Although there is still a few more weeks for shorts and T-shirts, many people are getting ready to make the "closet switch" for cooler season clothing.  The is especially true for kids clothing.  So, how is the best way to store your summer clothes for them to be ready again next spring?  Here are a few tips.

Summer clothes in particular can start to smell toward the end of the season, especially absorbent activewear that can easily harbor bacteria<http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2016/reasons-your-comfy-activewear-stinks.html>, or swimsuits with chorine smells. These smells can be tough to remove even after a wash. If odors linger in the clothes you are packing up, then wash them again with half a cup of baking soda and immediately put them in the dryer, or warm sun to stop new bacteria blooms.  Vinegar helps as well and won't harm most activewear. A couple cycles of this process tend to remove even stubborn smells.

Inspect all clothes as you put them away.  Especially baby clothing since many of those stains will attract pests.  Formula, milk, food and even perfume will attract unwanted visitors in storage.  For children's clothing, sort them by size and gender.  This will help when packing and labeling everything later.

Once clothing is clean.  Choose your storage containers.  Most experts advise against storing clothing in plastic dry-cleaning bags since the fabric can't breathe and can trap moisture.  Plastic tubs are an option if stored in a climate-controlled area.  Make sure you have a size and shape you can easily carry, and it fits your storage area.  Nothing is worse than packing a tub only to find you can't lift it, or it doesn't fit on the shelf.

Label your tubs.  If you are storing hand-me-downs your labels need to include sizes, gender and season.  If it is for a family member their name and season should work.  Label the tub even if you don't feel like you need to.  Often people think they will remember what is in storage, but forget, finding it years later or after new clothes are purchased.

Protect your Clothes.  Choose a location that is clean, cool, dark and dry.  Although there may be space in your attic, basement or garage; if they don't meet these guidelines, they may not be the best choice for clothing storage.  The top of a closet or under beds may be a better storage location.  If using plastic tubs, make sure the lids are secure.  You may even want to tape the lids down for a tight seal.  Old suitcases may be another option for suitable storage.

A final thought for seasonal clothing storage is odor.  Adding a sachet with dried lavender, rosemary and/or cedar chips is a great way to keep clothes smelling good and deter pest.  Moth balls are always an option however, they don't smell wonderful and can be an issue for pets and children.  Many people put dry sheets in their tubs and between clothing.  This can assist with odor and some moisture control, however doesn't offer pest control.

With a little thought, effort and time clothing can be stored and ready for next season, or your next baby in no time.

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