If you live in an area of the world that experiences four seasons, this is the time of year when you’re switching out your cold weather clothes for your warm weather ones (or the other way around if you live in the southern hemisphere). Before you pack away your winter coat and hat, take a few minutes and make sure you’re keeping clutter out of storage and also protecting your clothes so you won’t be unpacking clutter in the fall.
Ask these questions of the clothing:
- Did I wear it in the past six months? Any item of clothing you didn’t wear in the past six months should be a strong candidate for the donation pile. Exceptions to this might be a black wool suit you wear to funerals, but you were very lucky not to lose someone close to you in this winter. However, if an item of clothing is trendy and you didn’t once put it on your body, it should probably be donated to charity.
- Is it clean? Do not pack anything away that has been worn and not cleaned. Pests love to snack on dead skin cells, so clean everything you plan to pack away for the summer.
- Is it damaged? If an article of clothing is damaged, it needs to be fixed before putting it into storage. Give yourself a week to do the repairs yourself. If you don’t make the repairs in a week, send the clothes out to a tailor to be professionally repaired or get rid of the item of clothing because you may not care enough about it to even have it fixed.
- Will it still be in style in six or eight months? If you already know the trend has passed, and you care about trends, it’s time to get rid of the piece of clothing.
- Does it pass the red velvet rope test?
Only donate to charity clothes that are in good condition. Any piece of clothing that has seen better days can be marked as rags. Many charities that accept clothing also collect rags, so you can make both donations at the same time. Just be sure to call ahead to confirm that the charity is currently accepting both types of donations.
When storing clothing:
- Pack the clothes loosely into an air-tight, thick plastic container. Pests will eat through cardboard and fabric containers in seconds. Plastic containers keep out the smaller pests (like moths) and slow down larger ones (like mice).
- Pack pest deterrents in with your clothes. Freshly sanded cedar chips or blocks, lavender sachets, and other anti-pest products will help to keep pests out of your stored clothes.
- Store clothes in pest-free areas, as best as you can. In other words, if you know you have mice in your garage, it’s probably best not to store your clothes in the garage.
- Clean, clean, clean. Again, remember that pests love dirty clothes. Everything you store for the season should be clean before packing it away for the summer.