After running the YouTube channel Small Space Organizing that focuses on folding clothes and gets over a million views a year I am ready to share the ultimate guide to folding pants. There are a bunch of different ways to fold jeans, but the best way is either the neat file-fold, the wrinkle-free block roll, or the space-saving ranger-roll.
Generally, the fastest and simplest fold for pants is the flat fold. Just fold the pants in half from side to side, then fold them in half from the top of the waist to the bottom of the cuffs, and one more time from top to bottom and you’re ready to place them in your dresser or drawer.
However, this fold creates a lot of creases in the pants and it isn’t as neat or space-saving as some of the other folding methods that we are going to look at in this article.
How to Store Pants
There are two ways to store pants; you can fold them and put them in your drawers and shelves, or you can hang them temporarily in your closet. Folding pants is best for long-term storage as they won’t stretch. Hanging pants is best for short-term storage as they won’t get wrinkled.
We are going to look at both ways in this guide. We will start by looking at the very best ways to fold pants, then we will look at how to hang them towards the end of this guide.
How to Store Pants in a Drawer
Generally, the best way to store pants in a drawer is to file folding them. This fold is fast and makes your dresser drawers very neat and organized since you can stack the pants next to each other instead of on top of each other. Consider putting drawer dividers in your drawers to further organize your pants
You can also roll your pants if you want to save space in your drawers, but these folds are slightly more advanced. But don’t worry, you’re in the right place. We will go through each step in great detail further down in the article.
Is It Better to Hang or Fold Pants?
In most cases, it is best to fold your pants. Hanging your pants is a good option in the short term if you want to avoid wrinkles in the fabric. Over time hung pants will start to stretch around the area where it is hung from. Folded pants take up less space, and won’t stretch
If crases are of big concern for you, I recommend folding your pants with a simple roll. It is the most wrinkle-resistant fold of all the options.
Continue reading and I will teach you how to roll your pants further down in the article.
Flat Fold: How to Fold Pants Fast
The flat fold is the fastest way that you can fold your pants. There are only 4 steps to it, so if you don’t like doing your laundry this fold is a great option for you.
This is a very common fold and will work on most pants. It does crease the fabric of the pants a little. And it is not very easy to organize compared to some of the other folds for pants that I will teach you.
1. Place the pants on a flat surface with the front facing up and fold them in half from side to side
Make sure the sides line up evenly to get a neat fold.
2. Fold the pants in half from top to bottom
The waist should land at the end of the legs and line up evenly.
3. Again fold the jeans in half from top to bottom
Again, make sure that the edges line up as you fold over the pants again.
4. Stack your pants on top of each other in your dresser
You can also stagger them in your drawers if so they are more organized. Usually, it is best to do the flat fold for storing on shelves as you will more clearly see what pants you have when you stack them on top of each other.
File Fold: How to Fold Pants like Marie Kondo
The file-fold is a fantastic way to neatly store your pants in either dresser drawers or on a shelf. This type of folding was popularised by Marie Kondo in her KonMari method. It is fast, and by many considered the best way to fold pants.
Personally, I would use this fold for chinos, jeans, and other pants with relatively stiff fabric. Below are the steps to do the fold properly.
1. Place the pants of a flat surface with the front facing up
Make sure you even out the fabric to preemptively remove wrinkles as we are going to fold the pants over a few times which can make the pants prone to creasing up.
2. Fold the pants over in half from one side to the other
I usually fold from left to right. Make sure you line the edges up evenly as you fold the pants over.
3. Fold in the crotch area’s fabric to create an even line down the pants
This is optional. You can fold in the crotch fabric of the pants. You will save some space by doing so, but there will be a slight crease from the fold.
Usually it is best to do this for your wrinkle-resistant pants like sweat pants, jeans, yoga pants, and similar.
4. From the top down, fold the pants over in half
If you folded in the crotch fabric make sure that the fold ends up under the fabric as you fold over the pants now. This way it won’t unravel.
5. From the top, fold the pants one-third of the way down the pants
Make sure that you fold the waist and leg opening parts first. This will secure them inside the file fold.
Pro-tip: Fold slightly less than one-third down now, this will make the next steps easier.
6. Fold the pants over one more time so you reach the bottom of the pant legs
As you fold over now the ends should line up perfectly even. If not, go back one step and make adjustments so that they do line up.
7. Make sure the fold on the pants line up with the bottom of the pants legs evenly
This is important. You should make adjustments to all the edges until you get the hang of this fold.
