How to Store Your Seasonal Clothes

Storing seasonal clothing properly is key to keeping them in good condition so they’re ready to wear when the time comes. With some advance planning and organizational skills, you can store your out-of-season clothes neatly and efficiently. Follow these tips to learn how to store your seasonal clothes.

Evaluate and Organize Your Wardrobe

The first step is to go through your entire wardrobe and evaluate each item. As you sort through your clothes, make decisions about what you’ll keep and what you can donate or toss.

Consider the following when making decisions:

  • Condition – Discard items that are ripped, stained, or otherwise damaged. Donate gently used items in good shape.
  • Fit – If it doesn’t fit you anymore, let it go.
  • Style – Remove outdated pieces that don’t suit your current taste.
  • Frequency of wear – Clothes you rarely wear should go.

Once you’ve narrowed down your wardrobe to keepers, organize the clothes by category – tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, etc. This makes seasonal storage easier when the time comes.

Choose Appropriate Storage Containers

Proper storage containers protect your clothes from dust, mildew, moths, and other potential damage. The best options for seasonal storage include:

  • Plastic storage bins or tubs with tight sealing lids
  • Vacuum storage bags
  • Garment bags
  • Cotton muslin bags for delicates

Look for clear plastic bins so you can easily see contents. Make sure any bags or containers are breathable – air flow helps prevent mildew and moths. Sturdy cardboard boxes can also work for some items.

Match storage container sizes to amounts of clothing – don’t overstuff, but don’t use huge containers for just a few items either.

Group Seasonal Clothing Types

Now you’re ready to sort clothes into seasonal categories within designated bins or bags. Recommended groupings:

Winter Items

  • Coats, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves
  • Sweaters, sweatshirts, flannel shirts
  • Heavy pants, thermal underwear
  • Boots, wool socks

Summer Items

  • Shorts, tanks, tees, breezy dresses and skirts
  • Swimsuits and coverups
  • Sandals, canvas shoes
  • Lightweight pajamas

Transitional Weather Wear

  • Light jackets and cardigans
  • Jeans, pants, leggings
  • Long sleeve shirts, blouses
  • Raincoats, umbrellas
  • Fall/Spring shoes

Put off-season accessories like sunglasses or winter gloves with clothes. Undergarments can be stored year-round.

Use Proper Storage Locations

Places to avoid storing seasonal clothes:

  • Attics – too hot and humid
  • Basements – potential for mildew and mold
  • Garages – could be too dusty, hot or cold

The ideal storage spots are in climate controlled spaces like:

  • Closets
  • Under beds
  • Extra bedroom or guest room

This keeps your stored clothes away from moisture, bugs, wide temperature fluctuations and other undesirable conditions.

Add Storage Products for Extra Protection

Some additional products to use when packing seasonal clothing for storage:

  • Cedar blocks or pine cones – act as moth repellents
  • Silica gel packs – absorb excess moisture
  • Lavender sachets – repel moths and impart pleasant scent
  • Fabric softener sheets – keep clothes fresh smelling

You can also place sticky trap insect catchers in containers or storage areas. These help ward off moths.

Follow Laundering Tips Before Storing

Wash or dry clean all garments before packing away. Dirt and stains can set over time. Follow these laundering tips:

  • Pretreat any soiled areas
  • Wash like colors together
  • Use proper water temperature for fabric types
  • Avoid overloading the machine


  • Dry everything completely – no dampness
  • For delicates, air dry on a rack or line

Once laundered, promptly fold and group clothing in designated storage bins or bags.

Storing Specific Garment Types

Certain garments require specialized storage methods:

Sweaters and Knitwear

Improper storage can stretch and warp the shape of knits. Fold sweaters neatly or use sweater folders to prevent stretching. Store flat if possible. Or carefully hang heavy knits on thick, padded hangers.


Use hat forms or boxes to hold shape and prevent dents or creasing. Stuff with tissue paper to help hats keep form. Alternately, rest hats upside down on a shelf.


Fill handbags with tissue paper or old scarves to retain shape. Store upright on shelves so they keep structure.

Shoes and Boots

Fill toe boxes with tissue or shoe trees to prevent sagging. Boot shapers are useful for tall footwear. Position shoes side-by-side on racks or shelves. Keep leather shoes polished and moisturized.

Suits and Dresses

Hang these to prevent wrinkles from folding. Use padded or wide-shouldered hangers. Add cloth garment bags over the top for extra protection.

Coats and Jackets

Hang these up evenly on hangers so they keep their shape. Use broad padded hangers that conform to shoulder width.

Check On Stored Clothes Occasionally

Every few months, inspect stored seasonal clothing and storage areas. Make sure no moths, mildew, or other problems have popped up. Refold or rearrange items as needed. This periodic inspection helps ensure your clothes remain in great condition, ready for the next season.

