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Winter clothes preparation

Get your closets and clothes ready for the winter!

Winter clothes preparation happens in the fall when you start unpacking and inspecting your last season's winter clothes. While you are unpacking and reorganizing for winter, you'll be able to see what you may need to add, change, mend or replace in your winter wardrobe.

Yep, preparing for the winter season requires some work! And doing your own winter clothes preparation will keep you busy for a while.

For anyone living in a cold winter climate, it's almost a rite of passage to pack up your summer clothing and unpack your winter clothing in the fall. Many of us don't have the luxury of big closets so swapping out clothes for the next season is an annual event. Of course, you then do the reverse at the end of winter to get ready for spring and summer.

Getting organized

Number 1 on the list on getting started with your winter clothes preparation task is the mental and physical challenge of getting organized.

First, let's start with organizing some of your inside spaces; the all-important closet space and storage areas. No matter which way your clothing is going (into storage or on to your closet racks), it gives you a chance to assess many of your clothes for its wearability.

Packing away your summer clothes to make way for your winter clothes is next on the list. Deciding to donate or recycle older clothes makes this wardrobe swap-over the ideal time to do it both for summer clothes being moved out and the winter clothes being moved in.

You get to ask yourself:

  • Will I wear this now? If not, why?
  • Will I wear it next season? If not, then it's time to pass it on to someone else who will.
  • Do I want to keep it? If not, see the line above!

Storing clothes

Next is how are you going to store your clothes? Storing clothes in large and small durable plastic tubs and containers I've found works the best.

Why? Because they are:

  • Long-lasting
  • Stackable
  • Fit neatly into storage areas and closet spaces
  • Have tight-fitting lids to prevent dust from getting in
  • Can be transparent to see what is in it
  • Easy to label on the sides and top
  • Reasonably priced
  • Readily available
  • Easily transportable
  • Different sizes, shapes and colours available
  • Easy to colour-code bins for each of your family

There is certainly an inital cost to doing your winter clothes preparation but once bought, the tubs and containers last for a very long time.

For the smaller winter clothes, items and accessories, I use the smaller molded plastic transparent storage boxes with lids. These storage containers are readily available from any department-store retailer or general merchandise/hardware retailer in your area. Some box styles are on wheels that can be kept under beds or in closets.

Alternatives to plastic containers

Winter clothes preparation can be done with less cost if your budget is limited. Using large cardboard boxes of similar size is a good alternative. I use a few large upright computer boxes for the ski jackets and snow pants because they are bulky and awkward to deal with.

You can also buy large boxes and wardrobe boxes from moving companies who have retail outlets in your area. Even the banker-type boxes you can purchase from an office supply store are good for smaller winter items and accessories.

Very important! If you go this route of getting boxes, only choose boxes that have not had any food in it.

Storage container sizes

Winter clothes range from almost thin to thick to bulky so you'll need a variety of differently sized containers to accommodate all types of the winter clothes you and your family need.

Typically, these containers range from 6" deep up to 15" or 24" deep. Generally, the width is somewhere around 16" to 18" wide by 24" or 36" long.

However, they do come in different combinations of different sizes at different depths. Just depends on how you want to organize your clothes storage and the size of the space you have to work with in your closet or storage area.

Here's what a typical winter wardrobe storage system consists of. Now, if you have children then the amount of winter clothes you have to store will no doubt multiply by a lot!

You'll need several containers for each of the following:

  • Large bulky items like outerwear, jackets, snowsuits, coats, windproof jacket shells, waterproof outerware and insulated pants
  • Other bulky items likes sweaters, fleece jackets, turtlenecks, flannel shirts, hoodies and thick long-sleeved tops and T-shirts
  • Accessories like scarves, pashimas, (shawls) hats, earmuffs, headbands, gloves, glove liners, mittens, neck warmers and balaclavas
  • Boot container for your boots, winter shoes, wool slippers, winter athletic shoes, ice grippers for boots
  • Inner-wear container for your thermal underwear, tights, leggings and socks
  • Winter nightwear for your warm flannel pajamas, long-sleeved cotton tops, dressing gown, and other night wear apparel.

Phew! That's a lot of storage containers but very necessary.

Start fresh for the winter season

Start the season with either airing, washing or dry cleaning your winter clothes. Wash all your innerwear (long underwear) after you unpack it so it's all clean and fresh.

For everything else, several days of airing out the bulkier items works well before deciding it's alright to wear. If there is a musty smell still clinging to your clothes even after airing them for a few days then you will need to wash/dry clean them after all.

You may have to dry-clean the more sensitive clothes or spot-clean the harder-to-keep clean winter clothes. If you've put them away the previous winter without cleaning, those stains will be harder to get out if at all. Doing a thorough check at the end of winter lessens the chance of this happening.

Caring for your clothes

Remember to read the manufacturer's instructions to determine the best way to clean your winter clothes. Those tags are there for a very good reason otherwise you might damage your favourite piece of winter clothing.

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