December 31


8 expert tips for storing out-of-season clothes long term to keep them in pristine condition

Pro organizers share 8 long term clothes storage secrets – so out-of-season items stay as good as new

When it comes to storing clothes long-term, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure that your out-of-season items remain in great shape. No one knows this better than Janelle Cohen, a professional organizer who specializes in maximizing closet space. She shares her expertise and top tips for storing clothes properly in this article.

One of the most important things to consider when storing clothes long-term is the location. Ideally, you want to find a space that is cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. This helps prevent any damage to the fabric or color fading over time. Janelle recommends storing clothes in a cedar-lined closet or dresser as cedar acts as a natural moth repellent.

Before storing your garments, it’s worth giving them a good clean. This includes washing or dry cleaning any dirty items, removing stains, and repairing any loose threads or buttons. By doing this, you’re ensuring that your clothes are in the best possible condition before being stored away.

Another tip from Janelle is to use the right storage containers. Cardboard boxes are not recommended as they can attract moths and other pests. Instead, opt for plastic containers with lids that seal tightly to keep out any unwanted critters. Clear containers are best as they allow you to see what’s inside without having to open each one.

When it comes to hanging your clothes, be mindful of the hangers you use. Wire or plastic hangers can cause garments to stretch or lose their shape over time. Instead, invest in sturdy wooden or padded hangers that will provide better support and help your clothes maintain their original style.

It’s also important to consider whether or not you need to use additional protection for certain fabrics. For example, delicate or aged garments might benefit from being stored in garment bags to prevent any damage. Janelle advises using breathable bags to allow air circulation and discourage mold or mildew growth.

For those with limited closet space, underbed storage can be a great option. There are many slim and sturdy underbed storage containers available that can hold a surprising amount of clothing. Just make sure to keep the area clean and free from dust or pests.

In terms of the timing, Janelle suggests starting the process of storing clothes well before they are out of season. This gives you enough time to properly clean, repair, and store your items before you need to bring out your seasonal wardrobe. By being proactive, you can ensure that your clothes stay as good as new.

Remember, keeping your clothes in good condition is an investment in your style. By following these long-term clothes storage secrets from professional organizers like Janelle Cohen, you can be confident that your out-of-season items will be ready to wear when you need them.

How experts store clothes long term

When it comes to storing clothes long-term, the pros know a thing or two about preserving garments in the best condition possible. Whether you’re looking to create more space in your closet or need to pack away out-of-season items, these expert tips will help you keep your clothes looking great.

  1. Use cardboard or acid-free tissue paper: Janelle Cohen, a professional organizer, suggests using acid-free tissue paper or cardboard to protect delicate fabrics. For example, wrapping pieces of tissue paper around each garment can help prevent creasing and keep them in good shape.
  2. Consider vacuum-sealed bags: For those who are looking to save space, vacuum-sealed bags can be a great option. By removing the air from the bags, you can compress your clothing and make it easier to store in small spaces like under the bed or in the garage.
  3. Avoid plastic containers: While plastic containers may seem like a convenient storage solution, they can actually trap moisture and potentially damage your clothes. Instead, opt for breathable fabric containers or garment bags to ensure proper airflow.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place: When it comes to long-term clothing storage, the right conditions are key. Avoid storing clothes in areas that are prone to moisture or extreme temperatures, as these can lead to mold and mildew growth and cause damage to your garments.
  5. Protect against moths: Moth damage can be a common issue when storing clothes long-term. To prevent these pesky pests, consider using moth repellents or cedar balls in your storage containers. Regularly check your items for any signs of moth activity, such as small holes or webbing.
  6. Check on your stored items periodically: It’s important to periodically check on your stored clothes to ensure they are still in good condition. This allows you to address any issues, such as moisture buildup or pest infestations, before they cause significant damage.
  7. Organize by season or style: To make it easier to find and retrieve specific items, consider organizing your stored clothes by season or style. This can be done using labels or separate containers for different categories, allowing you to quickly locate the items you need.
  8. Take care when folding or hanging: Proper folding and hanging techniques can help preserve the shape and condition of your clothes. Avoid hanging heavy garments for long periods of time, as this can cause stretching or distortion. When folding, be mindful of delicate fabrics and avoid creasing them excessively.

