Sweater Storage Basics

Because of their bulk, sweaters are by far the most confusing and complex accessory to store. It is inadvisable to lump all your sweaters together into one category because sweaters serve many purposes from warmth to fashion. Sweaters can be for outer-wear or inner-wear, dressy, casual, turtleneck, beaded, appliqued, or embossed. With so many sweaters, it can be difficult to find the one you want. Instead, you may just end up wearing the first one you encounter as you search through your drawers and shelves. Most people apparently have grown accustomed to the familiar ritual of retrieving, refolding, and restacking sweaters and have concluded that any storage method for sweaters is too bothersome.

What Kind of Sweater Person Are You?

The majority of people fall into three groups when it comes to storing sweaters. The first group stuffs their sweaters into drawers or sliding wire baskets. Next is the group that never gives sweater storage a thought, and they hang sweaters in the closet. The last group will carefully fold their sweaters and then pile them on the closet shelf. If you use any of these methods, pay close attention to the following discussion.

Drawers, no matter how diverse or where located, furnish the poorest visibility and accessibility to sweaters of any method. If drawers are your only recourse for sweater storage, roll the sweaters rather than fold them. Place the rolled edge up and align the sweaters in the drawer single file from front to back or side to side. Now each sweater is visible and handy.

How to Roll a Sweater
©2006 HowStuffWorks
To roll a sweater: 1. Lay the sweater front side down (except V-necks).
2. Fold the arms and a small section of each side so the sweater
is only 12 inches wide.
3. Flip up one-third of the bottom and start rolling at this fold.
4. The result is a smoothly rolled knit!

Delicate knitted garments can easily suffer "hanger-burn" if they are hung as though they were just another blouse. Even if you hang sweaters on a hanger made especially for knits, wrinkles, puckers, and creases will soon appear, although the wrinkles and such are minor compared with hanger-burns.

Hangers
©2006 HowStuffWorks
Hangers made specifically for knits
reduce "hanger-bum," but they do not
store sweaters as well as rolling.

There's nothing wrong with positioning stacks of sweaters on a shelf in your closet, but ways exist to improve this method by preventing the stacks from toppling over and keeping the stacks neat.

Dividing Space

Dividing shelf space into smaller, more manageable sections works well for storage. A system for doing this involves using acrylic shelf dividers. There are styles, shapes, and sizes of shelf dividers on the market to suit anyone's taste and budget. Some are inexpensive plastic stackable shelves; some are laminated modular shelf units; and some are merely boxes with a zippered or flip-front opening.

Any of these shelving styles can be positioned on the shelf to create the desired compartments. They can also be stacked and combined on the floor of the closet, creating a wall unit for storage.

Putting sweaters in sweater boxes, sweater bags, or zippered sweater cases will not provide the high level of performance you are striving for. A system of plastic bins placed on the shelf is inadvisable because they function in the same manner as a drawer with the same disadvantages.

With bulky items like shoes and sweaters in their place, it's time to focus on storing little accessories like belts, ties and jewelry. Find out how to store those items in the next section.