Once the colder months have come, you will want to store and organize your family's summer clothes for the winter. Taking the time to do this task properly will free up precious closet and drawer space that will be needed for sweaters, jackets, and all other warmer pieces. This is an excellent opportunity to go through everyone's clothing and do a good job of sorting out what is needed or not. It will also give you a head start on your spring cleaning, as the hard work will already be finished.
The first step is to sort through each individuals clothing. Adults and older teenage children can do these themselves, but the little ones will definitely need help. You will want to examine each piece, and make three piles; donate or sell, throw away, and keep.
As you go through the clothing think about when you last wore the item. If it is the end of summer and you haven't touched it at all this year, it should be donated or sold. Also get rid of anything that has gone out of style or looks old and ragged. Don't fall into the trap of keeping an item because you are sure you'll finally lose that extra weight and fit in it again by next summer.
Children's clothing may require a little more effort. Any piece that is already fitting snugly should be donated. They won't fit into it by next summer. Definitely keep anything that is too big at the moment. It may be perfect for next year.
Preparing for Storage
Take your donate pile to a nearby charitable organization so that someone else can make use of the items. Pieces that you want to sell can be put into a garage sale, taken to a consignment shop, or sold online. Dress clothes are easy to sell. Most of them have only been worn a few times. Children's clothing is also a big seller. Parents are always looking for a good deal on apparel that their children will quickly grow out of. Many consignment shops will sell them for you, giving you a set percentage of the final sale price.
When organizing closets, go through the keep pile and makes sure everything is clean and in good repair. Take jackets and suits to the dry cleaners, and freshly wash any machine washables. Check each item for holes and missing buttons. Make the necessary repairs before packing them away. If you know how to sew, take an afternoon to sew up holes and replace those missing buttons. Otherwise, you can find an area seamstress who can do the job for you.
Now that you can visually see how much you will be storing through the winter, find a good spot in the house to keep it all. Avoid attics and basements if possible. These areas are damp and often make the items more accessible to bugs. A spare room, shelving in the laundry or garage, or a storage closet would be ideal.
All clothing that will permanently wrinkle or crease should be hung up in a specially designed bag. Don't use the plastic bags from the dry cleaner. These won't let the apparel breath properly. Everything else can be carefully folded and placed within a container.
Large plastic totes work quite nicely for storing your summer clothes. Include cedar chips, lavender sachets, or rosemary to eliminate musty odors. Even something as simple as a drier sheet between pieces will fend off offensive odors. Stay away from acidic papers.
Robert Mizrahi is a Professional Organizer and owner of Chaos Commandos, a NYC-based professional organizing service. Learn more by visiting his website at: http://www.nycorganizers.com
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