Want to know the best ways to fold and store sweaters? Here’s how to do it.
Outerwear isn’t as obvious to fold and store as shirts or pants. I think that if you showed an alien a pair of pants, they’d instinctively know how to fold it. Sweaters, particularly thick ones, are especially confusing.
Do I just hang them up like I do with jackets? Do I fold them like I would a henley shirt? The answer, by the way, is neither. As someone who lives in Manhattan (in a Manhattan-sized apartment), I’ve done a lot of research and trial and error with efficient folding and storing.
This, of course, includes the mystery that is sweaters.
I’m going to show you three efficient ways to fold sweaters, each with distinct benefits. Then, we’ll get into how to store these perfectly folded sweaters.
The following methods are, in my opinion, the best ways to fold and store sweaters:
The Military Roll
The military roll is the most efficient way to fold a sweater to save space. If you have limited closet space or are trying to pack everything in a carry-on while traveling, I fully endorse this fold.
Here’s how to fold and store sweaters using the military roll:
Find a hard, flat surface and place your sweater on it, facing up.
Simple so far!
Take the hem of the sweater and fold it over itself, as if you were starting to turn the sweater inside out, starting from the waist but stopping just an inch or two out.
If your sweater has a ribbed hem, just completely fold that ribbed portion over itself, inside out.
Now it should look like this.
Then, fold the arms across the chest area. Start with folding one arm over, then fold the other arm over that arm.
If the arms are so long, as in they go past the edge of the sweater, just fold the arm cuffs back so they fit within the sweater’s surface area.
You’ll next fold each side in a third of the way. I’m referring to the literal sides, not the collar and the hem.
Like the arms, start with one side, then fold the other side over it.
You’re basically folding the sweater the way you’d fold a letter for an envelope.
Now, take your folded sweater, and from the collar, start rolling from the top to the bottom.
Rolling is better than folding because it lessens the likelihood of creases showing up on the sweater.
Here’s the fun part (and the reason for step 2). So now you’ve fully rolled the sweater, having made it from the collar to the hem. That folded hem is now a pocket at the end of the roll. You’re going to fold it over the rest of the sweater, locking the roll so it doesn’t unravel.
At ease, soldier! Now that’s a tight roll.
The Hoodie Rendition of a Military Roll
This fold is a remix of the traditional military roll but one specific to hoodies. If you’ve ever tried to fold a hoodie in a traditional, t-shirt-style way, you’ll notice that the hood kind of gets in the way, and you never really know where to tuck it.
Here’s the solution.
Again, find a hard surface and place the hoodie on it, facing up.
- And again, you’ll first fold each arm in before folding the sides a third of the way in and over each other like an envelope.
At this point, it should look like a big, long burrito.
This is where it departs from the earlier military roll. You’re still going to roll it from one end to the other, but this time, you’ll start at the bottom, or the hem, the part of the sweater that would sit around your waist and hip area.
This should look familiar.
Once you’ve rolled it from the hem to the collar, you will have reached the hood. Take the hood and fold it over the roll inside out, meaning you’re stuffing the roll into the hood’s exterior and making the interior the outside.
This serves the same purpose as the “hem pocket” from the traditional military roll. It certainly won’t be as tight, but it’s an efficient use and placement of the hood. If it’s the kind that has a drawstring, you can use that to tighten the fit.
The Traditional Square
This approach isn’t as space efficient as the rolls, but I like it because it exposes the front of the sweater the way a traditionally folded shirt presents its front.
I’ve found this to be helpful when I have two sweaters of similar constructions and colors and need to tell them apart. I have one maroon crewneck and one maroon cardigan. I roll my crewneck but fold my cardigan because this folding style exposes the buttons so that I know it is indeed the cardigan.
Find a hard, flat surface, and place the sweater on it, this time facing down. So, if it’s a cardigan, you want the buttoned side on the surface and the back facing you.
Make sure to spread the arms straight out as if they were gesturing to give someone a hug.
You’re now going to fold the sweater into fourths, long-ways. From the literal sides (not the collar and hem), you’ll fold each side in a fourth of the way through, the edges of each meeting in the middle, arms still spread out.
Are you following me?
Then, you’ll fold the arms in and down so that they’re vertically in line with the edges of the folded sides.
You should be looking at a long rectangle with the collar up top and the hem at the bottom.
Then, fold the sweater a third of the way through from the bottom hem. Do it one more time in the same direction, almost like you’re rolling it, but of course, you’ll be creasing and folding.
The result is a perfect square with the center front of the sweater bare and clear.
How To Store Sweaters
We’ve covered how to fold sweaters. Now, let’s get into how to store sweaters. Here are easy and efficient ways to store your sweaters based on different storage facilities.
Obviously, you can store a traditional square-folded sweater in a drawer by simply placing it in there, flat.
However, if you have enough sweaters to fill up most of the drawer, I suggest placing them on their side, like a file folder. This way, no sweater is on top of another one, and you can see every piece and pull out any piece without having to dig.
Similarly, you could stand rolled sweaters up vertically for the very same reason.
This is a great way to store your collection conveniently, while also keeping them in great shape
For shelves, you’ll use the same concept as above. Just think of the shelf as a drawer pulled out and stood up.
If you neatly lay the rolls or squares on top of each other, you can see everything in an organized way and pull out whichever sweater you want to wear that day with little disruption to the organization.
Closing Thoughts on How To Fold and Store Sweaters Matters
There you have it, the best ways to fold and store sweater! I hope that was helpful. Sweaters can often become bulky when folded in inefficient ways, which makes storage even more inconvenient.
Personally, I use all of these folding techniques on different sweaters depending on which piece it is. As mentioned, I generally prefer the military roll, but I prefer the square fold when I want to see the front of the sweater.
Hanging up knitwear can stretch out and damage your clothing. So, while most shirts can be safely hung up, it’s best to fold your sweaters.
Fortunately, once they’re properly folded, storing them is a breeze.
How many sweaters do you own? How do you store them all? Let me know in the comments!