Professional organizer. Interior decorator. Entrepreneur. Janelle Cohen answers to all these job titles, and now she can add two more – author and folding expert! The owner of Los Angeles-based Straighten Up by Janelle just wrote The Folding Book, in which she shares her tips, along with illustrated examples, to help you achieve the perfect folded sheet, sweater, baby clothes, you name it!
Cohen recently took a few moments out of her busy schedule to give us some of her favorite pieces of advice so you can get organized and feel like your closet is photo-worthy every time you look at it.
Q: What led you to becoming a professional organizer?
A: I fell into organizing when I was 24. I decided to transform my mom’s pantry as a Mother’s Day gift! I am naturally organized and love design so I did it all just on whim with no experience. I shared before/after pictures on Facebook and I got a ton of messages from friends asking me to do their spaces. I said “yes” because I had so much fun and from there thought it would be a great business. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. A few years later, I found a video of me at 2 years old folding and ironing perfectly, so I guess you can say I was born to organize!
Q: You just wrote a book called The Folding Book. Why do you believe in folding as an organizational tool?
A: Folding is the best organizational tool you can use because it’s a skill that you can take with you and doesn’t cost a dime to develop. You can completely transform your space by maximizing the way you utilize your drawers and shelving.
Q: What types of items do you cover in your book?
A: In The Folding Book I tried to cover the full spectrum! From baby onesies to workout gear to a fitted sheet – and even how to pack a suitcase.
Q: Could you share a folding tip or two with us?
A: A great tip that makes a huge difference is to make sure you fold everything the same width. In doing so, your rows will appear nice and straight and you can fit more in tight spaces, like clothing Tetris! It’s the trick to getting that picture-perfect look you see on Instagram.
Q: Are there any items that shouldn’t be folded?
A: Yes there are definitely items you should avoid folding! I cover all of this in the book in detail but unless you’re traveling, definitely don’t fold bulky jackets or dresses.
Q: How do you recommend organizing your folded items? On shelves, in drawers or in bins? Does it depend on the item?
A: Deciding what should go in a drawer or on the shelf is largely based on the design of your closet. It also depends on your natural habits. If you decide to fold your clothes neatly on a shelf but aren’t going to consistently keep it neat and that bothers you, consider using a drawer. You should use whatever method caters best to your natural habits; this is important. If I have to pick my favorite items on a shelf I’d say sweaters, sweatshirts, sweatpants and denim.
Q: Can you tell us a brief story about a client’s organizational transformation or your own?
A: Organizing is very personal so I try to respect all of my clients’ privacy. I can say that I have tons of clients that I have been with from a big breakup to helping a new future significant other move in to upgrading to a bigger home together, and later prepped their nurseries. Watching that growth and being there for all the big life moments (good and bad) is really special and being a part of it all is something I cherish. It’s a big responsibility, and I don’t take it lightly.
Q: If people need more personal guidance than your book can offer, how else can you help them?
A: If you need more guidance or inspiration, you can always follow me on Instagram at @straightenupbyjanelle! I share tons of tips and behind-the-scenes photos of my projects that hopefully spark inspiration in the people that follow me. I also have an in-home organizing company, Straighten Up by Janelle, and offer virtual services if you aren’t in Los Angeles.
Purchase Cohen’s new book, The Folding Book, online or find it in your local bookstore as of May 10, 2022.Straighten up your home