File Folding 101

What is File Folding? 

“File folding” is a folding method we have been using for years but was recently popularized by renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo. When using this method, your clothes resemble files in a filing cabinet. The folding method leaves your clothes sitting in a vertical position, allowing your clothes to be visible from the front to the back of your drawer rather than the top to the bottom of your drawer.

Why Should You Try File Folding?

There are multiple benefits of folding your clothes following this method; however, we chose three key benefits to highlight below.

1. Maximizes Space

File folding allows you to fit more clothes in a drawer, and believe us, we know just how important having space in your home is. Shouldn’t that be reason enough to give this technique a try?

2. Saves Time

No matter any way you look at it, the file folding method saves you time. Sure, in the beginning it may take time for you to get the technique down, but everything takes practice… right? You will save time in the long run because stacks of clothes make it harder to know what you have and make it difficult to access each item. Using this method will help you know what you have and where to find it, saving you tons of time when looking for your clothes.

3. Easy to Maintain

File folding is not hard to do and is easy to upkeep. Since you can see everything at a glance, you can easily pop out what you need without messing up the rest of your folded clothes. Just think about actual files… are they easier to maintain when they are stacked on top of each other, or are they easier to maintain when they’re filed away and easily visible?

How Do You File Fold?

The goal when file folding is to make your clothing item into a small rectangle that should stand on its own.

Watch the video above as an example, and follow the step-by-step guidelines below to try file folding a shirt!

  1. Start by laying the shirt out flat, with the front side facing up.
  2. Fold one side of the shirt across the center.
  3. Fold the sleeve of the shirt back.
  4. Fold the other side of the shirt across the center, stopping a little before the edge.
  5. Fold the other sleeve back.
  6. Fold the top of the shirt toward the bottom of the shirt, stopping a little before the edge.
  7. Fold the folded edge of the shirt over toward the bottom.
  8. Fold over the shirt once more to create a small rectangle.
  9. Stand the shirt upright.

A few reminders…

When folding, be sure and guide to the depth of your drawer. Depending on its size, you may need to fold the item more or less in order to optimize the space in the drawer.

Not every item of clothing will be the same. Don’t worry! Just remember the general guideline to think in thirds when folding.

For a more detailed look at how to fold multiple different items of clothing, check out the video below.

How Can I Upgrade My Drawer Organization?

If you are already a professional at file folding but are looking for more ways to enhance your drawer organization, we have three great tips for you!

1. Drawer Dividers

Drawer dividers are a functional and easily customizable way to help maintain neat rows within your drawers. They are not always necessary, so do not force them to fit, but if you have extra space in your drawers and need help containing items… you should try implementing them!

2. Drawer Inserts

Drawer inserts are a great product if you want extra help utilizing every inch of space in your drawers while also maintaining the structure of what is in your drawers. They are also great at helping keep the order in your drawers long after you implement them.

3. Labels

Labels can be easily added to the inside of the front of your drawers to help you know where things should go. They are great to implement so that other members of your family can easily put things back where they belong!

We hope you enjoy making the drawers in your home more functional! Be sure and let us know in the comments below what information you found most helpful in this blog and what you’d like to read about next!

If you or someone you know needs help getting organized, contact us or call 256-316-1655 to schedule a consultation. Our team would love to help you like we have helped countless people across North Alabama simplify their lives.


  1. Mark

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

    • Karen Wright

      Thank you, Mark!

  2. Robin

    You know some people do this simply and with ease. Yes I have a lot of stuff and my stuff gets in bad shape when I am out working trying to help others get their life’s back in tip top organize shape. But then they lack the stay with it there fore creating an even more worse job for me with a lot of going over the same thing every week it’s the same exact way before I started. I have a. Huge problem now with this job and I’m almost to the point that I want to walk out. But calming down and watching videos to remind me of how nice things will be when it’s done gets me back motivated to complete this huge mountain of a job. So thank you and I wish I could do it with ease again..the jobs just keep getting bigger and bigger than huge. So again I thank you for your share of you knowledge and know how. It’s so appreciated.

    • Karen Wright

      You are so welcome, Robin!


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