The Dresser Drawer That Changed My Life

[ and other fantastic folds ]

 

May 05, 2016

There’s one thing that consistently gets the most excited “oohs” and “ahhs” from my clients. It even helped get me my first job as a professional organizer. The woman who did my home interview later told me, “You had me at your drawers.” And after helping me move my dresser into a new apartment I heard a friend ask his wife, "Can you fold my shirts the way Christina does?" I understand the reactions because I’ll never forget that fateful day my junior year of college when I saw my friend, Marissa, open her dresser drawer and her shirts were folded like this -->

It blew my mind and changed how I organize drawers forever. I starting applying this method not only to t-shirts, but to jeans, pajama pants, athletic pants- anything that works!

Here’s why: Traditional methods of folding stack on top of each other and make it difficult to see what you have. You have to lift up the shirts/pants on top to get to what’s below. What ends up happening is the shirts get jumbled and messy, like this:

 

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So folding your clothes upright allows you to see what you have, specifically you can see what design is on the front of your shirts. So if you have five grey shirts, you can find the one you want faster and without messing up a whole stack. This allows you to retrieve it quickly and easily, which also means that your drawers STAY organized. The easier things are to retrieve, the better your systems will last. Finally, I have also found that folding this way usually allows you to fit more in your drawers, which I know you'll all be happy about.

You can experiment with which way you orient the “stacks” depending on the size of your drawers and clothes. I usually recommend going front to back, but if your drawers don't pull out far you may lose a lot of visibility at the back, in which case going side to side may be better. 

You may find that you can even fold your tank tops, underwear, and shorts in this way.

 You can also roll your tank tops like this! Sidenote: For years I used shoe boxes (or even the box my garbage bags came in). So staying frugal is totally possible! But if you want to upgrade, you can get drawer dividers like these from IKEA (I think it's a combo pack of 4 for $8ish) or The Container Store has a ton of pretty options!

You can also roll your tank tops like this! Sidenote: For years I used shoe boxes (or even the box my garbage bags came in). So staying frugal is totally possible! But if you want to upgrade, you can get drawer dividers like these from IKEA (I think it's a combo pack of 4 for $8ish) or The Container Store has a ton of pretty options!

This method doesn’t work particularly well for silky or blousey items, or for thick materials like sweaters or hoodies. But find what works with your clothes and go for it! If you can’t fold them upright like this, at least try to find ways to make them more visible. For example, I often roll tank tops and stick them upright in a box/drawer divider. It works well for unruly items like these and still allows for full visibility.

Remember- simply folding your clothes with this technique won’t magically solve all your problems! Make sure you’ve already sorted your clothes like with like (short sleeve tees separate from long sleeve, separate from tanks and shorts, etc), you’ve purged duplicates and worn out articles, as well as things you just don’t like and don’t wear anymore (and things that don’t fit!), and you’ve chosen the appropriate storage space based on size and amount of clothes (drawers, baskets, boxes within drawers, etc). And, of course, you still have to maintain it. So take the time to put things away properly and do a seasonal purge/refresh of each drawer. It’s worth it! Wake up tomorrow with your drawers beautiful and organized and you'll see what I mean.

 

Here are some tutorials on how to fold each type of clothing:

Jeans

 I used to work at a boutique and learned this awesome method for folding jeans. It allows you to see the pocket design, which is the most distinctive part of jeans usually, and will help you tell all your dark wash pairs apart faster (I know you have more than one!).   Start by folding them in half like usual. Then fold the hem to the  bottom of the pocket . If you have jeggings without pockets just pretend they exist and still only fold that far. This makes the rest of the folds smooth and makes it possible for the jeans to stand up on their own (and it minimizes wrinkles). Next fold in half by bringing the knee up to the waistband. Finally fold in half again by folding the waistband down. Now place them in your drawers so you can see each pair!

I used to work at a boutique and learned this awesome method for folding jeans. It allows you to see the pocket design, which is the most distinctive part of jeans usually, and will help you tell all your dark wash pairs apart faster (I know you have more than one!). 