Following these expert tips will help you maintain the quality of your clothes when storing them long-term. By providing the right conditions and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that your favorite garments stay as good as new until you’re ready to wear them again.

1 Clean and assess damage

One of the first steps in properly storing your out-of-season clothing is to clean and assess any potential damage. Whether you have stored your clothes in your own home or in a storage unit, it is important to check for any signs of pests, such as moths or other insects that may have caused damage. Inspect your clothing for any stains, tears, or other signs of damage.

If you notice any damaged items, it’s best to start addressing the problem right away. Clothes that have been aged or damaged may not fare well in storage, so it’s important to take care of any necessary repairs or cleaning before storing them.

For those dealing with active moth populations, Janelle Sloman, a professional organizer, suggests hanging clothing outdoors to air out, as moths dislike sunlight. Another option is to place the items in a plastic bag and freeze them for a few days, as extreme cold temperatures can kill moth larvae.

Additionally, it’s worth checking the conditions of the storage area itself. Make sure there are no signs of moisture or excessive humidity, as this can lead to mold and mildew growth on your clothes.

Before storing anything, make sure you wear gloves so that you don’t transfer any oils or moisture to the fabric. It’s also a good idea to hang garments that are susceptible to creasing, as folding them may cause permanent creases.

If you have the space and resources, consider using vacuum-sealed bags to store your clothing. These bags remove excess air and provide a better barrier against moths, dust, and moisture. However, it’s important to note that vacuum-sealed bags are not suitable for all types of clothing, as some delicate fabrics may be damaged by the lack of airflow.

To summarize, it is important to clean and assess any damage before storing your out-of-season clothing. Address any repairs or cleaning that needs to be done and check for signs of pests or excessive moisture. Consider using vacuum-sealed bags if appropriate for your clothing, and hang garments that are prone to creasing. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your clothes stay in the best possible shape while in storage.

2 Store or toss

2 Store or toss

When it comes to out-of-season clothing, the decision to store or toss depends on a few factors. One important factor to consider is the condition of the garments. If the clothes are damaged or worn out beyond repair, it might be best to toss them. However, if the items are still in good condition and you have a passion for them, it’s worth considering some storage options.

The first step is to assess the available storage space. If your closets are already full and there’s no room for seasonal items, it might be time to make some space. One option is to swap out the current season’s clothes for the out-of-season ones. This can help to maximize closet space and keep your clothes organized.

Another consideration is the type of fabric. Some fabrics are more suitable for long-term storage than others. Ideally, you should store clothes in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture and pests from damaging the fabrics. Vacuum-sealed bags can be a great option for storing clothing, as they help to protect garments from moisture, pests, and creasing.

For more durable items like coats and jackets, hanging them in a garment bag can help to retain their shape. If you choose to hang your clothes, make sure to use high-quality hangers that won’t damage the fabric.

It’s also important to consider whether the garments are trendy or timeless. If an item is a current trend, it might be worth storing it for a few seasons until it comes back in style. However, if the clothes are dated and unlikely to be worn again, it’s probably best to toss them.

Lastly, if you have any formal or special occasion wear that you rarely use, it’s worth storing them properly. These items tend to be more delicate and should be stored in a cool, dark place, ideally in a garment bag. This will help to protect them from moth damage and maintain their quality over time.

When it comes to storing or tossing out-of-season clothing, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. It’s important to assess the condition, style, and storage space available to make the best decision for your wardrobe. As professional organizers often say, decluttering and organizing your closet can bring a sense of peace and privacy to your home.

“Even if you invest in vacuum-sealed bags and garment bags, there’s a chance that pests, moisture, or other conditions could come into your space. That’s why it’s important to regularly check on your stored clothing and make sure they’re still in good shape,” warns professional organizer Tamara Sloman.