How to Organize Your Seasonal Storage

Staying organized while storing seasonal clothing makes it easy to rotate when the weather changes. Follow these tips to keep your storage space neat and efficient all year long.

Categorize Clothing by Season

The first key is to sort all your seasonal clothes into spring/summer or fall/winter categories before packing away. Some suggestions:

Spring/Summer Clothes

  • Shorts, tanks, t-shirts, swimsuits
  • Sundresses, skirts, lightweight tops
  • Sandals, canvas sneakers, flip flops
  • Light jackets and cardigans

Fall/Winter Clothes

  • Sweaters, sweatshirts, flannels
  • Jeans, pants, leggings
  • Boots, sneakers, wool socks
  • Heavy coats, scarves, gloves

Grouping clothes by warmer or cooler weather makes the switching process straightforward when seasons change.

Use Clear Containers with Labels

Pack seasonal clothing in see-through plastic bins, garment bags, or vacuum seal bags. This lets you view contents easily. Attach labels noting the category and size – like “Winter Kids Size 5-6.” Use a permanent marker so labels withstand handling and wiping.

Add a packing list inside detailing exact items – especially useful for kids’ clothing bins. This prevents opening multiple containers while looking for specific pieces.

Organize Closet or Storage Space

Keep like items together in your closet or storage area. Some options:

  • Arrange labeled bins on shelves by category.
  • Hang labeled garment bags together in a row.
  • Stack coordinated shoe boxes or boot containers.
  • Use over-the-door storage racks to group items.

Maintaining an orderly, grouped storage area makes retrieving and replacing seasonal clothing more efficient. You’ll know right where to find coats or swimsuits when it’s time to swap.

Use Strategic Storage Furniture

Specialized furniture and closet systems help maximize space for packed-away off-season clothes. Consider:

  • Underbed storage boxes and risers
  • Shelving units and wardrobes for garage or basement
  • Stackable plastic drawer systems
  • Closet organizers with double hanging rods

Embedded closet shelves allow placing bins and stacked sweaters up high. Rotating hanging rods let you move long clothing to the front.

Rotate Items Back into Your Closet

As the weather warms up, bring out summer clothes. Remove fall/winter items and store them away. Do the opposite when it turns cooler.

Some tips for easy closet transitions:

  • Set aside a full day for the seasonal swap.
  • Have empty bins ready to pack away out-of-season clothes.
  • Return any borrowed items before storing.
  • Donate what no longer fits or matches your style.

Regularly rotating and editing your stored clothes results in an organized closet and storage space all year round.

How to Protect Clothes in Seasonal Storage

Preventing damage to stored clothing helps them remain fresh and wearable for years. Use these methods to keep garments protected while packed away during off-seasons.

Choose Archival Storage Containers

Look for acid-free, lignin-free cardboard and plastic bins. These help block humidity and pests. Avoid containers with cardboard that may contain harmful acids.

Clear stackable plastic bins allow you to see contents easily. But be sure they seal tightly. Look for gasket lids to keep dust out.

Add Moisture and Insect Absorbers

The right products help maintain ideal conditions inside storage containers:

  • Silica gel packs absorb excess moisture.
  • Cedar blocks repel moths and other insects.
  • Lavender sachets deter pests and give off pleasant aroma.

Place these between clothing layers or tape absorbers to bin lids. Replace as they lose effectiveness.

Put Clothes in Breathable Items

Letting air circulate around garments prevents mildew and mold. Use:

  • Cotton muslin bags for delicates and sweaters.
  • Mesh pop-up laundry bags for accessories.
  • Old pillowcases or sheets for general clothing layers.

This protects fabrics while still allowing airflow.

Clean Thoroughly Before Storage

Wash, dry clean or steam clothes before packing away. Soil and stains can become set in fibers over time.

Check care labels and launder properly by:

  • Pre-treating soiled areas
  • Washing in warm or cold water
  • Line drying delicate fabrics
  • Removing spots promptly

Maintain Proper Storage Conditions

Keep clothing in clean, dry, pest-free spaces with stable temperatures between 60-75°F. Avoid musty basements or hot attics. Ideal spots:

  • Bedroom closets
  • Under beds
  • Guest room wardrobes
  • Storage chests

Regularly check containers for early signs of mold or insects. Address any issues immediately to prevent damage.

Refold and Air Out Periodically

Every few months, check seasonal clothing storage areas. Unpack boxes and bags. Refold and repack neatly with new absorbers.

If possible, let garments air out for a short period before returning to storage. This helps prevent stale odors and allows fabrics to breathe.

With some periodic maintenance and ideal storage conditions, your favorite seasonal clothes will stay fresh and ready to wear when needed.

What to Do If Clothes Get Damaged in Storage

Even with proper storage methods, sometimes clothes become damaged while packed away. Here are smart steps to take if you discover issues with stored garments.

