How to Store Your Summer Clothes for Next Year

The Starks said it, “Winter is coming”, and it is unfortunately true. The summer solstice—the point at which summer gradually begins returning to winter—was in June. That means as we get into September and October, the sun will dip lower in the southern sky as we enter the inevitable decline of summer.

That means it’s time to ditch the short-shorts, time to think about packing away some of those pre-Labor Day whites, and time to think about maybe adding another layer. And if you need room in your wardrobe for all of your winter clothes, that means packing away your summer clothes until summer rolls back around. 

That’s in March. Which means if you live in a climate with a large discrepancy between the seasons, now’s the time to think about storing your summer clothes. But since we assume you already like your summer clothes, here are some tips for making sure that you store them in a way that preserves their quality for another season:

Clean and dry before storing

Read all of the appropriate tags on your summer clothes to ensure you wash them properly; dry clean everything that calls for dry cleaning and cold wash everything that calls for cold washing. Dry thoroughly to ensure there’s no residual moisture (often bad news for storing clothes) when you put your clothes away this fall.

Find proper containment

It’s tempting to use that old cardboard box in which they delivered your new computer, but you’ll find that cardboard is terrible for containing clothes: it’s susceptible to moisture, it hardly protects from bugs, and it’s flimsy. Get a tight plastic container instead; they’re cheap to procure and they can be used for other jobs when you’re not using them for clothes.

Two words: wooden hangers

If you have the space to hang your clothes for an entire season, that’s great. But you don’t want to use any cheap old wire hanger for your clothes, as these can lead to pointy, stretched-out, misshapen shoulders. Get some wide wooden hangers that better emulate the shape of an actual shoulder; this way, when you bring your clothes out again next year, they’ll fit much as they did this year.

Store in a cool, dry place

The closet tends to work just fine, of course, but if you don’t have that kind of space, look for extra storage around the house. If your home has a basement, you can store clothes down there (with a dehumidifier running, for dryness). Don’t store in an attic that tends to stay warm and humid.

When in doubt, folding is fine 

Folding your summer polo shirts, for example, won’t ruin them for next summer; as long as you’ve taken the care to clean and dry them and put them in the proper containment, they should maintain their integrity for years to come.

It doesn’t take much to properly store your clothes for a season—maybe half of an afternoon. But you’ll be glad you put in that effort when it’s time to pull the summer clothes out again and they feel as fresh and well-fitting as they did in 2015.