The Best Way to Fold Laundry from Socks to Shirts

Of all your laundry room tasks, "fold laundry neatly" should be at the top of the list. Nothing says "waste of time" like letting clean clothes sit in a basket to become a wrinkled mess.

Neatly folded clothes look better and are easier to store and can save you the extra effort of ironing.

Preparing To Fold Laundry
Before you dive into that basket of freshly dried clothes, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Pick the proper folding area. Fold laundry on a flat surface instead of in your lap or on a bed-you'll get smoother clothes and nicer creases. Make sure to give yourself plenty of room: a kitchen table of counter will give you the space to fold properly.
  • Don't put it off! Fold clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer to limit the amount of wrinkles that set in. To refresh a load that is wrinkled, wet a dishtowel until it is damp and put it and the load of laundry back in the dryer. Run the dryer for 20 minutes on medium heat. Remove the laundry immediately and fold.
  • Fix fluttering flaps. Close buttons or zippers to secure loose sections of fabric. Closing fasteners will make folding easier and cuts down on wrinkles.
  • Use creases or seams to line up folds. Maintaining creases will keep your clothes looking good longer. Flattening clothes toward seams keeps wrinkles from forming on the "open" areas of the fabric.
  • Hanging clothes is the best way to avoid wrinkles. Dress shirts and pants should be on hangers, as should anything you really want to keep neat. Casual clothes, linens and under garments are perfect folding fodder.

Clothes Origami: Basic Laundry Folding
Pants:

  • Hold pants vertically by the waist.
  • Grab the front of the waist (near the zipper or top button) and pinch together the first two inches of waistband on either side.
  • Flatten the pants so that the crease falls on the front vertical fold and the seams line up at the cuff.
  • Starting at the cuff or bottom of the leg, fold the legs in half or thirds depending on how you plan to store the pants.

Shirt:

  • Flatten the shirt neatly on your folding surface with the front of the shirt facing down.
  • Using the edge of the collar as a guide, fold one sleeve and about a third of the shirt toward the back of the shirt. Lay the sleeve flat so it lies vertically along the side of the shirt.
  • Repeat with the other sleeve and side of the shirt.
  • Fold the body of the shirt up toward the collar-either in half or thirds.
  • Flip the shirt so that the front faces up.

Underwear:

  • Holding at the waist, fold the garment vertically in half or thirds.
  • Fold once horizontally, halfway down the garment.

Socks:

  • Lay a pair of socks out flat on your folding surface.
  • Fold in half and set aside.
  • Alternately, you can roll the tops of the socks over each other to hold them together. While this is a great way to keep socks together, it will also weaken the elastic at the tops of the socks.
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