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Space-Saving Ways to Fold Clothes: File Folding 101

Have you been wondering how to fold and organize your clothes like a professional organizer? I’ve been using a method adapted from the KonMari folding technique from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for years and I can tell you it really works! Folding this way allows for a clean and uniform look that is extremely functional.

There are so many advantages to this technique that make me so happy. The best part: you can see everything you have without having to lift and sort to see what’s hiding underneath. No more wrestling with a pile to pull out one item. Don’t be surprised if you end up with extra space, this method really does make each drawer function beautifully. The clothes don’t get as wrinkled, and they stay organized!

Sometimes things change in your life. Our habits change, our lifestyle changes, and our hobbies change so we need to reset and change our organizing systems. You might need to match what is going on in your life with what’s happening in your house to avoid clutter or a broken organizing system. As an example, maybe you don’t wear dressy clothes as often as you used to, or you don’t wear jeans any longer. Many of us have way too many yoga pants to count these days. Folding our clothes so we can easily see what we have and grab what we need is extremely satisfying.

Edit Your Clothes

So, let’s get started. As always with every organizational project, the first thing to do is to remove everything from the drawers you are working on. This way you can see what you’re working with, and this also gives you an opportunity to purge anything you don’t want or need anymore. Go through every item with a critical eye. Is it in good condition? Are there any holes or stains? Perhaps it’s time to let those items go. Is this something you love to wear? Life is too short to wear things you don’t love. Go ahead and move the ones you don’t love to your donate pile.

Now take your keep pile and sort them into piles by color. Don’t get hung up here, just pick the dominant color especially if the item has a pattern or multiple colors. This is a good time to ask yourself if you have too many of the same color. Maybe your favorite color is pink but 10 pink shirts is too many for you. See how many of those shirts will fit in the drawer and choose one or two to donate.

Organize in a way that makes sense to you. Organizing shirts of the same color together using the rainbow method (Roy G. Biv) is most common but organizing light to dark is another great option.

Generally, you will end up with rows of clothes that stand up vertically depending on the size and stiffness of the fabric. As an option for added support, you can use dividers to separate and categorize your clothes. These drawer organizer bins are some of my favorites along with these bamboo drawer dividers. Just make sure you measure before you buy!

Folding Jeans & Pants

My preference is to store jeans in a dresser - an easy way to fold jeans is to simply fold them in half, fold them in thirds and store them vertically in the drawer. Some people prefer to hang their pants and jeans, or maybe organize them on a shelf. Here’s a link for some folding options to see which one works best for you!

Folding Shorts & Shirts

Shirts are one of the best candidates for the file folding method. Start with the shirt facing down, smooth out any wrinkles. You will be looking for the edges of the collar as a guideline. Fold one side into the edge of the collar, fold in the other side. Now fold the shirt in half and then half again. We have videos that show a long-sleeved version along with a tank top HERE.

Shorts are easy to file fold too. With the shorts facing up fold in thirds and then fold in half. HERE is a quick video demonstration.

Folding Socks & Underwear

Socks, underwear, and bras which are usually stored in drawers can also be organized with this technique also. Since these are smaller, softer items it can be helpful to use a bin or drawer divider to categorize and maximize the space.

You don’t have to be a perfect folder, if the clothes are folded neatly and put back in place you are good to go. No more digging through the drawer to find a shirt or pair of shorts. Every time you open your drawer you will be greeted by a beautiful drawer that always stays organized. I hope this inspires you to be more organized one drawer at a time!

Angela Fuhler

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