5 Folding Techniques Every Retail Worker Should Know

folding techniques

When will it stop?! The folding can drown an inexperienced retail worker, if you’re not properly prepared. Customer after customer will fly through your store, savagely ripping through the fifteen smalls only to find no mediums—at which point they’ll probably tear through the large and x-larges, just in case there’s one hidden somewhere else.

So what happens to that pile? Such a customer probably assumes that they fold themselves back up. Or maybe they feel the satisfaction of creating “job security.” They may not be completely wrong, but the security is simply in knowing that you’ll be really, really good at folding clothes for the rest of your life—retail or not.

With that in mind, here are the 5 folds that are going to certainly make your shifts a whole lot brighter. From the classics to some quick fix hacks, we’ve got all the tricks you need to go from frustrated to fold-master in minutes!

The “Classic”

So let’s start with the classic fold, the one you probably learned when you were training for your current retail job.

Lay the shirt flat out so that there are no creases, face down. Then pinch the top of the shirt on one side right at the ring of the collar. Hold it taught as you then fold the sleeve and excess shirt across the center, creating a straight line from top to bottom on the folded side.

Do the same on the other side, so now the shirt will look like a long rectangle. Fold the bottom up toward the center of the rectangle, and then fold the top down over so that the collar is lined up with the bottom crease. You should have a beautiful looking folded shirt!

If not, maybe watch this pretty girl do it:

The 5-Second Fold

This one’s great to learn if you’re trying to do a speedy clean up of the store after a mad rush. Probably the day after Christmas (or any Saturday ever).

The 5-second fold is actually quite simple, though you may need to practice it a few times first. Start by laying the shirt down flat, face up, with one sleeve pointing toward you and the other pointing out and away from you.

Then draw an invisible line across the center of the torso (half way between the collar and the waistline). About two inches away from the edge of the shirt that’s facing you, pinch the shirt with your right hand, being sure to grab all of the fabric from the front and back of the shirt.

Now draw a straight line up to the shoulder of the shirt with your left hand and pinch there as well. Carefully, while still holding both parts of the shirt, drag your left and down under your right hand and pinch down at the waist line (again, straight down from where your right hand is pinching.

Now that you’ve got all that bunched together, uncross your arms, shake it out, and fold it over in half. Voila! 5-second fold.

Don’t believe me? Just watch:

The Department Store Fold

If you’re feeling skeptical about your bosses’ feelings on either of those folds, maybe you should try one of the classics, as taught by this wiki how article.

Start by laying the shirt out flat. Fold the sleeves in at an angle that creates a straight line down the edges of the shirt. With long sleeves, you might have to fold the sleeves in half at the same angle.

Then, on each side, fold the edge over towards the center of the back. Do the same for each side so that they meet perfectly in the middle.

Then, simple fold the back up towards the center, and then the top down towards the bottom crease. It’s as simple as that!

The Military Fold

While not a fold that you’re going to be using for displays any time soon, this is an ideal fold for when you have a surplus of shirts and you’re really not sure how to store them all away in that tiny shelf on the back. If you’re looking for a neat way to stock a lot of shirts that aren’t being displayed, the military may just the calling your name.

This one is fairly simple: with your t-shirt laying flat, start by folding the waistline up over the bottom of the shirt, creating a four inch overlap. Then fold in the sides of the shirts toward the middle so that you have an overlap of about six inches.

Then, working your way from the collar of the shirt, start rolling it in towards the overlap on the waistline. Once you reach the bottom, simply tuck the roll into the lip on the bottom of the shirt.

It makes for handy storage or creates a cool way to display a surplus of brightly colored shirts!

For the visual learners:

The Dress Pant Fold

But what would a complete folding list be without pants? While for the most part, your store pants will be hanging, or casual pants will have a fairly simply and intuitive fold, dress pants can be trick to hang.

dress pant fold

Start by unbuttoning the pants. Then grab the two belt loops that are closest to the button. Match those up against each other and pull the back of the waistline out. This will match up the pant leg with the center of where a hem line would go.

And that’s it! Once pressed flat, you can fold them over the center of the leg and lay across a dress hanger. This one is sure to impress the clients who are going for an array of suits.

Whatever your folding problem—never let yourself get frustrated, or leave your clothes in a heap. Just a few folds can make a huge difference in how great your storefront looks. Good luck!


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