Having moved more than 25 times (thanks to the military), I’ve lived in all sizes of homes with all types of closets (or lack of closets) and storage. I’ve had to and chosen to store my own sweaters in a wide variety of different ways. And as a professional organizer, I can explain the pros and cons of different sweater storage options.
What is the best way to store sweaters?
Deciding on the best way to store sweaters depends on your answer to several questions. Once you determine your answers, then you can select the best way to store each and all of your sweaters.
What type of fibers is your sweater made of? Natural fibers require more careful care and storage.
Is your sweater heavy or lightweight? Delicate weaves or very heavy sweaters require careful folding and stacking.
Is your sweater prone to wrinkling or stretching? Sweaters that wrinkle easily may do better hung up correctly for sweaters. Sweaters that stretch easily should never be hung up.
Do you have enough room to store all your sweaters or do you need to rotate them in and out depending on the season? If you need to store sweaters away when they’re out of season, you need to store them correctly for the fabric.
Will you store your sweaters in your dresser? You need to fold them and store them correctly so they’re not damaged.
Will you keep your sweaters in your closet? Knowing tips for closet storage will make this option work for you.
Do you have open shelving to store your sweaters on? Knowing the guidelines and products that will keep sweaters neat on shelves will prolong their usefulness.
Do you wear your sweaters a majority of the year or less frequently? Deciding how accessible you want your sweaters to be will impact your storage choice.
Do you have any pest issues you need to consider in selecting storage options? Knowing how to prevent and treat pests that are attracted to sweaters with natural fibers are key to making these sweaters last.
Let’s look at all the different factors you need to consider and the different storage options available to you for organizing and storing sweaters.
Sweater Storage Ideas
Start by considering the specific needs of your sweaters.
Some sweaters are delicate, like cashmere, and require more delicate care. Other sweaters are made of sturdy fibers or more sturdy weaves and can hold up to a variety of different storage choices.
Determine whether your sweater wrinkles, snags or stretches easily to help you choose which way to store it.
Since a cashmere sweater is an investment for most of us and can last for many, many years when taken care of, knowing how to best store them is key.
It’s best to store cashmere in climate controlled conditions and in cotton so that the fabric can breathe. This prevents mildew and discoloration from humidity or chemicals from plastic bags and tubs.
Cashmere sweaters should be carefully folded to prevent wrinkling and snagging. Stack them neatly without over stacking. Do not cram them into a drawer or other tight space that will cause wrinkling. When possible, don’t hang cashmere sweaters.
If you have more closet space than you do drawer space, you may find that hanging sweaters up will work for you.
How to Hang a Sweater
I prefer to hang many of my sweaters up. I have more closet space than drawer space. I like to be able to see all the sweaters in one glance as they are displayed on the closet hanger bar rather than dig through a drawer to find a particular sweater.
It’s important to only hang sweaters that:
Are not delicate
Are not prone to stretching
Will remain on the hanger without slipping off too easily
It’s also critical to never hang a sweater on wire hangers. Wire hangers will stretch your sweater and snag sweaters to easily. If you are going to hang your sweaters, be sure to look for thicker hangers to accommodate and protect them.
Also, never keep sweaters in dry cleaner bags. Your sweaters need to breathe and the chemicals in the bags can discolor fabrics.
Never hang a sweater on a hanger like a blouse or coat. This will cause should bumps and stretching of the neck, shoulders and possibly sleeves of the sweater. Instead hang sweaters by folding them over the hanger as I do with my own sweaters and shared in the best way to hang your sweater.
You can also achieve hanging shelf space by using a canvas hanging shelf. This works well for your particularly delicate sweaters that should be folded.
Closet organization and sweater storage depends on the space and design of your specific closet. These tips work for most situations, but you may have to be creative in combining tips to make your unique space work best for you.
How to Fold Sweaters
There are many different techniques for folding sweaters. Some are complicated, but I prefer the simplest folding technique. Life is busy enough, I don’t need to make it more complicated with elaborate folding techniques.
I use the same steps to fold sweaters and sweatshirts. With sweaters, it’s important to smooth out wrinkles and take the extra couple of seconds to carefully fold and smooth out each step.
In addition to smoothing out wrinkles, it’s important to also carefully line up the edges of the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater at each step of the folding process.
I prefer to fold sweaters this way because it keeps the sleeves folded in more securely than folding it store display style by folding each sleeve in separately.
Folding a hoodie takes an extra step or two, but I shared 3 different techniques for how to fold a hoodie. If any of your sweaters have hoods, this is the folding tutorial for you.
You can find my best clothes folding tips for 37 different items of clothing in How to Fold Clothes.
