Before the relaunch of this site, I was completing a 30-day decluttering challenge and Day 1 was my closet. I opted to use Marie Kondo’s folding technique for the aftermath and, in doing so, I noticed that this method has a lot of potential for failure. So, I’ve got some quick tips to avoid that by eliminating wasted time when folding, so you can keep your KonMari closet in full effect!
Hopefully you read my article, One of These Decluttering Methods is Perfect for You. The KonMari Method is covered there and it also starts with your closet. The closet is a time-consuming area no matter how you declutter it. It can be even worse if you have to fold and refold clothes trying to fit them into your spaces. To add insult to injury, if that initial organizing phase is a lot of work to you, why the heck would you want to do it after every load of laundry?! That’s why I’m here! To show you the tips that will keep you using your new KonMari methods even after the initial organizing fest.
First, you can see quick, video tutorials on how to fold nearly every type of clothing on Lavendaire’s YouTube channel and her How to Fold Series. There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel when there is already great examples being given out there! The most commonly folded items will be tops and bottoms. And, since not all drawers are created equal, you’re really going to want to keep these tips in mind. Otherwise, you’ll find that your little clothing tacos are either too tall and you have to do it again and again, or it’s all too wide and you end up with wasted, empty space. So, let’s start there!
How to Leave No Space Unused:
You should know, roughly, if your shirts will fit in one drawer. I fit about 50 in one of mine. That said, you can eyeball if it looks like 3 or 4 columns will work in your drawer. My drawers can fit four columns of shirts. Initially, I was either too wide on the regular tees or too narrow on the tiny tank tops. Eventually, it dawned on me that my final width would be the same on every top. I’m not supposed to base my first two folds on where the armpits are, and this is something that is never covered in tutorials!
Tip: The width of one column is the width of your shirt after the first two folds.
You can have varying column widths, of course, in one drawer. But just keep in mind which width you’re working with when you’re doing that next load of laundry.
How to Stop Picking at Your KonMari Crotch:
I couldn’t help myself! And it’s the only way I can explain the problem with this particular KonMari technique. When folding pants and shorts, you want to start with a rectangular shape and you do that by folding the crotch that sticks out. To get that rectangle, fold the pants or shorts in half so that the back pockets are exposed. Then, fold the teeny tiny crotch so that the pants are symmetrical, like this…
See how I’m having to hold the crotch down? If I lifted my hand, it unfolded. Now, try to fold shorts in half while also keeping that little crotch folded too. Just…lame. Jeans are stiff and, if they haven’t been folded like this before, the fabric will fight you. That’s reason enough for me to hang them. But I persisted and stopped fighting with my crotch. Seriously, how else do you say that?
Tip: Fold the crotch of your shorts and pants IN instead of OUT.
Now, the crotch is not sitting on top of the clothing and stays put between the weight of the legs. I can’t even tell you how much time and aggravation this saved me! The pants are still symmetrical on both sides and can be folded the rest of the way using the KonMari method, which leads me to my next tip!
How to Make Sure Your Pants are Drawer Height:
This doesn’t apply to shirts because folding shirts too tall is self-correcting…they won’t stand up by themselves…and shorts are, well, short. Once you have completed the improved steps above, you are supposed to do your next three folds.
- Fold at the knee so that the bottom of the pants are right below the belt line
- Fold 1/3rd up
- Fold last 1/3rd up
This should result in free-standing, folded pants. The problem, however, is that jeans are long and this technique makes for really tall tacos that don’t allow your drawer to close! (I call them tacos because of they way they stand like tacos…it’s just a thing I can’t replace.) If you have deep drawers, this may not be a problem for you.
What I do instead is fold the bottom of the pants up toward the belt line but stop 5 inches, for example, below the top of the pants if the drawer is 5 inches deep. If you have a 3 inch drawer, you’ll practically be rolling them, but it could work. If you have a 6 inch drawer, the bottom of your jeans should stop 6 inches from the top. You get the picture. This is applicable to me and my Orderly Other because we’re both tall. If you were shorter or folding capri pants, then you could probably get away with folding it the regular way as pictured above. Basically…
Tip: Leave your drawer’s height in inches between the top and the bottom of the pants when folding pants at the knee
You’ll end up doing an extra fold too, which is why Marie Kondo needs alternatives in her tutorials! Not everything can be folded in half then thirds. I don’t have to struggle with the crotch or the height with my pant folding improvements. I also don’t fold my shorts into thirds either; they’re just not long enough and I don’t have any thin shorts that would allow two folds. So I just fold the crotch in and fold them in half. Works fine.