8. Raise the file-fold with the tall end up, make sure the side with two folds face down
If you’re having trouble balancing the pants, you can press the top in from both sides, while also slightly pressing the fold down a little so it has more surface to stand on.
Here is a comparison between a pair of pants with the crotch fabric left out on the left, and one with it folded in on the right
9. Place the folded pants in your drawers or shelves.
Once you got them standing nicely on their own, you can place them in your drawers, or shelves.
10. Stack the file folds next to each other so they support each other.
The more pants you file fold and stack next to each other, the more sturdy they will be. You can also consider buying a drawer organizer like this (Amazon paid link) to further support the file folds.
I strongly recommend the one liked, and use it myself.
I also have a guide on how to fold sweatpants that may interest you.
Ranger Roll: How to Fold Pants to Save Space
The ranger roll is the most space-saving way to fold your pants. It works great for jeans, sweatpants, yoga pants/tights, or any other pants that won’t crease easily.
The ranger roll is a fantastic way to fold clothes if you’re going out traveling as it won’t fall apart inside your suitcase or bag. I also use it at home since it saves a lot of space in my drawers.
It can be a little tricky to do this fold at first but go through the steps a few times and you will get the hang of it.
This fold also works great for shorts and t-shirts with some modifications.
1. Place the pants with the front-facing up on an even surface
Even out the fabric as much as you can, as we are going to compress the pants heavily.
2. Fold the pants over in half from left to right
Make sure that the edges line up evenly.
3. Fold the top leg out 90° at the knee
This is not a science, so just eye-ball it to about 90 degrees either backward or forward.
4. Fold in the fabric that sticks out in the crotch area to make a straight line down the side
This will slightly crease this part of the pants, but I find it to be worth it for the ranger roll. On other folds this step is optional.
4. Roll the pants from the waistband down to the cuff of the legs
Make sure you tuck in the crotch fabric as you roll past it. Also, keep an eye on the top leg that is folded out and make sure it doesn’t move as you roll over it.
5. Lift the roll with one hand
Make sure you grab the leg opening so the roll doesn’t unravel. Next, lift the roll up and face the free leg upwards.
6. Wrap the lose leg inside-out over the rest of the rolled up pants with your free hand
Pull the leg opening slightly out as you wrap it inside-out over the roll. This will secure the roll so it doesn’t fall apart. Feel free to use both hands to pull down the loose leg over the roll.
7. Pull the inside-out part of the pants up to the end of the roll
It is best to pull the leg all the way to the other side of the roll, but as long as it covers the entire leg that is rolled up, that is enough.
8. Place the roll with either the tall side up, or lay it on the long side
If you have a storage system like these packing cubes, or this dresser organizer (Amazon paid links), you can stack the rolls with the tall side up. Otherwise, you can rest the rolls on a surface with the long side down.
9. Stack multiple rolled pants with the tall side up to support each other in your dresser, suitcase, or on your shelf
The best way is to stack them vertically as they will be more organized in your drawers. I have an entire folding course based on this principle that you can check out.
Simple Roll: How to Fold Pants to Not Wrinkle
The simple roll is the best way to fold pants to avoid wrinkles. It only has one fold where it will crease very slightly, the rest is just rolling. This fold works great for slacks, suit pants, and other wrinkle-prone pants like linen pants, or pure cotton pants like chinos.
I can also recommend this simple roll for traveling with your wrinkle-prone pants (think suits). It is a great fold to combine with the ranger roll above as they are about the same size and shape.
1. Place the pants with the front facing up on a flat surface
It is important that you flatten out any uneven fabric before moving on to the next step.
2. From the side fold the pants over in half
Make sure that the edges line up properly, and that you haven’t created any new uneven fabric during the fold over.
3. Gently roll the pants from the waist down to the bottom of the pants
You want to be very gentle when rolling down the pants. If you see any wrinkles appearing as you roll, you want to get rid of them right away.
When you roll you don’t need to put much pressure on the roll as that opens you up to more wrinkles.
4. Place the roll with the end of the roll down
Place the roll when the end of the roll down against the surface so it doesn’t come undone.
5. Place multiple rolled pants next to each other to support the structure of the fold
Depending on your wardrobe, you can stack multiple rolled-up pants next to each other in your drawer, bag or on your shelves so that they can support each other.
If you have a dresser organizer system (Amazon paid link) you can also stack them with the tall side up to save space and further organize your pant rolls.
I wrote a guide on how to organize jeans in a small closet that may interest you to read as well.
How to Hang Pants: Pants Hanger and Coat Hangers
The best way to store pants to avoid wrinkles is to place them on a pants hanger, or folded over a coat hanger.
