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Do you fold your underwear?*

There are so many domestic subtleties that I am clueless about.

For instance, Hubby and I toss any kind of dirty laundry into the washing machine altogether. But apparently, whites are to be separate from darks (but is this really necessary if your clothes are already pre-washed and there is no risk of the dark colours leaking out onto the light colours?) and then I recall my friend rolling her eyes at me when she saw me putting towels in with jeans (something about the different textures? Goodness only knows, but since I never figured out a good reason, we still toss whatever is dirty all in together, regardless of what it is). I’m quite certain that my mother probably did explain these things to me eons ago when I first started doing my own laundry at home, but for the life of me, I can’t recall what the actual instructions might have been.

Now, when it comes to sorting laundry, I’ve developed a system which has worked since … well, ever since forever. One part of the system is one drawer dedicated entirely to underwear, which allows you to simply toss all the clean ones in there — no sorting required (see? good system, right?). I do not ever recall folding underwear. It just never occurred to me to spend the time folding underwear. They’re small, and no one cares if they’re wrinkled, right? I have no idea if my mother actually folded my underwear (no, I’m not being sexist, I don’t think my father did laundry although he did do a lot of domestic duties) when I was a young child. Come to think of it, she might have. And I just failed to appreciate it, like most of us failed to appreciate the often thankless work of a parent. And it’s not like I can go around looking into other people’s underwear drawers to find out what one is supposed to do: fold or not fold?

But we’ve just moved into a new house. And being overwhelmed, I asked my mother-in-law, who was visiting, if she would mind helping me get all my clothes sorted. I was so tired of living out of my suitcases and hadn’t had a moment to myself to work on my closet. So we stayed back one day when the rest of the family went out, and with her help, the entire closet was all sorted and organized within no time. It felt wonderful to get that task off my chest!

One thing that she ended up doing was a series of drawers. We decided that they would be a good spot for underwear, socks, etc. She then took charge and put everything in its rightful place in the drawers. When I looked inside, I couldn’t believe how neat and organized everything looked! I also noted that all the underwear were folded, and even the nylons (which I wear once a year for a wedding or a funeral) were all folded. In my mind I thought, ah, that is sweet of her but I won’t bother to be doing that kind of folding maintenance.

However, last night, as I was putting away some laundry, I realized how much I like my underwear all nicely and neatly folded. I don’t know what it is about it, but it gives me some sort of satisfaction to open the drawer and see everything all organized. So, I’m now folding my underwear**. For the first time, at the ripe old age of 39.

* With advance apologies to my younger brother who pinged me last time I mentioned my underwear in a blog post to let me know he didn’t appreciate me making him think of what kind of underwear I might buy. Oops.

** However, if I start writing blog posts about how I now enjoy ironing my underwear, you know I’ve fallen completely off the deep end. Send help stat.


  1. When I was a kid, I spent a weekend at a family friend’s house, and she ironed everything. Bras, panties, tea towels, everything. Even at the tender age of 12, I knew I would never be doing that. I just cram all my underwear and socks into the underwear drawer.

    • Yikes … No one in my family ever did that full-on ironing like bedsheets, tea towels, etc! I’ve heard that some folks’ mothers ironed their jeans! Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

      • giulia_caflisch says:

        In Europe where I grew up a lot more ironing is done because things are line dried and the ironing softens the fabric. My mother used to iron our sheets because of that but no longer does it as she now has a dryer.

        • Aha, I see … It’s the line drying? I don’t buy it! The sheets are just as soft one minute after laying on them in bed whether they are line-dried or not. I think the sheet ironers must just like them that way … Just like I now think I need my underwear folded, haha! :) Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  2. If I didn’t fold together pairs of socks after washing them I’d never leave the house with a matching set. But my undies get thrown into a drawer straight off the drying rack – there’s not enough to them to have anything to fold. Guys boxers, on the other hand, always get folded as they fit in a drawer much better that way.

    • Actually, my socks rarely ever match! That’s why I like to wear ankle boots in the fall and winter! :) hee hee! Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  3. Mary @ says:

    I used to fold my underwear. Now I have a two year old helper she mostly shoves stuff into a drawer. After carefully shaking and crumpling it into a ball first. Since she is clearly imitating me, I have to wonder how good a job I was doing in the first place! I value the help more that the neat drawer :)

  4. I have a friend whose mom ironed her underwear as well. Yikes. I’m exhausted just hearing about it. I say whatever works for you. I personally have to fold my underwear or it bothers me. If it doesn’t bother you, more power to you! Because my kids have smaller underwear, I lay their underwear in baskets inside their bureau drawers.

  5. giulia_caflisch says:

    I like this – funny indeed. I do fold my underwear, but I keep asking my husband why I have to put my t-shirts back in the drawer if the neatly folded pile on top of the dresser serves quite well to get my next outfit…

    • Coffee with Julie says:

      I am like that too! I don’t mind actually DOING the laundry, but putting it away? Ugh. So tedious.

