Laundry Folding Techniques

Laundry is still a sizable chunk of the typical weekly cleaning schedule. In fact, a mere 30 minutes folding laundry each week adds up to 26 hours each year. Here are some top-secret laundry folding techniques that will not only help you shorten that time, but have you folding laundry like an all-star.

The Five-Second Shirt Folding Technique

With a little practice, you can fold any t-shirt or short-sleeved shirt in under five seconds. Lay the shirt flat on a table. With your right hand, pinch the shirt two inches from the edge, half-way down from its shoulder. With your left hand, pinch the edge of the shoulder at a point in a straight line with the first pinch. Lift your left hand over your right hand and–without letting go–pinch the bottom of the shirt with your left hand. Lift both hands and pull your right hand out from under the fold. Give the shirt a gentle shake and a sleeve will dangle from the bottom. Lower the shirt so the sleeve lays on the table and then drape the shirt over the sleeve for a perfectly square folded t-shirt.

Wrinkle-Free Folding

Catching the dryer right at the end of its cycle while the clothes are still warm means you can often bypass the ironing board altogether. If you smooth out permanent press pants and cotton fabrics with your hands before and after you fold them, they will stay wrinkle-free. Today's smart washer-dryer systems make it easier to time your trip back into the laundry room by letting you know when the clothes are done with an app on your smartphone or tablet.

Hotel-Style Towels

Lay the towel or sheet on a table and smooth out the wrinkles with your hands. First, fold the towel's long end by folding one quarter on one side, then one quarter on the other side so they "kiss" in the middle. Now fold the towel again to make it shorter, folding one quarter up to the middle on one side and then doing the same on the other side. Leave about an inch between the ends in the middle and then fold one end over the other. That space keeps the towel from bunching up in the last fold. You can also use this technique to make a towel roll by rolling it up from one end to the other after the first two folds. This folding technique works with sheets too.

Those Dreaded Socks

Many people bunch socks in pairs by folding one ankle over the other. This may be a quick way to keep socks together, but it takes up a lot of room and can destroy the elastics. Simply placing one sock on top of the other, heel to toe, and then folding them in half is just as quick and takes up less room in the drawer. Fold the pair of socks in thirds and then tuck just the toes into one of the ankles. This keeps them compact and less likely to become separated without wrecking the elastics.

Mastering Fitted Sheets

If folding laundry were a sporting event, fitted sheets would be the championship game. Grasp the middle of each narrow end and lift up the sheet so it resembles a giant change purse. Lay the sheet down in front of you on a bed or table while still holding the ends. Fold the right end toward the center by two-thirds and then fold the left end over that. Lift the sheet again by the elastic edge and give it a shake to get rid of most of the wrinkles. Lay it down and fold the sheet again in thirds in the opposite direction from the first fold. Turn the sheet over, fold it in thirds one last time and press it down with your hands to flatten it and smooth away the wrinkles.

Photo Credits: Alexa Smahl/Demand Media

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