I have a confession to make.
Though I’m a total clean freak, there’s one chore I despise: ironing. Ugh. I would rather mop, do laundry, wash dishes, even go to Chuck E. Cheese’s on a Saturday.
I’m not sure why I find ironing so miserable, but I’d venture a guess it’s because I’m horrible at it. Most items look worse when I’m finished…wrinkles pressed into the fabric, discoloration, melted fibers. It isn’t pretty.
I’m willing to do anything to avoid that dreaded iron. If I could hang up my entire wardrobe instead of folding (and creating creases), I would do so in a heartbeat.
But alas, I don’t have the space.
That brings us to part two of The Bedroom Closet Series: folding! (If you’re just now joining us, start here with a peek into my closet.) I’ve taken a page from the KonMari Method for the clothing on my shelves and in my dresser drawers.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Before addressing storage solutions, we need to sort those folded garments with the same method as hanging clothes.
Okay, now that we’ve sorted, let’s return to the KonMari Method…Organizing guru Marie Kondo created this technique, which she details in her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Though she does offer many clever organizing solutions, I disagree with the basis of her approach, which involves personifying your belongings. For example, socks have feelings and don’t appreciate being balled up. They will be much happier if you folded them…
When I was a kid, I believed my stuffed animals had feelings. My tattered teddy bear might be sad and confused if I got rid of it, and I simply couldn’t allow that to happen. I amassed a huge, certified hoarder-level collection of stuffed critters. It didn’t matter if I liked the toy or not, I had no choice but to keep it. This might sound silly, but I felt trapped by guilt and worry…not to mention all those beady little eyes and stitched-on smirks.
That mindset stands in direct opposition to how God teaches us to think of possessions: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21, NIV (emphasis added)
Suffice it to say, I grew out of my stuffed animal attachment issues and certainly don’t subscribe to Kondo’s notion that our possessions have feelings.
But, all that said, I do like her folding technique…and I suppose if my tee shirts did have a say in how they are stored, this would probably be their preference.
Kondo recommends folding clothes in such a way that they can stand upright in the drawer, rather than stacked. I adopted this habit with my own clothes.
Not only does this technique reduce wrinkles (as opposed to stacking, which creates weight on each item), it lets me see the entire contents of my drawer at a glance.
Allow me to walk you through this anal-retentive folding technique. I admit, it does take a little more time, but in my book, it’s worth it to avoid ironing. Plus, I just love how tidy it looks.
1. Lay out a shirt, flat and smooth.
2. Fold the lengthwise sides toward the center of the shirt and tuck in the sleeves to form a long rectangle.
3. Fold the collar-side of the rectangle toward the bottom hem.
4. Fold either in half or into thirds as shown below. (Adjust the number of folds to fit the height of your drawer.)
5. If the item doesn’t stand up, you may need to add folds so it’s sturdier.
6. Store in drawer like a vertical file.
If you’re still unclear on this folding technique, here’s Marie Kondo’s video tutorial. Her video lacks the shirt lint of my photo instructional above, but try not to hold that against her: (And again, I don’t endorse her philosophy toward possessions.)
In my dresser drawers (shown earlier in this post), I store pajamas, camisoles, and activewear. I also store my undergarments here, but since they are not folded, I’ll spare you…
Moving on to folded clothes in the closet–here’s where I store my shorts (top shelf), jeans (second shelf), bulky sweatshirts, and leggings (third shelf).
When I used to stack my clothes, I’d wear only a couple pairs of my jeans. I’d grab the ones on the top of the pile, and before I could cycle to the bottom, those oft-worn pairs would be washed and returned to the top. So the bottom-dwelling jeans never saw the light of day.
It wasn’t that I disliked those neglected jeans; I just forgot about them. Out of sight, out of mind. This new method allows me to see all of my jeans. If I’m still not choosing a certain pair, then I know it’s time to get rid of them.
As you may have noticed, I don’t use this technique on my shorts. Even if I did fold them into tiny rectangles, they wouldn’t be thick enough to stand up. Besides, they are lightweight enough to stack without getting too wrinkled.
And in case you’re wondering, that nifty little hanging contraption (holding my fuzzy socks below my jeans) is a perfect way to beef up your storage in closets and pantries. It just slides right onto the shelf. And yes…my socks are balled up. Please don’t report me to Marie Kondo.
Another note on folding: I do not–I repeat, do not–use this method when folding my husband’s or children’s clothes. It’s not that I don’t love them…it’s because I love them.
I may feel giddy at the sight of my color-coded tee shirts lined up like books on a shelf, but my family couldn’t care less. And that’s perfectly fine.
This issue of organization and family is a topic for a separate post, which I plan to do soon.
I’ll leave it at this for now:
I know my kids. When they rifle through their dresser drawers, I swear their tiny hands turn into eggbeaters, spinning and slinging their clothes into one, big wrinkled mess.
I also know myself. If I spent time and effort turning their clothes into meticulously aligned file folders, only to find my work destroyed an hour later, I would be one frustrated mama. I choose my battles–imposing the KonMari Method upon my children is simply not worth it…
…even if it means ironing a few more shirts.
Clearly, KonMari isn’t for everyone. I get that. But don’t let that stop you from getting your folded clothes in order. Sort them, pare down your wardrobe. Get rid of the bottom-dwellers. Then use the classic fold-and-stack. Or turn your clothes into fabric origamis. Or roll them into cylinders. Find what works for you.
Here are some other options:
- Sort by color, type, and/or season.
- Label the fronts of your closet shelves to designate spots for certain categories (I swear, if I ever lose a hand, I’ll have it replaced with a label maker…or maybe a portable vacuum.) Here’s a link to my label maker, only $14.35 on Amazon. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done…and I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth from it. I’d label my children if they’d let me…but as I mentioned earlier, I choose my battles. And just so you know, all of my product recommendations are based solely on my experiences and opinions.
- Use drawer dividers to separate garments by type.
Happy folding…or whatever you choose!
Check out more from The Bedroom Closet Series here: Simple Organizing Solutions for Accessories