KonMari Never Folded Boys’ Cargo Shorts


First let me start by apologizing for the pictures in this post. My camera hasn’t worked well for over a year. I need to take it to get cleaned and repaired, but only after I figure out where to go. In the meantime, I’ve been used my iphone which, you know, is pretty awesome under ideal settings. It’s not so great with low light and saturated colors, which is what I have today. I normally don’t apologize for things like photography, but between the grainy crime scene photos and KonMari’s fussy folding technique, I’m primed for a first-world temper tantrum.

You read me right. KonMari and her little origami folding methodology can pound sand.

I love her folding method when it comes to t-shirts. I do. But this week I tackled the rest of the boys’ clothing which, if you have boys, you know means cargos in 438 different styles. If you aren’t familiar with cargos (KonMari), they are military trousers first seen in the 1930s. They are loose fitting and have several large pockets soldiers used to carry field dressings, maps, rations, and ammunition.

Americans took one look at them and said this is exactly what all boys need: more places to put stuff.

The other day Mikey went to his friend’s house to swim. I told him to pack his bag. He came out wearing his swim jammers and his cargo shorts. In the pockets of his shorts was a change of underwear, sunscreen, and goggles. “I don’t want to bring a bag,” he said.

“Too bad,” I said.

You can’t avoid cargo-style clothing for boys. Unless they’re uniform pants from K-Mart, there will be pockets. We have cargo casual shorts, cargo dress shorts, cargo trousers, cargo sweat shorts, and cargo sweatpants. We even have cargo pajamas because even if your goal is to carry around all your possessions, you still have to sleep.

Tuck in the crotch and fold them in half, she says. Then fold them again. Find the sweet spot!

I tried and tried and tried but the pockets kept getting in the way. I had the best luck with the “dress” cargos because those pockets laid flat. They’re essentially for looks. The cargo pockets on everything else was a different story.

I googled, to no avail. I found a plethora of videos by girls in college teaching me how to fold everything from bras, to underwear, to socks, to shirts, to shorts–but no boys’ cargo shorts. The moms (are there any out there?) were silent on the issue. I gained nothing from the experience except for eye strain from over-rolling. Don’t tell me how to fold soft pants! First, calling them soft pants won’t change the fact that those, my dear, are harem pants. Second, how dare you proudly wear “soft pants” after what they did to innocent people in the 90s. How dare you.



After much trial and error, I came up with a complicated 24-step process to fold cargo bottoms.


I was feeling good. Sure, it took me a while to find the “sweet spot,” but now that I cracked the code, doing the rest of the pants would get easier as time went on. I was the dominator of cargos. I was ready.


When I get angry, really angry, speechless angry, I become unrecognizable. I stand very still, schooling my features into submission. I am the outward appearance of calm. The giveaway is the red face or the eyelids blinking so fast I must subconsciously want to use them to lift me off the ground and whisk me away to somewhere less annoying.

I stared at those pants while my bangs fluttered in the breeze my blinking created.

Those pants were mocking me. Standing up tall and straight like an obedient soldier, pretending excitement at the prospect of being filed, but I knew. I knew what they were doing. Cargos aren’t KonMari’s humble socks, looking for a break, happy to stay wrapped around their mate until it’s time to go to work. Cargo pants are players. They tell you what you want to hear and then use your own words against you until suddenly you’re apologizing for the size of your drawers.

Not today, cargo pants. Not me. I’ve met far too many of your kind. I tucked in your crotch (small compared to the pockets, frankly) and rolled you into a loaf. You don’t deserve a sweet spot.

The pros-cons to the KonMari method with children-8

The rest of the clothing went as such. I tucked and rolled and put them away for me, for you, and for all the other mothers who have had to deal with cargo pants.

The pros-cons to the KonMari method with children-2

The pros-cons to the KonMari method with children-3

I moved on to the boys’ top drawers, which are meant to hold underwear, undershirts, and socks. They don’t hold underwear or undershirts, but they do hold socks. Their sock drawer would give Marie Kondo the vapors and, thanks to that book, makes me feel like I’m secretly running a puppy mill.

First I folded all the underwear, which before today were in a bin in the closet. I took a break for lunch and lost the pile. Nico, trying to help, put the underwear away in the bin in the closet. I told him and Mikey that while I appreciated the help, I decided to move the underwear to the dresser. Both thought that was a terrible idea. They didn’t want to change the underwear, though they love the t-shirts and have kept the system up perfectly, even when putting away their laundry.

They’re right, I thought. The underwear bin is easier for them–they just toss the underwear in. Sometimes they don’t even put away the bin. They let it sit on the piles of whatever it is they keep on their closet floor. I don’t want to be that mom who strips away every last shred of youth from her kids’ room. I should let them have their messy closet. Right?

