To finish “The Bones” section of my Anatomy of a Closet article, I will be going over how to properly fold all your clothing. Folding is a boring and repetitious task, but you have to start giving yourself enough time to fold everything properly each time you do laundry, so that you can maintain those neat, orderly stacks and drawers.
While hanging is valuable space because it’s front and center in your eye line, folding is the opposite. It’s very hard to remember you have something when it’s in a stack with other items. This is exactly why folding properly is important. If it’s in order, it will be easier for you to see what you have and wear those items. Plus, folding is more space conscious than hanging, so you can keep more clothes this way.
I am going to break down each type of clothing and show you how to fold it properly, along with any tips or tricks I can give you to maintain that order.
General Tips for All Folded Items:
- Again, button all buttons and zip all zippers. This is incredibly basic and I am repeating it from part one, but so essential in creating the look of an organized and orderly closet.
- For items that make a tidy stack (i.e., tees, sweaters, jeans, etc) use open air shelves. They are more accessible than drawers.
- Never stack higher than 8 to 10 inches max.
- Keep lightweight items on top, heavier items on the bottom of any stack.
T-SHIRTS & TANK TOPS:
I am giving away a sneak peak at my decor by showing you my gold labels, but I wanted to let you know how I chose to house my shirts. I am putting my folded tees on the top shelf of my closet in these stacking bins from The Container Store, with labels for the brand of tee for easy access on my top shelf.
How to fold a t-shirt for 12″ deep shelves:
How to fold t-shirts for 8-10″ shelves:
How to fold Tank Tops:
- I try to keep a max of five t-shirts in a stack. Any more and it gets messy quickly! When you need that one t-shirt at the bottom of the stack, you are going to wish you only had three per stack, when you have refold the entire stack.
- As I mentioned in week two, I stack the same brand t-shirts together, rather than by color. This way I don’t have to dig through the pile, for example, of all black shirts at one time. I can go to the brand I like, such as James Perse, then pull out just the black t-shirt in the pile of that brand.
BUTTON UP SHIRTS:
How to fold Button up Shirts for 12″ deep Shelves:
How to fold Button up Shirts for 8″-10″ deep Shelves:
- I prefer to hang all button ups, but if you are a man (or live with one), they tend to have so many button up shirts that these need to be folded and stacked for space reasons. (Save the hanging space for the ladies right?!? wink wink)
- You can insert a piece of tissue paper before you do the final fold to take better care of your dress shirts.
I am using these sweater bags with cedar balls inside (to avoid the evil moth), but it makes it even harder to see my sweaters on the top shelf (housed in the same stacking bins as my t-shirts). I put simple labels with a brief description of which sweater is inside to help me find the one I want quickly. I want to be able to see them from below, so I put the labels facing down.
How to fold sweaters:
- I should have mentioned this in the closet clean out- but you should dry clean all your knits because this is the ideal hiding place for bugs. A few years ago, I lost some beloved cashmere myself, when I purchased a resale item that had the dreaded moth eggs. It was quite an ordeal to rid myself of these evil bugs. Avoid it from the start. Dry clean your knits at least twice a year! (Quick fix: Place suspect pieces in large plastic freezer bag, seal and store in the freezer for two days. This will kill anything, including eggs lurking within the fabric.)
- I will say this once again, never hang your sweaters. It always leads to strangely stretched-out silhouettes and lumpy shoulders.
- Separate cardigans, turtlenecks, etc., or divide by casual, work, weekend, whichever works best for you without resorting to unfolding them all when you are on the hunt for a specific sweater.
- Put bulkiest pieces on bottom of the pile to avoid an unstable, top heavy formation.
- Never pile more than four or five high, again, heaviest on the bottom.
- Visually I prefer sweaters are stacked fold side out, however, if your sweaters are not at eye level, you can stack so collars and their labels face out for fast identification.
- For extremely high-maintence knits, use clear protective sweater bags and for cashmere, insert lavender or cedar balls. You can also add labels to the bags with descriptions to make it easier to find a specific sweater (see my closet photo for an example).
I use and like these sweater bags:
DENIM AND PANTS:
I used open shelving for my denim. They make easy stacks divided by the “cut” of the jean. I used the same fabulous gold labels to add a designer touch with decor, but I will touch on that in a few weeks when I go over decor.
How to fold denim and pants:
- If you have room to hang your denim and pants, that is first choice for the care of your clothing, if not, folding them is perfectly fine.
- It can be impossible to distinguish between jeans when you can only see a sliver of the denim. Mark your shelves with labels (or for a quick simple solution, a piece of tape with nice writing) according to style, then create a color-gradation stack. ( I will go over some choices for labels when I discuss decor)
My drawers were perfect for dividing into three rows, one for bras and two for unmentionables. I divided each drawer into color ways (I love a beautifully organized undergarment drawer). You can also see I went horizontal with my boutisiers. They tuck inside one another and I can see the top of each piece so I can select it easily.
How to fold ladies garments:
How to fold men’s boxers:
- I like to line my bras together like in the photo above. The cups will stacking neatly inside each other, while still allowing you to see the style of the bra. Tuck in the straps and make sure you always hook your bra hooks. They can very easily snag your expensive delicates.
- Try to divide your drawers by color and matching sets. Makes it easier to go to the exact drawer you need.
- For bustiers, corset and shareware, go horizontal in the drawer and tuck the cups the same way you do with your bras.
- I personally do not use drawer dividers, because I am very precise with my folding and maintaining my orderly stacks, but if you have trouble with this, then you should absolutely invest in drawer dividers with 6″ wide sections. Here are my recommendations for drawer dividers:
- I always recommend drawer liners, even better, scented drawer liners. They come in a variety of patterns and colors. I chose the scented paper sheets, super easy to install, no dealing with that annoying sticky back rolls (You know when you get frustrated, because that spot gets stuck and it’s not straight and you have to rip it up), they add a fabulous scent and are easily replaceable if they get dirty.
TIPS FOR YOUR OPEN AIR SHELVES:
- I love open shelves for folded items. It is so much easier to see everything. I recommend that only intimates and PJ’s be in drawers.
Here are my recommendations for open shelf organizers to help you keep neat and orderly stacks:
This week’s checklist:
- Purchase any items you need for shelf organization, drawer liners, sweater bags, etc.
- Begin installing your hangable items
- Neatly refold every piece of clothing to match. If you take the time to do this once up front, maintaining as you go, becomes easier.
Now, the fun part really begins. Next week I will discuss “The Personality”- shoes, accessories and jewelry. These are the items we ladies love most, so organizing them becomes much more fun. As a jewelry designer, I love solutions for jewelry storage and care. Plus, looking forward to showing you tips for storing your plethora of shoes!!!