And, obviously, based on my t-shirt drawer up there, I don’t follow the KonMari method to a T…hehe get it? Kondo’s method also says to put darker colors in the back and lighter in the front and I just kind of wanted to get everything folded. So, I pick and choose how to use her method so that it works for me because, at first, it didn’t.
After I did all of this folding business during my challenge, I had clean laundry piling up because I didn’t want to fight with my fold lines. But I was committed to trying something that would get me a less cluttered closet, so I had to figure something out. Thank me later.
Why Marie Kondo Should Hire Me to Fold Socks:
I was a bit against folding tiny clothes at first. For me, throwing underwear, socks, and bras into hat boxes and baskets has been a lifelong practice. And, since socks were the first tiny clothes I did, I was almost fully against it! But I pushed through and wanted to figure it out because it really did seem like it would be a space saver.
Once again, just like the pants and shorts, the KonMari way is to fold the socks in half and lay them on top of each other before using the same triple-fold technique. But, um, hello, that obviously doesn’t leave little rectangles to be folded into little taco squares. It leaves weird banana shapes being folded into a hot mess that won’t line up into columns no matter what they’re going into. Look here…
The bulge that the heel creates when you fold your socks using the KonMari method means that your columns of socks will mash up against each other and I wasn’t having that. So, I worked with the other way that socks scream to be folded. They still laid on top of each other but…
Tip: Keep the toe seam flat and the heel on top when folding socks
So much easier! Most of the time my socks are inside out coming out of the dryer anyway, so I just shove my hand in and pull the toe seam out and into place. There’s no fiddling with a heel and they just fold up into their spots. I didn’t include the fold lines because it depends on the length of your sock; folding just 3 times may not work. I folded these 4 times and some of my knee-high, dress socks get folded more. As you can see by my finished “sock drawer hat box,” if I had that bulging heel to fight with, they just wouldn’t fit in there the same way.
One Last Thing Before You Go:
I have to leave you with one last tip because
I can’t just leave it at an awkward four tips I really want your efforts to be worth your time so you can have an organized closet that’s easy to maintain. If you’re already folding your clothes in any way, shape or form, then this isn’t going to be that much more work! It’s just a different pattern. If you are used to hanging all of your clothes, however, and really don’t think you’ll have the time to transition to folding so much or you still have the small section of hung items as is allowed by Marie Kondo, then this one is for you:
Tip: Just try hanging your clothes from longest to shortest in KonMari fashion
This may be a tough pill to swallow for all of my color-coordinators, similar sleeve-lovers, and dress-shirt to casual-wear hangers, but hanging from longest to shortest has it’s perks too! I have dabbled in all of the aforementioned hanging methods, so I understand your hesitation to try this route. I liked the color coordination so I could match outfits quickly, but that will be gone with this technique. But do you know why it doesn’t matter? Because how long it takes to get dressed will be the same no matter how you find your clothes. I also enjoyed hanging by collar- and sleeve-lengths because, once upon a time, clothes of every season fit in one closet! But, hanging from longest to shortest still makes collar- and sleeve-lengths obviously visible, so there’s no change there!
But hanging from longest to shortest has a perk that you can’t get with any other hanging method: Increased floor space! See, when you hang everything randomly, you’ll have long clothes spaced out just enough that your clothes end in a solid line parallel to the floor. You can fit a couple rows of shoes under there maybe. But with longest to shortest, you can have a higher shelving unit under your short end or taller shoes, the way I used the space.
I used to only be able to fit regular shoes on that shoe rack while all of my boots were on the main closet shelf above…which is now nearly empty! I can find my stuff with no problems because there’s just way less hanging! In fact, hanging up clothes is what takes slightly more time now!. I imagine that’ll get quicker as I get used to where things go in the lineup…muscle memory.
Hopefully, these tips will help you save time when using the KonMari method in your closet! If you come up with any more, please feel free to share the knowledge in the comments below! I’m sure your fellow readers will appreciate it!