Pro organizer Shira Gill (@shiragill) has seen a lot of underwear drawers in her day. “Hundreds in fact,” she says. It’s the same story every time: socks with missing partners, tights with gaping holes, tangled bras, even dust bunnies. We convince ourselves we’ll get around to it on the next laundry day, all the while knowing we never will. Gill’s advice? Stop waiting for the right moment.
The next time you walk by your dresser, take 10 minutes to get it in order—seriously, that’s all the time you need. It’s amazing what just some proper folding and a few dividers can do. Plus, “it’s important to care for your things, even if those things are just the socks you put on before you work out,” says the pro. Follow her seven steps for organizing your underwear drawer, and we promise your mornings will be a bit brighter (or at least a bit less hectic).
Step 1: Do a Head Count
Empty your entire drawer’s contents onto a flat surface (the bed works great for this!) so you can take inventory of how much stuff you have and what needs to be tossed. “Instantly get rid of any socks or underwear that are aged, stained, ripped, or threadbare,” says Gill.
Step 2: Get Rid of the Paper Trail
Somehow, it became acceptable to use the underwear drawer as a filing cabinet. “Most have crumpled old receipts, gum wrappers, passports, you name it,” shares Gill. As you survey your belongings on the bed, remove anything that doesn’t qualify as wearable.
Step 3: Make It Shine
With a damp rag and a spritz of household cleaner, give the interior of the drawer a thorough wipe down, removing any grime that has been hiding out behind your bras.
Step 4: Divide and Conquer
“Drawer dividers are a small investment that will help keep things tidy and organized. Set up designated zones for underwear, bras, socks, and specialty pieces,” says Gill. (Psst: Shallow shoeboxes will also work!) To avoid another jumbled mess in 24 hours, make sure the items you wear the most are up front and center.
Step 5: Practice Your Folding
No, we’re not suggesting anything fancy (sorry, Marie Kondo). But if you want to make the most of a small drawer, Gill does suggest folding your bras—one cup into the other—so they keep their shape and take up less space.
Step 6: Give Up on Lost Socks
“Life is too short to spend hunting down socks that have deserted you,” says Gill. Her trick for avoiding the lost-sock epidemic: “Buy one style and color so that there are no singles.” Genius.
Step 8: Donate!
Want to keep your holey personal belongings out of the landfill? “H&M offers free textile recycling and welcomes anything you want to get rid of in any condition,” suggests Gill. “Warm socks are also one of the most requested items to donate to your local homeless shelter.”