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It’s time for the changing of the guard.

Over the next few weeks, your beloved sweaters, heavy cords and impossibly thick socks are all going to bow out of your wardrobe for at least six months. And since your clothes deserve only the best during your time apart, we’d like to show you how to do it right.

Brace yourself. We’re going to talk about summer storage.

Step One: Clean It
Our mothers raised us right, so we feel honor-bound to remind you: don’t put anything away dirty. Once you’ve laid out the winter’s haul, we suggest going over it with a steam cleaner like this one—or failing that, taking it to the dry cleaners. If there are any almost-unnoticeable stains you’ve let slide until now, this is your chance to get rid of them—along with any bugs that might feast on your cardigans over the summer.

Step Two: Pack It
Once you’re done cleaning, your clothes should be pretty near mint condition. Now you just have to keep them that way. That means folding, rolling and packing your clothes as gently as possible. For wool suits, we suggest gingerly turning the jacket inside out (so the lining is all that’s visible) and tucking the sleeves into the armholes before you fold. If you’re feeling particularly protective, you can pack tissue paper between the layers, but that’s usually where we draw the line.

Step Three: Stow It
We’d warn against anything too complicated like a vacuum-powered unit that might caused more damage than it prevents. Throw in a few cedar chips (the woodsiest insect repellent) and all you need is a clear spot under your bed, or in your basement, or in a storage unit somewhere. If you did everything right, when September rolls around it’ll be just the way you left it.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom