How to Properly Store Summer Clothes in Winter

Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s time to switch out your summer wardrobe for something a bit warmer. While you could simply leave your summer clothes in your closet, they’ll take up precious space, and you’ll have to rifle through them to find what you want. For this reason, it’s best to store them until you need them again next year and save yourself the space and hassle. Here are some tips on how to do this properly.

Clean Thoroughly

Even if your summer clothes are technically clean, it’s a good idea to have them dry cleaned again immediately before storing them. This will help to get rid of any dust, dust mites, allergens and pet hair that may have collected on them while in your closet or drawers. Furthermore, adding a dryer sheet during the packing process will help make them smell good as well as remove excess lint, hair and other unwanted debris.

Find an Appropriate Container

Even if it’s tempting to just keep your clothes in a trash bag or cardboard box until next summer, it’s a bad idea. Bags and boxes degrade rapidly, are prone to developing holes and offer little protection against the elements. To make matters worse, it’s easy for pests to get into them. Many species of moth love to eat cotton and other natural fibers and will leave your clothes full of holes. Certain spiders, such as the brown recluse, may also get inside of unsecured containers.

If they do, you could be in for a nasty and dangerous surprise come next summer. Rodents are another problem entirely. Mice find stored clothing to be an excellent nesting spot, and they won’t hesitate to chew their way through cardboard or thin plastic to get to it. The result is clothing that is covered in rodent feces and urine, which causes allergies and carries illness-causing bacteria and parasites. Because mice like to chew, they may even gnaw holes in your clothes.

It’s strongly recommended that you only keep your summer wardrobe in a sturdy plastic storage box with a tight-fitting lid. If it’s air-tight, all the better. Vacuum-sealed storage bags are also a good idea, and they’re very good at keeping out dust, dirt, moisture and spiders. Unfortunately, they’re not much help against rodents.

Maximize Space

If you have a lot of clothes to put away, it’s important to make the most of your container space. In other words, don’t just wad things up and toss them in. Fold them neatly in a way that takes up the least amount of space. For many things such as t-shirts, shorts and skirts, this is achieved by folding them in half lengthwise and rolling them up. Starting on one end of the container, pack them as tightly together as you can until you’ve filled it up. Make sure you don’t over-stuff it, however, or the lid may fit poorly.


Depending on the container you buy, the lid may not be completely secure. If this is the case, moths and other small pests may still get inside. One helpful way to deter them is by placing mothballs inside the container. In addition, consider securing the edges where the lid meets the container with duct or packing tape.

Storing your summer wardrobe may seem like a simple process, but avoiding problems requires a lot of consideration. If you follow the above tips, your clothes should be good as new when you want them next summer.