Rothschild is the founder of Cross It Off Your List, a personal organizing service based in New York City. Putting last season’s things away takes effort, but there’s a payoff besides extra room: Most people forget what they’ve stored, so when they pull it all out again, it’s like going shopping.
Plan to rotate you wardrobe twice a year, around October and April. The exact timing will depend on the climate, but it’s best to wait as long as you can. (There’s no point in packing away your tank tops before a stretch of Indian summer.)
To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, make a list of all the things you need to store (shoes, sweaters, coats) and then tackle one category at a time. This is a great opportunity to make decisions about what to keep, give away, or repair. Clothes should be clean when going into storage, since stains can cause fabric deterioration and attract moths.
For sweaters, pants, and anything else that might stretch out or get creased on a hanger, I like the jumbo plastic bins from the Container Store. Choose one size and stick with it, so they can be stacked. Instead of folding sweaters or shirts, lay them flat on top of one another and simply cross the sleeves- you can fit more in and prevent wrinkles. If space is an issue, consider using empty suitcases. You have to store them somewhere, so they might as well be put to good use. Any clothes that have to go on hangers should be placed in canvas bags so they can breathe but still be protected.
I like to line plastic storage boxes with an old cotton sheet or a few layers of acid-free tissue paper for extra protection. And rather than storing shoes in their original boxes, which are all different sizes, place them in felt bags and store lots of pairs in larger bins- it takes up much less space. Finally, it is worth it to put furs in cold storage; heat and humidity can lead to a disastrous amount of shedding.
If you have the luxury of an extra closet, place a few cedar panels from Home Depot inside- the wood really does protect clothes from moths, and it smells great. Since basements tend to get damp, and attics hot, I recommend places within your house (like the top shelves of closets or under the bed) that don’t need to be easily accesses. If you live in a tiny apartment, you could look into off-site storage. A good service such as CityCloset in the New York City area will bring a four-by-six-foot cedar-lined container with a hanging bar right to your door, then take it away until the end of the season for around $50 a month.