How to Fold Baby Clothes: Simple Tips for Parents

As a new parent, you’ll learn a lot of new skills as your child grows. Some techniques you’ll pick up along the way, like handling mood swings or sudden tantrums. Others, you can start working on a lot earlier, like learning how to fold baby clothes. 

Folding and storing baby clothes correctly is crucial for several reasons. Not only does it help to keep those garments in great condition, but it also ensures you can make the most out of your storage space, save time on searching for the right outfit, and keep fresh rompers and onesies away from dirt. 

Of course, folding something as small as a baby shirt or blanket can be challenging if you don’t have a lot of prior experience. Fortunately, we’re here to help, with some top tips on how to fold and store your little one’s clothes as quickly and effectively as possible.

Why Do You Need to Fold and Store Baby Clothing Properly?

Learning how to fold baby clothes correctly might not seem like the most important task on your to-do list as a busy parent, but it can be more helpful than you’d think! Good folding techniques are great for protecting clothes from wear and tear caused by increased strain on seams, and they can save you a lot of time in the future. Here’s why good folding and storage are crucial:

  • Save space: With so many gorgeous garments out there for you and your baby to enjoy, it’s easy to start over-filling wardrobes and baby’s closet. Knowing how to fold baby’s clothes properly can help you save some extra closet space, so you can keep adding to your child’s fashion collection.
  • Avoid wrinkles: The last thing you want to worry about is wrinkles when you’re getting your child ready for a fun day out! The right folding techniques keep creases at bay, so every outfit is ready-to-wear in an instant. 
  • Easy access: When you know how to fold and store your baby’s clothes properly, you can arrange them so it’s much easier to find what you need. You can even organize your child’s garments by size, season, color, or design. 

Plus, good folding and storage strategies can help to keep clothes fresh by minimizing dust, and by keeping clean garments away from worn outfits. 

To Fold or Not to Fold? When Folding Makes Sense

There are tons of great ways to store a child’s clothing to help keep it in tip-top condition. When you’re low on time, but you want to make sure your latest fashion purchases don’t lose their sparkle, it’s worth knowing how to decide between folding or another storage choice. 

First, let’s think about the clothes that you should hang in a wardrobe or closet. Outerwear, such as coats and snowsuits, are usually easier to hang, because their bulky materials make them more difficult to fold compactly. Hanging outwear also means you can keep any outside germs away from your youngster’s freshly folded footies and pants. 

Folding makes the most sense when you’re working with smaller, thinner items, such as onesies, socks, blankets, and bibs. Anything you plan on putting in a dresser drawer, or in storage, should usually be folded. Keep in mind, if you’re folding outgrown baby clothes for long-term storage, it’s worth taking a few extra steps in advance. For instance:

  • Sort clothes by season, style, and size: This makes it easier to find the items you need when you go hunting for them again. You might have a separate container for winter wear and summer wear, or specific containers for outfits your little one has grown out of. 
  • Make sure they’re clean and dry: You don’t want dirty bibs mixed up with your baby’s dresses and shirts! Make sure your clothes are clean and dry to avoid cross-contamination, unpleasant odors, and other nasty surprises (like mold). 
  • Use the right storage containers: Sealed storage containers will keep any dampness and dust at bay, so your little one’s clothes are instantly ready to wear. Clear containers also make it easier to find exactly what you need fast. 

How to Fold Baby Clothes: Quick Prep Tips

Here at Sweet Bamboo, we know a little planning and preparation can go a long way toward making a parent’s life easier. Before you tackle your folding tasks, we’d recommend getting ready with a little prep work. Start by sorting all the clean and dry baby clothes you need to fold by size and type. This will help you organize your items, and make it easier to rotate your baby’s wardrobe later.

Next, take a minute to inspect the items before you put them into storage. You don’t want to go through the process of cleaning and dressing your baby, just to discover a stain you missed on the onesie. If you find any stains, just throw the clothes back in the wash. 

Once you’re ready to start folding, make sure you have a flat surface handy, so you can keep garments straight and neat while you work, and minimize those pesky creases. It can also help to have your storage spaces ready to go. Decide whether you’re going to be using shelves and shelf dividers, storage bins, dresser drawers, or cupboards, and give them a quick dusting before you start.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Folding Baby Clothes

Now you’re all caught up on the storage basics, let’s dive into how to fold baby clothes correctly. Here are some quick tips for all your baby’s most important garments.

