It’s almost that time of year again–fall, when we eagerly break out all of our beloved sweaters, boots and leggings from storage. The single act of retrieving old clothing from our attics or basements can feel like the greatest shopping spree of all time, considering how your credit cards can remain safely in your wallet. But that doesn’t mean your favorite cardigan or wool dress is ready to wear straight from the box or bag that was its home all summer. There are ways to prep fall and winter clothing that have been sitting in storage for months in order to ensure they don’t look like they’ve been sitting in storage for months.
“It’s easy to want to grab your favorite fuzzy sweaters and just throw them in the drawer, but don’t,” says lifestyle expert and interior designer and author Kecia Clarke. “Start by looking over all of your sweaters carefully for any sign of insect infestation or eggs. Look for any moth holes, especially in wools and cashmeres. It’s gross, but you must do it, especially if your winter wardrobe was stashed in a humid basement or attic. Some damage may be irreversible, but take the items to the dry cleaner for safe and effective cleaning. See if any holes need to be patched up to make them invisible. If your sweater is beyond repair, it’s time to let it it go. No one looks good in a sweater with a hole that has clearly been sewn up.”
That same level of attention and care should be given to fall and winter shoes, not only to make sure they look great, but for safety reasons, as well. “Make sure all of the heels and soles are in good shape,” Clarke says. “Take shoes in need of heels or new soles to a shoe repair shop before wearing them. Having soles/heels in good repair will help give you traction on those slippery days.”
Clarke also suggests taking the time to organize your closet in whatever manner suits your lifestyle, whether that means color coordinating your wardrobe or grouping items by category or occasion. Doing so will help you figure out what key items you may need to get you through winter. “Now is the time to reinvent your closet space and the way you dress your best,” she says. “After organizing your closet with your clean fresh winter wardrobe, feel free to shop for a few seasonal must haves because every closet needs a little love!”
And, as you prepare to box up your bathing suits, tank tops, and sundresses, remember that it’s never too late to learn a few tricks of the trade when it comes to clothing storage techniques. Certified professional organizer Bonnie Joy Dewkett of The Joyful Organizer says, “When storing clothes, roll them to avoid wrinkles. Use totes that you can see through in order to know what’s inside. Totes with wheels are easier to move around in small spaces. Items that are delicate should be stored in acid free tissue paper.”
Diane Pollack at Stylempower reminds us to take the pain now and toss out anything that we haven’t worn all season, but it’s just going to take up precious storage space. “The ideal thing to do would be to prep your clothing before storage,” Pollack says. “First discard anything that is not serving you. No need to store extra stuff. Make sure all items are cleaned, repaired (including shoes resoled and polished) prior to storage. When you take them out of storage they will be ready to wear and you won’t have to remember things from last season. The only thing you may need to do, depending on the item, is to iron it. If you have had a change of size, you should also spend some time trying on most of your clothes so you can decide what to get rid of, what you should replace, what needs to be altered.”
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