  6. That’s one nice looking set of drawers you’ve got there Julie! I’m with you on the sorting…and I clearly remember my mom teaching me about sorting (and used to sort until I had kids and just gave up due to volume). My mom recently tried to get me to wash and dry things based on size of the item as well saying that environmentally it saves energy on drying time to have a lot of little things together and fewer large items together. Oh my, I’m just pleased that my clothes are clean(ish) most days!

    • Coffee with Julie says:

      Saving energy and drying time? Nah, let’s talk about saving OUR time! :) I keep one laundry basket for each person in the family, and only that person’s laundry gets washed in that load. It makes it so much quicker for sorting and putting them away. 

      • Julie, I have always known there are so many reasons that I like you. Now I have one more to add to my list!

    • Ok, for the laundry rebellious among us, here’s why you sort:  even though colours don’t bleed (much) anymore, whites will go sort of dingy grey if they’re washed with dark colours repeatedly, blacks go grey faster washed with lights, and finer fabrics are more likely to pill and/or stretch out if they are washed with sturdier things, especially if you do it on a machine setting more appropriate to the sturdy.   I’d rather spend the extra few seconds to sort than I would to replace my favourite clothes…but then I hate shopping and I resent the time it takes just trying to find a parking place at the mall.   And towels leave lint all over.  A pain.

      Having said that — my toddler outgrows his clothes so fast they don’t have time to wear out or go grey.  So his stuff doesn’t get sorted.  And hubby is on his own too.  Not that it would matter — everything he owns is blue.

      Is that really true about energy saving?

      • coffee with julie says:

        Aha! This makes sense and rings a bell re the sorting of colours. I wear TONS of black, and I don’t find it gets faded (which is a pet peeve of mine) but that’s probably because all the black is already thrown in together. As for whites, the only white I ever wear is underwear and yeah, it probably has had the colour ruined by my slack washing ways.

        I googled the energy-saving point Margo mentioned and apparently it’s true:

  7. Mary Lynn Kitaura says:

    I don’t separate whites and darks either! I always feel like such a rebel throwing white socks and a black top into the washer together. I like to live on the edge like that.

    I used to fold my underwear, but over the last few years that habit has fallen by the wayside. Now it just gets shoved into the dresser drawer any which way…if it ever gets put away properly at all. Half he time the clean clothes just pile up on my dresser and I end up wearing them before I get around to putting them away.

    • Coffee with Julie says:

      It is a little sad that this is what we have to resort to for rebelliousness in middle age! haha! :)

  8. I vaguely recal having folded underwear as a kid…however, I don’t bother with that nonsense. Most of my underwear is quite itty bitty so folding it is quite silly. My kids underwear is tossed in a drawer and so is my husband’s. And we all all quite happy about that 😉

    I think I ma the only one who gets the concept of sorting laundry. My husband will wash anything and everything together. Granted, the chance of a dark bleeding on a white is slim…but there is always that ONE TIME and it’s always a super expensive, delicate item that was actually put to one side to be dealt with but was just tossed in with everything else…*deep breath*

    So yeah, I beleive in sorting…and checking labels 😉

    • Coffee with Julie says:

      Itty bitty, eh? Then perhaps I need to fold mine since it is majority “granny style”! haha! :) 

  9. Cheryl Gain says:

    Absolutely I am a “folder” of under-things. It is really just more relaxing and easy to get dressed for work or play when everything can be located easily, and even *looks* fresh and appealing. (can’t affLife can be chaotic at my house (with up to 5 children keeping us busy during the week), so having a tranquil place in my room is important to me. Great post…

    • Coffee with Julie says:

      That sums up the way I feel about the folded undies drawer — things just look more fresh and appealing when presented nicely. Good way to start the morning! :)

  10. My grandmother used to stay with us and iron EVERYTHING, even socks. Who the heck irons socks???
    I hardly iron anything… really.  The men/boy types here where boxer-briefs, they get folded, just too big in the drawer otherwise. Mine, depends on my mood, but mostly it’s itty bitties so feels silly.. Not sure how I’m supposed to fold a tong…

    Shockingly, I am anal about sorting. I was towels seperately, only because they are (usually the only items of ours that goes in the dryer.) I’ve also had situations were towels have gotten lint all over stuff and it’s a huge mess. Colours not so much, but it depends how new it is.

    • coffee with julie says:

      I’ve never had the towel lint trouble, but others have mentioned that too. Kleenex in pockets, on the other hand, yep — had that! 

  11. 25 comments on underwear – love!

    When Tony and I first moved in together, my eyes almost popped out of my head when he put his laundry away for the first time, and he folded his underwear. Apparently this was required in his house growing up, but I soon cured him of that habit! That being said, I organize my dresser two or three times a year, and when I do I fold and organize everything including underwear, and I do love it while it lasts. Unfortunately it just doesn’t last for long and then I have to scrounge and search every morning for the next few months until the next time I get organized.

    And hey…was wondering if you want to do another shopping trip sometime to get ready for fall?

    • Haha! I have to laugh too … that this post has some of the most detailed and awesome discussion — and it’s on underwear!! :) (Also, yes to the shopping trip again. But I don’t actually need anything for the Fall I don’t think. Well, except underwear of course! Can’t have too many underwear!)

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