Fold Clothes Like Marie Kondo

neatly folded clothes in a small drawer

Marie Kondo is famous for her methods of cleaning, decluttering, and organizing, which have been featured in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and her Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.

Her approach, which she calls the KonMari method, comes with an interesting, highly specific way to fold clothes—a style that saves space in drawers, and makes everything in them visible and accessible. No more digging through sloppy piles of clothes or just shoving everything into one drawer. The KonMari method of folding is fast, simple, and easy to master.

The Basics

The idea of the KonMari method is to take whatever item you have and create a rectangle with it, and then fold that rectangle into thirds. You’ll know you’ve mastered the method if you can stand the folded item up on its side. For items with flimsy material, making tight folds will help you achieve this look. And while this method can revolutionize your closet organization system, some things may still need to find their way to a hanger.

clothes laid out

Step 1 - Flatten Out Your Clothes

Start with fresh clean clothes. Lay the item flat across your bed, floor, or other hard surface and smooth them out as much as you can with your hands. An important part of the KonMari method is gratitude for what you have, and this is the moment in the folding process where KonMari suggests you take time to feel thankful to your faithful garments for the service they provide.

Step 2 - Fold Them Into Rectangles

After you have flattened out an item as much as possible with your hands, the goal is to create a long rectangle with the item. If you are working on a shirt, fold the sides in to meet in the middle. If the shirt has long sleeves, fold those sleeves back across and around, without letting them leave the rectangle you've just created.

If you're working with pants, fold them in half vertically so each leg matches up. If the width of the pant leg is significantly different that the width of the area that covers the rear, fold the extra material over to match the shape of the long rectangle.

The better rectangle you can fold at this step, the better your finished product will be.

Step 3 - Fold Them Like An Open Envelope

Now that you have a rectangle, take the top the folded item and fold it horizontally across ⅔ of itself. After this fold, which should look like a little more than half, smooth the item out again with firm pressure. The smoother you get them, the more firmly your clothes will keep their form in the drawer.

clothes folded into rectangles

Step Four - Fold the Envelope in Half

After you fold the item by ⅔, fold what you have left in half. This should create a tight, compact fold that will stand on its own when placed on its side. Not all fabrics will do this, but if you have a nice, tight fold, most fabrics will hold the shape. If you find that your fold doesn’t stick, simply shake out the item and try again, folding tighter and smaller. Not only will this save you space in the dresser, it will help give the fold the structure it needs to stand.

Step 5 - Stand Them Up in Your Drawer

After you've folded your clothes and tested to see if they stand on their side, place them in the dresser drawer. The KonMari method calls for a non-traditional storage method. Instead of stacking garments on top of one another, place the folded items on their side standing up, so each remains visible and accessible. You’ll know you’ve done it right if you can see all of your clothing items in your dresser drawer at once, without having to dig.

This process takes more than two or three tries to master, but after you’ve worked your way through a batch of laundry, you'll have the hang of it for sure. Once you do, your luxurious closet will feel so fancy you may just want to go full DIY on your dresser to give it an update on the outside, that matches the mastery on the inside.