3 Where will you store clothes long term

3 Where will you store clothes long term

When it comes to storing clothes long term, the location you choose is important. You want to find a spot that is clean, dry, and free from pests. Here are some options to consider:

  • In your closets: If you have enough space in your closets, this is a great option for long-term clothes storage. Make sure to clean out your closets before storing your garments to ensure they are free from moisture and pests.
  • In your garage: If you have a garage with enough space, you can use it to store your out-of-season clothes. Just make sure the area is clean and dry, as garages can sometimes have more moisture than other parts of the house.
  • In a spare room: If you have a spare room in your home, you can dedicate it to storing your long-term clothes. This gives you the opportunity to create a dedicated storage space that is clean and free from pests.

If you’re concerned about moisture or pests damaging your clothes, there are a few things you can do to help protect your garments:

  • Use durable storage containers: Opt for plastic or metal storage containers that can withstand moisture and pests. Avoid using cardboard boxes, as they can easily be damaged by moisture and pests.
  • Store clothes in vacuum-sealed bags: Vacuum-sealed bags can help protect your clothes from moisture, pests, and creasing. They also save space, allowing you to store more items in a smaller area.
  • Hang clothes on sturdy hangers: Use sturdy hangers to hang your garments, as flimsy hangers can cause creases and damage. Avoid using wire hangers, as they can leave marks on your clothes.
  • Swap fabrics: If you’re storing clothes made from more delicate fabrics, consider swapping them with sturdier garments. This can help protect your more delicate fabrics from damage.

Remember that each season, it’s worth taking the time to clean and store away your out-of-season clothes properly. This will help ensure that they stay in good condition and are ready to wear when the weather changes. By following these storage tips, you can keep your clothes looking great even when they’re stored away for months.

Janelle Cohen is a writer with a passion for organizing. She shares her advice and tips on home organization on her blog The Organized Home. Sign up for her newsletter to get more organizing tips delivered straight to your inbox.

4 Consider the pros and cons of offsite storage

4 Consider the pros and cons of offsite storage

When it comes to storing your clothing items long-term, you may want to consider the option of offsite storage. This means storing your garments and other fabrics in a separate location, away from your home. There are pros and cons to this storage solution that you should carefully consider before making a decision.

  • Pros:
    1. Privacy: Storing your clothes offsite can offer an extra level of privacy, especially if you have valuable or sentimental items that you want to keep protected.
    2. Protection: By keeping your clothes in a separate location, you reduce the risk of damage caused by pests, such as moths or other insects. Additionally, offsite storage can provide a controlled environment that helps maintain the shape and quality of your clothing.
    3. Space-saving: If your home is already full of items and lacks sufficient storage space, offsite storage can help free up valuable real estate in your living area.
    4. Organization: Storing your out-of-season clothes offsite can help keep your home more organized and decluttered. You can easily swap items between your active wardrobe and the storage facility as needed.
  • Cons:
    • Cost: Offsite storage usually comes with a price tag, so you’ll need to consider whether the cost is worth the convenience and benefits.
    • Accessibility: Depending on the location of the storage facility, it may not be as convenient to access your stored items whenever you need them.
    • Risks: There is always a risk of damage to your clothing during transportation to and from the storage facility. Whether it’s moisture or creasing, it’s important to take proper precautions to minimize these risks.

Before deciding on offsite storage, weigh the pros and cons in terms of your personal situation and preferences. If you’re passionate about fashion and style and enjoy having your clothes close to you, keeping them in your own home may be the better option. However, if you have limited space, privacy concerns, or a large collection of delicate or seasonal items, offsite storage can be a great solution.

