How do you fold clothes to save spaces?

Folding clothes is supposed to be simple. Our parents teach us to do it when we’re still kids – though it may take a while to catch on. By the time we have our own place, putting our clothes away neatly feels like second nature. But are you making the most of the space you have available in your drawers?

Take the humble T-shirt, for example. If you fold it lengthways at the start of the process, you will find the end result has a much smaller footprint. That means you can make an extra row and save space in your drawer – instantly freeing up room for another six or more tops.

And that’s just the start. Our infographic shows you how you can apply expert folding principles to every piece of clothing you have. From blouses to hoodies, it’s the perfect guide to optimizing your drawer storage one garment type at a time.

Taming closet chaos starts with clearing out the clutter, but don’t ignore what goes down in the laundry room. Folding your clothes strategically can also free up serious storage space. Not only will your shelves look as crisp and tidy as the piles in the department stores, but you’ll see everything you own at a glance. (No more digging for that favorite black t-shirt!) After folding your shirts, pants, sweaters, or socks in neat, little bundles, try standing them up or “filing” them vertically in drawers or storage boxes. That way you’ll be able to find whatever you need quickly and pull it out of the drawer without causing the entire pile to come tumbling down. Here are some tips you want to know to save spaces in folding clothes.

How to Fold T-Shirts

Instead of piling your tees on top of one another and then rummaging through the stack, use this method to let shirts stand upright. It fills the drawer more efficiently and lets you see your entire collection at once.

Before we get into how to fold shirts, I wanted to quickly mention which kinds of shirts you should be stored in your dresser, versus hanging in the closet. Generally speaking, you want to fold t-shirts, tanks, undershirts, or anything that isn’t heavily affected by wrinkles. We’ll cover how to fold a dress shirt, but personally, I prefer to hang dress shirts to prevent creases. You always want to fold a sweater, never hang. Using a hanger will pull on the weave of a sweater, leaving stretch marks at the neck and shoulders.

  1. Take one side of the shirt and fold it in toward the center.
  2. Fold the sleeve back away from the center of the shirt.
  3. If you’re folding a long-sleeve tee, fold the sleeve again down toward the shirt’s bottom hem. (The sleeve should form an upside-down L shape.)
  4. Repeat on the other side of the shirt.
  5. Fold the collar of the shirt all the way back to the bottom hem, so that the garment looks like a rectangle.
  6. Carefully fold the shirt in half again so that you can store it upright in a drawer or storage container.

Another idea which you can easily double the number of shirts in your drawer with this method: 

  1. First, lay your shirt down with the print facing up. Then fold your shirt in half lengthwise. Make sure the print is still facing upwards.
  2. Next, fold your sleeves in and fold your shirt in half widthwise with the sleeves tucked in. 
  3. Fold again widthwise. You can place your shirts in rows in your drawer with the print fold at the top so you can easily identify your shirts.

This makes your tees easier to find, pull out, and also allows you to pack more into a small space. You can also create a DIY filing system, folding shirts around a piece of cardboard to keep them crisp.

How to Fold Dress Shirts

While you may be tempted to hang your dress shirts, folding them so they can be stored neatly in drawers not only saves precious closet space, but it also prevents wrinkling. The latter is a big plus if you dread breaking out the ironing board.

Make sure to button all the buttons, from top to bottom, before folding. Doing so will ensure a neat and tidy fold that stays wrinkle-free. 

  1. Fold one side of the shirt towards the middle.
  2. Flip the sleeves halfway back and then fold again.
  3. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Fold the shirt in half lengthwise, making a rectangle.

How to Fold Pants

Fear not: You won’t have to get rid of any of your 15 (totally, not at all identical) pairs of jeans in order to fit them all. To maximize space, fold them in thirds and stack them on top of each other to fill the depth of a drawer. It’s also much easier to remove a stack of clothing from a drawer to find the specific item you need. If you’re looking to go full-on Monica Geller with your organization skills, try adding drawer organizing cubes to keep the piles separated. It might feel like overkill, but this super-condensed way of folding jeans allows you to store them horizontally and pack more pants into each drawer.

  1. Fold the pants in half, placing one leg on top of the other with the back pockets facing out.
  2. Fold in half lengthwise, bringing them to just below the waist and forming a long rectangle
  3. Fold the pants upwards again, this time into thirds.
  4. Fold your pants in half and fold over the butt part if it sticks out. 
  5. Then fold the legs up to meet the waistband. 
  6. Repeat this again and store your pants upright in a drawer to save space.

How to Fold Sweaters

Storing your coziest knits on hangers stretches out the shoulders, but there’s no denying they’re total drawer hogs. Try folding the sides in so all your sweaters have the same width — they’ll stack more easily that way.

  1. Fold the arms in across the sweater, parallel to the hem.
  2. Fold each side partway in.
  3. Fold in half lengthwise.

You can also try this:

  1. Lay your sweater or long-sleeved shirt down backward.
  2. Fold the sleeves over and onto each other. 
  3. Fold the sleeve from the collar to the ends to the center of your garment on both sides.
  4. Flip the bottom part of your garment to meet the top and flip over and stack.

