How to Fold Clothes to Save Space in Your Closet or Dresser

Max out your storage space.

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Woman hands neatly folding underwears and sorting in drawer organizers on white marble background
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When was the last time you thought about your clothes-folding routine? Chances are you might be stuck in a little bit of a rut, doing what you've always done—or worse, just letting laundry accumulate in a pile that never gets put away. Yikes! Thankfully, there's an easier way that eliminates clutter, doesn't take forever, and makes it easy to find what you're looking for. Shira Gill, a pro organizer and author of Minimalista: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Better Home, Wardrobe, and Life, explains how to fold clothes to save space in your closet or dresser.

"Don't make the mistake of thinking these little things don't make a difference! It's all about creating ease in your day-to-day life and streamlining your time," says Gill. "Not having to look for what you want to wear saves time and maximizes your day. Being really intentional with setting up your closet in general reduces stress and overwhelm on a daily basis." To tidy up your own closet and max our storage space, try these space-saving clothes-folding techniques.


Depending on your daily uniform and your space restrictions, not everything needs to be hung up. In general, Gill recommends folding sleepwear, loungewear, and athletic wear and placing them in a drawer or on a shelf. Anything that could get wrinkled in a drawer should be hung up.

Here's her no-fail folding formula: Lay your shirt face-down on a flat surface, like a counter or your bed. Fold the sleeves onto the shirt toward each other, creasing at the shoulder. Then either fold in half, so the front of the shirt is facing upwards, or file fold into thirds. File folding maximizes space, allowing you to stand the shirts up in a drawer, rather than one on top of the other.


Jeans may be too bulky for a drawer, but if you have a shelf in your closet, it's the perfect place to store denim.

Here's her no-fail folding formula: Lay your jeans flat and smooth out wrinkles. Make sure they are zipped and buttoned too (this makes jeans easier to fold). Fold them in half lengthwise, tucking the crotch in to form one long line. Then fold the jeans in half widthwise. File-fold the jeans into thirds and store them vertically in a drawer, or fold them widthwise one more time and stack on a shelf.


"A common mistake I see people making is trying to hang sweaters. Depending on the knit and the weight, hanging a sweater can put a strain on the fabric or leaves marks from the hanger," says Gill. "You're better off folding them."

Here's her no-fail folding formula: A breeze to fold, you don't even need a flat surface! Gill folds them standing up, holding the sweater with one hand on each shoulder. Fold the sleeves in toward each other. Then fold the sweater in half widthwise.


Most people fold them wrong because everyone learns to roll socks in on each other to make a little ball, explains Gill. But it damages the integrity of the sock. Also, people really hang onto socks, even if they're dingy and mismatched. If there's no match, throw it into a bag and bring it to your local textile recycling center.

Here's her no-fail folding formula: Instead, lay them on top of one another heel to toe, fold in half, then fold in half again. Use a drawer organizer to create a line of socks.


Most people push one cup into the other cup. It's a no-no and shortens the lifespan of your bra.

Here's her no-fail folding formula: Instead, fasten the back, tuck the straps in and have the cups facing you, then line them up within your drawer. To save more space, keep the left cup in place, then pick up the right cup and turn it upside down so it sits flush, nesting on top of the left cup. Then neatly tuck the straps in.


"Life is too short to fold underwear," says Gill. Instead, she buys nude and black underwear and just keeps them in neat piles in her drawer.

Here's her no-fail folding formula: If you can't help yourself or have a large and varied collection of underwear, here's how to make every pair easy to find. Lay the brief or thong flat, fold in each side, then fold the crotch toward the middle of the underwear, so it gets folded toward the top in thirds. Place each pair vertically in the standard file folding formation.

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