Tips & Tricks for Smart Storage of Off Season Items

Apartment Therapy's Home Remedies

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We're less than a week away from the official start of spring! With the change of season we start to pull out our lighter jackets and kick off our heavy comforters, and this year it is really none too soon. But with this change comes the dilemma of what to do with the past season's trappings. I don't know about you, but I don't want to look at or think about my snow boots one moment longer than I have to! Before we all start shoving our winter blankets and coats into a forgotten corner, here are a few tips and tricks for storing those off season items.

Clothing

  • Go high! Baskets at the top of a closet, or on top of an armoire, are great places for storing out of season clothing. Here's great roundup of affordable baskets that would be great for storing out of season items.
  • Or think low. Designate bins or drawers under the bed for out of season items — swap out sweaters for shorts when the weather warms up.
  • For special items that require hanging, canvas garment bags keep clothes protected and separate from in-season items in the closet.
  • Rolling racks are a great way to create extra hanging storage if you have an attic or spare room for one. Be sure to get one with a cover if it will be living in an unfinished area of a basement or attic.
  • Swap out dry cleaner hangers for sturdier versions if clothing is to be stored hanging. Over time, thin wire hangers can permanently misshape garments.
  • Be sure everything is clean before being stored. Dirty clothes can discolor and be ruined in storage.
  • Throw some lavender sachets or cedar blocks in with the stored clothing items to keep them fresh and to deter pests.

Shoes and Boots

  • Storage ottomans and trunks are an easy access place to store out of season footwear.
  • Clear plastic shoe boxes are made to stack, and make pulling the next season's shoe wardrobe a simple task. They can easily stack on a closet shelf or on the floor under hanging clothes.
  • Make sure everything is clean and dry before storing. Now is the time to address water or salt stains on winter boots or wash off mud and grass stains from summer sandals.
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Bedding

  • Spare sheet sets are compact and can be stored anywhere there's a little extra room. Don't get hung up on linens needing to go in the linen closet. If there's an extra drawer in your dresser or a bit of room in the office, go ahead and store the sheets there!
  • Blankets can be compressed into vacuum bags to take up less space in the top of a linen closet.
  • Large baskets and trunks do double duty as tables and storage for bulky seasonal bedding.
  • As with clothing, be sure all bedding is clean before storage. Dirty items can discolor and (yuck!) attract pests.

Dishes

  • A dedicated display of dishes can be a striking statement, and a constant reminder to actually use your special dishes!
  • Specialty serveware that only come out during the holidays, like that enormous platter with a picture of a turkey or the plate that says "Santa's Cookies," can stay protected in padded, zippered dish protectors while they're tucked away on a top cabinet shelf.
  • For those fortunate to have a large pantry, higher shelves are a great place to store out of season dishes. They're out of the way, but not out of sight where they might be forgotten, and as the high shelves aren't convenient for storing everyday use pantry items the dishes aren't taking up valuable real estate.
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Sporting Equipment

  • Basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, and other large sport balls are ideal for storing in large zippered tote bags. The tote bags contain the balls and can be placed on a shelf, on the floor, or hung from a hook.
  • Sporting equipment can be sensitive to humidity, or lack of humidity. Leather and vinyl items like baseball gloves and protective gear should be kept in higher humidity areas to prevent drying and cracking, while items like ice skates and bicycles, which could potentially rust, should be kept away from humid areas.
  • Skis can be placed in storage bags and slipped under a bed or a long sofa.
  • Sporting equipment looks great hung on a wall. Looking at your bike on display is a pleasant reminder of the warm weather to come!

General Tip

Remember to label anything you can't easily see into. When things are being stored above your head or far under the bed, it's much easier to get to what you need when the contents are clearly marked. Also, don't be like me and reuse labeled containers for other items without relabeling. It is no fun to pull down the box labeled "winter pillow covers" to find it filled with candles instead!

(Image credits: Kristen & Michelle's Modern Bohemian; Liana Hayles ; Sarah Coffey)

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