File Folding Clothes and How It Will Change Your Life

I want to talk about how file folding your clothes can completely change your dresser and your life. This technique was one of my most favorite I learned while organizing homes professionally. I had never seen or heard about this method before and let me tell you, it is a game changer.

A lot of people already do this thanks to the likes of The Home Edit and Marie Kondo (The KonMari Method) but after sharing a picture of my daughter’s dresser, I was flooded with questions and comments about it.

Doesn’t she mess it up? Are they rolled? How exactly do you fold them to fit? Doesn’t it take a lot more time? Does file folding clothes really make that big of a difference?

dresser drawer opened showing how clothes are file folded inside

Let me start off by saying that my toddler is not folding her own laundry. I’m sure when the time comes for her to help, this file folding method might take on a life of its own in her room for a bit. That’s okay! Regardless of whether or not my toddler can do this yet, we file fold all over our house – dish towels, pajamas, tshirts, leggings, etc. Oh and not to mention how file folding will COMPLETELY change your packing game. 


First and foremost, file folding allows you to see everything in a drawer all at once. Think about how different your view is from looking inside a drawer where things are file folded versus one where items are stacked on each other. You can only see what’s on top of a stack, whereas file folding clothes gives you a clear view of everything there. It’s so helpful!

Not only will you now be able to see everything in your drawer(s), you are also saving SO much space. You’re using the area more efficiently and in return, you’re going to be able to fit a lot more items in any given space. This is another huge win in my book. I’ve been doing this for years with my and Michael’s things but let me tell you, filing your kids clothes is so nice and makes their spaces super functional. I think as parents we can all agree how important and valuable that is.


  1. Begin by folding your item (T-shirt, tank, pjs, dish towel, etc) as you typically would with the first fold.
  2. Now fold it in half again. Check your drawer or bin and stand the item up on its end to see how it fits. 
  3. If it’s not a perfect fit, you might need to adjust your folding technique. Perhaps folding again or in thirds will help it fit in your space better. This is going to entirely depend on the height of your drawer, so this part will take a little trial and error. For example: I fold Michael’s t-shirts differently than I do Kennedy’s pajamas because they’re totally different sizes.
  4. Once you’ve figured out the perfect way to fold for that area, repeat with everything else. You can also color code your items as you begin to put them away. Remember learning ROY G BIV in school? Same concept applies here. Bookend your rainbow with whites and blacks. Lightest colors closest to you moving to the back of the drawer as you progress through ROY G BIV and into darker colors.
File folding clothes on the floor, showing step by step - first is to fold in half
File folding clothes on the floor, showing step by step - second is to fold in half again
File folding clothes on the floor, showing step by step - third is to fold in half once more and stand on its end


Coloring coding is not a requirement when file folding clothes but it sure is nice. All you need to remember is ROY G BIV from school. Here’s a refresher for you.

  1. Color code your items following the ROY G BIV method. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. I start with lighter colors/shades of each color and then move into the darker shades.
  2. Bookend your rainbow with whites and blacks. White comes first, before pink/red and then place your darker colors like greys, browns and blacks at the end of the rainbow.
  3. When placing items into a drawer (or hanging in a closet, even) start with the lighter colors and beginning of your rainbow and move through ROY G BIV.

You can see in the picture below where the stacks of pajamas, which are already file folded, go from light pink to dark pink to blue. This is how I would put them into a dresser drawer.

Three sets of toddler girl pajamas file folded and standing up on their ends in color order


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