5 Prepare your clothes for long term storage

When it comes to storing your clothes for the long term, proper preparation is key. Follow these tips from pro organizers to ensure your garments stay in the best condition possible:

  1. Clean your clothes: Before you store any clothing items, make sure they are freshly cleaned. This helps to prevent any dirt or stains from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove later on. Be sure to follow the cleaning instructions on the garment’s label for the best results.
  2. Inspect for damage: Take the time to carefully inspect each piece of clothing for any signs of damage. Look for holes, loose threads, or any other issues that may need to be repaired before storing. By addressing these problems now, you can prevent further damage from occurring while in storage.
  3. Choose suitable storage containers: Opt for storage containers that are clean, dry, and provide protection from moisture and pests. Vacuum-sealed bags or plastic storage bins with lids are great options. Avoid using cardboard boxes, as they can attract moisture and pests.
  4. Use moth-repellent measures: To protect your garments from pesky moths, add some moth-repellent products to your storage containers. Cedar blocks or sachets are a popular choice, as they naturally repel moths and keep your clothes smelling fresh. Just be sure to replace them every few months for continued effectiveness.
  5. Keep an inventory: It’s a good idea to create a list or take photos of the items you’re storing. This will help you remember what you have and make it easier to locate specific pieces when you need them. You can also use this inventory as a reference for insurance purposes.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your clothes are well-prepared for long-term storage. Taking the time to properly clean, inspect, and store your garments will help them stay in excellent condition until you’re ready to wear them again.

6 Use garment bags

Using garment bags is one of the most effective ways to protect your out-of-season clothes during long-term storage. These bags are typically made of breathable fabric and provide an extra layer of protection against dust, moths, and other potential damage.

When storing your clothes underbed or in a closet, it’s a good idea to swap out the plastic dry cleaning bags for garment bags. Plastic bags can trap moisture and cause mildew or mold to develop on your clothing.

Between seasons, consider storing your clothes in garment bags and then placing them in airtight containers or boxes. This helps to create a barrier against dust and other potential damage, while still allowing your clothes to breathe.

If you’re storing your clothes on hangers, garment bags can also help prevent creasing and maintain their shape. You can simply hang your clothing on hangers and then slip a garment bag over them.

It’s worth noting that not all garment bags are created equal. Some are more suitable for long-term storage than others. Look for bags made of durable fabric and consider using vacuum-sealed garment bags for extra protection against moths and other pests.

Janelle Cohen, a professional organizer and the author of “The Secrets of the Pro-Organizers,” suggests using garment bags for storing not only clothes but also other items like linens and curtains. She advises cleaning everything before storing to prevent any potential damage.

However, it’s always a good idea to check on your stored clothing periodically, especially if it’s been a long time since you last accessed them. This will give you an opportunity to check for any signs of moths or other pests and make any necessary adjustments to protect your clothes.

7 Use vacuum-sealed bags

Ideally, anything that isn’t being worn right now should be stored in a way that helps keep it in its best condition until it’s needed again. One great way to do this is by using vacuum-sealed bags.

These bags are designed to remove excess air from the storage space, creating a vacuum seal that helps to protect your clothing from pests, moisture, and other damaging conditions. By removing the air, vacuum-sealed bags can also help to save space, making them a favorite among organizers and those with limited storage space.

Before packing items into vacuum-sealed bags, it’s important to make sure they are clean and fully dry. Any dirt or moisture left on the clothing can lead to mold or mildew growth, which can damage the fabric. So, be sure to give your clothes a thorough cleaning and allow them to air dry before packing them away.

When it comes to packing items into the bags, there are a few tips that can help. First, fold the clothing neatly to minimize creasing. Then, start with the heaviest items at the bottom and work your way up. This will help to prevent any crushing or damage to the garments.

It’s also a good idea to group similar items together. For example, you might have a bag specifically for winter sweaters and another for summer dresses. This makes it easier to find what you’re looking for when you need it.

Additionally, some organizers recommend placing a moth repellant or cedar-lined hanger in the bag to further protect the clothing from pests. Moths, in particular, can be a problem for stored clothing, so taking steps to prevent infestations is important.

