Storing Seasonal Clothing

Whether you are trying to give order to a pile of wet winter gloves, or stow your shorts and sandals

Whether you are trying to give order to a pile of wet winter gloves, or stow your shorts and sandals for next summer, how you store them will affect how long they last and how accessible they are when you need them.

Storing Winter Clothing In Season
Coats, hats, scarves, and mittens can clutter your entryway, utility room, and kitchen table all winter long if you haven’t allocated a convenient place for them. For coats and scarves, install hooks near the entry door that your family uses most often. Make sure some hooks are at a child-accessible height so your kids can put away their own outerwear. If you hang coats in a closet, allow enough space between them so they can dry, or hang them on the shower curtain rod to dry before storing them in the closet.

To keep mittens, gloves, and scarves in order, place bins on shelves in a pantry, utility room, or closet close to the main entry door. Choose bins with mesh sides to allow airflow to dry damp gloves and hats. Label a bin for each family member and make sure some are low enough for kids to reach easily.

Boot Logic
To keep family members and friends from tracking snow and mud into the house, create a convenient area where they can remove their boots and shoes. Your family will cooperate more readily if this area is just inside the primary entry door. Include a bench or chair for boot and shoe removal. For storage, purchase a boot rack with a drainage reservoir or waterproof mats with raised edges so you don’t have to contend with puddles.

Shorts, bathing suits, and sandals take up less space than their winter counterparts, so you can enjoy having some breathing room in your closet and dressers. Keep in mind, though, that exposure to sun, sea water, and chlorine can affect warm-weather clothes. Be sure to rinse out bathing suits before drying and storing them to remove corrosive salt or chemicals from the fabric. Keep bathing suits, caps, goggles, and other swimming gear in wire baskets when they are not in use, so they dry thoroughly.

Hooks that support coats in winter can hold baseball caps and sun hats in summer; when visible, it is more likely they will be used. The boot rack with waterproof tray is useful in summer too; if sandals and sneakers are left by the door, your family won’t track sand or garden soil throughout the house. Post an umbrella stand or wall rack near the entry door to make it easy to grab umbrellas when a summer rainstorm threatens.

Packing Away Off-Season Clothes
Storing off-season clothes in transparent containers will make it a lot easier to find your favorite wool sweater or cotton T-shirt when the seasons change and you want it again. As a bonus, transparent and semitransparent plastic boxes are tidy and stackable, and will keep your clothes clean and dust-free in the off season. They’re available in many sizes; look for those with hinged lids so you won’t misplace mates.

If you don’t want to invest in storage boxes, save the clear zippered bags that you get with the blankets and bedding you buy. To keep colorful clothes from fading, place transparent storage containers away from sunlight.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest