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Folding 101: How to Fold Shirts and Sweaters for Perfect Stacking on Closet Shelves

Follow These Folding Instructions for Shirts and Sweaters to Achieve Perfect Stacks of Clothing Like the Ones Seen in Retail Stores

  1. Start by placing the garment front down on your bed or other flat surface. Smooth out the wrinkles.
  2. Fold each sleeve straight across the body of the garment at a right angle to the edge of the shirt or sweater. Your sleeve should be horizontal to the bottom edge of the garment. Do not angle the sleeves or bend them down towards the opposite bottom corner. This is a common mistake when folding shirts and sweaters and will result in a lumpy finished product. Properly folded long sleeves will overlap each other.
  3. You should now have what is basically a square or rectangle of cloth in front of you. Fold the width of the shirt or sweater in thirds by taking each side and folding it in towards the center. Aim for about a twelve inch final width on the garment.
  4. Depending on the original length of the shirt or sweater, you will now need to fold the length either in half or thirds. This should result in a neat little package that resembles the folded shirts and sweaters in a retail clothing store environment.
  5. Repeat for all your shirts and sweaters that you want to store folded on closet shelves — you are now ready to stack them on closet shelves.
  6. Try to keep your stacks of sweaters and T-shirts at no more than twelve inches height per stack. If you go higher, your stacks will tend to fall over of get messed up when you need to retrieve somethng from the middle of the stack.
  7. If you like, you can go one step further and organize your stacks by color. This will make coordinating pieces of clothing easy and efficient.

This example was for folding shirts and sweaters, however, jeans, sweat pants and casual slacks without a crease can also be stored folded on closet shelves. The process is very similar to folding tops. First, fold the pants in half at the fly. Fold the bottom of the pants about one-third of the way up. And then fold that over again up to the waist. If you are tall or have extremely long legs, you may find that folding in fourths works better. Again, try not to stack your clothes more than 12 inches high.

Acrylic shelf dividers can help keep your stacks organized and are a great finishing touch to your newly organized closet. They also work well for organizing handbags on shelves. If your shelves are fairly high up or over your head, a light weight step ladder can be a good addition to the closet. The best ones come with hooks designed for storing them folded away within the closet so that they are easily accessed and always handy.


Closet Works is Chicagolands' largest and most experienced provider of custom storage solutions. Since 1987, we have been helping homeowners by creating custom closets, pantries, bookcases and more to help organize their lives. Examples of our closet shelving and custom closet solutions can be found throughout our website. For more information on Closet Works call toll-free at 800-4-CLOSET (800-425-6738).

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