File Folding :: What It Is and Why You Should Try It - Mika Perry

File Folding :: What It Is and Why You Should Try It


Whenever I have posted a photo of a drawer like this, with everything folded into neat rows, I often get 3 different kinds of responses ::

A. They love it and do the same!

B. They want this but not sure how to make it happen…

C. They say this is so unrealistic and would be impossible to keep up.

If you fall into category B or C, I –and category A’s! Wait, Type-A’s?!–  would like to tell you that file folding is not as hard to do or upkeep and there are tons of BENEFITS.

Let me explain.

First, when you have everything filed you can see everything at a glance. Would you rather have all your paperwork filed into a filing cabinet, labeled and organized into categories? OR would you rather have a stack of paperwork on your desk? Think about this. Stacks of stuff make it hard to know what you have – and hard to access what you need when you need it. The same rule applies for items in other areas of your home, whether it’s tees or onesies, linen napkins or kitchen towels!

This is is a cornerstone of organization :: to be able to see what you have so you know WHAT you own and WHERE to find it.

Second, file folding allows you to fit more items into a drawer. True story! Definitely something to consider when you are short on drawer space and thinking ….HOW AM I GOING TO FIT ALL THIS IN HERE. Give it a try and you will see just how much more you can easily fit.

Third, when you have everything file folded, you just pop out whatever you need and it doesn’t mess up the rest. When you have a stack, you have to move the items to get to what you need and it gets messier over a short amount of time. Just like taking out a manila folder in a filing cabinet – you literally just pop it out.


Ok so how to do it?

This is the best way to get a drawer done for the first time ::

  • Take everything out.
  • Whether it’s a tee, a cami, a onesie, a kitchen towel, fold as you normally would, and then fold it again in half. So basically you’re adding just one step so it takes a split second. This will create a smaller version that should be a little thicker, which will allow for the item to almost stand on its own as you pop things in and out of the row.
  • Take that first folded item and see how it fits with the depth of your drawer. Go ahead and adjust the way it’s folded so that it configures to the depth and width of the drawer. This is the way you will now fold the rest.
  • Do the rest and then stack them on top of each other on the table or counter or floor….wherever you are folding. As you’re making the stack, this is the time to color code and create a stack that is organized BOTTOM TO TOP in ROY G BIV. You’ll see why.
  • Then, when you are all done, take that stack of folded items and then lay it down into the drawer. Because you put the whites and the bottom of the stack and the darks on the top, when you lay it down it will color code facing you going back into the back of the drawer. If you would rather wait to color-code at this point, it’s easy because again, you just pop things in and out.

Now to maintain it, that’s even EASIER because you just fold items in the same way and pop them in and out as you need them, leaving the others alone. Adjust the color code periodically when it gets a little out of sorts, which happens. We’re all busy, I get it!

You can use upgrades like drawer dividers like the ones above. They help define the rows, and when you have smaller items like onesies that still just don’t get thick enough to stand up, or you don’t have many items to fill up the whole row, it can help keep them nicely in those rows.


However they are not necessary, like in these t-shirt drawers. See? ::



You can also take it to the NEXT LEVEL ( I get really excited by this part) by labeling the rows.

Especially when you have others helping to put away things, they know what should go in each row. Super helpful in nurseries ::



(More on labeling later, that will be an ENTIRE post on its own. I literally could talk for days about it.)

I know seeing drawers like these is very much the epitome of OCD organization on the surface, so I totally understand the “category C” response above. But once you give it a try you will find it’s super easy and really satisfying when you see the end result.

I remember the very first time I tried this method years ago and I literally could not WAIT each time I needed to grab a dish towel because it meant I could reach into a very organized, very amazing little drawer! Since then, I do this to as many drawers as I can in both my own and my clients’ homes. And everyone loves it.

Happy file folding (yay!)




S H O P  T H E  P O S T

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12 Responses
  • Daniele
    August 2, 2016

    Where do you dividers for drawers?

    • Mika Perry
      August 2, 2016

      Hi Daniele! I love the spring-loaded Dream Drawer dividers, which can be purchased at The Container Store or on Amazon! I also like the Linen Drawer Dividers at The Container Store. Good luck and have fun organizing!

  • Emily
    August 22, 2016

    How do you fold onesies so that you fm T have tons of wasted space? All my son’s drawers are about 6-7 inches deep and it seems like I should layer/stack the rows of onesies and most of his clothes since they’re so small! Seems like that would defeat the purpose of using this method, but I want to try it!

  • Liv
    January 25, 2020

    Hi, I have a problem, I don’t have enough t shirts to fill a whole row, is there some type of tool (like a bookholder) so they don’t fall over?

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