Tired of spending a day unearthing your seasonal clothes from storage only to find that your favourite pants have been ravaged by moths and that hand-knitted wool sweater has acquired a pungent musty odour? Arm yourself with the right tools and know-how to pack away your seasonal clothes like a professional.
Courtney Whiteside, president of Store Your Style, a clothing storage service in Toronto, says typically people take out their seasonal clothes in a six-month cycle. April to June and October to November are her busiest times of year, but she can get people their clothes with 24 to 48 hours notice in case her clients need a few items for a vacation.
Here are the top four tools you'll need to pack up your clothes yourself:
• Wooden hangers or any hangers except thin wire, because they misshape clothing
• Breathable storage containers and garment bags. Whiteside specifically recommends nonwoven polypropylene bags.
• Sachets of cider or lavender because both are natural moth repellants
• A sock of mothballs because direct contact with mothballs will affect the fabric of a garment
Pack like a pro
First you'll need to find the perfect storage space for your garments. If your storage containers allow light in, you'll need to find a dark space since light fades fabric colours. When Whiteside stores clothes for her clients she ensures that the space is approximately 23 degrees Celsius because heat encourages bacteria growth and cold can damage natural fibres; however, cold spaces are the best for storing furs.
Next you'll need to prep your clothes for storage. Be sure to thoroughly wash everything since food stains and perspiration attract pests such as moths, says Donna Smallin in her book Cleaning Plain & Simple (Storey Publishing, 2005).
Whiteside recommends using cider or lavender sachets to repel moths -- lavender is a European method of fighting moths and cider is a North American one. Ventilation is key to warding off a musty smell, so be generous with room when packing clothes and find a space that is well ventilated.
Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to properly store store different types of fabrics on page 2
Garmentcare.info offers some excellent tips for folding and storing different fabrics, such as rolling linen (so you don't create permanent creases) and laying knit, silk and rayon flat. Wool will easily stretch out of shape since it has no natural elasticity, so it should be folded. Be aware of which fabrics hold wrinkles and creases and take that into account when folding as well.
"Moisture in clothes typically enhances the risk of attracting pests," says Whiteside. To naturally remove moisture from a storage space, hang a mesh bag of chalk, since chalk naturally absorbs moisture in the air. Wool does as well, so be aware of this when storing your wool garments for the winter by prepping the space beforehand and ensuring that all the containers are sealed.
Opt for a storage service
If you find your wardrobe has slowly migrated to all corners of your home, consider using professional storers to take care of your clothes for the season. For all you pack-rat fashionistas, Whiteside caters toward condo and apartment dwellers since they're notorious for having a lack of storage space.
For example, Whiteside's Store Your Style packages range from $59.99 to $99.99 a month for storing your clothing, shoes, sporting goods and some household items. Currently Store Your Style serves Toronto, and Whiteside is planning to expand to Vancouver soon.So now you're packed with the know-how to safely store your clothes for the season, you can look forward to busting out your favourite wool sweater in the fall worry-free.
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