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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Retrieving your clean clothes from the dryer and inhaling the scent of laundry detergent can be one of the best feelings. As the act of cleaning is inherently tied to ideas of domesticity and one of the leading identifiers of “the Home,” being able to toss dirty clothes into a machine that does all the work for you is an easy low-effort and high-reward situation — partaking in the glowing bask of comforting scents and cleanliness has never been easier. 

Lindsay Thompson-Miami Laundry Posing Vintage Pensive
Lindsay Thompson / Her Campus

However, the part that comes after, folding laundry, has a less favorable reputation. It’s seen as a waste of time, a tedious chore, and painstakingly useless — after all, why fold clothes when you’re going to unfurl and wear them, rendering your work fruitless in a matter of several days? So, instead of debating about the practicality of folding clothes (in which there are still multiple benefits to be discussed), perhaps it would be more helpful to think of folding clothes as an art of organization. As organizing consultant Marie Kondo states, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” 

In my childhood memories, I vividly remember watching my mother fold the laundry for an hour straight, single-handedly taking on the load meant for four people — herself, two kids, and a husband who donned his suit even during the weekends because of the unforgiving, workaholic culture in Asia. With only one pair of hands working through dozens upon dozens of different articles of clothing for each member of the household including herself, the night would pass by slowly. I recall the starless nights and soft noises of the television with the open balcony door letting in the chilly breeze, or the chirps of crickets depending on the season, knowing that it was nearing bedtime whenever she took out the white laundry basket — watching with half-lidded eyes as her nearly mechanical movements grew slower and slower as the pile got smaller and neater. 

Particularly as a child, it was even more difficult to understand — why not just shove everything into a drawer or hang them in the closet? Rather than being helpful, it seemed as though folding laundry was simply a menial task that consumed all my mother’s time and left little room for her to spend time with the family. Was laundry merely a way to increase household chores and bind owners indoors, or did it give a moment and space of reprieve, where the simple act of sitting down and folding apparel gives peace of mind? 

Now that I’m older, I have a newfound appreciation and understanding of the importance of folding clothes—the act of organizing things with our hands grounds us and makes us more in tune with our bodies. There is a simple yet effective pleasure of seeing what we can do with our hands, molding everyday objects into something personal and our own—there is a sense of possession and confirming that we can mold what we deem ours, styling things to reinforce ownership and mobile prehension. 

In terms of more practical reasons, folding laundry is useful because it allows for more storage space. Learning to reduce space for every individual article of clothing helps with realizing how to be more efficient with packing for trips or simply maximizing available space. The more compact you learn to be, the more organized you can afford to be since more space means more freedom to create spatially coordinated areas. It naturally follows, then, that you have easier access and recognition of items present in your inventory — it eliminates the stress of having to look for that one piece of clothing you swear you saw a few days ago but can’t find at the moment. 

The list goes on — folding laundry decreases wrinkles in the clothes and prolongs the lifespan since rolling up, bunching, or hanging up clothes scrunches, stretches, and wears out the clothes. However menial and time-consuming the task may seem, making a habit of folding laundry after taking them out of the dryer gives a satisfactory sense of accomplishment. Being able to sit down, turn on some music or play a video, to concentrate solely on the task at hand is a simple yet precious time for self-reflection and peace of mind. 

Hello, nice to meet you! I'm a 4th year senior editor. I am a double major in English and Psychology. I greatly enjoy writing, editing, and the works! In my free time I love finding new things to eat from Trader Joe's and playing games :)