rolling versus folding – does it matter?


Can one trivial detail in how you store your clothes really make your life better? It absolutely can!

I wasn’t a believer that rolling versus folding was better until I tried it on my husband and son’s t-shirt drawers. These overstuffed drawers that get ransacked several times a day seemed hopeless.

I’ve suggested the one-in-one-out rule to try and limit the amount of shirts, but it seems every event is commemorated by a t-shirt and sentimental value keeps most of them around for years. We’ve had to replace the drawer brackets on our dresser a few times due to the weight of these packed drawers.

After folding clothes so long for my family and my husband’s pro-shop, I can fold just about anything quickly and neatly. Not the coolest skill I know, but if I was ever thrown in a huge pit of clothes and had to fold to climb my way out, I’d be at the top in about five minutes.

I’m pretty set in my ways and not willing to change something I do well. But my stubborn side has some reason to it because who wants to fold clothes over and over again, no matter how well you do it!

That was the problem with the t-shirt drawers. Each time I tried to put a clean stack of neatly folded shirts in, I had to cram them on top of a pile of pilfered shirts or re-fold the stuff already in the drawer. This wouldn’t bother most people, but I assume you like things organized if you’re reading this post and it would bother you too.

I first gave rolling clothes a try after seeing my sister-in-law fit more in suitcases that way. It worked great! I only did it when we traveled and loved how neat the clothes were packed. It was a definite space saver.


The only problem was that the clothes didn’t stay neatly rolled too long in the suitcases. Plus, rolling clothes took one more step than folding them, so it was something I tolerated when packing for the benefit of extra space, but wasn’t willing to do at home.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, I decided to revisit the idea of rolling clothes and tackle the t-shirt drawers. Life changing indeed!

The amount of extra space in the drawers was more than I thought it would be. Not that this served as an invitation for the boys to get more shirts, but they agreed it was easier for them to pick what they wanted to wear because more shirts were visible when rolled as opposed to folded. I also talked them in to getting rid of a few shirts in the process.


Now for the real test: would the shirts withstand the vigorous daily rummaging and stay rolled? One month later, I’m happy to say yes! I think the key is that it’s easier for them to find what they want without having to look through stacks of shirts. Plus, the shirts aren’t mixed in with other clothes as they are in the suitcases so they’re easier to find.

I’ve also rolled blue jeans, shorts, and pants and it has easily doubled the space in these drawers. Some things like pajamas, gym shorts, or bulky cargo shorts don’t roll too well so I stick with folding.

For the extra time it takes to roll, I really don’t notice much difference. As Marie Kondo says, it’s kind of enjoyable. I’m not bothered by it because the benefit is worth it.

As far as making my life better, opening those drawers no longer prompts me to curse and I don’t have to re-fold t-shirts just to fit clean ones in. Now that a foundation is in place for the drawers to stay organized, I might just allow everyone to put their own laundry away, which is a huge step for this Type-A gal!

What challenges do you have with clothes storage? Not enough space, too much stuff, lack of time or ideas on how to organize? Have you figured out an innovative way to tackle some of these issues? I’d love to hear from you!

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