Inside: Are you tired of folding clothes, but you aren’t sure a no-fold laundry system will work for adults? Learn how to transition to a no-fold system for everything from clothing to linens, and stop folding laundry for good.
It’s more than a little ironic that I’m writing this post a month after being asked to share my baby clothes-folding expertise with a major online publisher. I never intended to become known for folding clothes, but hey, that’s the internet for you.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s discuss my journey to stop folding laundry. I realized a few years ago that folding my kids’ clothes was a royal waste of my limited time, even when they were filed in drawers.
They’re home the majority of the time (we homeschool), and the wrinkles are never noticeable.
And once I saw how well it was working for my kids, I thought, “Why the heck am I still folding laundry at all?”
That thought led me to create a no-fold laundry system, a system that works better for me and saves time for my other priorities.
While I’ve stopped folding laundry, I do still appreciate laundry that is put away and relatively organized.
This system is for adults who want to stop folding laundry, but still appreciate “put away” laundry and no wrinkles in the clothes that matter.
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But Does A No Fold Laundry System Really Save Time?
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Before we get into this, I’m sure you’re wondering: does this system really save that much time? The short answer is yes, it does save time.
Think about how you currently fold laundry, how many steps are involved.
You probably plop that basket in front of your couch or on your bed to fold. Then, you fold the clothes and put them back in the basket. Next, you bring said basket to the dresser and put away the clothes.
That is a four step process:
- Fold clothes
- Put neatly in basket
- Bring to dresser or closet
- Put away folded clothes
With the no fold system, you will eliminate two of those steps. Plus, you probably won’t be distracted by TV and will get done faster.
You’ll simply bring your basket of clean laundry to your closet and put the clothes way, in drawers or hang them up. Boom – done.
Ok, we got that question out of the way, and now we need to address one more crucial element to making this work for adults.
Do You Have Too Many Clothes For Your Space?
The only reason I can see to keep folding laundry is if you legitimately need to. And the only reason you would legitimately need to is if you do not have enough space to store the clothes you have.
When t-shirts are file-folded in a drawer, you can fit A LOT of t-shirts. When you’re tossing them in drawers, instead of folding them, you can’t fit as many.
Adopting a no fold system will be much more difficult if your wardrobe doesn’t fit your space.
Your closet only holds so many hangers. You only have so many drawers. You only have so much room for baskets to store clean, unfolded laundry loosely (which can lead to fewer wrinkles).
If you want to adopt a no fold system, you need to get real about your space and the number of clothes you own. Do you have too many clothes to make a no fold system work for you?
My husband and I don’t own a lot of clothing, and we both work from home. We currently have a decent sized closet. All of our clothes fit in the drawers, on hangers, and in a few various baskets with room to spare.
If your current wardrobe is overflowing your closet and dresser, you probably need to start by decluttering your clothes first.
Note: The same is true for sheets or dish towels or wash cloths. If you have too many for your space, a no-fold system probably won’t work. You can choose to declutter your linens, or continue folding them to fit your available space, and either choice is valid.
A No Fold Laundry System for Adults
Let’s get down to it, shall we?
1. Separate your clothes into categories.
With this system, your clothes will be separated into three categories:
- Clothes That Wrinkle And You Mind The Wrinkles
- Clothes That Wrinkle But You Don’t Care
- Clothes That Don’t Wrinkle
You will be hanging the clothing in first category on hangers, and tossing the rest into drawers or baskets, depending on your organizational system.
Unless your wardrobe is entirely casual (and you own a large dresser), hanging at least a few clothes on hangers is probably unavoidable. But if you’re wanting to reduce that number, consider investing over time in clothing with fabrics that are wrinkle-resistant.
A few wrinkle resistant fabrics are:
Obviously, clothes made with these fabrics can be on the pricey side, and notice it said “resistant’, not wrinkle-free no matter what you do to them.
But you could even test things like jeans or leggings. If you drop these in a basket or drawer, are wrinkles evident when you go to wear them? No? Then you can safely stop folding them.
2. Evaluate your closet space and available storage containers.
Do you have a decent-sized dresser with enough drawers for you and/or your partner?
Do you have decent hangers, where your clothes won’t be falling off constantly?
You don’t necessarily need to rush out and buy a new dresser, but you do need to assign categories of clothing to the available space. And you might need a basket or two.
For example, we currently have:
- a five drawer IKEA dresser
- two baskets
- a decent sized hanging rod, split by shelves (1 side for each of us)
I use the dresser for storing my socks, underwear, bras, pajama t-shirts, pajama pants, and camisoles. My husband’s socks, lounge pants and shorts also fit in the dresser.
Also, you do not need fancy drawer dividers unless they bring you joy, so save your money! My bottom drawer holds pajama/lounge t-shirts on one side and camisoles on the other – no drawer divider needed (see photo below).
The baskets contain the following:
- My work-out clothes and bras
- My husband’s underwear
The rest of our clothes are on hangers, including t-shirts. I use a set of 4 clothing hooks to store pajamas I plan to wear again, and lounge sweatshirts.
At the moment, I prefer to hang my three pairs of jeans, but I may try storing them in a basket soon to save even more time.
3. Transition the rest of your laundry to the no-fold system.
Just last month, I was in the middle of folding dish towels, and I asked myself why. Why was I wasting time folding these?
I couldn’t come up with a good reason, so I made room in the rag drawer for the dish towels, and voila, no more folding.
The same is true with sheets. Honestly, why am I still folding sheets? So I’m getting a basket for sheets next.
As for bath towels, I am currently evaluating our closet space to see whether or not a basket would fit, and I’d finally be free of folding laundry for good. At the moment, this is the last hold-out, the one thing I still fold.
If you love folding a certain linen or piece of clothing? By all means, keep folding that item. Let go of the rest; the less you have to fold, the better.
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How You Choose to Store Your Clothes Is Morally Neutral
Before I let you go, I want to address the main reason you might be reluctant to adopt a no-fold laundry system, even if you have the space and the wardrobe to make it work.
Somewhere along the way, you might have internalized the belief that whether or not you fold your clothes makes you a good or bad person. Someone told you that neatly folding your laundry in drawers is good, not folding equals bad.
(Just like someone might have you that need to make your bed to be successful or competent or some such nonsense. Um, yeah no.)
That is simply NOT true. To quote KC Davis of Struggle Care, “Laundry is morally neutral”. Keeping up with it, whether or not you choose to fold it, all of these decisions don’t make you a good or bad person.
Ultimately, I hope you internalize the message that your time is yours. You are free to spend it in ways that refresh you and bring you joy.
If letting go of folding clothes brings you more time to do what you love, that’s a good thing.
If you spend all of your days in casual clothing at home, and you never hang up or fold a single piece of clothing, it literally is dropped into drawers – or even sits clean in laundry baskets – that’s o.k., too!
So ignore the haters, and don’t let anyone try to shame you for something ridiculous like how you choose to store your clothes.