I Tried Rolling My Towels Instead of Folding Them, and I Did Not Expect the Results

published Dec 6, 2023
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Credit: Shifrah Combiths

When I had my first apartment and my own linen closet, I was an absolute stickler for how my towels, sheets, and other linens were stored. They had to be folded into the same shape and size, everything had to be perfectly lined up, and each item had to be placed precisely where it was supposed to go.

My mother, who admired it, warned me that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it once I had kids. And she was right. I did manage to keep my linen closet the way I liked it until about three or four kids in. But as we accumulated more items and the kids started using the closet themselves, everything got a little topsy turvy behind those linen closet doors. I’ve come to accept it (mostly), but lately, I’ve felt like a total re-set was in order.

Inspired by pictures I’d seen of rolled towels, I decided to give rolling a try. Here’s how it went:

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

I got my oldest son to help and I had him begin by emptying out the entire closet. He said, “This is kind of fun,” so we were off to a great start. Once the linen closet was empty and everything was piled in the living room, we sorted the contents of the closet into categories: beach towels, bath towels, hand towels, blankets, etc.

As we sorted, we threw anything that was outdated — baby items we no longer needed, for intance (sob) — or stained into donate or discard piles. We were able to thin our collection out by a lot and it felt fantastic.

Next it was time for the rolling to begin. We rolled the towels that get the most use, which for us includes hand towels, bath towels, and our collection of pool towels. We also rolled the blankets that we use weekly or daily, depending on the season.

We folded items that get used less frequently, such as extra mattress covers and picnic blankets. Thin blankets got corralled in a basket and pillow cases were folded and filed in small plastic baskets.

Here’s how it turned out:

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

In short: I love it. Here’s what I love about rolling vs. folding:

Rolling saves time. I cannot fold towels or sheets or blankets and put them in the closet without making them uniform. But with so many different sizes of towels and blankets, I end up playing towel origami and re-folding more often than I’d like. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter what size your rolled items are because the ends of the rolled items in your linen closet all look the same.

Rolling saves space. I think it has to do with using more of the depth dimension, but rolling creates more usable space in your linen closet. Just look at the before and after and you’ll see what I mean.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

Rolling allows you to keep your linen closet looking great. This might be the best thing about rolling. It allows you to grab what you need without unstacking and stuffing things back in, which, after a few bouts of this, leaves your linen closet looking ruffled. A pyramid of eye-pleasing rolls stays relatively undisturbed and fluffy blankets that take up the height of a shorter shelf can be pulled out without disturbing others. In addition, because rolling in straightforward, other household members should be able to put things away and keep things neat more easily. Ahem.

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: I Tried Rolling My Towels Instead of Folding Them, and It Was a Game-Changer