The sting of winter’s cold is finally giving way to the warmest, sunniest days of spring. As the seasons change, so does our wardrobe. Goodbye parka, hello light sweater. For many of us it is a welcome change to put away our winter clothes and not think about them for many months.
But knowing how to store winter clothes is key so that the clothes last more than one season. Down parkas can cost anywhere from $ 100 to $ 2,000. No matter what you spend, you don’t want to waste that money. Taking care to store winter clothing for longevity can help turn your one-season parka purchase into a multi-decade investment, saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the years. years.
5 ways to get more life out of cold weather clothes
You may be tempted to put that parka in a box and store it in the attic. After all, you want that closet space for summer clothes. But don’t do it. Down needs to breathe. Follow the tips below, but let the coat hang loosely in the closet. When you’re ready to use it again, and that doesn’t happen too soon, throw it in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes.
Wool coats, however, can be stored in insect-proof clothing bags and stored in the attic or basement. Read on for more tips.
1. Repair before packing
Winter is a tough season. For many of us, it means snow, wind, mud, and salt on the sidewalks. All of these can affect the integrity of your favorite winter clothing.
Storing winter clothes is a process that should be done with a little thought and should not be a haphazard process of tossing things into plastic bags, shoving them under the bed, and calling it good.
Instead, make your first stop to put your winter clothes away at the repair shop. And thanks to programs available nationwide, fixing a tear doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
Patagonia offers a free repair for all its brand clothing, for example. All you need to do is submit a repair evaluation form and Patagonia will pay for the shipping and repair of your item.
REI also makes it easy to extend the life of your winter gear before storing it in a closet. Whether you have a backpack, jacket, shirt, or winter shoes that might need a little love, REI has you covered and will provide you with a free estimate for any repairs.
Depending on how big the tear is, a tailor might charge $ 30- $ 50. If you have a good relationship with a cleaner, your tailor might fix it for less. On a less expensive coat, the repair may not be worth it, but if you paid $ 200 or more and only wore the coat for a season, consider the repair.
2. Prepare for the next snowstorm … one year in advance
A unique trait of winter clothing is that much of it is waterproof or water resistant. This is useful during blizzards, sleet, and sleet that are trademarks of the coldest months of the year.
Nothing lasts forever, including the waterproof liner that protects much of the winter gear you’re preparing to put in a storage container.
Instead of tossing those winter boots in a closet and hoping for the best, be proactive in restoring waterproof capabilities before tossing them in a storage container.
There are tons of waterproofing products on the market to protect your winter clothing. Many exist in the form of sprays or paint coatings that dry quickly and do not affect the look or feel of clothing. Most cost less than $ 20 and will help your winter clothing last for the many snowstorms to come.
Whether you want to make your winter wardrobe more resistant to the elements or protect a particularly cozy sweater from the cold, investing in waterproofing before storing your winter clothes will help you save time and money next year and beyond.
3. Bring the heat to the cold
Even the most durable winter gear can snap, snag, or break. While programs like those from Patagonia and REI will help repair everything from damaged clothing to worn out winter boots, it can sometimes be easier and more efficient to repair a small hole yourself.
Sewing isn’t something that everyone is proficient at, and let’s face it, it’s a time-consuming and often frustrating activity. Fortunately, with the right resources, you can easily repair your winter items before storing them with iron-on patches. (Here’s an additional job opportunity for your sewers. Offer to do these repairs for friends or the winter sports community for cash, of course.)
Iron-on patches are extremely cheap, often less than $ 5, and only require a hot iron to be effective.
There are a variety of iron-on patches to choose from, some made specifically for nylon clothing, some for jeans, and some for standard cotton clothing.
Most department stores have iron on patches, making it as simple as heading to your local Walmart or Joann Fabrics to quickly and inexpensively prepare your winter clothes for long-term storage.
4. Protect yourself from vermin
Being proactive is rarely a bad thing. In this case, taking steps to prevent winter clothing-loving creatures such as moths and mice from being beneficial in keeping your winter gear free of critters.
To protect yourself from moths and other insects, spend less than $ 25 on a bag of cedar chips. Put the fries in the storage container, plastic bag, or closet where you are storing your winter clothes and let the refreshing scent of cedar not only soothe your nose, but naturally ward off undesirable insects. Cedar will also not damage or alter clothing, making it an inexpensive way to keep winter clothing cool.
Although insects are often the main culprits in clothing destruction, mice are not uncommon predators of winter clothing stored long-term or in hastily filled storage containers.
Outside of mousetraps, mouse-repelling ultrasonic sensors are a natural and slightly less creepy way to defend against these four-legged enemies.
For just $ 20, you can purchase these ultrasonic sensors to put in your closet, small space, or attic and know that your winter gear will be safe for another season.
5. Keep it clean
It may seem obvious, but flipping winter clothing with detergent or other cleaning products will help winter coats, winter shoes, and other cold-weather items maintain their textile integrity and bonus; It will help keep your clothes smelling fresh for the next time you take them out and put them on your head.
To wash a jacket, try using a front-loading washer (top-loading washer drums can sometimes agitate or distort items). Put the down jacket in the washing machine with similar items (ahem, your other winter clothes), set the wash and rinse setting in cold water, and use a down-specific detergent.
For synthetic and waterproof products like Gore-Tex, a damp towel with a little mild soap should be enough to clean up winter dirt. The same goes for many winter shoes and boots.
It is essential to ensure that down filled products, and all winter gear, are completely dry before storing them in a closet for months. Down products can be placed in a low-temperature dryer. For other products, such as shoes and boots, using a low setting on a hair dryer or a good air dry should suffice.
Winter clothing is rarely cheap and is often a budget-conscious expense. From boots that cost over $ 200 to pants and specialty accessories that start in the $ 50 range, knowing how to store your winter clothes is in your best interest. When done right, you’ll have gear that will last for years, if not decades, and save you enough money to perhaps take that ski trip you’ve always dreamed of.
Colorado writer Kristin Jenny focuses on lifestyle and wellness. She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.