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The Zen of Folding

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Who on God’s green Earth has ever said “Hurray! Laundry!”
Maybe a unique few, but I’m guessing the majority of us don’t fall into that category. It’s universally agreed the chores are the bane of existence, and we’re looking to get in and out and back to chilling. But what if we looked at the chores in a different light? What if we saw the monotony as a mantra instead?
I’ve learned to enjoy sitting in a pile of laundry, reuniting socks and folding my jeans into neat rectangles. I choose to think of it this way- I am physically putting my life in order. I am sorting everything, viewing my wardrobe, and imagining what I can put together later in the week. It’s an overview of one aspect of my life.
The process of folding and putting away laundry is itself therapeutic. Many people have turned to creating origami as a way to reduce stress. The practice gives the person something to focus on, creating an escape from anxiety.
It’s the same idea when it comes to chores. Taking the time to properly fold clothing items can be a calming activity because of it’s repetition. Shake, fold, store. Shake, fold, store. It’s easy, it’s normal, and getting your home in order will bring a sense of peace to the home environment.
While exploring the Kon Mari method, I have found that folding most of my laundry has made an impact on how I view laundry and how I store my things. In her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo mentions how she goes about folding nearly all of her clothes- jeans, T-shirts, shorts, even underwear. There is a certain method I have adopted, and it involves folding everything into neat little rectangles and squares.
Not quite what you were imagining, was it?
The logic here is that it makes storage easier and more attractive. By taking your clothing and folding them into tight rectangles, you are protecting the material from being misshapen from being stuffed into drawers, and creating more space in your dressers as well. 

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In her book Spark Joy, Kondo compares storing in drawers to packing Japanese bento boxes. This Japanese lunch prides itself on it’s presentation, from the separation of ingredients and colors to the perfectly close packing of each item side by side.
The takeaway from this is to fill the drawers in a seemingly perfect, aesthetically pleasing way. If you haven’t already, take the time to declutter your wardrobe before you begin. When you have a collection of clothing that truly brings you joy, you can begin putting them away.
 The first step here is the folding. Kondo has a specific method for folding laundry, and can be applied to nearly every piece, regardless of shape or material. The steps go as follows:

The Basics

1. “Fold both edges of the body of the garment toward the center to form a rectangle.”
2. “Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise.”
3. “Fold this in half or in thirds.”
                             - Marie Kondo
This is a good method to start with, but as with anything in life, you can eventually evolve it to suit your needs. I myself usually only fold my underwear, jeans, and occasionally socks (given that they all still have a mate).
My method appears as follows:

Tops

Start! Lay out your article of clothing

 

Fold one towards the middle

 

Fold the sleeve inward to create a straight line

 

Repeat on the other side

 

Fold into thirds

 

Fold until its nicely wrapped!

 

Finished product should be able to stand on its own!

 

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Jeans 


Lay 'em out!

 

Fold with the pockets facing outward

 

Fold in the pointy seam of the jeans to make a straight line

 

Fold the bottom of the jeans up towards the top, just below the seam (so the fold isn't too bulky)

 

Fold again!

 

If you're not done, fold one more time! (optional)

 

Done! Ready to store

 

Underwear

You know the drill

Fold one side inward

Ditto on the other side

Fold upward 1-2 times until it forms a neat, tight rectangle

Time to pack that drawer!

 

When folded correctly, each piece of clothing should be able to be stacked upright. When filling your drawers, aim to fill the drawer so that it appears full, but not overstuffed. Imagine your clothes could feel things like comfort. Are they going to feel well squashed together? Probably not. This can cause wrinkles and wear in the fabric. Proper folding and storage of clothing will make them last longer and feel better when you wear them.
Start from here and evolve your own method to suit your needs. Some clothes look better hung up in a closet, and others do well stored upright in a drawer. Do what makes everything flow best for you. Trying new things can lead to great and positive changes in life.
Enjoying the little things doesn’t stop at sunsets and cups of coffee. It’s in the everyday tasks that help put our lives in order. Wash dishes with pride, and fold your clothes with zest. Be grateful for the open and tidy environment you have created. Live your best life in a beautiful space.

For more details on the Zen of Folding, check out TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. For more in depth instruction, check out the sequel, Spark Joy.

Comments

  1. Very Cool... gave me some tips that I didn't know.

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