Originally published August 2012 and updated August 2020 and May 2023.
Wondering how to fold and organize t-shirts like a professional organizer? I’ve been using the KonMari folding technique since 2012 (before it was a big deal) and I can tell you that it really does work.
I do a lot of my organizing sitting in front of the TV with my family. Not that we watch a lot of TV. Really. But it’s an easy way to tackle a chore that needs to be done and still spend time with the family. I call it “couch potato organizing.”
Does that sound easy or lazy? Maybe it’s both. Hmm, will have to think on that one. It’s a great way to not feel guilty.
- You’re spending time with the family
- Or you’re making your relaxing time relaxing AND productive.
- You’re ticking chores off your “To Do” list. Multi-tasking, yea!
How to Fold and Organize T-shirts
Take your drawer and dump everything out. It’s okay to dump it, because we’ll be refolding everything before we put it back.
How to Declutter
Go through every t-shirt with a critical eye and ask yourself:
- Is this in good condition?
- Are there any holes or stains?
- If it’s not in good condition, move it into the donate, recycle or trash pile based on the standards in your community.
- Is this shirt one I really like?
- Life is too short to wear things you don’t like. It’s better to have 3 shirts you love than 20 that are ho hum.
- Move the ones you don’t love to your donate pile.
- Is this shirt flattering on me?
- If you like the t-shirt AND it’s flattering, then you should keep it.
- Is the shirt comfortable?
- Life is uncomfortable, you don’t need your clothes to add more discomfort.
Once you’ve gone through all the t-shirts, put your donate pile in a bag and take it to donate right away.
The second best choice is to move the bag to another room so you’re not tempted to raid it and steal shirts back.
Now take your keep pile and sort them into piles by color. The colors don’t have to match exactly, just separate them into piles by:
- black & grey
If the shirt has a pattern or multiple colors, pick the dominate color and put it in that pile. Don’t get hung up here, there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s a just a tool to help you, not a fence to limit you.
Now look at each different color pile and ask yourself:
- Do I like this color?
- Does this color look good on me?
If you answer no, move the shirts to the donate pile. If you just can’t get rid of all of one color, then keep 1 shirt in that color. But if you don’t like the color or it doesn’t look good on you, why are you keeping it at all?
Now ask yourself:
- Do I have too many of each different color t-shirts?
This was my drawer. My favorite color is purple, but 10 purple shirts would be too many for me. If I had ten, I could wear a different purple shirt every day for a week and a half. Sit with that for a bit.
I decided that 5 purple t-shirts were the right number for me. But, oops, I have 6 in the drawer. It’s clear that I need to choose one to donate.
I can’t tell you the right number for you. Be realistic and practical in deciding how many are the right amount for you.
How to Fold a T-shirt
- Take a tee and hold it by the bottom at the side seams. Shake it out to remove wrinkles and lay the t-shirt out flat. Straighten out any wrinkles and use your palm to smooth out smaller wrinkles.
- Next take one side and fold it in about 1/4 of the way.
- You can adjust how far in you fold each side to fit your drawer or space.
- Fold the sleeve in neatly to prevent wrinkling.
- Then fold the other sleeve in the same distance. Smooth out any wrinkles.
- Take the bottom of the shirt and fold it up to the top. The t-shirt is now folded in half. Smooth out any wrinkles.
- Fold the shirt in half again so that it is now folded in quarters.
Get my 37-page How to Fold Clothes ebook now with images and directions for folding t-shirts and all types of clothing.
- clean, flat surface like a table or bed
- Lay the t-shirt out flat. Straighten out any wrinkles and use your palm to smooth out smaller wrinkles.
- Take one sleeve and fold it in to the center about 1/4 of the way. Fold the sleeve down and smooth out wrinkles.
- Do the same with the other sleeve.
- Fold the bottom of the shirt up to the top or neck. The t-shirt is now folded in half. Smooth out any wrinkles.
- Fold the shirt in half again.