Once you have packed your clothing into the vacuum-sealed bags, it’s crucial to store them in the right location. Ideally, a cool, dry and dark space such as a closet or garage is best. This will help to maintain the condition of the garments and prevent any potential damage from sunlight or moisture.

In summary, vacuum-sealed bags can be a great tool for keeping out-of-season clothing in excellent condition. By removing air and protecting against pests, moisture, and creasing, these bags help to ensure that your clothes are ready to wear when you need them.

8 Can the fabric withstand long term storage

When it comes to storing clothing for long periods of time, one of the key considerations is whether the fabric can withstand the conditions. Certain fabrics, like wool and silk, are more delicate and may require special care when being stored. Other fabrics, such as denim or cotton, can generally handle long-term storage without any issues.

Organizers and experts suggest that you should always clean your garments before storing them, regardless of the fabric. This helps to remove any dirt, oils, or other residue that could attract pests or damage the fabric over time. Make sure to follow the care instructions on the garment label to ensure that you clean it properly.

For fabrics that can withstand it, vacuum-sealed bags can be a great option for long-term storage. These bags remove excess air and create a tight seal, protecting your clothing from moisture, pests, and other damaging factors. However, it’s important to note that vacuum sealing is not suitable for all fabrics, such as delicate ones that need to breathe.

If vacuum-sealed bags aren’t the best option for your garments, there are other methods you can try. Some experts suggest using acid-free tissue paper or cotton muslin to wrap each garment individually before storing them in airtight containers. This helps to protect the fabric and prevent any potential damage.

When it comes to the location where you store your clothing, the experts have some advice. Aim for a cool, dry, and dark area, as these conditions are ideal for long-term storage. Avoid storing garments in attics, basements, or other areas that are prone to extreme temperatures, moisture, or pests.

Another consideration is the style of the garments. If you have formal or specialty pieces that you don’t wear often, it may be worth investing in garment bags for added protection. These bags keep your clothing fully enclosed, providing an extra layer of defense against dust, insects, and other potential damage.

Lastly, regular inspections and maintenance can help ensure that your stored clothing stays in good condition. Every few months, take the time to check on your garments and make sure they are still in the same shape as when you stored them. Look for signs of moth or other pest damage, and address any issues as soon as possible.

In summary, when it comes to storing clothing for long periods of time, it’s important to consider the fabric and its ability to withstand those conditions. Clean garments before storing, choose the appropriate storage method based on the fabric, and select a suitable location for long-term storage. Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent damage and ensure that your favorite pieces are ready to be worn whenever you want them.


Q: How can I ensure that my stored clothes stay as good as new?

A: There are several tips and tricks to keep your clothes in good condition:

  • Choose a suitable location for storing your clothes, such as a clean and dry space.
  • Make sure to clean your clothes before storing them to avoid any stains or odors.
  • Consider using durable storage containers or vacuum-sealed bags to protect your clothes from pests, moisture, and dust.
  • If you want to give your clothing extra protection, you can use cedar-lined storage or moth repellents.
  • Plan ahead and keep a record of what items are stored where, so you can easily find them when needed.

Q: How should I store my formal or delicate garments?

A: It’s best to hang formal or delicate garments to maintain their shape. Consider using padded hangers or garment bags for added protection.

Q: Should I fold or hang my everyday clothing?

A: This depends on personal preference and available space. Folding is a space-saving option and works well for most everyday clothing. Hanging can prevent creasing and keep clothes wrinkle-free.

Q: How can I protect my clothes from moths?

A: Moths are attracted to natural fabrics, so it’s important to take necessary precautions. Use moth repellents, such as cedar blocks or lavender sachets, and store clothing in sealed containers or bags.

Q: What should I do if I find moth damage on my clothes?

A: If you discover moth damage on your clothes, immediately isolate the affected items and wash or dry clean them. Vacuum and clean your storage area to get rid of any moth larvae or eggs.

Q: Is it worth storing seasonal clothing?

A: Yes, storing seasonal clothing can help to maximize your closet space and keep your clothes organized. Just make sure to follow proper storage techniques to avoid any damage.

