How to Organize Dresser Drawers

Wondering how to organize dresser drawers? Here are a few tips I’ve learned as the resident laundry attendant for a family of five.

My daughter’s dresser drawers. I’m no Marie Kondo when it comes to folding, but this system works for us.

Dresser drawers, to me, ae one of the key components in an organized home. As a mom of three kids, plus the wife of one laundry-challenged husband, I find that if the dresser drawers are a mess, it makes the entire process of doing laundry that much more aggravating.

Not only that, but disorganized dresser drawers tend to create an organization downward spiral. It’s harder for kids to get dressed in the morning because they can’t see what they have, and it’s harder to keep track of what items might need replacing (and which ones don’t). It also makes it harder to keep bedrooms clean when your kids empty out their entire drawers on the floor in an attempt to find their favorite Under Armour t-shirt (am I think only one who has little boys who are obsessed with Under Armour?)

Anyway, that’s enough negativity. Let’s talk about how to fix it.

How to organize dresser drawers

There are so many ways to organize dresser drawers, and you may need to experiment with a few methods before finding the one that works best. 

That said, there are also a few key components that I think are universal to organized drawers. Let’s start with those.

Sort though dresser drawers

If you’re going to be organizing your dresser drawers, you might as well sort through the items in them at the same time.

Take out anything that’s too small, stained or unwearable, or out of season. I like to store out of season clothes in plastic bins in a closet or under beds, because it just makes it that much easier to organize dresser drawers.

Designate a drawer for each type of clothing

Once you’ve whittled down the clothing to only things you need, it’s time to designate each drawer for certain clothing. The shallow drawer (usually at the top) is typically used for small items like socks, undergarments, ties, and jewelry. The bigger or deeper the drawer, the thicker the item – think sweaters, jeans, and so on.

If you have kids and want some help maintaining the laundry system, don’t overlook the power of labeling those drawers. You don’t have to put it on the outside. A label snuck onto the side of the drawer, or on the top edge of the drawer front can camouflage the label when the drawers are closed.

Get drawer organizers or inserts

I can’t live without drawer inserts. Okay that’s dramatic but you get the idea.

Most dresser drawers are huge. And because you open and close them all the time, and are constantly taking things out and putting things back, it’s very, very easy for drawers to get messed up. Drawer inserts or organizers make it easier.

Personally, I prefer drawer organizers, especially the ones that are like little fabric boxes. I’ve tried the inserts that you’re supposed to be able to snap into place, and they just don’t work. They end up sliding all over the drawer, and it’s annoying.

My favorite fabric drawer organizers are from Amazon and IKEA. This type of organizer comes in lots of configurations so you can choose the ones that’ll work best for your drawers, i.e. larger organizers for adult-sized jeans, workout clothes, etc., smaller ones for kids clothes, socks, etc.

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Also: Drawer organizers don’t have to fit perfectly. I use any empty space still in the drawer like just another little slot for more stuff (see the right side in the photo below).

Choose an effective folding method

I use a file-fold for most clothes, and a roll-style fold for onesies.

For most of my life, I folded clothes flat and stacked them on top of each other in my drawers. But then, we all met Marie Kondo and realized how ineffective it was to not be able to see anything that was in the drawer, except for the item on the top.

A better idea is to use a folding method that allows your clothes to stand on their sides so you can see everything in the drawers. The two big ones are the File Fold Method and the Army Roll Method.

The File Fold Method

This is a popular method for organizing clothes in a dresser because it makes the most of the space but is still easy to see each item. 

Clothing and other items are folded in half or in thirds, with their end on the bottom (so they stand on end) and arranged in lines with each item behind the other. This lets you see everything instead of sorting through stacks of shirts or pants.

The Army Roll Folding Method

You’re probably seen the Army Roll folding method used for packing suitcases, but it works for storing clothing in drawers, too. I tend to use this more for small items, like kids t-shirts or shorts, onesies, or even underwear.

The Fold and Alternate Orientation Method

While I prefer the two methods above, for those who are too busy to fold everything precisely but still want to maximize space a little bit., the fold and alternate method works well, too.

Instead of folding and filing or rolling, you just fold as usual but alternate the orientation of each item in the stack to even out the height. One pair of jeans gets folded in half or in thirds and placed in the drawer with the waistband facing the back of the drawer. The next pair is folded but placed with the waistband facing the dresser drawer face, and so on.

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