I actually created a list of all my favorite hangers for pants here that you can check out to find the hanger that will work best for you.
I recommend using hangers for short to medium-term storage, as after hanging too long (2 weeks+) the fabric will start to stretch in the section it is hung on. Your best option is to hang the pants if you use them daily, or if you expect to use them soon.
Let’s take a look at some different ways to hang your pants.
How to Hang Pants on a Pants Hanger
Pants hangers are the best way to hang pants as there are no folds necessary to hang the pants. The only note is that it will stretch the fabric around the clamps over time if you hang them for too long.
1. Place the pants on a flat surface with the front facing up
Make sure there isn’t any uneven fabric after you have laid down the pants.
2. Gently fold the pants over in half from side to side
You want to check that all the edges are parallel to each other so the pants don’t hang crooked later on.
If you have a wide pants hanger, and a large closet, you can skip this step. The pants will take up more room, but you avoid the slight crease that can form from folding over the pants in half.
3. Adjust the clamps on the pants hanger to line up with the edges of the pants’ waist
Usually, you can slide the clamps in position. If not, try to position the pants so that the clamps are far out on the edges of the pants’ waist.
4. Clamp all the layers of fabric on the waist on both sides of the pants
Do one clamp at a time. Make sure you get all layers of the fabric inside the clamp, otherwise this won’t work properly. Once you got one clamp on, make slight position adjustments to the other one if necessary.
5. Adjust the clamps so that the weight is distributed evenly on the pants and on the hanger
Now is the time to make sure that the clamps are placed evenly on the hanger, and that they are also evenly placed on each side of the pants’ waist.
6. Gently lift the pants and hang your pants in your closet
From the hanger, you can lift up the pants and put the hung pants in your closet.
Savile Row Fold: Lock the Pants on the Coat Hanger
The Savile Row fold is great for locking the pants onto the coat hanger if you’re going traveling with your suits. This fold secures the pants reasonably well.
Use the pants hanger if you truly want to secure the pants though. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic fold to know.
1. Place the pants on an even surface with the front facing up
Make sure there is no uneven fabric after you have laid the pants down.
2. Lift the middle of the waist and the end of the legs and rest the pants on the side of one of the legs
Essentially, we want the pants to lay on the side. Stretch out the waist and around the buttocks area to make sure there aren’t any creases in the fabric forming.
3. Fold all of the top leg 180° back to expose the entire lower leg
Pull the top leg all the way back, so that the entire lower leg is exposed all the way up to the crotch of the pants.
You can lay the top leg down stretched out back past the waist of the pants.
4. Pull the lower leg through the lower part of the coat hanger and line the end of the cuff up with the crotch section of the pants
Make sure that the cuff of the lower leg goes all the way up to the crotch. If you don’t it won’t hold together as well.
5. Pull the top leg back over the folded leg, and pull it through the coat hanger as well
Now you can finally pull the top leg back down. Pull it through the coat hanger as well. It should completely overlap the lower leg after you pulled it through the hanger.
6. Lay the part of the top leg that you pulled through the hanger under the pants parallel so the cuffs are parallel to each other
Slightly lift the hanger so that you can tuck the top leg underneath the pants. See the second photo below for a demonstration of how it should look on the underside of the pants.
The first photo is from the top in the same style as all the other photos.
7. Gently lift the hanger and place your pants in your closet
Once everything is even and the legs are parallel to each other, you are ready to lift the pants from the hanger. Now you can put it in your closet.
Normal Pants Hanging Method
This is the fastest way to hang your pants on a coat hanger. It works fine in most situations. But the above method is better for packing your pants for travel.
1. Lay the pants down with the front-facing up
Make sure that the fabric is even all over the pants so no wrinkles can form.
2. Pull up the legs so that you can lay the pants down on the side of the legs
We are laying the pants on the side of one of the legs. Stretch out the waist and around the buttocks area to make sure there aren’t any creases in the fabric forming.
3. With the end of the pant legs first pull the pants through the coat hanger
Pull it down over the lower part of the hanger.
4. Rest the middle point of the pants on the lover part of the coat hanger
Once you pulled about half the pant legs through the hanger, you can let them rest on the lower part of the hanger. Make sure that the weight of the pants is balanced evenly on the hanger.
5. You can now hang the pants in your dresser
Gently lift up the hung pants from the hanger. From here you are ready to hang the pants in your closet.
Here is the next article in the folding mastery series: fold shorts. You can also check out the previous article on folding t-shirts if you haven’t yet.