“Going through life without knowing how to fold is a huge loss.” – Marie Kondo
Whether furniture foam or the sharpness of fork tines, no domestic detail is too straightforward to deal with. This includes the art of folding. In my constant pursuit of a neat home, I have come to believe that after piety and cleanliness comes wrinkles.
Perhaps no one has elevated this art more than Marie Kondo, this famous Nettnik, who made folding a kind of religious experience in her bestseller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. “It’s an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for how these clothes support your lifestyle. So when we fold, we should put our hearts into it, ”she writes.
I don’t know if I would go that far, but I agree that proper folding does impose a certain serenity on spaces that look like chicken roosts in most households. When folded, clothes, bed linen and towels take up less space, are less creased, easier to find, and look better on shelves or drawers.
“The goal should be to organize the content so that you can see at a glance where each item is, just as you can see the spines on your bookshelves,” writes Kondo. If you too want to discover the life-changing magic of folding, these 10 tips can help you:
• Get them while they are hot. The best time to fold clothes and bedding is straight out of a warm dryer, said Emma Glubiak, spokeswoman for The Spruce, a digital lifestyle publication. When you fold clothes fresh out of the dryer, you can hand iron them before they crease. When folding sheets, reach for the pillowcases first as they are best visible. Bedsheets are easier to straighten when they’re on the bed. Fold towels last as they won’t crease.
• Do you miss the bell? If you’ve left a load in the dryer for too long, dampen the wrinkles by placing a wet, clean towel with the creased load in the dryer and running the dryer on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, Glubiak said. Then fold immediately.
• Find your folding place. Fold clothes on a large, flat surface like a kitchen table, dryer, or even a bed. By using a flat surface, you get cleaner, sharper folds and space to stack folded items by household member and category.
• Aim for the same. If you are folding a category of clothing or bedding, whether it be T-shirts or towels, fold them in the same way. Aim for smooth, compact, uniform rectangles, says Kondo. Adjust the size of the rectangle to fit the shelf or drawer.
• Go for thirds. Think of three people folding a shirt, pillowcase, or towel. Lay the part flat and fold each long side so that the edge goes over the center and the sides overlap. The shape will resemble a piece of chewing gum. They have three even layers and no visible free edges on the sides. Tuck in sleeves. Then pick up the short sides and halve again to thirds or, depending on the insertion depth, halve again if necessary. The goal is to hide free edges so that only thick folded pages remain visible.
• Do not hang up if you can fold. “By folding your clothes neatly, you can solve almost any storage-related problem,” writes Kondo. For example, depending on the thickness, 20 to 40 items of clothing fit in the same space that is needed to hang up 10.
• Store vertically in drawers. Kondo turned the world of folding on its head by demonstrating how to put folded items upright in a drawer instead of stacking them.
• Fold out face. Whether you store items vertically in drawers or stacked on shelves, make the thickest folded edges face up and out. Free edges should face the wall or the bottom of the drawer. Not only does this optimize the look, but it also makes things easier to pull out, Glubiak said.
• Roll them. Another attractive and space-saving storage option for towels is rolling. Fold lengthways in thirds, then cut in half and roll. Fold the washcloth in the middle, roll it up and then place it vertically (free edges facing down) in a basket.
• Foldable fitted sheets. With the fitted sheet facing out, place one hand in each of the two adjacent corners. Bring your hands together and nest one corner in the other by flipping the outer one so that the right side is now facing out. Do the same for the two remaining corners below. Lie flat on a surface. Smooth the curved elastic edges towards the center and fold them into a neat square or rectangle the size of the corresponding folded flat sheet.
Come to me next week for 10 tips on how to organize a linen closet.
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books. Contact them at marnijameson.com.