Winter is well underway but in just a few short months spring will again be upon us, and we'll be ready to lighten the load in our coat closets. But where do we put all of that bulky outerwear and cold-weather gear when we're ready to break out the shorts and flip flops?

Storing seasonal clothing isn't as simple as tossing everything in a cardboard box and putting it in the attic. In fact, you definitely want to avoid both of those things. Instead, here are our top tips for storing seasonal clothes and keeping your garments fresh, pest-free and out of the way until you need them again:

1. Clean your clothes before storing them.

First and foremost, it's important to clean all the garments before you put them away for the season. Body oils, perfume and perspiration stains set over time and can create hard-to-eliminate odor if they're stored without cleaning. If you decide to get something dry-cleaned, make sure you avoid having it starched, as starch can attract insects.

2. Know what to hang and what to fold.

When you're storing a garment for a long period of time, it's best to fold rather than hanging it. Shirts and sweaters- especially those which are knitted, synthetic and silk fabrics- that are stored on hangars can become misshapen and lose their form if left hanging for a long period of time. When folding, take care to store heavier sweaters on the bottom of a storage container to prevent them from crushing lighter items. Outerwear and pants, however, may be hung up, but be sure to opt for wood or padded hangars that offer more support.

3. Choose the right storage containers.

Never use cardboard boxes to store your clothes, as insects and pests can easily find their way into them. Not to mention, cardboard can mildew easily when exposed to moisture. Look for plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids, and label the containers for easy identification later.

4. Protect your garments from moths.

Moths can destroy your clothes. For extra protection, consider using lavender sachets or cedar blocks in your storage containers. While lavender and cedar might smell inviting to us, they are powerful deterrents for moths and are a much better alternative to using mothballs that are toxic not to just moths, but also humans and pets.

5. Store in a cool, dry place.

Whatever you do, steer clear of storing your clothes in damp, musty locations like basements, attics, and garages where insects, mold, and mildew are common. Instead, look for a dark, cool, dry place in your home that has plenty of ventilation.

6. Check on your stored items regularly.

Set a reminder to inspect your stored clothes on a regular basis to combat any potential storage issues. Check the containers for cracks or openings, and carefully check the clothing for stains, insects, and mildew. Additionally, don't forget to clean the storage containers in between uses!

There you have it! These tips will have your stored garments staying clean, fresh, and ready for you to use when the seasons change. Get ready for the spring season storage by bringing your clothes to your local Arizona Tide Cleaners to wash before storing.