Folding Clothes

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Originally published September 18, 2019 and updated August 23, 2023.

Knowing the different steps to folding clothes neatly makes keeping clothes wrinkle-free easy. It also makes keeping your clothes drawers and shelves neatly organized simple. Best of all – it isn’t difficult when you know how to fold clothes properly.

collage of neatly folded clothes

I grew up in a military family and then served on both active duty and in the reserves myself. At one point, briefly, I was even a drill instructor. Folding clothes neatly and properly is ingrained in who I am.

Over the years, I’ve developed my own folding techniques that are easy to use in keeping your clothes neat and tidy. You may have heard of the KonMari folding method and wonder if it’s right for you. While it’s similar to my techniques, it’s a good place to start when talking about folding clothes.

How Do You Fold KonMari Clothes?

  1. Folding clothes KonMari style has been made famous by Marie Kondo.
  2. She did not create the method, it’s been around for years (I shared the file folding concept in one of my very early blog posts in 2012 on organizing your t-shirts). She has, however, made the folding method popular.
  3. Folding any clothing item is done to keep clothes neat and wrinkle free when stored in drawers or on shelves.
  4. The first purpose of using the KonMari folding method is to create folded clothing items that are all uniform in size.
  5. When all clothes items are folded in the same size, it’s easier to neatly organize clothes in a drawer.
  6. The second purpose of this folding method is to allow you to easily file clothing vertically in drawers, rather than stack it.
  7. When you file clothing items you can immediately see and access every item.
  8. There are different folding steps for each different type of clothing item. They all share similar concepts, but the steps are slightly different.
  9. Learning the different steps for konmari folding clothes make it easier to keep your clothes wrinkle free and neatly organized.
collage of six images of different types of neatly folded clothes

Folding Clothes

When I help my clients in folding their clothes, I follow several common steps. And the very first step is editing or declutting. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these decluttering the bedroom ideas.

Assess the Storage Space

  • Determine what makes sense for each drawer or shelf. Which items should be placed in each space for the easiest access.
  • Determine how the clothing will best fit into the drawer or space.
  • Most often file folding is the best answer for folding and organizing clothes.
    • It allows you to immediately see every single item. No more items getting lost at the bottom of a pile.
    • It allows you to easily reach in and grab just the item you want. No more wrestling around with a pile to pull the one item out.

Determine the Best Way to Fold the Clothes

  • Decide how you want the clothes to fit in the drawer or space.
    • Will filing the items work?
      • How vertically deep is the drawer or space? This impacts how you fold it.
    • Will you line up your filed clothing across the drawer or from front to back? This may impact how you fold the clothes.
  • Try folding the item to see if it will fit neatly.
  • Make adjustments to how you fold the item if needed.

Learn more about why and how to file fold so you can decide if this technique will work best for you.

hands holding clear container of neatly folded brightly colored socks.

Try the System Out and Make Adjustments as Needed

  • Any organizing system requires trying it out to see if it needs adjustments.
  • Plan on trying out a new way of folding clothes for at least two weeks.
  • You may realize sooner that adjustments need to be made. If that happens, you don’t have to wait two weeks to make changes
  • Don’t entirely give up on a new organizing system. You’re gathering data on how to make a new system work best for your unique situation and unique preferences. Simply make changes until the system works well for you.

Folding Shirts

shirts folded in a drawer

Folding T-Shirts

T-shirts are one of the best candidates for the file folding method. Before you start folding, determine the best folded width to maximum the use of the space. Once you decide how wide to fold the t-shirts, the rest of the steps are simple to follow.

Folding Long-Sleeve Shirts

The key to folding a shirt with long sleeves is to keep the length of the sleeve wrinkle free. This tutorial shows how to fold three different styles of long-sleeve shirts.

Folding Jeans

Folding jeans is a much easier way to organize them than hanging them. When you fold jeans you can stack them, but I much prefer file folding them to make them easy to organize.

7 pairs of jeans neatly folded in a bin

Folding Pants

The steps to folding pants are the same as those for folding jeans. With pants it’s important to keep the crease in the leg pants crisp and line the folds up on the creases rather than the seams.

Get my 37-page How to Fold Clothes ebook now with images and directions for folding all types of clothing.

collage of pages of how to fold clothing

Folding Sweatshirts

Folded sweatshirts filed side-by-side

Some prefer to fold the arms of the sweatshirt in first and then fold the sweatshirt in half. However, I prefer to fold the sweatshirt in half first. This helps hold the sleeves in place neatly. You can see all the steps on how to fold a sweatshirt so that it’s neat in this tutorial.

Folding Hoodies

It can be difficult knowing how to fold a hoodie because you’ve got sleeves and a hood to keep neatly in the folded bundle. I share 3 different ways to fold a hoodie so you can find the one that works best for you.

Pink hoodie spread out on white table with text overlay reading How to Fold a Hoodie 3 different ways

Folding Sweaters

You can fold sweaters to store on a shelf or in a drawer in the same method used for folding sweatshirts. I prefer to fold and hang my sweaters since they are so bulky. Also, here’s some tips on storing your sweaters once they’re folded: Best Sweater Storage Ideas and Solutions.

Folding Socks

I personally prefer to file fold my socks, but other members of my family prefer other methods, so I share four ways to fold socks. There’s sure to be one that will work for you.

Close up of 5 neatly folded pairs of socks in bin

Folding Pajamas

The secret to how to fold pajamas neatly is to fold both the top and bottom together in one packet. That way it keeps both pieces neatly together in the drawer.

Folding clothes properly is a simple way to make a big impact in organizing your bedroom. Neatly organized drawers and an organized closet saves you time, makes your day start off calmer and on the right foot (pun intended).

More Folding Tips

How to Fold Shorts to Save Space in Luggage – Everything you need to know about how to fold shorts to save space in luggage, including 4 different folding options and step-by-step images.

The Best Tips on How to Fold Shirts in a Suitcase – 35 tips on how to fold shirts in a suitcase. Includes tips for dress shirts, t-shirts & polo shirts with packing tips & product ideas.

How to Fold Bed Sheets – Use these easy tips on how to fold bed sheets to keep your sheets and linen closet organized and looking pretty.

How to Fold Fabric – It’s simple to fold fabric to keep it neat & tidy in your craft room. Folding fabric in uniform sizes makes it easier to keep it organized.

How to Fold Curtains and Organize for a Move – Simple tips and tutorial showing how to fold curtains to organize them for a move and for long-term storage.

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.

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  1. I always say that folding is all about fit. Love that you make that point so clearly here. The key is to really take a moment and decide how you will fold items for a given location. There really are options, and it is helpful to know yourself, your space, your lifestyle, etc. Love it!

  2. I like the idea of trying out the new way of folding clothes for a couple of weeks. That way it gives you a chance to see if you really like it or not, rather than just getting frustrated and giving up right away. You might find you really love the new way!

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