How to Fold a T-shirt to Save Space

Product Care

Here are the best ways to fold T-shirts to save room and declutter your space.

Last updated: April 7, 2022
3 min read
The Best Way to Fold a T-shirt to Save Space

Simple wardrobe staples such as T-shirts, socks and sweats can pile up in your closet or suitcase and quickly become unwieldy. Not only will T-shirts take up extra space if they’re not folded properly — they’re also likely to be wrinkled when you’re ready to wear them. But there are efficient ways to neatly fold and organize your clothing without a bunch of complicated steps. Here are a few easy methods to fold so you can keep your closet and your T-shirts neat and tidy.

To Hang or to Fold?

The first question when faced with a pile of shirts is whether to fold them at all. For quick access to shirts that you’d like to skip ironing when in a time crunch, consider hanging up these garments.

In general, it’s best to hang tops made of linen (which wrinkles easily), blouses, button-down shirts and jackets. Although hanging will eliminate the risk of wrinkles, certain hangers can distort the shape of your shirt. Padded or wider hangers can prevent this distortion.

An everyday cotton-blend or polyester T-shirt — such as a Nike Dri-FIT workout top — can be hung up if you have extra space, but folding these T-shirts can help to maximize the use of the space.

How to Fold a T-Shirt

If you decide to fold, you’ve got options. The most common and practical T-shirt folding methods fall into two camps: the vertical fold and the chest fold.

1. The Vertical Fold

When space is tight, the vertical fold uses space most efficiently. Once you’ve got this technique down, you can get creative with shirt organization. For example, you can organize your shirts like files in a file cabinet, with the collars facing up. File one behind the other and it will surprise you how many T-shirts fit into the drawer.

How to fold vertically:

  • Lay the shirt flat on a table or other smooth surface, facedown.
  • Smooth out any wrinkles.
  • Fold the shirt in half vertically from left to right. The sleeves should line up.
  • Grab both sleeves and fold them in toward the middle of the shirt.
  • Connect the top of the shirt to the bottom in a horizontal fold.
  • Fold the shirt in half horizontally one more time, and it’s ready for the drawer.

2. The Chest Fold

If you don't have a flat surface to work with, but you want to get your shirts into little folded packages, try the chest fold. You can grab a T-shirt right from the dryer, fold it, and place it into your drawer quickly and efficiently — no additional props needed.

How to do the chest fold:

  • Hold the shirt by its shoulders so its front is facing you.
  • Fold each sleeve back toward the middle of the shirt.
  • Fold the shirt in half horizontally, folding the top side down to meet the bottom.
  • Fold the shirt in half horizontally again, so you’re left with a compact rectangle fold with the collar of the shirt facing up.

This is a great method to stack shirts on a shelf.

What About Rolling?

Rolling shirts can be time consuming. Consider saving this approach for when you’re truly lacking space — like packing a suitcase. This technique may not reduce wrinkles, so opt to roll shirts that require the least upkeep, if possible.

How to Fold Collared Shirts

When it comes to collared shirts like polos, you may want to fold them to reserve hanging space for other items, including oxford button-downs. The polo fold is a riff on the chest fold in shape, but it ensures the collar isn’t crumpled in the process.

How to fold collared shirts:

  • Lay the shirt on a flat surface facedown.
  • Fold the sleeves toward the middle of the back so the cuffs overlap.
  • Smooth out the shirt and then fold in the sides until they touch the middle of the back.
  • Fold the shirt in half so the bottom edge sits at the lower edge of the back of the collar. If the shirt is on the longer side and you want the fold to be more compact, you can fold it in half once more, bringing the folded end up to the collar.

Words by: Lesly Gregory

Originally published: April 7, 2022

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