Once you have all your shirts folded, you’ll place them back in your drawer or organizing bin.
I highly recommend filing them so they stand up like file folders.
Place the folded edge up and shirts look nice and neat. It also makes it easy to see the logos on the front of shirts. You’ll be amazed at how many more shirts you can fit into your drawer this way.
Organize your shirts in a way that makes sense to you.
- Put all shirts of the same color together.
- Organizing colors in rainbow or Roy G. Biv order is the most common method.
- Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet
- White and black can be placed together before or after the string of colors or on each side of the string of colors.
- I’ve also seen colors organized from light to dark.
- White to black with colors organized in between in a way that made sense to the client.
- I’ve even seen colors organized alphabetically.
- Blue, green, orange, purple, red, yellow
- Organizing colors in rainbow or Roy G. Biv order is the most common method.
- Put different style t-shirts together.
- Crew neck
- Put different themed shirts together.
- Sports teams
Organize your t-shirts in a way that makes sense for you.
By placing t-shirts together by color or type, you’ll be able to tell immediately every time you look in the drawer if you have too few or too many of a certain category. That will help you next time you’re at the store and find a good deal on a shirt. You’ll know if you need more of that color or type.
It will also help you when you’re getting dressed. No more digging through the drawer to find a shirt. Thanks to filing and organizing your t-shirts by category, you’ll be able to see it immediately.
On the next commercial, return the t-shirt drawer (or pile) to your dresser or closet.
The process of decluttering, folding and organizing your t-shirts should take about 30 minutes (60 minutes if you have a whole lot of shirts). You can see how it’s easy to take care of your t-shirts while watching a show when you know the steps of how to fold and organize t-shirts.
The method that works best is commonly known as the “KonMari” folding method, popularized by Marie Kondo. This method allows the shirt to stand upright in the drawer, known as file folding, making it easier to see and access.
Lay the t-shirt flat on a flat surface with the front facing down. Fold the shirt in half vertically, bringing the right sleeve over to meet the left sleeve. Then, fold the shirt in half again horizontally, bringing the bottom hem up to meet the neckline. Next, fold the sleeves in towards the center, creating a long skinny rectangle. Finally, fold the rectangle in half one more time, bringing the bottom hem up to meet the top edge.
Lay the t-shirt flat and smooth out wrinkles. Fold one sleeve and side in towards the middle, but stop just before the design. Do the same with the other side. You now have a long rectangle shape.
Fold the bottom of the shirt and top of the shirt towards the center, stopping just before the design with each fold.
Your goal is to make a folded package as small as possible without folding the design. This means that each folded shirt with a design will result in a different sized when folded.
It’s important to smooth out all wrinkles before you begin folding and after each folding step.
1. Lay the t-shirt flat on a smooth surface, such as a table or mattress.
2. Smooth out any wrinkles on the fabric with your hands.
3. Fold the t-shirt in half vertically, bringing the bottom hem up to the neckline.
4. Fold the sleeves inwards toward the center of the t-shirt, one at a time.
5. Fold the t-shirt in half horizontally, bringing the bottom hem up to the neckline again.
6. Finally, fold the t-shirt in half once more, so that it forms a neat square.
While it is not necessary, using a folding board or template can be a simple yet effective way to ensure that your t-shirts are all folded to the same size and shape. It can also be a great way to save time and effort when folding large quantities of t-shirts, as the board or template can provide a quick and easy way to achieve a professional finish every time.
Yes, you can hang your t-shirts instead of folding them to avoid wrinkles. In fact, hanging your t-shirts is an effective way to prevent creases and keep them looking neat and fresh. However, it’s important to use proper hangers to avoid distorting the shape of the t-shirts. Plastic or wire hangers can leave marks on the shoulders and stretch the fabric, while wooden hangers or padded hangers maintain the shape of the garment and prevent wrinkles.
See my favorite clothes organizing tips, hacks, favorite products and more in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.