Finally the sun is shining, the days are longer, and we are all starting to thaw out from the colder, brisk winter months. With the coming spring, the inevitable ‘spring-clean’ and the tedious yet necessary task of packing away our winter clothes, and storing them until next needed. Now, normally the common routine for cleaning out one’s winter apparel is to throw everything resembling cold-weather gear into the nearest bag (shopping bag, plastic bag, or container etc.), shut the lid, tie it shut, and forget all about it until we need it again. There is however a better, smarter and more efficient way to store and pack our goods, prevent pests and guarantee we have everything ready once the winter draws near once again.
One of the most important things to consider is moths, those pesky critters that chew through fabric as though it is going out of fashion—during winter they are invisible, microscopic larvae hiding within dark crevices, deep within the fibres and yarn of your textiles, waiting for the warmer months to pop out and begin their seasonal feast. Time to banish these tiny beasts and ensure your clothing is well-protected and intact for the next chilly winter season.
One of the most important things to consider when packing away our winter clothing is to ensure we clean out our bedroom space and make room for all of our spring and summer attire. Vacuuming is the first step to home cleanliness and spring preparation—make sure you thoroughly sweep, hoover, or mop any surfaces that may harbour pests such as silverfish or moth larvae. Silverfish are those squirmy looking critters that move like fish and look like worms—they are repellent, repugnant, and most of all are often found in the backs of wardrobes, in boxes of clothing, under rugs, or in dark areas. They are typically fond of fabric, particularly those stored in easy to reach locations, improperly sealed containers, or inadequately cleaned garments. Evict these pests from your life and ensure you vacuum under all of your furniture, between any nooks and crevices, and keep your space free from mess and grime.
Before packing away your winter attire to a suitable container, make sure you wash and launder all of your items. Moth larvae accounts for most of the damage done to stored clothing, and since you cannot see them, you must ensure everything is washed and free from pests. Food remnants as well as dried skin and other hidden nasties can provide nutrients for budding moths, and will almost guarantee your clothes get eaten during their storage. Dry clean delicate items, and machine wash everything else. If you haven’t worn certain items over the winter, or have only used them a few times, there is no need to wash them, simply briskly brush them out and hang in an airy spot during a sunny day.
Storing your garments correctly is one of the best ways to safeguard your clothes, and ensure they stay sumptuous and intact over the warmer months. Choose a location that is clean, dark, dry, and cool for maximum pest deterrence and unpacking ease. If you plan to store your clothing underneath a staircase, safeguard your outfits by cleaning the space thoroughly. Moreover, consider installing some convenient and practical drawers or cupboards to keep your storage space organised and functional. Finally, when storing your items, make sure everything is folded (especially knit-wear, as it will stretch if hung), and placed within a plastic box/container, or plastic sealable bag. Ensure you line the plastic container or bag with an acid-free tissue paper, to prevent moisture build up. If you are storing items for longer than a year, avoid plastic altogether, as it won’t breathe; instead choose a clean suitcase or similar receptacle.
If, like me, you don’t want to unpack your clothing at the end of autumn and smell like a 100 year old embalmed corpse, you will want to avoid mothballs and formaldehyde pest control. Go natural and green when storing your garments and employ some eco-friendly alternatives such as lavender or cedar balls. Lavender is an excellent deterrent to moths, and has the added benefit of smelling lovely. Head out to the garden and pick some fresh lavender, pop into a square of cheesecloth and tie closed. Add these little sachets between your clothes and you will ensure you avoid any moth destruction over summer.