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How to Store a Flag over Winter

In this article, you’ll learn my quick and easy method to store a flag over winter.

In order to graduate from the college I attended (a lifetime ago, and before my life in downtown Seattle) the eccentric little college required a potential graduate to demonstrate two proficiencies above and beyond typical academic competency. Each student was required to

(1) demonstrate proficiency in a swimming test, or else be forced to take a semester of swimming lessons after which the test would be administered again,

(2) pass a written test demonstrating skills and knowledge the school deemed essential for good citizenship. Among the latter was demonstrating the knowledge of how to fold and display a flag properly according to the US Flag Code.

Easy winter flag storage

While I will never forget the correct way to display a flag, the truth is I have little more chance of correctly folding a full-size American Flag than I have of neatly folding a fitted bed sheet. (And we all know the latter is impossible!)

Navigating between respect for the American flag and despair at my inability to fold the dang thing properly, I gave up. Instead of folding my flag, I developed the easy flag storage method described below.

vintage instructions for caring for an american flag
Flag care instructions from the packaging of a vintage US flag.
flag mounted on tree

I love displaying a flag on my property in the summer. Before 2016, I would display an all-weather flag on the flag bracket on the 100-year-old oak tree halfway down my driveway. Each summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day each summer my flag welcomed guests to the property. When days got shorter, however, it was time to store my flag for the winter.

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I discovered that the easiest way to store a flag in a way that is respectful and prevents wrinkling is to mount the flag and flagpole in a storage area, on a basic flagpole bracket. Mounted securely to a wall stud, the bracket makes it a quick and easy process to take down my displayed flag and store it safely.

easy winter flag storage

Add a flagpole bracket to an interior wall of your garage to make it easy to store your US flag when not in use. Putting a second flag holder bracket in a convenient spot makes it an easy job to stow your flag safely out of the elements when inclement weather is approaching.

easy winter flag storage
be sure to attach your flag bracket to a wall stud, flags themselves are lightweight, but with the hardware and leveraged position, it puts significant strain on the bracket and screws.
easy winter flag storage

My alternate flag storage spot was in the back of my garage, in a corner so very little space was taken up. 

see also: creating a flag centerpiece:

Mini flag table centerpiece

How to Store Different Types of Flags

When the weather outside starts to turn chilly, it’s time to start thinking about how to store your flag for the winter. Depending on the type of flag, there are different storage methods that will keep it protected from the elements and help it last longer. Well, perhaps “type” isn’t the right word. These flag storage instructions apply to flags of countries as well as decorative flags and flags that demonstrate pride in identities, like LGBTQIA pride and allyship flags. Instead, determine how to store your flag based on the fiber it’s made from.

Cotton Flags and other natural fibers should be stored in a cool, dry place. If possible, hang the flag indoors in a sheltered area. Alternately, you can place it on a clothing rack or line it up on shelves. This will prevent wrinkles and keep the flag from getting musty. You can also store cotton flags in a drawer or box, but be sure to wrap them in acid-free tissue paper first.

Synthetic flags like polyester and nylon (most common) can be stored in any dry place. These materials are less likely to develop mold or mildew, so they can be packed away more tightly. Just be sure to label the containers so you don’t forget what’s inside.

Silk flags (rare) are very delicate and should be stored in a low humidity place out of direct sunlight. You can hang a silk flag on a rack or line it up on shelves, or store it in a drawer or box. If you place it in storage long term, be sure to wrap it in acid-free tissue paper first to prevent wrinkles.

Wool flags are very rare but wool felt was once a popular material for vintage flag-like pennants. Wool flags are vulnerable to damage from wool moths and need special care during storage. To protect your wool flag, store it in a heavyweight plastic bag or container. You can also add a moth repellent like cedar chips or lavender.

peach harvest from the micro-orchard at Hawk Hill