How to Fold Onesies

Onesies and rompers are a staple of any baby’s wardrobe. To fold them, lay the garment flat on a clean surface, with the front side facing down. Take one sleeve and pull it over the front of the onesie, lining it up with the neckline. Repeat the motion with the other sleeve, so the two overlap. Next, fold up the bottom of the onesie towards the top, and smooth out any wrinkles. 

If you’re folding long-sleeved baby onesies, it’s worth keeping the sleeves tucked inside of the rest of the garment when folding, so they don’t get tangled in storage. 

How to Fold Baby Pants

Folding baby pants isn’t too different from folding adult pants. Start by laying them flat, with the waistband facing up, then fold the pants in half, so one leg aligns with the other. Next, fold the pair of legs down once, to create a compact fold. Smooth out any wrinkles, and you’ll be ready to go. 

If your baby’s pants have elastic waists, fold them with the waistband facing up, so the elastic is outside of the fold, to stop it from getting twisted during storage. 

How to Fold Baby Shirts and Sweaters

The method you use for folding shirts and sweaters can vary depending on the length of the sleeves. For both long and short-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and cardigans, lay the garment flat to begin with, then fold the sleeves in towards the back of the shirt, creating a straight fold along the shoulder seams. If the sleeves are long and stretch over the rest of the garment, fold them at the elbow. 

Fold the shirts in half vertically, and then again horizontally if they’re large enough. If you’re folding shirts and sweaters with buttons or snaps, it’s worth unbuttoning them first to prevent any strain on the seams. Make sure the buttons end up on the outside of the folded garments, so they don’t stretch the fabric underneath. 

How to Fold Baby Dresses

Folding a baby dress is just like folding a shirt in most cases. Simply lay the dress down flat, with the front facing down, and fold the sleeves into the back of the dress, creating a straight line across the shoulder seams. Fold the whole dress in half to save space. Keep in mind, while some dresses are great for folding, others might benefit more from being hung up. 

Delicate or formal dresses made with intricate fabric, or details such as lace, sequins, and beading, should be placed on a hanger. Dresses with full skirts can also lose their shape if they’re folded, so it’s best to keep them hung up so they maintain their original form. 

How to Fold Baby Blankets and Swaddles

Blankets and swaddles are often the easiest item to fold in a baby’s wardrobe. You can use a range of different techniques based on your preferences. One option is simply to fold the blanket in half, then roll it from the bottom carefully, to create a cylinder. This will prevent any big creases. 

Another option is to lay the blanket flat, then fold it in half horizontally, lining up the corners. Fold the blanket in half again vertically to create a compact square shape. 

How to Fold Socks and Accessories

Some baby accessories, like booties, probably don’t need folding at all. However, you can always fold baby socks, footies, bibs, and hats to save some extra space. Sort each item by type before you get started. When folding baby socks, it’s best to fold at the heel area, to avoid any creases. 

Alternatively, you can place the socks together and roll them from the toe upwards, pulling the elastic from the top of one sock down over the cylindrical shape to hold the two together. Depending on the shape and size of your other accessories, you can choose between rolling or folding based on what makes the most sense. Try experimenting to see what works best.

Folding Baby Clothes is Easier than You’d Think

Learning how to fold baby clothes doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. With the tips above, you’ll have no problem ensuring everything from long sleeve sleepwear to blankets stay in good condition for years to come. Here are some extra quick tips to help you:

  • Use a layer of tissue paper between each item before you fold it for long-term storage, as this will help to soften the folds. 
  • Don’t over-pack your storage containers, as this can put increased strain on the folded clothes, and increase your chances of wrinkles. 
  • Avoid sharp folds on clothes that often crease, and always try to place your folds in areas that make sense (such as at the shoulders for sleeves)
  • Consider rolling clothes to avoid extra creases if you’re worried about delicate garments

Now you know how to fold baby clothes (and store)  perfectly, you should have no problem keeping their wardrobe clean and organized! If you’ve made some extra closet space, why not come and find some new garments to add to the collection at Sweet Bamboo


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