09/07/2016 02:53 EDT

How To Pack And Store Summer Clothing For The Long Winter Ahead

Your future self will thank you.

You may have noticed an influx of Facebook status updates mourning the loss of summer. Sadly, they speak the truth.

Our short summer means it’s that time of year again ... it’s almost time to pack away your summer clothing.

You can probably get away with procrastinating for another three weeks, but there’s only so much denial you can be in before the cold harsh reality of winter sets in.

If you’re a condo dweller, packing and storing clothing is pretty much a seasonal chore to loathe, but is essential for living in a small space. Many of us have also experienced unpacking our clothing to find we’ve ruined our favourite items by hastily stuffing them in a cardboard box to idle for the length of an entire human gestation period (a.k.a. how long winter is).

We're just warning you: if you don't pack away your clothes correctly, you might open up your box of summer clothes next spring to find them moth eaten or permanently stained. And let's be real, that's not exactly the best way to start summer.

Luckily, we’re here to share some tips on foolproof ways to pack and store your clothing so the fruits of your labour stay pristine throughout the winter months.

Launder or dry clean your clothes first

It’s so essential to launder clothing before putting them away. Logic would tell you that a bunch of smelly, dirty clothes mingling in a box for months cannot be a good thing. Stains and dirt affixed to clothing will set and discolour, making it impossible to restore when you want to wear it again.

For dry clean only items, make sure you remove them from the plastic dry cleaner bags before storing. Moisture can build up in the plastic, which breeds mold and mildew. Instead, place them in a proper garment bag to keep more expensive items in tip-top shape.

Select an ideal storage location

It may not seem like a big deal but where you choose to store your clothing does matter. For best results, store clothing in a cool, dry space with good ventilation. A spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight is also ideal to ensure clothing doesn’t fade.

Choose the right storage containers

Cardboard boxes seem like an easy, inexpensive option, right? Wrong. They’re fine for short-term storage like moving, but if you’re planning on storing clothing for longer periods, plastic airtight containers like this clear weathertight tote is your best option. Moisture and mildew are your worst enemies and this tote will keep it all out along with any creepy crawlies.

Extra cautious packers may also want to throw in a satchet of cedar wood chips that help to absorb moisture, keep moths away and generally maintain a fresh environment for your hibernating wardrobe.

Storing shoes

Store shoes separately from clothing and make sure they are relatively clean by giving them a quick wipe down. And don’t stack too many of them on top of each other for the risk of warping the shape.

Shoes with an especially offensive odour should be cleaned with a little rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria. Soak a cotton pad with alcohol and give the soles a swipe before storing. Lavender oil will also work in the same manner.

Fold and roll

Before you say we’re stating the obvious, note that not everyone has the patience to neatly fold their clothing away. We are all culprits.

Folding your clothing is also a good way to maximize space, which also means purchasing fewer storage containers. T-shirts and tanks can be rolled up as opposed to folded and will save you a surprising amount of space, as demonstrated here if you need a tutorial.

Heavier fabrics should be stored at the bottom of the bin to minimize creasing when you’re ready to unpack.

The exception here is swimsuits, which you should lay flat and at keep at the top of the pile to avoid warping the shape.

The finishing touch

When all your summer clothes and footwear are neatly stored away, top it off with a few dryer softener sheets. You’ll unpack next spring to a fresh-smelling, wrinkle-free wardrobe that you’ll simply have to hang up and enjoy.

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