Start by folding them in half like usual. Then fold the hem to the bottom of the pocket. If you have jeggings without pockets just pretend they exist and still only fold that far. This makes the rest of the folds smooth and makes it possible for the jeans to stand up on their own (and it minimizes wrinkles). Next fold in half by bringing the knee up to the waistband. Finally fold in half again by folding the waistband down. Now place them in your drawers so you can see each pair!

Leggings

 Here's an example of leggings folded upright. Use boxes/bins like this to separate by length (full length vs cropped/capri leggings), which saves you time getting ready!

Here's an example of leggings folded upright. Use boxes/bins like this to separate by length (full length vs cropped/capri leggings), which saves you time getting ready!

Tanks/Camis

 You can fold or roll your tanks, depending on your drawer situation (and size of tanks). Use this method for either way, but instead of rolling as the last step, fold in half twice.   I fold the straps in. Then fold in half "hotdog style" so the straps are tucked away. Then roll starting from the top. Using a box/IKEA bin helps a ton keeping them visible and orderly. You may even have a separate box for each type of tank: workout tanks, undershirts, racer back tanks, tanks you only wear with your work uniform, etc. Whatever makes sense for you!

You can fold or roll your tanks, depending on your drawer situation (and size of tanks). Use this method for either way, but instead of rolling as the last step, fold in half twice. 

I fold the straps in. Then fold in half "hotdog style" so the straps are tucked away. Then roll starting from the top. Using a box/IKEA bin helps a ton keeping them visible and orderly. You may even have a separate box for each type of tank: workout tanks, undershirts, racer back tanks, tanks you only wear with your work uniform, etc. Whatever makes sense for you!

Bras + Undies

 Cascade your bras to keep their shape. You can tuck the bands and straps under to make a cleaner look. This preserves the shape of your pretty things and also allows you to see what your options are. Use boxes or drawer dividers to keep different types of undergarments separate (slips, Spanx, thongs, and your fancy panties!). Digging through every piece of lingerie you have just to find a nude thong is no one's idea of fun. Separate categories will save the day someday. I highly recommend folding (or rolling) your underwear when they come out of the laundry- save yourself time turning them right-side out and right-side forward! Or maybe I’m the only one who struggles with that early in the morning...

Cascade your bras to keep their shape. You can tuck the bands and straps under to make a cleaner look. This preserves the shape of your pretty things and also allows you to see what your options are. Use boxes or drawer dividers to keep different types of undergarments separate (slips, Spanx, thongs, and your fancy panties!). Digging through every piece of lingerie you have just to find a nude thong is no one's idea of fun. Separate categories will save the day someday. I highly recommend folding (or rolling) your underwear when they come out of the laundry- save yourself time turning them right-side out and right-side forward! Or maybe I’m the only one who struggles with that early in the morning...

 For most of my clients I recommend color coding your shirts (and clothes in general). It helps you notice if you have a gray t-shirt addiction...

For most of my clients I recommend color coding your shirts (and clothes in general). It helps you notice if you have a gray t-shirt addiction...

 These are athletic/running shorts. You may find you need to confine them within a couple shoe boxes/dividers so that the piles don't fall over when you remove a few pairs. This isn't a problem with tees/jeans/etc, but for loose and slippery things, a box helps!

These are athletic/running shorts. You may find you need to confine them within a couple shoe boxes/dividers so that the piles don't fall over when you remove a few pairs. This isn't a problem with tees/jeans/etc, but for loose and slippery things, a box helps!

 

Shirts

 This method of folding is only one extra fold beyond traditional methods. Start by folding the outer edges in. Then fold the shirt in half- in this case by bringing the top of the shirt up to meet the hem. Fold in half again by lifting at the center and letting the halves fall together. Voila. Now your shirts can stand upright and you can see what your options are!

This method of folding is only one extra fold beyond traditional methods. Start by folding the outer edges in. Then fold the shirt in half- in this case by bringing the top of the shirt up to meet the hem. Fold in half again by lifting at the center and letting the halves fall together. Voila. Now your shirts can stand upright and you can see what your options are!