Q: Where can I find more information on organizing clothes?

A: There are many books, online resources, and professional organizers who can provide advice and tips on organizing clothes. It’s worth exploring these resources to find the best solutions for your needs.

What is the best way to store clothes long term

When it comes to storing clothes long term, there are several factors to consider to ensure that they stay in the best condition possible. Moisture, insects, and creasing can all damage clothing if not stored properly. Here are some expert tips on how to store clothes long term:

  • Plan your storage space: Before you start storing your clothes, think about the available space you have and how you can best utilize it. This will help determine the type of storage containers or solutions you need.
  • Use suitable storage containers: Opt for durable containers that are moisture-proof and insect-proof. Plastic bins with tight-fitting lids or vacuum-sealed bags are ideal for long-term storage.
  • Clean and dry your clothes: Before storing, make sure your clothes are clean and completely dry. Moth larvae and other insects are attracted to dirt and moisture, so clean clothes are less likely to be damaged.
  • Separate clothing by style and season: Group your clothing into categories such as formal wear, casual wear, and seasonal items. This will make it easier to find and retrieve specific items when needed.
  • Consider temperature and humidity: Choose a storage location that is cool, dry, and well-ventilated. Avoid storing clothes in areas prone to extreme temperature changes or high humidity, such as a garage or attic.
  • Hang delicate garments: Delicate or structured garments, such as dresses or suits, are best stored on padded hangers to maintain their shape. Avoid using wire hangers, as they can leave marks on the fabric.
  • Protect against moths: Mothballs are a traditional method to repel moths, but they can leave a strong smell. Consider using moth-repellent sachets or cedar wood blocks instead.
  • Avoid excessive folding: Excessive folding can lead to creasing in the fabric. If possible, store clothing flat or make use of acid-free tissue paper to minimize creasing.
  • Label your storage containers: To easily locate specific items, label your storage containers. This way, you won’t have to dig through multiple boxes to find what you’re looking for.
  • Swap out garments periodically: Even if you’re storing clothes long term, it’s a good idea to periodically swap out garments. This will allow you to check and air out the items, ensuring they stay in good condition.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your clothes stay in great condition while in storage, ready to be worn when the time is right.

Should I store clothes in plastic or cardboard

When it comes to storing clothes for long-term, there is always the question of whether to use plastic or cardboard containers. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them before making a decision.

Plastic containers are a popular choice because they offer protection against moisture and pests. Clothes stored in plastic containers are less likely to be damaged by moths or other pests, and they are also protected from dust and dirt. Plastic containers also provide a clear view of the contents, making it easy to find and swap out seasonal items. However, plastic containers can take up more space than cardboard ones, and they are not suitable for all types of clothing. For example, delicate fabrics or garments that need to breathe, like wool or silk, should not be stored in plastic containers.

On the other hand, cardboard containers are a more eco-friendly option and can be easily recycled. They are also suitable for a wider range of clothing, as they allow for better air circulation. However, cardboard containers can be susceptible to moisture damage and pests, so it’s essential to store them in a dry and pest-free location. Additionally, cardboard containers may not offer the same level of protection against dust and dirt as plastic containers.

So, which option is the best? It ultimately depends on your specific needs and the condition of the clothing you want to store. If you have valuable or delicate items that need extra protection, plastic containers might be a better choice. On the other hand, if you have clothing that can withstand some creasing and you want an eco-friendly option, cardboard containers are worth considering.

No matter which option you choose, it’s important to follow some general guidelines for storing clothes. Make sure the garments are clean before storing them, as stains and dirt can attract pests. Fold or hang the items properly to prevent creasing, and consider using vacuum-sealed bags for bulky items to save space. Store different types of clothing separately to prevent cross-contamination, and avoid storing anything damp or wet, as this can lead to mold and mildew.

In the end, the most important thing is to find a suitable storage solution that keeps your clothes in good condition and preserves their quality for years to come.


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