One problem with department-store bargains is that closets get packed tighter than a tuna can. This is a problem because clothes need room to hang freely to come out of the closet wrinkle-free. To declutter your closet, here’s some helpful advice.
5 Rules for storing clothes
1. Get out-of-season clothes out of your way
- Find a place where you can hang spillover clothing from your closet. This might be in an empty guest-room closet, a hall closet or a hanging bar in the laundry room.
- Every spring and fall, rotate the out-of-season clothing out of your bedroom closet and into your remote closet. Then bring the newly in-season clothing into your bedroom closet.
2. Review your everyday clothing needs
- If you wear casual clothes five days a week, don’t store your fine clothes (suits and sport coats, for instance) in your closet. Put them in the remote location with the out-of-season clothes.
3. Get rid of clothing you don’t wear
- As you are rotating your clothing, examine every item. If there’s anything you haven’t worn in a year, no matter how cute it is or no matter what fond memories it might evoke, get rid of it.
- You can’t afford to have it cluttering up your home. Think hard about your lifestyle. If you are like most of us, you own much more clothing than any one human needs. Buy less and get rid of more. There’s no need to open your wallet every time you encounter a bargain.
4. Know the right ways to keep moths at bay
- Unfortunately, the bug-repelling powers of cedar closets and chests are grossly overrated. Sure, a moth will run when it gets a whiff of cedar but you probably didn’t know that that pungent cedar-y smell will peter out after a year or two.
- Reviving the scent requires sanding off the surface layer of the wood and almost nobody bothers with that. When you can no longer smell the cedar, the moths can’t either.
- By the same token, if a dry cleaner asks if you want to pay to mothproof garments that are going into storage, politely decline.
- Dry cleaners moth-proof clothing by adding a liquid to the cleaning solvent they use, but this treatment only lasts for a month or two. The better way to store those wool and silk garments? Dry-clean them first, then slide them into mothproof garment bags, which are available for purchase from the dry cleaner and at some discount stores.
5. Before storing a garment, clean it
- Before you put a wedding dress or a prom dress into storage, dry-clean it. Even if the dress appears perfectly clean, you risk ruining the garment if it hasn’t been dry-cleaned.
- Invisible stains, such as lemon-lime soda, white wine or even sweat, will turn into yellow or brown spots over time. Such spots, once they develop, are just about impossible to remove.
- There’s another reason for making sure that any clothing is absolutely clean before you stash it away: moths and carpet beetles are not only attracted to natural fibres such as wool and cotton, but they also salivate when you offer them clothing that is soiled, stained or sweaty.
Store your clothes in a dry, airy spot
If you don’t have a spare closet, choose a cool, dry, well-ventilated location to store clothes.
- Add a rolling garment rack and cover with a cotton sheet to keep dust from settling on clothes.
- Avoid areas that receive direct sunlight can fade clothes.
- Avoid storing winter clothing in the attic. The hot summer temperatures of the attic can cause damage to fibres and the heat can set hidden stains.
- Avoid storing clothing on thin wire hangers.
- Avoid boxes made from cardboard if using boxes to store clothes. Cardboard is acidic and its glue can attract insects and other pests. Choose lidded plastic storage containers instead.