You may find that bulky sweaters are difficult to fold neatly and they tend to not stay in the neatly folded state as well. If you find that is happening, consider whether the bulky sweater is a candidate for hanging correctly on a hanger.
How to Store Sweaters on a Closet Shelf
Storing sweaters on a closet shelf or shelving unit is often the best way to store them and balance space limits.
Always take the few extra seconds to fold sweaters neatly and smooth out wrinkles to prevent creasing. Stack folded sweaters only 3-6 high depending on the weight of the sweaters. Stacks of sweaters that are too heavy will crease the sweaters on the bottom of the stack.
Using shelf dividers is the secret to keeping those stacks of sweaters neatly organized and in place rather than becoming piles that are falling down off the shelf. Shelf dividers are a great idea for renters or anyone that move frequently because you can take them with you and use them in your next home. And they work equally well with sheets and towels in the linen closet, so they’re a flexible organizing tool with many uses.
Sweater bags are another option for storing sweaters on shelves. They work especially well for storing sweaters away when the seasons change. The sweater bags also work well for under bed storage or on the floor of the closet, if necessary.
Be sure to look for cotton or breathable sweater bags to prevent mildew and damage to your sweaters.
How to Keep Sweaters in a Drawer
If you have enough drawer space, keeping sweaters in drawers can be a good option.
It’s important to carefully place neatly folded sweaters in the drawer so that they don’t get wrinkled. Don’t overstuff the drawer or sweaters will get creased. They can also snag and become damaged in opening and closing the drawer if they are packed too full in the drawer.
Depending on the dimensions of the drawer, you may need to adapt your folding so that the sweater will neatly fit the space.
You can fold and stack sweaters in a drawer or you may choose to file them Mari Kondo style. I personally prefer filing shirts and sweaters in drawers because you can easily see every item at once.
Some people choose to use drawer organizers to neatly organize their sweaters. In my experience, the sweaters are usually bulky enough to stay in place. If your sweaters are lightweight, you may find that you need to use a drawer organizer.
You can choose the spring loaded bar dividers to keep sweaters neatly contained within the drawer.
And fabric baskets work well, too. Be sure to measure both your drawer and your folded sweaters carefully to find the fabric cubes that will work in your space and with your clothes.
How to Organize Your Sweaters
Organizing your sweaters to make it easy to find the one you want is dependent on five principles. You determine which of these categories work best for your clothing and how you think of and use your sweaters. Most often, you’ll find that a combination of these categories will be the best way for you to organize for your unique requirements.
Organize sweaters by season. If you think of your sweaters by season either because of their weight or color, then this may be for you.
Organize sweaters by use. If you have work sweaters, casual sweaters and yard work, gardening or boating sweaters, then this is a great way to organize your sweaters.
Organize sweaters by colors. When you get dressed, if you first think about the color sweater you want to wear, then you should organize them by color. Most often people organize in Roy G. Biv color order. You can read all about the details of color coordinate organizing.
Organize sweaters by weight. You may decide that grouping sweaters by lighter weight to heavy makes sense for your closet.
Organize sweaters by style. If you think first about the sweater style in selecting an outfit, then this would be the sorting category you should use.
Most people organize their sweaters and clothing by a primary category and then a secondary and even tertiary category. For example, they’ll keep all work sweaters together, then all long-sleeve ones together and then sort those by color.
Try different ways of sorting your clothing to find the organization that makes the most sense for you.
How to Prevent Damage
Pests like moths are attracted to natural fibers. Using moth balls is no longer recommended due to the chemicals they contain. Instead use cedar or lavender, rosemary or mint sachets. Cedar has to be changes annually to retain the scent and deter moths.
There are even cedar lined sweater storage bags!
If you believe you have moths, you can also freeze many natural fibers, like cashmere, to kill moth eggs and larvae. Simply place the sweater in a plastic bag and freeze it for 48 hours or up to a week. Let the bag return to room temperature before you remove the sweater and launder it.
More Sweater Tips and Ideas
Best Way to Hang Your Sweater
How to Fold a Hoodie
How to Fold a Sweatshirt
How to Hang Sweaters to Dry
More Clothes Storage Ideas
Clothes Storage Ideas
How to Fold Clothes ebook
How Many Clothes Do You Really Need?
Clothes Spending Freeze & Challenge
Be willing to be flexible. If you try one method of sweater storage and find it’s really not working for you, consider that research and try another method. Also, be aware that as your life changes, your clothing changes and even your home changes, your organizing and storage systems will need to change.
Be sure to pin for later so you can always find these sweater storage ideas when your needs or space change.
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