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How to store clothes and create more wardrobe space

Melanie Whitehouse / 23 March 2016

Find out the best way of storing your winter or summer clothes and making more space in your wardrobe.

Colourful clothes in a wardrobe
Make more space in your wardrobe by storing seasonal clothes

The sun is out, spring is here and summer not far away. Most of us don’t have enough drawer space to store summer and winter clothes, so we change our wardrobes around twice a year. But there’s a knack to putting clothes away for months on end and ensuring they look as good when you get them out again as they did when you stored them. Here’s how.

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Start with cleaning

Treat this as a good opportunity to throw away anything holey or past its best and to give garments you haven’t worn in the past few months to the charity shop.

Then machine wash or dry clean everything you plan to store before packing it up for the season. Moths and insects love the way we smell and things like food stains, sweat, deodorant and perfume actually attract them, so you want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

If you do suspect the presence of moths, put woollen garments in a plastic bag and stick in the freezer for 48 hours, then take them out for 24 hours and put back in for another 48 hours. This will kill any larvae.

Related: maximise your wardrobe space

Prepare to store away

Make sure storage areas are cool, clean, dry and dark.

Don’t store anything in plastic dry cleaning bags. Plastic traps moisture and can cause fabric fibres to dry out and turn yellow, as do vacuum bags that suck out all the air.

Heavy-duty bin bags are cheap and airtight if tied tightly at the top and bottom, but the best solution is a cotton garment bag, which will let your clothing breathe.

Pastic bins are fine for non-delicate items like t-shirts, jeans, jumpers and synthetics polyester. Fold neatly and pack loosely, so the air can get to them - you don’t want them to go mouldy.

Delicate items like silk, merino wool and cashmere, or anything that you really treasure, should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and placed in thick cotton storage bags.

Surprisingly, coats retain their shape better when gently folded. Remove all hankies etc from pockets and fasten buttons and zips, then fold up and stack loosely in a box, bag or storage bin.

Add cedar-scented balls or other deterrents to keep moths away.

Related: find out how to get rid of clothes moths

Storing shoes and boots

Check heels and soles and get them mended before putting away. It will save time in the autumn.

Smelly feet? Sprinkle some bicarb into the shoes and leave to absorb odours.

Boot trees will help keep expensive leather or suede boots in shape. Clean off any mud and stains, give suede a brush and polish leather. Then store standing upright or lay flat in plastic bins.

Pack shoes and ankle boots with tissue paper before storing away, so they keep their shape. Again, clean first.

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Storing accessories

Place pairs of gloves and rolled-up scarves loosely together in a plastic bin.

Stuff felt hats with tissue paper before placing in a hatbox or other breathable container.

Related: how to make the most of your space

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.