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How to fold clothes like a pro for organised drawers

Get your clothes in order and your drawers looking smart with these winning folding techniques. You won't look back!

Updated

A person holding a stack of folded clothing

Think you know how to fold clothes? Think again. Use these easy-to-learn folding techniques to achieve wardrobe nirvana: neat and accessible drawers that are in perfect order. And did we mention it’s a calming activity too? Win-win.

Start by finding the right folding space, somewhere completely flat and with a large enough surface area to comfortably hold the item you’re folding, for example, a table, work surface or floor. Ready to get folding? Here’s how.

How to fold clothes: a step-by-step guide

How to fold T-shirts

Folding the sleeve of a t-shirt

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This folding technique will have all your tees neatly stacked, so no more overlooking those little gems under the pile. And if you want to elevate things, colour code them for the ultimate spark-joy drawer display.

  1. Fold in one side of the shirt towards the centre, about a third.

  2. Fold the sleeve back the other direction, away from the centre. 

  3. Long sleeves can be folded again down towards the hem.

  4. Repeat on the other side.

  5. Fold the collar end towards the bottom hem, making a rectangle.

  6. Fold the shirt in half lengthwise, or into thirds if you can.

Tip: Fold your T-shirts face-up so you can identify any with a print or picture once they’re folded.

How to fold button-up shirts 

It’s usually recommended to hang your shirts, but sometimes it’s not possible if you’re travelling or don’t have hanging space. So if they must be folded, be careful not to crumple the collar and hang them as soon as you can.

  1. Lay the shirt face down, smoothing it flat.

  2. Fold one side of the shirt in towards the middle line.

  3. Fold the sleeves halfway back and then fold inwards.

  4. Repeat on the other side.

  5. Fold in half lengthwise, from bottom to top, making a rectangle.

For more flimsy fabrics, follow steps 1-4 and then roll the shirt to create a cylinder shape. This will help avoid creases.

How to fold socks

Hands holding a stack of folded socks

You’ll be able to fit so many more pairs of trousers in your drawers and cupboards with this compact folding technique, but without it looking jam-packed and messy.

  1. Smooth and fold the jeans in half lengthways. 

  2. Make sure back pockets are facing out.

  3. Fold jeans in half lengthwise again, bringing hem to the waist and making a rectangle.

Fold into thirds so they can stand, ready for filing.

How to fold jumpers 

Some jumpers are prone to stretching if kept on hangers, so careful folding can help to preserve their shape. Some materials can be bulkier than others, but for optimum stacking, the key is to obtain the same width through folding.

  1. Fold one side of the jumper in towards the centre.

  2. Fold the sleeves back to neatly run down the length of the jumper.

  3. Repeat on the other side, making a rectangle.

  4. Visually cut the jumper into thirds, folding along these lines.

How to fold jeans and trousers

You’ll be able to fit so many more pairs of trousers in your drawers and cupboards with this compact folding technique, but without it looking jam-packed and messy.

  1. Smooth and fold the jeans in half lengthways. 

  2. Make sure back pockets are facing out.

  3. Fold jeans in half lengthwise again, bringing hem to the waist and making a rectangle.

  4. Fold into thirds so they can stand, ready for filing.

How to fold vests and camisoles

Often crumpled up with our smalls, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find your favourite vest once they’re folded properly. 

  1. Smooth the vest flat.

  2. Fold the garment widthways toward the centre, into a third.

  3. Repeat on the other side.

  4. Including the straps as part of its length, fold in half.

  5. Then fold again into thirds.

Find out more about how to fold underwear perfectly here.

How to fold skirts 

Skirts can easily wrinkle, so the key here is to continue to smooth out your skirt as you fold it. If it’s extra voluminous and lightweight, you could always roll it once you’ve created a rectangle shape.

  1. Smooth the skirt with your hands, zip side up if there is one.

  2. Fold the skirt in towards the centre, into a third.

  3. Repeat on the other side so you have a long rectangle.

  4. Fold into thirds from the hem towards the waist, leaving a small gap.

  5. Fold into thirds again.

Answers to your top clothes folding questions

What is the correct way to fold clothes? 

Depending on your item, the aim is to fold all items into a neat rectangle formation that can then be stood up in a triangle shape, with the folded edge at the top and the ends at the bottom. If your clothes can stand after folding them, then you’ve got the right folding  technique and your clothes can be efficiently filed away.

How does Marie Kondo fold clothes? 

The KonMari folding technique involves folding clothes into predominantly rectangle formations so they can then be stored vertically rather than horizontally in drawers or on shelves. This compact storage method saves space and allows you to see all your clothes on display, for easy access and ultimate organisation. The basic folding method is to fold one side of the garment towards the centre, repeat on the other side, folding in any sleeves, to make a rectangle. Fold in half, fold in thirds. It should stand up on its own, ready to be filed away upright.

How do you organize and fold clothes?

Once you have mastered your technique of folding in the sides of a garment towards the middle, folding in half lengthwise and again into thirds, you should store them back into your drawers, standing with the folded edge on top. If you want to take the Marie Kondo folding technique to the next level, why not order by colour – a rainbow colour progression is especially satisfying.

What is the best way to fold clothes for travel?

Shirts, dresses and skirts can all be easily creased when packed for travelling. The best way to avoid creasing and fit more into your case is to fold in the sides of the garment towards the middle, fold in half to make a long rectangle and roll the item from top to bottom. If you’ve not got much case space, read our tips on packing light.

How should you fold bedding?

Ensure you have lots of space to hold out your sheets corner to corner. Flat sheets can be folded into three or four sections lengthwise until you have one long panel of material, which can be folded into smaller sections until a rectangle shape is formed. Pillow cases can be folded into squares or halved lengthways and into thirds. Fitted sheets are more tricky, but our easy-to-follow guide on how to fold a fitted sheet will help. 

So now that you’ve learned how to fold clothes you can sit back and marvel at your beautifully organised drawers and cupboards, knowing that getting dressed is a whole new experience. 

And if this has left you eyeing your wardrobe in the hope of unleashing your newfound folding technique, why not read up on our wonderful wardrobe hacks to help fully transform your closet?

Originally published