The Right Way to Store Sweaters, According to Experts

Keep them in great shape season after season.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

From cashmere to wool to cotton and more, sweaters are essential to any wardrobe, but they can often be a bit bulky and hard to store in your closet. Properly storing your favorite go-to knits is imperative to keeping them in great shape season after season. “I recommend storing sweaters in a temperature-controlled space, shielded from direct sunlight, within an open and well-ventilated environment,” says Shaniece Jones, Declutter & Closet Organization Expert. “Opting for a concealed storage option provides a protective shield against dust, insects, pilling, stains, and discoloration.”

Improper storing methods can also cause your sweaters to develop unsightly wrinkles, crease marks, and even bumps, which can be hard to remove depending on the material. Who wants that added trouble when trying to put together an outfit? Certainly not us. Everyone’s closet is different, but there are some easy steps we can all take to keep our beloved clothing in proper shape. That's why we spoke with expert closet organizers to seek out the best and easiest ways to store sweaters in any home.

The Proper Storage Technique

Though there are different ways to properly store your knits, folding sweaters on a shelf is usually the best way to organize them, depending on the environment (remember: we want a cool and dark place to keep insects away!). If you’re tight on space or don’t have open shelves, try lightly folding, or even rolling, them into a dresser drawer.

“Storing the same fabrics together or placing the thinner fabrics at the bottom of a stack on open shelving, depending on the thickness, is a good approach to open shelving and will help them look aesthetically pleasing on the shelf,” says Jones. “I recommend not stacking your sweaters more than 4 sweaters high for thicker sweaters and 5 for thinner sweaters.”

Be sure to consider materials as well. Materials like wool, angora, fur, cashmere, and feathers demand a little extra care, as they are more susceptible to damage. Meticulously folding sweaters will be key for these fabrics. Jones recommends folding each arm straight across, then folding each side towards the middle until the sleeve edges meet in the center. Lastly, fold it in half from top to bottom (or three-fold, depending on the bulk and length) before flipping it over and tucking it away on the shelf.

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Using Hangers

Ah, the ever-controversial question! The short answer: it’s complicated. “We just don't usually recommend hanging sweaters regularly on a hanger as this can stretch them and pucker the shoulders,” says Jamie Hord, Founder of Horderly Professional Organizing. However, if you live in a cramped apartment like ours, where dresser space is extremely limited, there are ways to keep your sweaters safe from disfiguration when using hangers for storage.


Hord recommends hangers with velvet to help keep knits from kinking when hung over the bar of the hanger. When storing, the proper folding technique is important to prevent damage as well – be sure to never hang by the sleeves, as this will create unsightly “gargoyle” shoulders.

Firstly, you’ll want to fold your sweater in half and line up the sleeves. Next, lay your go-to cable knit and place the hanger on top so the hook is lying between the body and the arm of the sweater. Lastly, wrap the sleeves and body over each respective shoulder of the hanger, and tuck the excessive fabric under the bottom bar. Ta-da! You now have a perfect hanging sweater without worry of marks or stretches.

Sweater With Embellishments

If your sweaters have any embellishments, such as pearl buttons or bows, you’ll want to be extra diligent about storage, to prevent damage or snags to other garments. If you’re stacking your folded sweaters on top of one another, Jones recommends using acid-free tissue paper to lay between each sweater for protection. This is also great for separating tops that have colorful dyes, as it will prevent bleeding into more sensitive fabrics and neutral-colored knits. Do not buy colored tissue paper as this can also bleed into the fabric of your sweaters.

<p>Getty Images</p>

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Keeping Open Shelves Organized

Though open shelves are the most ideal for sweater storage, due to the bulky nature of knits, they can become a disorganized mess in a flash. Jones recommends utilizing sweater boxes, acrylic shelf dividers, and breathable cotton canvas storage bags to keep things tidy. Plus, these tools will help to ensure sweaters stay beautifully arranged on the shelf, rather than sliding all over the place. Jones also notes that these organizers “contribute to the maintenance of the sweaters and help extend the longevity and preservation of the sweater by protecting them from dust, fend off moths, mysterious stains, and help maintain the shape of the sweater.”

When folding knits, Jones also recommends organizing by color for a put-together look. Within your stacks of 4 to 5 sweaters, stack those with similar color schemes together so you can easily find what you’re looking for when styling an outfit.

Protecting Sweaters From Bugs

“For those who prefer to store and display their sweaters on open shelving, I recommend protecting against moth damage with the use of lavender pouches,” says Jones. “Lavender possesses natural bug-repellent properties whereas cedar, while also effective, can leave oil stains on certain fabrics.” Be sure to never store your sweaters in an attic or basement unless properly tucked away in cotton storage containers. This is the perfect breeding ground for mildew and moths. Jones also cautions against using plastic bags for storage in these areas, as “plastic can trap moisture and lead to mold and mildew.”

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