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How to Fold Towels to Fit Any Shelf

colorful towels on shelves in bathroom
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

You might think nothing of giving your towels quick fold and cramming them into wherever you keep them. But, by learning a few clever folds, you can make your towels look great and fit whatever type of storage you use. 

The Deep Fold

The deep fold is the ideal way to fold towels when you have a linen closet. It ensures they fill the shelf from front to back, but also allows space for more than one row of towels, and even leaves room for washcloths to fit in between.

You’ll want to place your stacks of deep-folded towels against the walls of your linen closet, so they stay standing tall. This is not an ideal fold for open shelves. Save the next option, the narrow fold, for that type of shelf.

  1. Begin by laying your towel out on the clean floor or on a table. This fold needs support from a surface of some kind.
  2. Fold the long sides of the towel a third of the way, toward the middle. The hems will meet at the center of the towel.
  3. Now fold the towel in half, still working with the long side. This is how wide your towel will be, but you’ll be doing a couple more steps to shorten it to fit in the cupboard.

midway through a deep fold

  1. Fold your short ends toward the center, but leave a gap in the middle. The gap prevents bulging.
  2. Finally, fold the two halves together and put the fold to the front.

deep fold finished

The Narrow Fold

Not a lot of room on the shelf, you’ll probably want to try a narrow fold with your towels. This type of fold will ensure your towels aren’t hanging off the shelf and will ensure your space looks neat and tidy.

The narrow fold is easy enough to do that you don’t even have to have a table to do it on. You can create this narrow fold standing up.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by holding the towel (or spreading it on a table) by an end. Fold the towel in half along the long side (like you’re hanging it over the towel rack to dry).
  2. Fold again, this time the opposite way (which should now be the long side).
  3. Bring the side with the hemmed corner edges about a third of the way across; it’ll be sitting nearly in the center of the towel.

midway through narrow fold

  1. Fold the other half over so it matches with the folded edge of the side you previously worked with (a tri-fold).
  2. Place on the shelf with the fold site neatly facing out.

narrow fold finished

Rolled Towels

If you’re using baskets to hold your towels in your closet, cupboard, or directly in your bathroom, rolling your towels will be the ideal way to fit more in the basket and keep them looking neat and organized.

rolled towel

  1. Lay your towel out flat on a workspace (a table or counter will do).
  2. Tri-fold the towel the long way.
  3. Now, fold the length of the towel in half.
  4. Roll the towel into a tube-shape, starting at the folded end.
  5. Place your finished work in a basket or cloth drawer. If you want to display your rolled towels, secure them with a ribbon to ensure they don’t unroll.

The Konmari Method

If you’re one of the many people addicted to the decluttering ways of Marie Kondo, you can use her tips on towel folding. With her method, you can easily fit your towels in a drawer or in a basket on a shelf.

konmari method

  1. Again, the first step is to lay your towel flat.
  2. Fold the towel in half, along the long part.
  3. Now, fold the towel in half again, the other way.
  4. Fold, or roll, the towel into thirds, starting with the folded end.
  5. Then, stand it up. Now it’s ready to go in a drawer!

And there you have it! All the ways you can fold towels to fit neatly into whatever space you have.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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