The pros-cons to the KonMari method with children-4

Screw that, I thought. I spent who-knows-how-long folding 19 pairs of underwear into the size of a postage stamp. I’m filing them in an underwear drawer and by God, they’re going to love it.

The pros-cons to the KonMari method with children-5

The other drawer is now for belts and ties. I’m hoping this is the year Nico realizes lamp shades are not tie hangers.

“But dad said to keep my tie somewhere I will always find it!”

The pros-cons to the KonMari method with children-7

I have one final drawer to finish–uniform pants and shorts. I ordered them a while ago and they finally arrived while I was typing this post. After that and the closet, I’ll be done with the boys’ clothing.

My clothing should be easier to handle; I only have two pairs of cargo pants.

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  1. Those drawers are BEAUTIFUL! you are taking the folding to a level most mortals will achieve. I will be anxious to see how you handle your t shirts. I only did my drawers and they are are functional but not pretty like yours. Little misshapen sausages of material lined up willy nilly helter skelter, but an improvement none nonetheless. Now I just have to purge the 15 sausages per drawer that never get touched. Great post.

  2. Amen! My son has shallow drawers and cargo pants. It was agrivating Trying to fold them up. My husband’s aren’t much fun either.

  3. so funny!! my son transitioned from the ridiculous cargo pants to polyester sport shorts almost entirely… i just folded everything in half and in half again and wedged them front to back in his drawer… i’m not sure ‘soft pants’ or ‘soft shorts’ will ever really stand up on their own. he has actually enjoyed seeing everything at a glance and has kept up with keeping the drawer tidy! good luck in your room!

  4. Let me introduce you to my favorite hashtag #firstworldproblems The struggle is real my friend, the struggle is real.

    Honestly though, I’m really impressed you’re going all out with this. I haven’t read the book, but I probably would not have gone whole hog and followed the folding rules when they obviously didn’t fit a particular item. But I’m getting the impression that Kon Mari is an all or nothing kind of person. She should consider Mistress as a back-up profession in case this organizing thing ever falls apart.

  5. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates folding cargo shorts! I love folding this way and love that my husband and I can see all of our clothes easily, but cannot stand folding his last few remaining pairs of cargo shorts. They’re the worst!

  6. I’ve been slowly decluttering my own clothes and drawers, but my daughter doesn’t have a dresser. She has two hanging bars and a few bins in her closet.

    She used to have a dresser but she asked if she could get rid of it and fill that space in her room with a huge drawing desk, and it’s hard to argue with someone who loves to draw and paint as much as she does. Kon Mari will have to get happy in the same pair of pants she got sad in when we start on Scout’s room.

  7. I laughed so hard reading this, I could not agree more on any sort of cargos and I don’t even try to get them folded in any semblance of KonMarie!!! I vary, but my usual suspect it to fold the shorts/pants in thirds with the pocket on top and call it a day. Not much help for you, though! Enjoying the heck out of your posts lately:)

  8. This line: “Second, how dare you proudly wear “soft pants” after what they did to innocent people in the 90s. How dare you.” is why you are so fantastic! I was JUST trying to explain to my fiance that I cannot wrap my head around the fact that these pants are becoming popular again – DON’T PEOPLE REMEMBER THE HORRORS?? πŸ™‚

  9. I feel you, I do. I did the kids drawers a week ago Sunday (two 8-year-old girls and a 4-year-old boy) and I’m amazed at how nicely the drawers are still organized. AMAZED. But one 8-year-old likes cargo shorts and they were difficult. I just did my best and stuffed. I’ve yet to address my clothes, partly because I have no dresser, and I’m afraid KonMari won’t settle for my half-assed solution.

  10. It starts early. My 8 mth old has hand-me-down cargo shorts. I can’t figure out why on earth an infant needs pockets. My husband sticks the pacifier inside, so I guess he finds it useful!

  11. I had the same issue with my husbands cargo shorts. I just folded them the best I could. It works but it’s not pretty. Now if Marie kondo came here to inspect I’m afraid she’d get told to get a life. Lol

  12. I actually came across your blog because I googled how to Konmarie cargo shorts. My 7 year old lives is cargo shorts 11 months out of the year. (Thank you SoCal weather!) and I have no idea how to get them in the drawer and looking good. Glad I’m not alone.

  13. I just found this post on accident several days AFTER googling how to Konmarie cargo shorts. I was organizing my husband’s closet. Adult male cargos are worse and seem to weigh 15 lbs each. Then, I came across a “Konmarie” principle that clothes that look happiest hung should be hung. I think cargos fall into that category but his closet is jam packed full with his dress shirts and dress pants hanging. So, cargo loaves in plastic drawers it was. Anyway, I think Marie would tell you to hang the cargos.

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