Look for Signs of Problems

When checking seasonal clothing containers, inspect for any signs of deterioration:

  • Mold or mildew spots
  • Holes, tears, or other damage
  • Insect larvae, eggs orcocoons
  • Strange odors
  • Loss of color or pilling
  • Yellow stains or grease marks

Act quickly when you notice any of the above to limit further issues.

Isolate Affected Items

If you uncover clothes that are moldy, infested with bugs or otherwise compromised, remove them from storage immediately. Keep them separate from other clothing until treated to prevent spreading damage.

For minor tearing or holes, just set the garment aside for future mending. Eliminate any serious insect infestations before restoring clothes to storage.

Clean and Disinfect Storage Area

After removing problematic garments, thoroughly clean the storage location and containers. Vacuum shelves, scrub bins, and wipe down surfaces.

Use a disinfectant designed for mold and mildew removal in damp basements or attics. This helps prevent recurrence in the space.

Airing out the space on sunny dry days can also help eliminate musty smells or excess moisture that led to damage.

Treat Specific Problems

Now tackle whatever condition you’ve uncovered:

Moths or Carpet Beetles: Have clothes professionally cleaned and follow up by sealing in airtight bags. Discard anything too damaged.

Mold and Mildew: Wash or dry clean affected clothes with a fungal remover. Use bleach only on white fabrics. Air dry in the sun.

Grease Stains: Pretreat with dish soap, then wash in hottest water safe for fabric. Repeat as needed.

Mysterious Holes: Examine closely to determine the cause, then patch by hand or with iron-on adhesive patches on the inside.

Pilling and Fraying: Use a fabric shaver gently to remove surface pills. Stop fraying edges with clear nail polish or seam sealant.

Improve Storage Practices

The best way to avoid damaged clothing is to store them properly in the first place. After addressing any issues, reevaluate your practices.

  • Use archival quality acid-free containers.
  • Add cedar blocks and lavender sachets to deter pests.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry items before storage.
  • Store in clean, climate controlled spaces only.
  • Check on stored clothes every 2-3 months.

Avoiding repeats means your clothes stay fresh and ready to wear season after season.

Frequently Asked Questions About Storing Seasonal Clothes

Storing seasonal clothing properly helps protect your favorite pieces. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting your wardrobe ready for long-term storage.

Should clothes be washed before storing for the season?

Yes, you should always launder clothes before packing them away in seasonal storage. Soil, stains, and odors can become permanently set in fabrics over time. Wash items according to care instructions, treat any stains, and ensure clothes are completely dry before folding and storing.

What’s the best way to store sweaters long term?

Fold sweaters neatly in breathable cotton or mesh bags to prevent stretching out of shape. Store flat if possible – don’t hang heavy knits. Use cedar blocks to deter moths. You can also store washed sweaters in sealable plastic bins with moth repellents.

How should you store hats?

Use hat boxes or hat forms to hold hats in their original shape. Stuff with tissue paper to fill out the crown and smooth dents. Resting upside down on a closet shelf also works. Avoid crushing crowns or brims by stacking other items on top of hats.

What are the benefits of using storage bins vs. garment bags?

Clear plastic storage bins with airtight lids protect contents from dust, pests, light damage, and humidity. They allow easy viewing of contents too. Garment bags are good for hanging wrinkle-prone jackets, dresses and suits. Use bags in closets and bins to maximize shelf space for folded items.

Should you store clothes in attics or basements?

Avoid attics and basements if possible. The temperature and humidity fluctuations in these spaces can damage clothing over time. Excess moisture leads to mold, and extreme heat can cause garments to yellow. The ideal storage spot is in a closet or under the bed where the climate is controlled.

How can you prevent moth damage to stored woolens?

Wash or dry clean wool items before storage. Use cedar blocks in containers to naturally repel moths. Lavender sachets also deter insects. Check containers periodically for any eggs or larvae. Clean infested items immediately and dispose of anything too damaged.

Should you refold stored clothes occasionally?

Yes, every 2-3 months remove containers and unpack clothes. Refold neatly to minimize wrinkles. Let items air out if possible before returning to storage. This prevents stale odors and allows the fabrics to breathe. It’s also a chance to check for any pest or moisture issues.

What’s the best way to store shoes long term?

Fill toe boxes with tissue paper to retain shape and absorb moisture. Boot shapers keep tall footwear upright. Store shoes side-by-side on racks or shelves versus stacking. Keep leather polished and conditioned. For long-term storage, seal shoes in plastic bags before packing them away.


Storing seasonal clothing properly takes some time and effort up front. But it pays off by keeping your favorite pieces protected and ready to wear when needed. Evaluate your wardrobe, launder clothes, and use archival storage materials. Maintain tidy, organized storage spaces and containers. Check on them periodically to catch any issues early. And improve your practices if any damage does occur. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll always have the clothes you want each season, for many years to come.