Storing The Old Season’s Clothes

It used to be general practice at the end of the winter and the end of the summer to bring out the new season’s clothes and put the old ones into storage. This is not always possible in modern houses and flats, with their lack of storage space, but if you can do it, it is a worthwhile habit to get into. A regular turnover makes space in the wardrobe so that clothes are not crammed together. It prevents chaos and you can see exactly what clothes you have, and spot thrilling gaps in your wardrobe, to be filled next time you go shopping.

Before putting away the old season’s clothes, assess if they still deserve their place in your wardrobe. Put on probation anything that has not been worn for one season – anything not worn for two season goes into a bag for the charity shop!

Mend, dry-clean or wash clothes as necessary before storing them. This is important for several reasons. First, it is depressing to pull out dirty clothes from storage. Second, dirt encourages mildew. Grubby clothes often smell musty too, and the mustiness will permeate them all. Finally, insects, especially moths, are attracted to dirt on clothes and linens.


For storing clothes, a large trunk is ideal. If not, large suitcases will do, as will the drawers fitted in some divan beds and storage boxes designed to fit under beds, as long as they have well-fitting lids. Fold the clothes carefully and put in the trunk/box, with layers of tissue paper. The tissue paper helps prevent clothes from creasing and should ideally be acid-free.

Put heavy winter coats and suits in calico garment bags, padding the sleeves with acid-free tissue paper, and putting a couple of lavender bags in the pockets. It is best to hang them somewhere if you have room. If not, lay them in a cool, dry place.

To be doubly sure that the clothes are protected from moths, put moth-repellent sachets in with them. There are several brands available – herbal, cedar or chemical. Even nicer is to strew dried lavender stalks on top of each layer of tissue paper. Lavender is a traditional repellent and smells delicious. Another traditional remedy is to put several handfuls of conkers in with the clothes. Though they smell innocuous to us, moths apparently hate them.


Store woollens in compression storage bags. These are a great way to save space. You put the clothes in a bag and then suck the air out with the vacuum cleaner, squashing them down to a fraction of their original bulk. Look out for brands with a double layer of plastic, which gives protection from puncturing. Because the bags are sealed, the clothes are protected from damp and moth attack.

Take the new season’s clothes out of the trunk/box and hang them up to air. Meanwhile, clean out all wardrobes and drawers. Dust will have accumulated over the previous six months, and clothes moths may have laid their eggs there too. It is not the moths that you can see that do the damage; it is their larvae, which you cannot see, but which may be lurking in crevices and cracks.

Vacuum well, going into all the corners, then wipe the interior surfaces, using water with a little all-purpose cleaner and a well wrung-out cloth. Leave doors and drawers open until you are sure that everything is completely dry. Re-line drawers. Hang fresh moth deterrents in wardrobes and put moth-deterrent sachets in drawers before putting clothes away.

Read also Care of clothing tips.

Tags: clothes, home organizing tips

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