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How to Fold Baby Clothes

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN
We used to hate folding laundry, but now folding baby clothes is easier than ever before.

Is laundry day something you dread every week? We don’t blame you, it seems like it’s a never-ending cycle of wash, dry, fold. As a matter of fact, I’m listening to my washer and dryer run as I write this.

To be honest, I used to hate folding and putting away clothes. It just seemed like yet another thing on the neverending to-do list of motherhood. But, I found a system that works for me, and it’s made the process much better (therapeutic even).

If this is something you struggle with, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to go over different folding techniques and share our how-to guide.

Different Folding Techniques: KonMari vs. Traditional

If you ask any number of moms how they fold their baby clothes, chances are you’ll get varying answers. Some moms go full-on “KonMari” and have a super organized dressing area for their child. Others may do a quick fold over to get the job done.

Before we show you how to fold baby clothes, let’s go over these methods and compare them.

1. The KonMari Method

If you’ve been on this Earth since at least January of this year, you’ve probably been exposed to the KonMari method. This technique was developed by Marie Kondo and focuses on organization that “sparks joy” (1).

This method follows six rules:

  • Commit to the idea of tidying up.
  • Imagine how you want to live.
  • Finish discarding items before organizing.
  • Tidy by category rather than location.
  • Follow the correct order.
  • Ask yourself if an item sparks joy.

When it comes to clothing, the KonMari method uses a folding technique that allows the folded garment to stand straight up. This is also known as the “filing” method and makes them more easily accessible and organized.

Many parents (and people in general) prefer this style of folding over the traditional technique. This is because they can see everything they own. When folding baby clothes rather than your own, the folding process is only slightly different.

I love folding my kid’s clothes this way and it makes getting ready in the morning much faster.
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Editor's Note:

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

2. Traditional Folding

This is probably the folding method you’re used to, where clothing is stacked on top of each other in separate drawers. Some think this is better than the KonMari method.

But when you have to pick up a bunch of other clothing just to find what you want, it proves impractical. It can be inconvenient if you can’t find the right shirt to wear without tearing your drawers apart.

We like the KonMari method more because it makes clothing way easier to access. Plus, seeing everything at once prevents your child from growing out of something before they can wear it.

However, if you have higher-up shelves, like in a closet, the traditional method can still be effective. Instead of the clothing standing straight up, you can stack on those shelves so you can see each piece.

How to KonMari Fold According to Garment

For every kind of garment, there’s a special way to fold it for storage via the filing method. Each article of clothing has its own unique fold.

There are a few general rules of thumb when folding the KonMari way:

  • Make sure to have a clean, flat surface handy: This will make folding much easier as you’ll have space to spread out and get it done properly.
  • Flatten the garment as you fold: This will prevent you from having a bulky end product; it may also help with wrinkling.
  • The end product should be able to stand on its own: You’ll find that clothing folded via KonMari is folded into thirds for this very reason. Since it’s being stored vertically, the stand-up test will ensure that it fits right in the drawer.
  • Leave an inch or two of space at the top: This is also going to help ensure the product stands on its own.
  • Organization is key: The point of folding this way is to have a more organized drawer. Marie Kondo recommends getting drawer dividers or small boxes to store things like socks and underwear in. This will keep them from getting mixed together, or even worse, lost.

1. Onesies

To fold a onesie KonMari style, start by laying it flat. The next thing you’ll want to do is fold the onesie inwards lengthwise, on each side, and tuck the sleeves in. Take your hands and flatten the onesie again to smooth out any bumps or wrinkles.

Next, you’ll fold the onesie into thirds, starting at the bottom. Make sure the folds are even and clean. This will allow you to place the onesie in the drawer standing straight up, which takes up minimal space.

2. Shirts

When folding a shirt, you’ll want to start by folding one side of the shirt over. Take the shirt sleeve and fold it back over the folded panel you just made. Then, you’ll repeat with the other side.

Make sure to flatten the shirt to smooth out any wrinkles and then fold it in half, but leave a little gap at the end. Lastly, you’ll fold the shirt into thirds, and then it’s ready to be put away.

Hooded sweatshirts can be folded the same way. The only extra step is to fold the hood over after you fold the arms in.

3. Pants

To fold pants with the KonMari method, simply lay the pants flat and then fold one leg over the other. Make sure the crotch is tucked in and fold the pants almost in half, leaving a little space at the top.

Once you do that, fold the pants over three times from the bottom upwards to give them the dimension they need to stand straight up.

4. Sleepers

Sleepers, or footie pajamas, seem intimidating to fold but they actually aren’t. To fold these, you simply lay it flat with the legs touching and start by folding the sleeves in. You’ll then bring the two feet up until they’re almost folded in half.

Once you do that, fold over twice to make a trifold, and then it’s ready to be placed in the drawer.

5. Socks

While many people fold socks by folding one over the other, there is a much more efficient way of doing it. Folding socks over each other can stretch out the ankle and ruin the fit. To fold socks the KonMari way, simply place one sock on top of the other.

Once you do that, just fold them in half. Then place them in a divider box that can fit right into your baby’s sock drawer.

6. Underwear

If you’re currently potty training your little one, you may be wondering how to fold those tiny pairs of underwear. Folding underwear through KonMari is simple.

Start by laying the underwear flat. Then, you’ll fold the bottom part up so it makes a long skinny rectangle. Once you do that, fold them in half twice so they make a little square. That’s all there is to it. Simple, right?

Other Hacks for Folding Baby Clothes

As much as we like the KonMari method, we recognize that people may prefer a different technique. Furthermore, what about the items that are just plain weird to fold?

  • Shirt/onesie roll-up: Another effective way to fold baby clothes is the roll-up method. For shirts and onesies, simply fold in the sleeves and roll the garment into a cylinder.
  • Pant roll-up: To roll up pants, fold them in half, and tuck in the crotch. Once you do this, roll the pant legs up into a cylinder.
  • Bib roll-up: Baby bibs can be awkward to fold. Some people stack them on top of the other. However, you can roll these up by folding the neck strap down and then roll to finish.
  • Hanger bags for bulky items: To save closet space, you can get hanger bags for bulky items like coats and snowsuits. These will compress the fabric down and make them more space-efficient for storing.
  • Use over-the-door storage: Over-the-door storage is good for storing things like socks, mittens, and hats. Use this for any item that’s weird to fold.
  • Hanger dividers: To find things more easily in your baby’s closet, consider getting hanger dividers. You can separate things by size, season, or type of garment for easier organization.

Go Get Your Fold On!

Let’s be honest: before we jumped on the KonMari bandwagon, we absolutely dreaded folding clothes. However, now it’s the one chore we look forward to each week. That may sound like a total joke but it’s true.

It may seem intimidating at first but once you take the time to try it, it’s not nearly as scary. Even if you choose a different method of folding, laundry doesn’t have to be hard. The key is finding the right technique to fit your style.

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Medically Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.