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5 tips for storing your summer clothes in Chicago

5 tips for storing summer clothing
Written by Lily Rogers

It's that time again. Your bulky winter clothes come spilling out of storage to take up valuable space in your closets and drawers. You know what this means: it's time for summer things to fly to storage for the winter to make room for more inconsiderate houseguests.

No city knows the woes of winter wardrobes better than Chicago. The Midwest as a whole is more likely to store clothing than any other region, and swapping out seasonal items is standard practice for a reason. Snow boots and thermal underwear may be saviors in harsh winter weather, but they're no friend to stuffed studio apartments or limited closet space.  

Because your things are Made to Keep (even if you don't have room), storage can help you stay sane. Your summer goods have the decency to fold up nice, but when you're making room for down and wool you need all the space you can save. With that in mind, here are some summer clothes storage ideas to give your parka the extra elbow room it doesn't deserve.

Tip #1: Summer clothing storage

illustration of woman taking big coat out of a box

Coming in hot like your drunk uncle after a Bears game, your insulated parka definitely makes its larger-than-life presence known. Flopped on the couch or squeezing itself into spaces clearly too small for it, it's an inevitable part of this season. You'll just have to bite the bullet and make some room by storing your more polite, billowy summer wardrobe off-site.  

As you send your summer sleeveless collection to hibernate the winter away in storage, make sure to wash or dry clean every piece you plan to store. Also, make sure everything is completely dry before you store it. This keeps your things much fresher for longer, increasing their lifespan.

Tip #2: Storing summer clothing and accessories

illustration of a man laying in a pile of clothes

Come winter, bulky gloves and scarves clutter up the place like that roommate with the unfortunate hoarding problem. Too bad you have to clear out space-saving summer accessories like swimsuit coverups and flip-flops to accommodate them, but at least your leaf-print linen bandanas are spared the indignity of sharing space with a pair of soggy mittens.

Use lavender in place of mothballs to keep your summer clothing smelling fresh and floral while deterring moths and other insects through the winter. Cedar balls are also natural deterrents and bring pleasant woodsy scents.

Tip #3: Summer clothes storage in Chicago

illustration of woman storing summer clothes

Unlike breezy summer cottons that remind you of piña coladas and happiness, your scratchy wool slacks and thermal underwear are moving in like your overeager CrossFit-obsessed friend to let you know it's time to bulk up. Make room in your drawers for bigger britches by moving your shorts to the storage unit.

Even if you're using a climate-controlled unit, it's a good idea to store more delicate fabrics in plastic airtight containers. Make sure your containers are well-washed and dried out before you add any items. Use vacuum seal bags only for short-term storage, because over time these can ruin shape and fit.

Tip #4: How to store out-of-season clothes

illustration of person pulling hats out of a box

If trading straw hats and visors for balaclava and beanies has you feeling like you moved from vacation vibes back to the daily (icy) grind, we're with you. Sweater weather has a certain seasonal appeal, but it's still hard to say so long to that sundress. The end of summer means you won't be rolling up your sleeves, but you probably are getting back to long work hours.

Make sure your clothes are well rested when you're reunited. Rolling clothing rather than folding prevents hard creases, especially for thinner summer fabrics. This helps keep the shape and integrity of your garments.

Tip #5: Chicago storage for summer shoes

illustration of boots and sandals

Winter boots (and the thick socks that come with them) may remind you of when your smelly, sweaty cousins would come to stay for Christmas and you'd all have to pile in the cold basement to make room for the adults … no? just us? Well, swapping out your airy open-toe sandals doesn't feel great regardless. Dream of uncrowded, sunny summer days when you can reunite with your lighter footwear again.

Before you tuck them away for the winter, clean your summer shoes thoroughly, condition leather tops and soles, and stuff them with just enough acid-free tissue to help them keep their shape.

Wondering when to put away summer clothes?

It's hard to let go, but summer clothes have their season. Luckily there's storage to move you through those turns in weather. Transitional pieces can stick around longer, like lighter jackets that can layer, but if it's time for the extra blanket on the bed, it's time to accept you're not wearing that Hawaiian shirt any time soon.

Midwest weather can get REAL real each season, and Chicagoans know better than most how to dress for it. The smart ones also know that self-storage units in Chicago are the way to go when off-season clothes start cramping their style. Here's hoping for the best winter yet, Midwesterners. Warm wishes.

About the author

Lily Rogers

Lily is a writer, editor, and content strategist. Her curiosity spans genre, from travel to pop culture to food, and she writes about all that and more. She's also a social introvert, literature nerd, and (slight) hoarder. When not in pursuit of her next adventure, she's most likely at home with her wife and two cats.

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