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Folding Shirts [Oct. 7th, 2006|01:28 pm]
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This week the Personal Finance Advice blog has a video on how to quickly fold a t-shirt.

The method is shown twice. When I saw the first demo, it looked like a magical way to fold your shirt the way they do it in stores, folded in thirds, then in half, instead of the equally quick way I do it home, folding it in half twice. Apparently in Japan this a common way to fold shirts, not a magical way.

When I saw the slow-motion heavy-on-the-explanation second demo, it still looked magical, but it also looked possible. That was all several days ago. Today I tried it myself. Here are some additional notes to the hints you get in the video.

First, it doesn't look as good if you grab the side of the shirt closest to you to begin and otherwise proceed as shown. You still get folds in all the same places, but part of the shirt is folded over the front instead of behind the front.

Second, when you grab the bottom of the shirt, be careful to grab both the front and the back of the shirt at once. If you miss the back, well, it makes for a much funnier video.

Third, I like to just set my finger on the shirt rather than pinch it like they show until after I fold the shirt in half and thus know better where to pinch it. It was good that they showed the pinching in the video before the folding though, otherwise it might have appeared too magical for mere humans like us to perform.

Fourth, this method is going to require some sort of tweaking at the very least to work with long-sleeved shirts. Otherwise you have the sleeves sticking out the side, waving to you.

One other note--This method doesn't result in exactly the same folding job you get when you fold both sides behind and then fold it in half. That's because it's more like you're folding one side behind, then folding it in half, then folding the other side behind. So, the shirt doesn't unfold as predictably. And the bottom surface isn't as smooth as the top is, so if you're dragging it across something, it's more likely to catch on something and partly crumple underneath.

Now, to decide whether to adopt this new folding method. First, which looks better when you wear it with fold marks still in it? I suspect two fold lines down the sides is less stupid looking than one fold line down the center.

Second, can I do it standing up with no surface nearby at waist level, which is how I normally fold shirts? The answer is, not really. The best I can do is actually fold one side back first, by grabbing the top and bottom on one side and holding them out so that the shirt folds that way. Then fold the shirt in half by bringing the two places I'm holding together. Then sort of let go with one hand and catch the shirt on the other side to make the last fold. Any other way, and I'm not grabbing the shirt in the places where the final product is in any way rectangular, though it does still come out to be a quadrilateral.

So for the preliminary folding between the dryer and the laundry basket, I'm going to say the answer is no. For the final folding when the clothes come off the drying rack, instead of standing on the bed next to the drying rack I suppose I could stand between the two, and use the bed as the folding surface. This would be great for laundromats (or laundry rooms) where you have a counter to use for folding and stacking your clothes.

Third, which folding method stores better? The result of this method is thicker but with a smaller footprint than my current method. This means you can make more piles with fewer shirts in each, would should make it easier to find the shirt you want.

Except that I don't use piles. After folding a shirt in half twice, I roll it up, so that I am putting a bunch of cylindrical shapes into my drawers. I have two layers of rolled shirts with one end of each shirt at the front of the drawer. This makes it easy to see at a glance half of my shirts, and if I stack similarly colored ones on top of each other, it's very easy to find exactly the shirt I'm looking for. (Unless it's not there.)

I learned the rolling idea as packing advice, probably via the Girl Scouts. Supposedly rolling is a good way to compress your clothing without introducing further fold wrinkles. It's not true though; the whole thing ends up looking rumpled. But knit things lose their wrinkles as you wear them, right? This is what I've been told.

If I roll shirts folded this way, they won't go all the way to the front of my drawer, and I probably won't quite be able to get two layers of shirts into the drawers anymore. So, that's no good for me. (I suppose if my drawers were a little deeper and I could store the rolls vertically, that would be even better.)

Interestingly, two unrolled stacks do fit perfectly into my drawer. Perfectly--fully filling the drawer except for a hint of wiggle room around the edges. So I'm going to try that for a while, for a less rumpled look.

One thing about folding t-shirts this way compared to just folding them in half twice. It's a lot more obvious which shirts have stretched-out necks. This would be good for people who feel they should replace these inferior shirts. Not so good for people like me who just think "but I love that shirt!"

On the other hand, although the method no longer seems all that magical to me, it still does seem kind of fun (when there is a folding surface nearby).

[User Picture]From: chikuru
2006-10-08 09:17 am (UTC)

You make folding fun


Hah! You made me learn something.