How to Fold Socks

Putting your socks perpendicular to each other may sound counterintuitive, but once you see how neat it turns out, you’ll better understand why. Your new organization mantra: Simplify your socks, simplify your life. While it may sound extreme, sticking with one type and color of dress socks and one type and color of sports socks, keeping them in their own organizing cube. It allows you to save time. Simply pull any two socks out of the same hub, and you’ve got a matching pair. Plus, you’ll never really have to worry about the dryer eating one of them again, since they’re all the same.  

  1. Lay each sock perpendicular to each other, forming a cross.
  2. Bring one toe across, tucking it under the other sock.
  3. Fold the top of that same sock across.
  4. Repeat with the other sock.
  5. Tuck the two ends sticking out into the middle, forming a square.

In the Army, they even have rules about how to fold your socks. This method does, however, save you space. 

  1. Lay a sock on top of your other sock. 
  2. Move your top sock down slightly and roll your socks nice and tight. 
  3. Use the bottom sock’s elastic to secure them together. 
  4. These tiny bun-shaped sock pods will give you extra space in your sock drawer.

How to fold scarves

Instead of folding scarves and tucking them away into a drawer, you can hang them over a hanger and store them in a closet to save space. You can fit way more scarves this way, minus the bulk. You can also slip knot them, so they stay in place or use shower rings.

  1. Spread the scarf on a flat surface. Take your scarf off and lay it down on your work area. Pull the edges until the scarf is completely flat against the surface underneath it.
  2. Fold the scarf over on itself. Grab the narrow edge of the scarf at one end. Fold this end of the scarf up and over until it’s lined up with the other end. Straighten the edges of the fabric so that they are lined up. To be clear, you want to make a “hamburger fold,” not a “hotdog fold.” You should be making the scarf shorter, not skinnier.
  3. Fold the same way again. Grab the folded end of the scarf. Fold it over the top of the scarf until it’s even with the “open” end of the scarf just like you did in the last step.
  4. Fold in the same way one more time. Take the folded edge and fold it over the top of the scarf once again. Straighten the edges so that they’re properly aligned. When you’re done, the scarf should look a little like a small half sheet of paper.
  5. Store your scarf. That’s it! Your scarf is now ready to store in a closet, cabinet, pocket, or wherever else you may need to stash it. This handy but straightforward fold should keep it clean and free from wrinkles until you’re ready to wear it again.

How to fold underwear

While you may be thinking, who the heck folds underwear, consider this: Keeping your skivvies neatly organized, as you see here, will make it easier to find the pair you want to wear without messing up the underwear drawer. Even better, it saves precious drawer space.

  1. Fold in one side of your undies, then the other. 
  2. Next, fold down the top. Fold the bottom over and tuck it into your top fold. 

Now you have a little panty square that you can store upright in your drawer.

Here’s another way of folding underwear. Do you fold yours? A lot of us don’t, but folding them sure makes it easy to see what you have available in your drawer.

  1. Lay the underwear faces up.
  2. Fold one side over a third of the way.
  3. Fold the other side over a third of the way.
  4. Fold the top to the bottom in half. Ta da!

How to fold a bra

Bras are one thing that you actually DO NOT want to fold. This will cause them to lose their shape. So to save space, you’ll want to stack them together behind one another. This will make the most out of your drawer space and will keep them in shape, so they last longer.

  1. Open the bra.
  2. Fold in half, with both cups pointing in the same direction, nesting into one another.
  3. Tuck the straps into the cups.
  4. Done!

How to fold a Hoodie

Having a hard time folding your hoodie? Must try this one:

  1. Fold the side of your hoodie into the center, starting from the shoulder. 
  2. Then fold your sleeve onto that half and repeat on the other side.
  3. Fold your hood down onto the center of your sweater shirt. 
  4. Finally, fold the bottom half of your sweatshirt onto the top half covering the hood, so you have a perfect square.

If there’s anyone who knows how to fold clothes, it’s Marie Kondo, the organizing expert behind the buzzed-about KonMari method. At first glance, her methods may seem a bit, well, complicated, but they’ll quickly become your go-to after some practice. The final result? Drawers and closet shelves that are just as functional as they are beautiful.

BENEFITS OF KONMARI -ING MY CLOTHES

Even if it feels challenging, keeping only items that I truly love really does pay off in the long run! I recently did a mini KonMari session with my clothes because my closet and drawers were starting to feel cluttered, and even though I am the furthest thing from a clothes horse, I ended up being able to donate a large trash bag full of items.

After paring down my items, I’ve found that I actually wear more of my clothing because every single item in my closet and drawers fits comfortably and is reflective of my style.

Getting dressed in the morning is quicker because I don’t have to look through all of the “meh” clothes to find something I actually love. And my closet has stayed much neater since my purge because there is plenty of room for everything, and I’m motivated to keep it looking nice!

FILE FOLDING CLOTHES

Once I have discarded any clothes that do not spark joy, it’s time to figure out the best way to store the clothes that I have left. Marie Kondo recommends folding as many clothes as possible– using the file folding method that she is famous for– simply because clothes folded with the KonMari Method take up much less space than hanging clothes.

