The Life-Changing Magic of Folding Your Socks and Underwear


I’ve seen the light. I now fold my socks and underwear and you can never make me go back!!

But let’s back up for a moment. When I see a book mentioned by one of my favorite blogs, I take notice (affiliate link). When that same book is recommended by another one of my favorite blogs, I buy that book. STAT.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is, most definitely, life-changing. Marie Kondo is a RUTHLESS expert on tidying and fully expects you to get rid of anything and everything in your life that doesn’t spark joy. I love that philosophy. If you can apply this to everything you own, I imagine you could have your house looking sparkly clean pretty much all the time, since you’d only own half as many things.

That’s very appealing to me.

Since my word of the year is SIMPLIFY, I want to get rid of 90% of our possessions declutter. Badly. Add to that the fact that I’m heading into the season of ALL MATERNITY CLOTHES, ALL THE TIME and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a hard look at my wardrobe and ditch anything that didn’t spark joy.

Turns out that’s almost everything I own.

I started out, as the book recommends, by taking every piece of clothing in the house that belongs to me and dumping it on the bed. 2015-01-06 08.57.54Oh, ok…wow. That’s….a lot more clothing than I thought I owned.

Once I’d gathered everything together, I sorted it by type of clothing: pants, short-sleeve tops, long-sleeve tops and sweaters, socks/underwear/bras, and workout clothes. I sorted my one big tub maternity clothes into everything else and didn’t bother to keep those things separate.

2015-01-06 11.12.47

And then I got to work. Working basket by basket, I picked up each and every article of clothing and asked myself, Do I LOVE this? The answer, more often than not, was a resounding MEH.

I worked quickly. I didn’t overthink things. My discard pile was growing at an alarming rate. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d have anything left by the time I was done, but I didn’t worry about that too much. If I truly, desperately missed one particular thing, I could always replace it. But the odds were I wouldn’t miss more than a few things out of the dozens and dozens that I tossed (not literally threw away; everything was donated to our local thrift store).

When I’d decided what to keep and what to donate, I started folding. The book is very, very specific about how things should be folded and put in drawers, and I wasn’t about to argue with the expert. I even found myself googling things like “life-changing magic of tidying up how to fold bras,” because if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.

(This video is really helpful if, like me, you had a little trouble figuring out exactly how her description of folding equates to real life clothing.)

I don’t know if I’m in the minority on this or not, but I’d rather fold my clothes any day than put them on hangers and hang them up. I HATE hanging up clothes. Don’t know why. It just bugs me. So this was really, really appealing to me. I found the folding to be almost meditative, but every time I’ve put away my clothes since then has been slightly less of a novelty. I don’t really find that surprising or dismaying; it is what it is.

The real key is that your clothes should be standing up in the drawers instead of stacked on top of each other. This makes complete and total sense. I was always forgetting what was at the bottom of the drawer and spent half my time rooting around trying to find my favorite workout pants, only to realize that they were still in the dirty laundry hamper. Womp womp.

It also makes for a lovely, lovely view every time you open a drawer. shirts

I can see everything! All at once! Holy cow.

Some things, of course, can’t be folded. My dresses and a few tops are still in my closet — probably four dresses and 6-7 tops. But this, right here? This is 90% of my clothing. No joke; it all fits in these drawers. drawers

(Not pictured: my socks/underwear/bra drawer. Despite the title of the post I chickened out on actually showing my underwear drawer to teh interwebz.)

I didn’t want to post about this the day after I reorganized everything, because I wasn’t sure the system would hold up. But it’s been almost a month now and the drawers are still pristine. It takes a tad longer to fold everything than it did before, but the time I save by just being able to glance in a drawer and find what I need is so, so huge.

I also haven’t found myself missing anything. This is what I dropped off at the thrift store before I gave myself the chance to reopen the bags and rescue anything: 2015-01-06 11.02.22

Three bags full! FULL FULL FULL. If you’d asked me how much clothing I had prior to this little experiment, I would’ve told you everything I own could fit in three garbage bags. Nope, not so much. And I know my clothing collection is modest compared to, well, almost everyone. It’s just not something I care all that much about, to be honest, and I hate to shop.

Since this was such a smashing success, I’ve moved on to other parts of the house. My only rule is that I don’t touch Will’s stuff — that just wouldn’t be right for me to determine what brings him joy and what doesn’t.

Although he does have a big stack of textbooks that haven’t been opened even once in the eight years since we graduated. I’M JUST SAYIN’.

So far I’ve tackled my clothing, Natalie’s current clothing and one tub of her stuff that’s either too small or not seasonally-appropriate, and our books (Natalie’s and mine; not Will’s). EVERY DARN TIME I’ve been surprised by a) how much there actually is; and b) how much I am not at all sad to say goodbye to.

My plan is to use the process recommended by the book and work through the whole entire house, category by category. The author advocates a certain order that roughly goes from most impersonal (clothing) to extremely personal and sentimental (photos, memorabilia — the stuff that’s sooooo hard to get rid of). Your mileage may vary in terms of what is hardest for you to part with, but those things are probably the ones you really need to try and look at objectively.

(I’ve got my eye on you, dozens of knitting projects started and abandoned over the years. NOOOOOO I WAS GOING TO FINISH THOSE SOCKS!!! I SWEAR!!)

This is probably the most thorough recap that I’ll be doing, but I’m definitely going to be writing periodic updates (maybe monthly?) to let you know how the tidying is going.


TL;DR. Buy the book. Ditch your stuff. Revel in your newfound lightness and freedom.


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3 Responses to The Life-Changing Magic of Folding Your Socks and Underwear

  1. Anne Bogel January 29, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    LOVE the post title. Maybe one day I’ll get around to implementing the rest of her strategies, but folding the clothes and underwear and socks has been seriously life-changing for all of us! (Not to mention I feel like my purged clothes could stock the local goodwill all by themselves…)


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