Use these clever methods for folding shirts, pants, and towels to maximize space inside drawers and closets.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated April 09, 2020
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You've probably been folding clothes and towels the same way your whole life. Although the traditional methods work just fine, they might not be the most efficient way to store clothing and linens. With a few clever folding techniques, you can maximize space inside closets and dresser drawers while keeping items organized and easily accessible. Plus, proper folding helps prevent wrinkled clothing, so you can spend less time ironing and steaming. Rethink your folding methods (and say goodbye to jumbled drawers and unsteady stacks) with these techniques for how to fold T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, dress shirts, pants, and towels. Most items have multiple fold options, so choose the best folding technique for your space constrictions and storage preferences.

The Wilde Project

How to Fold a T-Shirt

Turn that jumble of T-shirts into a neatly organized stack. Follow these instructions for how to fold a T-shirt for easy storage. Both methods will help you fold T-shirts quickly and orderly, so choose whichever technique you prefer.

Japanese Folding Method

  • Lay the shirt front side up and sideways with the neck on your right and the bottom hem on your left.
  • Smooth out any wrinkles so it lays flat.
  • With your right hand, pinch the shirt between the shoulder and the neck.
  • Pinch halfway down with your left hand.
  • Cross your right hand over
  •  your left to pinch the hem.
  • Pick up the shirt and pull your left hand through, uncrossing your ar
  • ms.
  • Lastly, drag the shirt along the table (front side down) to straighten out the sleeve and fold over to finish.

Folding Board Method

  • Lay the shirt face down and flat. Place a folding board or clipboard near the collar and center between the shoulders.
  • Flip one side of the shirt and sleeve against the board.
  • Repeat on the other side and smooth out any wrinkles.
  • Fold the bottom of the shirt up, so it's tight and snug against the bottom edge of the pulling board.
  • Flip the shirt right side up, then slip the board out from behind.
Dera Burreson

How to Fold a Long-Sleeve Shirt

Unwieldy sleeves can make long-sleeve shirts a challenge to fold. Use this easy technique to make quick work of folding long-sleeve shirts.

Draped Folding Method

  • Hold the shirt by the shoulder seams near the neck seam with the front facing you.
  • Fold the sleeves and sides back so the sleeves meet in the middle of the back.
  • Drape the sleeves so they lie flat along folded edges.
  • Fold the garment from the top to bottom either in half or thirds, depending on your desired finished shape.

How to Fold a Dress Shirt

If you've run out of hanging space for dress shirts, try folding. These two methods will teach you how to fold a dress shirt to prevent wrinkles and streamline closet storage.

Folding Board Method

  • Fasten buttons and closures, and smooth down placket.
  • Lay the shirt front down on a flat surface. Place a folding board or clipboard near the collar and center between the shoulders.
  • Flip one side of the shirt against the board.
  • Fold the sleeve in at the shoulder; then fold sleeve up at the elbow, smoothing as you go.
  • Repeat on the other side and smooth out any wrinkles.
  • Fold in half by bringing the bottom edge to the collar.
  • Flip the shirt right side up, then slip the board out from behind.

Tailored Folding Method

  • Fasten buttons and closures, and smooth down placket.
  • Lay the shirt front down on a flat surface.
  • Fold one sleeve across the back to the other side. If necessary, fold in the end of the sleeve so it doesn't extend past the shirt.
  • Repeat with the other sleeve, overlapping the first.
  • Fold in one side to the collar; repeat with the other side.
  • Fold in half by bringing the bottom edge to the collar and flip over.
Dera Burreson

How to Fold Pants or Slacks

Use one of these methods for folding pants to keep your slacks in ready-to-wear condition and your closet or drawers orderly.

Creased Folding Method

  • Line up seams and hems to keep the creases crisp.
  • Hold upside down by bottom hems; match inseams to the outer seams, keeping the crease sharp.
  • Fold in half onto a pants hanger or in thirds to place in a drawer.

Smooth Folding Method

  • Hold pants by the waistband, and shake them to smooth large folds.
  • Lay pants on a flat surface with the seams on each leg parallel, pulling seams gently until slightly taut.
  • Fold one pants leg over the other, matching and smoothing seams.
  • Fold garment in thirds lengthwise to fit in a drawer or fold in half to drape over a hanger.
Jay Wilde

How to Fold Towels

Try these folding techniques for a tidy display of towels. The first method leaves towels ready for placement on towel bars with just a quick grab. The second technique helps prevent extra wear along the towel-bar crease by changing the fold for storage.

Towel Bar Folding Method

  • Fold towels lengthwise to half their width.
  • Fold into thirds to stack.

Wear-Reducing Towel Folding Method

  • Fold towels in half with short ends together.
  • Fold in half again, short ends together.
  • Fold in half a final time for storage. If a more compact shape suits your storage space better, fold the towel in thirds instead of in half on the last fold.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
April 30, 2020
I have folded shirt this way for many years. I fold about 15 shirt a minute.