Guided by Tangent GC part 3: Preparing for winter
Make it last teams up with Tangent GC – a Swedish brand that provides a superior range of garment care products – for a series of indispensable guides.
Make it last teams up with Tangent GC – a Swedish brand that provides a superior range of garment care products – to present a series of garment care guides. Visit Tangent GC here.
Winter is coming. Make your life easier by preparing storage of the clothes you won’t be needing the coming season. Your favourites will last much longer and they will be ready to wear come spring. This guide works the other way around as well–when it is time to stow away your thick coats and boots, just follow the key tips–the same basic rules apply.
Sift and control
First out, this is a great opportunity for you to go through your wardrobe and get in control. You should master it–not the other way around! We covered this in the first guide, but in a nutshell: Rid yourself of clothes you do not wear regularly. A narrower range gives you oversight and power to command. When in control you can easily weed out and you see what is missing which makes shopping so much easier.
Clean and prepare
Perhaps most important of all: Clean your garments and shoes properly before putting them away. Clean clothes as well as leather items are much less likely to be targeted by vermin. Also, if you happen to put a dirty sweater away, stained or smelling of sweat, it tends to be quite hard to come to terms with it down the line. Get stains out using a clothes’ brush and some mild stain remover, air them out thoroughly. Spray jackets or sweaters that smell of perspiration generously with diluted vinegar essence (one part vinegar essence–with a concentration of 12 %–mixed together with one part water). After a few days, both the smell of vinegar and sweat will have disappeared.
Invest in material
Do not re-use the plastic bags your items might have been wrapped in when purchased, or the ones you get from the dry cleaners for that matter. Your clothes need to breathe. The biggest problem with plastic bags is that you risk trapping moist inside, that could result in mildew. Moist will dry the fibres out as well. Instead, invest in some sturdy boxes, preferably made of cardboard or wood. They could be plastic ones as well as long as they do not seal perfectly shut. Remember, air should get in and out. To be on the safe side–use vermin deterrents like red cedar balls or a lavender sachet when you store animal fabrics such as wool (lambs, angora, cashmere), down and leather.
Find the best space
The natural place for storage is of course in a cupboard. If you do not have luxury of a spare cupboard, try to find a space with room temperature; under the stairs, under your bed. Attics tend to get really hot if they sit just below the roof and uninsulated storage areas might get damp. If you use a cellar, use one that is heated. And do not store in close proximity to a warm boiler.
Group by group
- Sunday bests, shirts and skirts: Use hangers and garment bags for protection. You can fashion garment bags out of old sheets. Button up when possible so that the shapes will keep. Trousers should be folded once over a hanger (there are special hangers with attached clothespins, if you feel like it).
- Delicate knits (animal fibres): Never hang delicate knits. The sheer weight of the fabric will weigh the garment down, eventually it loses its shape. If you have some room in a drawer, reserve that for your knits. If not, it is ok to fold and place in a box. Just make sure there is ample space for them, these materials need to breathe. Put in some natural deterrents as mentioned above.
- Tough cotton (jeans, sweats, t-shirts): Wash, fold and stow–still, do not cram. Moths and the like prefers animal fibre, so, no need for any deterrents there.
- Leather shoes: Wash with castile soap, let dry. Grease and polish if that is the preferred look. Put in shoe trees made of unfinished cedar or lime tree. Store in the original boxes, there are shoe boxes out there if you happened to throw them out. Alternatively, use textile shoe bags and keep them on a shoe rack.
- Leather boots: Treat as leather shoes. Here is the original box to prefer. Made to fit. Do not keep the shafts folded. You could use a boot shaper if you like, crumpled up pieces of newspaper works just as well. If you have lost the box–use boots hooks instead.
Some bugs live of natural fabrics. Carpet beetles, moths, and butterflies love wool of all sorts. Some flying vermin live of leather and fur as well. But it is not the full-grown specimen you need to worry about, it is the larvae. Prevention is key. Keep your house clean–remove all organic materials. Never leave food, dirty clothes or dust rats lying around. Look regularly for both small holes in the fabric and dried up larvae skins lying on the bottom of your cupboard. We advise against using chemical deterrents–the old moth balls turned out to be carcinogenic. Use some pleasant smelling cedar products, lavender sachets or small pieces of cloth sprayed with patchouli oil.
Not so lucky?
If your home gets infested it does not necessarily mean that you are sloppy or dirty–these bugs fly through open windows and doors. It might seem like an impossible task when you find small holes in most of your clothes and larvae skins lying everywhere. There is only one way out really: Brace yourself and sanitise patiently.
Tidy up, vacuum and swab the floors and baseboards both. If you have wooden floors–get all the dirt out of the crannies between the floorboards. Empty your cupboards and drawers, vacuum and swab as well. Throw out the vacuum bag afterwards–this is a perfect breeding ground for these little pests. All textiles should be treated with either heat or cold. Heat means washing, tumble drying or using a drying cabinet–get the temperature above 60°C. Cold means using your freezer, get the items below 18°C for a week. Do not forget about carpets, sofa covers and wall hangings–if nothing else, they should be shaken, aired out and brushed meticulously. Again, prevention is key.
The short version
- Store clean pieces only
- Store in room temperature and avoid sunlight
- Use cotton garment bags, cardboard, paper and wood – never plastic bags
- Let your garments breathe, do not pack tightly
- Take precautions to avoid vermin, tidy op often and use natural deterrents
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