Athletic pants/PJs/Sweats:

 This method also works really well for lounge wear. I demonstrated with a pair of sweats, but use it for your athletic leggings/yoga pants and your pajamas as well!   Start by folding in half as usual. Fold the hem to the waistband, or just below it. Then fold the waistband down halfway. Finally fold in half, like you're tucking in a burrito, letting the waistband fit snugly in the center of the fold. This makes a clean edge for your pants and keeps unruly parts tucked away. Now they fit neatly and you can see what you've got! 

This method also works really well for lounge wear. I demonstrated with a pair of sweats, but use it for your athletic leggings/yoga pants and your pajamas as well! 

Start by folding in half as usual. Fold the hem to the waistband, or just below it. Then fold the waistband down halfway. Finally fold in half, like you're tucking in a burrito, letting the waistband fit snugly in the center of the fold. This makes a clean edge for your pants and keeps unruly parts tucked away. Now they fit neatly and you can see what you've got! 

Sports Bras

 I recommend folding your sports bras (or at least turning them right side out and laying flat) when they come out of the laundry so you don't have to wrestle with them when you're rushing to get ready. I lay them with the back facing up. Fold the straps in. Then fold in half, tucking the straps away so they aren't causing messy jumbles in your drawer. Depending on your drawer size you can stack them 3-4 high so you can still see, or use a small shoe box/IKEA bin to contain them (turn them on their sides so the cleanest edge is facing up). 

I recommend folding your sports bras (or at least turning them right side out and laying flat) when they come out of the laundry so you don't have to wrestle with them when you're rushing to get ready. I lay them with the back facing up. Fold the straps in. Then fold in half, tucking the straps away so they aren't causing messy jumbles in your drawer. Depending on your drawer size you can stack them 3-4 high so you can still see, or use a small shoe box/IKEA bin to contain them (turn them on their sides so the cleanest edge is facing up). 

Boot Socks + Fuzzy Socks

 If you have shallow drawers this is a great way to make use of the vertical space, but still be able to see what you have and save your horizontal space. Simply pair your socks and fold in half. Then stand them on their sides so you can see each pair! Works great for boot socks and those fuzzy, cozy socks you wear on winter nights. You can use the space at the back of the drawer for all those tights that only get worn a few times a year.  I still roll my ankle socks to keep the pairs together and make them a little faster to grab. Whether you roll or fold socks, I highly recommend matching them up (or mismatching them up if that's your thing) as soon as they come out of the laundry so that when you’re hurrying to get ready in the morning you don’t have to waste time trying to find mates!

If you have shallow drawers this is a great way to make use of the vertical space, but still be able to see what you have and save your horizontal space. Simply pair your socks and fold in half. Then stand them on their sides so you can see each pair! Works great for boot socks and those fuzzy, cozy socks you wear on winter nights. You can use the space at the back of the drawer for all those tights that only get worn a few times a year.

I still roll my ankle socks to keep the pairs together and make them a little faster to grab. Whether you roll or fold socks, I highly recommend matching them up (or mismatching them up if that's your thing) as soon as they come out of the laundry so that when you’re hurrying to get ready in the morning you don’t have to waste time trying to find mates!

A word about wrinkles: I've found that these methods produce similar amounts of wrinkles as traditional methods. But if wrinkles are a big concern to you make sure you fold immediately out of the dryer and smooth wrinkles out as you fold tight folds. Most of the things I recommend folding aren't your cute clothes you wear on a date or nice clothes you wear to work, but if it's still a concern see what you can hang instead! Maybe there are hanging clothes that could really be folded down to make room for the things you want to be wrinkle free.

Finally, these aren't the only methods for folding. They're just the ones I usually like best. Experiment and find what works for you and your wardrobe! The important thing is that your clothes are organized and you know where to find what you want when you want it!

Thanks for reading!

Happy folding!

Christina + The Organizing Co.