End-of-season savvy: favourite trusted ways to prep clothes for storage

One of the easiest ways to make extra room around your home is to get off-season items out of the way and into storage.

Updated 30 August 2019

woolen clothes in pastel colors folded and stacked

Whether it’s a beloved special occasion dress or trusty summer camping gear, chucking them into bin bags and hoping for the best isn’t really going to cut it, so read on to learn how to store your clothes in five easy steps.

Step 1: Clean and pristine

One of the most important aspects of prepping clothes for storage is that they must be clean. That means making sure all crisp crumbs are out of pockets and that there are no half-eaten energy bars lurking in backpacks so that you don’t end up attracting any unwelcome guests. Ideally, wash your clothes at the hottest setting they can take and allow them to line dry to get a good airing.

Wondering how to get all that dirt and grime of out of summer clothing? Check out our guide on how to get mud out of clothes.

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Step 2: Group like with like

Next, it’s time to pile like with like – collect all your camping gear, swim gear, etc and put them into respective piles. This will make figuring out how many bags or boxes you need a much easier job, and allow you to make sure you have the right container for any unusually sized items. Also make a pile containing anything that needs a little TLC – camping clothes with tears or holes, summer dresses missing buttons etc. Chances are if you pull them out of the wardrobe next year in this state you probably won’t use them. But drop them up to your local alterations shop or mend them yourself and you’ll pull them on with gusto next year.

Step 3: Cull, tweak or keep?

Now get to work on each pile. Sometimes, the trickiest thing to figure out is if something is a keepsake or if you’re keeping it just for the sake of it. Is this a useful, seasonal item, that you’ll use year after year? A treasured memento, like a wedding gown or christening outfit? Or something that’s not quite right, but gets dragged out every season, only to languish in the bottom of the cupboard (here’s looking at you, leaky swim goggles)? Try to be ruthless here, future you will thank you.

Step 4: Box ’em up

It’s important to have good quality storage solutions that are easy to handle, easy to label and easy to open as well as (securely) close. Year-after-year items do well and will last longer in sturdy plastic boxes that come with lids that create a secure seal. Try to label each box well, and be specific – think less vague title and more table of contents (e.g. instead of simply scrawling “Camping” try “Camping: socks, jumpers, jackets”). If the item is something precious with heirloom potential, it’s definitely worth investing in archival-quality boxes and pH-neutral tissue paper for an extra layer of protection.

Top tip: Avoiding storing clothing in plastic bags or cardboard boxes, as neither will protect your clothes properly from moisture, dust, mould and mildew.

Step 5: Moths beware

Finally, consider where you’ll be storing your clothing. Try to make sure your chosen place is clean, as close to room temperature as possible and not too damp. If you’re worried about moths, mix up your own natural repellent – all you need is little sachets of dried lavender. It smells oh-so-lovely to us, but is highly repellent to moths and other creepy crawlies. And bonus: your clothes will smell gorgeous when you pull them out next year.

Originally published 22 August 2019