How to fold clothes military style

Updated December 15, 2016

Since military personnel typically have to fit all their belongings in a small foot locker, folding clothes in a way that takes up the least amount of space is a skill taught to all service members. Whether you're a frequent traveller looking to make the most of your small carry-on luggage or simply someone looking for a more organised way to fold clothes at home, the military provides some simple-to-follow yet surprisingly efficient clothes-folding guidance.

Start with trousers. Turn them inside out, and button and zip them up. Fold the item in half so one leg lays over the other. Fold down the top of the trousers to the centre of the trousers, and fold the lower half, beginning with the hem of the legs, up over the upper fold so that you end up with a square.

For long-sleeved shirts, fold the sleeves so they are parallel with the sides of the shirt. Fold the top of the shirt about a third of the way down and fold the bottom of the shirt about a third of the way up. Fold the resulting rectangle in half.

For short-sleeve shirts and T-shirts, bring the bottom up so that the bottom hem meets the collar. Tuck in the sleeves toward the centre. Fold the top inward about a third of the way down and fold the bottom upward a third of the way. You will have a long, thin rectangle. Take one end of the rectangle and fold it in half.


Each branch of the military uses a slightly different technique. The famous "Army roll" requires doing basic folds to create shapes like squares and rectangles, then rolling the resulting basic shape tightly. This technique works well for tight spaces and reduces the chances of clothing wrinkling.

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About the Author

Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.