August 26, 1997 in Features

Extra Care Now Will Pay Off When Unpacking In Spring

Shanna Southern Peterson Correspondent

The days are getting shorter. The Seahawks have left Cheney. The Nordstrom anniversary sale is just a memory.

It all adds up to one thing: summer in the Inland Northwest is drawing to a close.

It’s time to put away the shorts and tank tops and pull out the pullovers. But, this year, let’s do it right. To make sure those white pants are still white next Memorial Day, you need to take a few precautionary steps now.

Before storing anything, it should be properly cleaned. Even though it may look OK to the untrained eye, the International Fabricare Institute warns some stains are invisible and may darken over time, especially sugar or fruit stains, such as wine or juice.

Another reason to clean your clothing before storage is to discourage those pesky insects from feasting on your favorite T-shirt all winter. Remember, the grunge look is out, so the only use for a shirt with holes next spring is going to be as a dust rag.

Don’t hang your clothing outside before storing. This invites little pests to burrow into the fabric, essentially providing them with the bug world’s version of Club Med combined with an all-you-can-eat buffet from Halloween through Easter.

Before stowing your clothes for the season you need to do that mending you put off all summer: sew on buttons, fix that saggy hem, secure shoulder pads. If you wait until spring to complete these little tasks, there are bound to be missing parts which will only make the job more difficult.

Clothing should be stored in wooden, cloth or cardboard boxes. Opinions vary on whether to use plastic containers. Plastic can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for mildew, not something easily removed from fabric after months of incubation.

If you live in a very humid area, or store garments in a damp basement, it might be a good idea to seal them in plastic - but be sure everything is completely dry first.

To keep dampness out, place a few charcoal briquettes in each box or bag before sealing to help cut down on the moisture level.

Fold clothes loosely and don’t try to cram too many items into a single storage space. This helps avoid creasing and cuts down on the amount of time you’ll spend ironing next spring.

If you hang any items in a closet, be sure to use padded hangers to avoid stretching at the shoulder seams of sweaters or shirts.

To keep them looking their best, protect your clothing from exposure to sunlight and dust during storage; choose a spot (such as an attic or basement closet) that is off the beaten track. The less they are disturbed the better.

For a price, some dry cleaners will supply storage for off-season apparel. If space is truly at a premium in your home, you may want to investigate this option - but be prepared to pay for the privilege of having someone else put up with your summer clothes all winter.

We suggest cleaning out that scary area under your bed and using that space before spending good money for clothing storage.

By applying a little time and effort now, your clothing should look fresh as a daisy and be ready to go next spring.

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