How to Fold Clothes the Right Way

Please share & spread the simplicity love...

Folding laundry is probably not at the top of anyone’s list of favorite things to do. But like taking out the trash or giving your neighbor a long slow hug each time you see him, it is one of those non-negotiable tasks we must all perform. (Okay, maybe that second one just applies to some of you… you know who you are.)

Today I’d like to share a simple change I’ve made in our family’s laundry folding system that has turned this task from dreaded chore into not-quite-s0-dreaded-chore. (Hey, I call that progress!)

To give you a little background, we live in a 1,500 square foot story-and-a-half Cape Cod. It’s a bit cozy by American standards, but it suits our family just fine. It does require us to share space, though. For example, my boys must share a dresser, and they each have three drawers.

My boys’ dresser… please ignore the random clutter on top. Mama has a solution, but that’s another blog post!

I used to fold all our laundry “flat”, meaning I created stacks with–usually–the most recently washed on top. This worked okay, but we often forgot about the clothes at the bottom. Or, if we did seek them out, we messed up the entire stack by rifling to the bottom.

Enter vertical folding.

Popularized by Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up this system has receive a lot of attention in recent years. (If a folding system can be considered attention-grabbing… I mean, US Weekly has not yet devoted a page to “Who Folded It Best” but I believe that’s in the works.)

To watch the master at work, click here to see Marie Kondo demonstrate her folding magic. (Note: what I love about Ms. Kondo is her quirkiness, which is totally evident in this video. It’s worth a watch.)

Now, I love me some Marie Kondo, but with the amount of laundry I do, I really don’t have time to pause for a special moment with each pair of my kids’ socks. So I modified Kondo’s system to make it faster. Here are a few pics of the steps I use to fold vertically.

Step 1: Set the T-shirt facedown.
Step 2: Fold in half.
Step 3: Fold in sleeves. (If long sleeves, I just lay them horizontally toward the hem.)
Step 4: Fold in half. 
Step 5: Fold in half again.
And look! Mine stands upright, just like Marie Kondo’s!

If this still looks too complicated, let me tell you what I tell clients: just fold your clothes the way you normally do… and then fold them in half one more time.

That extra last fold creates a smaller package, allowing most items to stand upright. When you put your clothes in the drawer make sure all the folded edges face up, and you’re golden!


Here are a few advantages of folding vertically:

  1. More drawer space: Folding vertically roughly triples the amount of usable space in your drawers. When you live in a small house, this is vitally important!
  2. Visibility: You can easily see all the clothes you have available, so you avoid just wearing what’s on the top of the stack, giving all your T-shirts an equal chance to compete for the job of bod-coverage that day. Increased visibility also helps you easily see which clothes you don’t wear, hastening their trip to the donation box.
  3. Uniform look: Drawers just look neater when clothes are folded this way. After adopting this system, I could ever go back to stacking clothes!
  4. Easy to learn: I’ve taught my husband and three 7-year-olds to all fold this way. Yes, they can be taught.
One kid drawer with vertical folding – nice!

I hope this post has inspired you to take a moment and lovingly caress all your T-shirts. (That’s only funny if you watched the video… please go back and watch the video. It truly is worth it.) But seriously, I do hope this post makes your clothes folding life a bit easier. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a dinner date with my cashmere sweater…

Rose Lounsbury is one of Dayton, Ohio’s top professional organizers and a sought-after public speaker. After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less LLC, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. Rose is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and has been featured on Good Day Columbus. If you’d like Rose’s help with an organizing project at your home or office, you can contact her at [email protected] or visit her online at OrganizeWithLess.com.


Please share & spread the simplicity love...

Leave a Reply