No matter which article of clothing we’re folding, the goal is to get it into the shape of a small rectangle so that it can stand on its own.

Before I discovered file folding, I used the more traditional stacking method to store my clothes in drawers, and they looked like this: The drawers weren’t terrible, but when I changed to KonMari folding, I loved that I could see every single article of clothing in the drawer. File folding also allowed me to fit more items in each drawer, which especially came in handy in my boys’ room. Connor and Caleb share one small dresser, so the only possible way to fit all of their clothing items in such a limited space was by file folding — it was a total game changer!

THE KONMARI FOLDING METHOD

Because file folding can feel confusing to execute, I created super short videos of the most common type of clothing items below, along with explanations for each type.

HOW TO FOLD A SHIRT WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

Start by laying the shirt out flat, with the front side facing up.

  1. Fold one side of the shirt across the center.
  2. Fold the sleeve of the shirt back.
  3. Fold the other side of the shirt across the center, stopping a little before the edge.
  4. Fold the other sleeve back.
  5. Fold the top of the shirt toward the bottom of the shirt, stopping a little before the edge.
  6. Fold the folded edge of the shirt over toward the bottom.
  7. Fold over the shirt once more to create a small rectangle.
  8. Stand the shirt upright.

HOW TO FOLD A LONG SLEEVED SHIRT WITH THE KONMARI METHOD 

  1. Start by laying the shirt out flat, with the front side facing up.
  2. Fold one side of the shirt across the center, with the sleeve laying flat.
  3. Fold the sleeve back across the folded portion of the shirt, laying the sleeve flat.
  4. Fold the sleeve so that it lays along the folded portion of the shirt.
  5. Fold the other side of the shirt across the center, stopping a little before the edge and letting the sleeve lay flat.
  6. Fold the sleeve back across the folded shirt, laying the sleeve flat.
  7. Fold the sleeve so that it lays along with the long rectangle that you have created with the shirt.
  8. Fold the top of the shirt toward the bottom of the shirt, stopping a little before the edge.
  9. Fold the folded edge of the shirt over toward the bottom.
  10. Fold over the shirt once more to create a small rectangle.
  11. Stand the shirt upright.

HOW TO FOLD CAMISOLES WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

  1. Start by laying the camisole out flat, with the front side facing up.
  2. Fold one side of the camisole across the center.
  3. Fold the other side of the camisole across the center, stopping a little before the edge.
  4. Fold the camisole in half, including the straps, leaving a small gap between the end of the straps and the bottom of the camisole.
  5. Fold the folded edge of the camisole over toward the bottom.
  6. Fold over the camisole once more to create a small rectangle.
  7. Stand the camisole upright.
  8. I like to store my camisoles in narrow boxes.

HOW TO FOLD PANTS WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

  1. Start by laying the pants out flat, with the front side facing up.
  2. Fold the pants in half widthwise, with the pant legs stacked.
  3. If the seat sticks out, fold it over against the legs of the pants.
  4. Fold the ankles of the pants up toward the waist, leaving a gap before the waistband.
  5. Fold the folded edge of the pants over toward the waistband.
  6. Fold over the pants once more to create a small rectangle.
  7. Stand the pants upright.

HOW TO FOLD SHORTS WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

  1. Start by laying the shorts out flat, with the front side facing up.
  2. Fold the shorts in half widthwise.
  3. If the seat sticks out, fold it over against the legs of the shorts.
  4. Fold in half, folding the waist of the shorts toward the leg openings.
  5. Stand the shorts upright.

HOW TO FOLD SOCKS WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

Any KonMari fan will tell you not to tuck one sock into the other after the pair is rolled into a ball—unless you like stretched out socks. Instead, long socks should be folded into thirds or rolled into a ball.

But what about short socks? They are not long enough to fold or roll. The diagram here shows how to fold socks like these without resorting to the old sock-tucking trick.

  1. Start by laying the socks out flat, with both socks facing the same direction.
  2. Stack one sock on top of the other sock.
  3. Fold the toes of the socks toward the middle of the socks.
  4. Fold over socks once more to create a small rectangle.
  5. Stand the socks upright.

HOW TO FOLD UNDERWEAR WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

  1. Start by laying the underwear out flat, with the back side facing up.
  2. Fold the bottom of the underwear up toward the waistband.
  3. Fold one side over to the center.
  4. Fold the other side over.
  5. Roll the bottom of the underwear up toward the waistband.
  6. Turn over so that the waistband is at the front.
  7. IKEA SKUBB boxes work well for storing underwear.

HOW TO FOLD BRAS WITH THE KONMARI METHOD

  1. Start by laying the bra out flat, with the back side facing up.
  2. Fold in each side of the bra’s band.
  3. Fold-down the bra straps into the cups.
  4. Turn over and store with the front of the bra facing up.
  5. When storing multiple bras, nest them inside one another.

Having organized things at home will make you feel stress free and with that, your drawers and closets will not only look clean but also save on space.

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