How do I care for my winter woollies in spring?

As the spring weather heats up, it’s time for us to put away our coats, scarves, jumpers and boots and blankets once and for all. But how do you know if you’re doing it right?

We asked expert Jo Carmichael from decluttering agency All Sorted Out to give us her tips on storing everything.

Winter woollies

Jo says there are only a few little things you should do before saying goodbye to them until next season. First things first, she suggests you make sure all your winter threads are clean before you put them away.

”I always wash wool and cashmere sweaters in a mild wool wash at the end of winter, and make sure I don’t neglect the big coats! Washing and drying them on a good day in the sun will get rid of any germs and nasties that come with the winter blues.”

As for storage, Jo says it’s easy if you have a plan.

“During winter I fold sweaters Marie Kondo style in drawers, at the end of winter it’s then easy to transfer cleanly washed sweaters directly to the top shelf of the wardrobe, replacing them with t-shirts or dresses that have spent the winter up higher.”

She also puts her scarves in baskets, one containing winter scarves and the other one summer. At the end of winter, she suggests you wash and fold all winter scarves, and swap with summer scarves, which you should have in a basket on the top shelf of your wardrobe.

If you want things to smell fresh when you unpack them next autumn, Jo recommends storing them with a few added extras.

“Cedar sticks or balls can help protect winter woollies from moths. Place the cedar sticks or balls in the drawers alongside the clothes or into pockets of garments that hang. You can also purchase cedar and lavender hooks which you can simply place in between the coat hangers.”

If you don’t like those, something more traditional may appeal: “Mini drawer sachets and scented soaps are readily available in many fragrances, and when placed in drawers or baskets with sweaters or shoes they make things smell wonderful,” she adds.

Blankets and bedding

Bed linen needs to be fully cleaned before you put it away for winter. It’s a popular place for bacteria – think about all the hair and skin that has contact with it. While washing blankets, doonas and doona covers isn’t always easy, it’s necessary.

“I recommend finding a good laundry to have your doona washed, cover washed and ironed and blankets dry cleaned. This is reasonably priced and items are returned beautifully folded and wrapped for easy storage and protection,” says Jo.

“At any time of year, when it's dry and sunny weather, place pillows and doonas in the sun on your balcony or garden for an hour or two. The sun and light have a restorative effect on the fabric and stuffing.”

Again, if you want to keep things smelling fragrant til next year, try a little scent. Jo often sprays the blankets with homemade lavender and tea tree water, making them smell fresh.

Kids uniforms

We all know what kids’ cupboards and bedrooms can be like and it can often be a year-round struggle to keep them tidy, so every little bit helps when it comes to getting unnecessary items put away.

“It’s great to store their out of season uniform up higher in their cupboard, in a plastic tub so you can what it is, with labelling that helps everyone to remember what’s what," Jo says. "About now you’ll be making sure that blazers are dry cleaned and folded on top of the other winter uniforms that have also been washed or dry cleaned.”

Winter appliances

It’s easy and safe to store appliances you’re not using, like big ugly heaters. Electric ones can simply be unplugged and if you have a gas heater, you can store it away safely, ready for the warmer weather.

“Take the time to unscrew the gas outlet and remove the heater so that a little more space is created,” says Jo. “Ikea has large, extra heavy duty clear plastic storage bags which fit heaters and fans. Place the appliance inside and zip it up to keep it dust-free. You could store them individually, or do a direct swap, using the same bag: heater goes in and fan comes out.”

Kitchen things

You’ve been using the slow cooker all winter but now it’s taking up valuable room on the bench. Just put it away for a few months and get it out once the nights start to draw in again.

“If you have shelving or a storeroom not too far from the kitchen, you can store out of season cookware - think crock pot or slow cooker - there. Keep the cords together with the appliance,” suggests Jo. “Store them in plastic tubs for protection and to make it easy to see what it is.”

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