Many of us postpone the task of storing winter clothes and accessories as long as possible, but with the warm weather we have had this spring, even us die hards have been convinced that it is time to put away the winter clothes and get out the spring clothes.

Giving stored clothing special care and consideration will pay dividends in less time and money spent on upkeep and a longer product life. Following these reminders will ensure that you properly put away clothing and accessories.

  •  Use a storage area that provides the best protection for your garments. Places to avoid include basements, attics and garages where clothing is exposed to extreme dampness, sunlight, heat, grease and fumes. During storage, occasionally air out closets and drawers by leaving doors and drawers ajar for several hours.
  •  Launder or dry clean clothing and accessories to be sure they’re clean before you store them. When laundering, avoid using starch, garment sizing, fabric softeners or chlorine bleach. Thoroughly rinse laundered clothes before putting them away for the season.
  •  Allow clothing to air overnight before storing in a closet, drawer or clothes hamper. Airing allows trapped moisture to evaporate and wrinkles to relax. Be sure all clothing is completely dry to prevent mildew and mold problems.
  •  Before storing clothing, remove jewelry, check pockets for items, and secure or close fasteners.

The best approach to prevent insect damage in stored items is to store clean items in a well-ventilated storage area. If you decide to use moth balls or crystals, suspend them in a mesh bag from the top of the storage enclosure to allow vapors to release downward. Don’t let the bag touch clothing. Seal the storage space and leave it undisturbed.

Since natural fiber fabrics such as wool and cotton need to breathe, select packing materials like white tissue paper, cloth bags, a clean sheet or pillowcases to enable the stored garments to breathe, rather than wrapping in plastic bags.

If you’re going to store an item flat, fold it as few times as possible; fold at construction lines such as seams, or at natural wearing lines such as the waist or knees. When creasing might be a problem, consider putting white tissue paper between garment folds. Don’t fold clothing the same way each time it’s stored; rather use an alternate folding pattern to help prevent permanent creasing.

Although sachets and scented substances give a pleasant aroma to stored clothes, don’t permit the herb or scent-giving substance to have direct contact with clothing because the oil could cause spots and stains.

MARSHA O. PARKER is the Christian County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 270-886-6328.

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