler months.

You'll learn how to prepare your clothes for winter storage. We'll walk you through the dos and don'ts of packing your clothes for storage to keep pests away, to avoid mold, and preserve your clothes’ original condition. We've also outlined tips for proper summer clothing storage.

Why Knowing How to Store Clothes for Each Season Matters

 

Knowing how to pack clothes for storage helps preserve your wardrobe and make seasonal transitions easier. Packing your garments with care also helps prevent pests and ensures your clothes retain their original shape. Incorrectly placing them in storage, however, can result in sagging, stretching, and holes. You've spent hard-earned cash on those clothes, so knowing how to store them properly will only increase your return on investment in your wardrobe.

Preparing Your Clothes for Winter Storage

 

The condition of your clothes before you store them makes a difference, too. Putting your apparel away without washing or dry-cleaning can spell disaster. Even if you wore an item briefly without cleaning it, you could end up with a smelly piece of clothing when you go to retrieve it in the spring. 

Before packing any boxes, wash and dry your clothes thoroughly (or have them dry-cleaned if necessary). If you're worried about clothes-eating moths making a meal out of your spring and summer knits, put dried lavender in a breathable pouch with your clothes. You can also try cedar wood blocks, but don’t let the blocks actually touch your clothes. The oil in cedar wood can transfer to the fabric and become an everlasting part of that garment.

Mild scents you didn't even notice could become permanent after fermenting in storage over winter. The same goes for spots. You may be tempted to overlook a minor spill, but putting your garment away unwashed can turn a tiny discoloration into a nasty stain. Additionally, pests find sweat and other gross odors alluring, making a pre-storage wash vital.

How to Pack Clothes for Storage

 

Knowing how to store clothes may seem simple, but certain techniques can protect your wardrobe. Before we tell you how to store seasonal clothes, we'll start with what not to do:

  • Don't use wire hangers
  • Avoid the mold risk that comes with plastic dry-cleaning bags
  • Don't let cedar wood blocks or mothballs touch your clothing

Hanging delicate clothes is risky. Lessen the risk of dimples, creases, tears, or misshaping by using padded hangers. Consider investing in a garment rack for hanging delicate clothes that shouldn’t be folded. You can get a stylish one for your home to act as a piece of decor or an inexpensive, space-saving one if you plan to stash it away in your basement or a storage unit.

Carefully folding clean clothes and placing them in plastic containers away from sunlight and dampness is optimal. To save even more space, roll up your clothes after you've folded them. You'll be surprised at how many more pairs of shorts and T-shirts you can pack into a container!

Speaking of containers, choose to spend a little more cash on plastic bins. Many nearby retailers offer a variety of sizes, and these plastic bins slide easily under beds and into closets and stack neatly to help save space. If you have the choice between a plastic bin or a cardboard box, go the plastic route; not only will those plastic bins last for years to come, but cardboard boxes can make your clothing more susceptible to damage from moisture, mold, and bugs.

Where to Store Your Summer Clothes

 

Basements, garages, and attics can seem like good options. They're out of the way yet within easy reach. But basements and garages can be damp, making them breeding grounds for mildew and mold. 

Sunlight exposure and moisture are common hazards in attics. If you can, use a guest room closet or reserve a storage unit near your home. Alternatively, climate-controlled units offer the ultimate protection with temperature and moisture control. 

Once you've found the right option for you, follow these tips for proper storage:

  • Choose same-sized containers
  • Place heavier containers on the bottom
  • Put off-season and seldom-used items in the back, leaving room for an aisle

Label each container to make retrieving your swimsuits, tees, tanks, and shorts easier next spring.

Free Up Space for Your Fall Wardrobe with Safeguard

The return of fall means a new opportunity to streamline organizing your belongings. As you prepare to clean and pack your things, set aside anything you don't love or haven't worn for a year; some minimalists even toss anything they haven't worn for six months. While we recommend the tearing-off-the-bandage method, giving yourself a one-day decision deadline may make parting with those once-loved items easier.

Now that you know how to store seasonal clothes the way experts do, you’ll need the perfect place to protect your off-season clothes and other belongings and free up space in your home. 

Safeguard Self Storage offers secure, conveniently located units in several Chicagoland locations. Contact us for assistance, or reserve a unit online today.

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