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Does Rolling Your Clothes for Storage Ruin Them?

Folding clothes has been discussed redundantly in many lifestyle and travel blogs. But you rarely hear about rolling clothes, as if it were something people don’t even do. It’s been said that rolling clothes has many benefits, but little is mentioned about whether it can ruin your clothes.

Rolling your clothes for storage generally won’t ruin them. However, rolling is not recommended for delicate fabrics such as silks and linen. Articles of clothing containing details that need to retain a particular shape, such as bras, headwear, or clothes with padding shouldn’t be rolled. 

The rest of the article will put all your fears to rest about rolling your clothes for storage. Keep reading for more tips on rolling your clothes to maximize space. 

How Rolling Your Clothes Helps You Save Space

The debate over whether to fold or roll your clothes continues with no end in sight. While folding clothes has been done since the time of the dinosaurs, the people of Pinterest have boldly stepped away from what is familiar and customary to show us a new way.

Rolling was first used as the new-age way of packing by travelers trying to stuff two months’ worth of wardrobe into a suitcase. It was a true eureka moment when they realized rolling enables one to pack more (source).

The word spread, and people tried it out for storage with the same life-affirming results. So what about rolling makes it possible to pack more in suitcases, storage containers, or almost any space? Here are some of the reasons you can pack more by rolling:

  • You can stack them higher. Folded clothes must be stacked vertically, and you have to be conscious about the corners looking neat — or else, why even fold clothes? With rolled clothes, you can stack them higher because you use less space.
  • You can pack them tighter together. Folded clothes take up vertical space, but rolled clothes enable you to maximize both vertical and horizontal space. You can pack them tighter together, filling up every nook and cranny of your suitcase, storage box, or drawer. 
  • You can compress the rolled clothes together. There are even certain folding methods like the ranger/military roll (used by troops) that let you squeeze the rolled clothes even tighter together, making them more compact and space-efficient. 

For the purposes of storage, the Lifewit Clothes Foldable Storage Closet Organizer (link to Amazon) is great for storing your rolled clothes. They are easy to stack and keep your closet space looking neat.

How Rolling Your Clothes Lessens Creases

According to Tor Rydder, host of the YouTube Channel Small Space Organizing, folding clothes creates sharp angular creases that deepen the longer the fabric is folded. This is especially noticeable on jeans. The tougher the fabric, the more stubborn the crease. That crease can be a pain to remove once it has made its mark. Rolling lessens the formation of these sharp creases (source).

So if you plan to store your clothes away for a long time, rolling is the way to do it. Rolling to reduce creasing is especially helpful when traveling. When you travel, ironing is even more of a pain than it is at home. Less creasing means less time spent ironing. Less time spent ironing means more time spent vacationing. 

How To Roll Your Clothes

Rolling clearly has its benefits, but you can only experience those benefits when you roll them right. Rolling your clothes incorrectly defeats the purpose of rolling them in the first place — they will make your suitcase or storage space look messy and cause more creasing. Here are some steps for rolling clothes for storage:

Shirts & Blouses

  1. Begin by smoothing out any wrinkles. Wrinkles you don’t smooth out will set once you’ve rolled them and will create creases.
  2. Fold the sleeves towards the center. For long sleeves, form an X with the sleeves.
  3. Unfold the collar. For collared shirts, unfold the collar before folding. 
  4. Roll the top. As you roll the shirt into itself, start from collar to hem. 
  5. Pack them tightly. Keeping them snug with other items will prevent them from unrolling.


  1. Fold your pants. When folding your pants in half, ensure the back pockets face outward. 
  2. Start rolling at the waist. Smooth out any wrinkles that appear as you tightly roll towards the hem of the pant legs.
  3. Roll tightly. You must roll tightly to keep creases from forming. Remember not to do this with linen pants, as you will create stubborn wrinkles. 


  1. Smooth out your skirt on a flat surface. Eliminate as many creases as possible so they don’t set during storage or travel.
  2. Fold your skirt in thirds. Continue to smooth out creases as you go. 
  3. Start rolling from the waist towards the helm. Roll as tightly as you can.

What Clothes Can Be Ruined by Rolling?

Rolling clothes doesn’t ruin them, but it can create creases that are a pain to remove. Clothes that easily wrinkle should be folded instead of rolled. Cotton and linen tend to wrinkle easily. The lower the cotton content of a fabric, the more resistant it is to wrinkles.

However, you want to ensure you don’t roll clothes with padding or inner trimmings that can be deformed. Once you’ve rolled a padded bra, there’s no coming back from that. And while you can lessen the deformity, you might never be able to get it back to its original shape. 

An alternative to rolling and folding is packing clothes that easily wrinkle in vacuum packs. The Cozy Essential Space Saver Vacuum Storage Bags (link to Amazon) can help you pack your clothes that easily wrinkle. They come in four convenient sizes: jumbo, large, medium, and trim. 

Final Thoughts

Rolling clothes for storage doesn’t ruin them. In fact, it helps you maximize space while minimizing the appearance of creases. However, remember that delicate and tough fabrics shouldn’t be rolled because they can cause creases that will set the longer they stay rolled up. An alternative to rolling and folding is vacuum packing, which helps you store or pack clothes that easily wrinkle.

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