As temperatures continue to climb, that cozy sweater in the back of your closet is probably the last thing on your mind. (We’re sweating just thinking about it!) But if you want your winter wardrobe to survive the summer then there are a few steps to take before leaving your sweaters to their hibernation. Just like doing your laundry, there is a proper protocol for storing cold weather pieces. Properly stowing away your cashmere, wool, and other delicate knitwear will keep your clothing smelling fresh, feeling soft, and looking like new over time.

So without further ado, here are a few important tips for storing your knits… You’ll thank us in the fall!

Start fresh

Before relegating your cold weather items to the back of your closet, be sure to take one final trip to the cleaners. This will prevent any stains from setting and eliminate the icky bacteria and food particles that insects love. Plus, no one wants to pull out stale-smelling clothes come fall. As an alternative to dry-cleaning, Who What Wear recommends hand washing your knits in a specially formulated cleanser like Soak Wash, The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, or even a gentle baby shampoo.

Save space

Stowing your sweaters away in sealable bags or boxes will keep them fresh and save space in your closet (especially if said bags can be placed under the bed). But keep in mind that while vacuum-seal bags are the most compact, you have to be extra careful not to seal in moisture too. Real Simple recommends using garment boxes made of breathable materials such as cotton muslin.

Keep bugs at bay

Skip mothballs unless you have an active infestation, since these are actually pesticides (Woman’s Day). Instead, opt for natural moth repellents like cedar blocks and lavender. Not only will cedar and lavender preserve the quality of your knits, they’ll keep your clothes smelling yummy too (Who What Wear). If you still start to see holes, Vogue recommends placing your sweaters in a plastic bag in the freezer for 48 hours, pulling them out for a day, and then freezing them again for another 48 hours to kill off bugs.

Do you have any of your own tips when it comes to storing cold weather clothes?

Share them in the comments!

xo Ilana

Illustration: Carrie Beth Taylor
Sources: Vogue, Real Simple, Woman’s Day, Who What Wear