In my last post I discussed some of my favourite ideas from Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I love Kondo’s method of vertical folding so much that I wanted to devote an entire post to the subject.
What Is Vertical Folding?
I had to head for the Interwebs to get help understanding Kondo’s suggestion to fold things so that they “stand on end.” What did she mean by that? I needed a visual.
This is how I would sum it up: first, you fold an item into a long, thin, vertical rectangle (usually by folding it in thirds vertically). Then you fold that rectangle in halves or thirds horizontally, from the bottom up, until you end up with a tidy little package. Then you can stand it up on end in the shape of an upside-down v.
Here’s what that looks like, roughly, for a shirt:
If it helps, watch this video.
In the first row you can see me folding he shirt into a long, vertical rectangle; in the second row you can see me folding it horizontally into a neat little packet. Then voila! It can stand upright on its own!
Each item will be slightly different in terms of how many times it must be folding to achieve that shape. The garment’s size and the fabric’s bulk will affect the outcome. You need to experiment a few times. Kondo says it will “click” when you get it right, and I have totally experienced that.
Anyway, when your clothes are folded this way, they can be tucked into rows, side-by-side, in a drawer. It looks like this:
(If your drawer isn’t totally full it helps to use a shoe box to help things stand upright. I’ve used one to separate my tank tops.)
I’ll show you how to fold other items this way in a bit — first I might need to convince you just how awesome this method of folding is.
What’s So Great About Vertical Folding?
You guys. Once you start folding your things so that they stand on end you won’t want to stop.
Here’s a list of reasons I love KonMari folding:
1. It makes a ton more space.
After folding my clothes vertically and utilizing a couple of shoe boxes to divide my things like Kondo suggests, I could fit twice as many clothes into a drawer. In turn, I was able to take things off of shelves and off the closet floor and organize them into the newly-emptied drawers in a much more efficient, attractive manner.
I already showed you this in my last post, but apparently I can’t get enough of showing the world my underwear drawer:
With that lower drawer empty, I now had a nice place for swimwear, which was previously always just kind of stuffed wherever it could fit.
Soon, everything has a place and there was no more stuff piled on my closet floor.
Yay for more space!
2. I can see everything at a glance.
That makes it much easier to find and select what I want. No digging around and messing things up when I can’t find that one shirt.
It also helps you keep track of your possessions. When you fold things like this, none of your clothes end up hiding under your other items for months on end until you forget about them. You get a much better sense of what you really have.
3. It makes every item I own feel more valuable.
When I slow down to smooth each item with my hands and carefully fold it just so, I am encouraged to treasure each item. It makes every item feel like a precious gift.
And when all my clothes are arranged in neat little rows, they seem more valuable. (In my closet, I achieved the same thing by hanging everything on velvet hangers. All my clothes feel couture now!)
4. By contrast, folding this way highlights the things I no longer cherish.
It’s easy to ignore and forget about items that I just ball up and toss into a drawer until my drawers are bursting with things I don’t really like. KonMari folding encourages me to take more careful stock of what I own. It might force me to question why I even own certain things. If I feel irritated by having to take such care with an item that repulses me, that might be a sign that the item needs to go.
I recently chucked some old, ugly t-shirts I was wearing to bed for that reason. It felt weird to carefully fold clothes I hated. I replaced them with some pretty, matching, cotton pajamas which are a pleasure to fold.
5. It forces me to straighten up my environment so I have a surface to work on.
You need a decent-sized workspace for this this kind of folding. I usually fold the clothes in my bedroom. Before I begin, I need to make my bed (if I haven’t already). I have been trying to get in the habit of making my bed as soon as I wake up in the morning; this is an added incentive to get the job done.
6. It’s very satisfying, making your clothes all crisp and tidy.
I cant’ be the only one to feel this way.
7. Your clothes get less wrinkly.
Nothing gets bunched up or flattened under the weight of everything above.
Convinced yet? Here are some more visuals:
How To Fold All Your Clothes the KonMari Way
Fold in half, then fold in the pointy crotch part to make a rectangle. Then fold in halves and thirds until you have that neat little package.
Again, here’s a video if you need some extra help.
Here they are in a drawer (Ben and I can now fit both of our pants into the same drawer. P.S. He is not as good at folding this way but he’s got the right idea):
OK, so I hesitated to show you how I fold my underwear because I do have a little bit of dignity. But then I remembered I had a few pairs I hadn’t worn yet! These still have the tag on them. Okay? These are not underwear I have worn.
Anyway, same principle as the shirt:
And here’s how they look in the drawer. (I’ve used a shoe box again as a divider. The bigger box contains my socks.)
There you go! Give it a try, I promise it’s awesome!