Cleaning

A 'Why Didn't I Think of That?' Way to Fold Fitted Sheets

The simple method for finally mastering your fitted sheets.

January  4, 2019

I actually love folding laundry—when it’s fresh from the dryer, warm and smelling like mountain springs or a clean breeze. I burrow into my toasty pile before sorting through the socks and shirts and sheets. I listen to podcasts as I organize each article of clothing, ready to fit in my closet. It makes me feel cozy and accomplished.

That is, unless I’m folding a fitted sheet. Because—despite the fact that this is not rocket science—my attempts to show those rounded corners who’s boss fail. Every. Single. Time.

Exhibits A & B: An able-bodied adult trying her darned best. Photo by Meg Macdonald

And since we’re in a time of experimenting ("new year, new me" and all that jazz), I decided it’s time to finally learn how to fold a fitted bed sheet. And what better teacher than the internet?

Now, there are a lot of folding tutorials out there, guides from mathematicians and college kids to the Hosting Queen herself, Martha Stewart. Everyone seems to have an opinion and accompanying YouTube video on how to fold. But after hours of watching and practicing, I found that my best fit (eh? eh?) came from the comforting, almost-magical guidance of this unsung hero:

First, her method is simple. She doesn’t waste time with distinguishing length versus width or inside or outside. She walks you through each motion, checking in to see if you’re on the same page, not over-explaining her movements. Second, I love her encouragement. “Do the best that you can,” she says. I’m not ashamed to say I genuinely responded, in a quiet whisper to myself: “Thank you.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Slide that stack up into that corner pocket of your partially folded fitted sheet. Continue as she did, folding that last bit along the outline of the stack you'd made. Now all of the sheets and pillowcases are together in a single bundle. Nothing gets lost. When you're ready to change the sheets, you can just grab one packet, and you're ready.”
— Derrick
Comment

But most importantly, by following this video, I folded a fitted sheet correctly on my first try. Even when I experimented with twin-size versus queen-size sheets, her method worked.

And I’m not the only one who’s impressed. Here are just a few of the comments from fellow folders:

  • “God bless you. I've tried to use other videos and have been stuck for like 30 minutes trying to fold my fitted sheet. It's finally folded. Thank you!”
  • “Thanks for your video! I always watched my mom do it but I couldn't remember the part of folding the two corners into each other! You've made my sheets look much nicer! :)”
  • “One of life's great mysteries solved so easily.”
  • “Does she have her own channel? I really want to subscribe!”

So, what are you waiting for? Watch the video and you, too, can become a folding fanatic.

How do you fold your fitted sheets? Share tips in the comments section below!

105 Comments

DMStenlake January 19, 2019
Video not available. If this is the method my mother used it definitely works. But I have found the best and most efficient way to fold sheets, especially king sized is for our housekeeper to do it!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 19, 2019
Here's the link if you'd like to re-try! https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=OwV2OBkMDS8
 
cosmiccook January 14, 2019
This is the way I folded sheets as a youngster, and it works for the most part. I do have some flannel sheets that have elastic all the way around and it's more difficult to fold them w this method. I'll revisit this method again and see if I can make it work.<br />
 
Cynthia January 12, 2019
She's truly brilliant.<br />
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 14, 2019
Agreed!
 
Linda J. January 11, 2019
Do you know that the NY State Agricultural Extension Service actually created a brochure showing exactly this way of folding in the sixties? Our taxpayer dollars at work. Anyway, I learned it and have used it ever since.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 12, 2019
That's interesting! I wonder if I can find it somewhere on the web...
 
Linda J. January 13, 2019
Perhaps it is archived somewhere. You could check with the ag extension service. I was in student housing at Cornell and we got all of these publications. Some were hilarious. I wish I had saved them.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 14, 2019
I will! And out of curiosity, what else were the brochures about?
 
Linda J. January 14, 2019
All sorts of homey things. How to save money. Inexpensive recipes. There were things regarding gardening and such, too. I have an amazing brochure that my Grandmother sent me from the California Extension Service. It is called "Whole Wheat Milk Bread." It assumes you know nothing (right where I was) and is well illustrated with what the bread would look like at each stage. I still have it and it is copiously stained with bits of bread dough.
 
Derrick January 11, 2019
I fold mine the same way, but with an added step I learned from our housekeeper. After you have the four corners together, stack the folded pillowcases on top of the folded flat sheet. Slide that stack up into that corner pocket of your partially folded fitted sheet. Continue as she did, folding that last bit along the outline of the stack you'd made. Now all of the sheets and pillowcases are together in a single bundle. Nothing gets lost. When you're ready to change the sheets, you can just grab one packet, and you're ready.
 
Connie January 11, 2019
I like that idea. I sometimes take the folded fitted sheet, flat sheet, and one pillowcase and put all into the remaining pillowcase. You get a similar little package.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 14, 2019
Love this idea, Derrick! Thanks for sharing :)
 
Connie January 11, 2019
When I was in college in the 70s one dorm mate lectured the rest of us regarding not being able to fold a fitted sheet. She then proceeded show us this method. It has remained with me since then and I have impressed others along the way with my ability to fold a fitted sheet. Something so simple can give one a great feeling of accomplishment.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 11, 2019
It's true! It's one of the best feelings :)
 
PJplunkett January 11, 2019
Video was unavailable to watch.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 11, 2019
Hey there! It might be your browser (IE seems to have difficulty), but here's the link if you'd like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwV2OBkMDS8
 
Mary T. January 11, 2019
Great video! I have always tried this method for my fitted sheets, but lacked the finesse to achieve the nice, flat end results shown here... that first fold after putting the sheet on a flat surface turns out to be the finesse!!! No more stuffing lumpy, uncooperative textiles into the drawer for me!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 11, 2019
Wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, too!
 
Lillian S. January 11, 2019
Just folded two the same way.
 
Sue J. January 10, 2019
This is the same method I learned from my husband’s grandmother, who took in laundry during the fifties and sixties to earn extra pocket money in the small northern Michigan town where she lived. She was known for the way she folded sheets and other things. Once you learn this method, you’ll always remember. I’ve even shown folks in laundromats how to do it. Best method ever!
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 11, 2019
Yes! Spread the gospel!
 
Kim V. January 10, 2019
That is how I learned to fold fitted sheers!<br />
 
Julia K. January 10, 2019
I have been folding fitted sheets like this for over 40 years.
 
Marcia January 10, 2019
Me, too. It's just not that complicated.
 
Jennie January 10, 2019
I've been doing it this way for over 30 years. I feel like a genius. 😃😃
 
SandraM January 10, 2019
I fold mine exactly the same way. But my end product NEVER looks that neat!! Wow! 😧 Laundry goals! 😀<br />
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 10, 2019
YES 🙌
 
Glenna M. January 10, 2019
I think the neatness of the end product depends a lot on the type of fabric and how tight the elastic is on corners. My microfiber sheets fold a lot more neatly that my cotton ones.
 
Vicki V. January 10, 2019
She reminds me of the sweet woman in the laundromat when I was newly married and had to fold a fitted sheet for the first time (!). Same method, but mine never look that perfect. I'd like her to live next door. I bet she has other tricks.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 10, 2019
I know haha When I first saw this, I thought "Get this woman her own channel!"
 
JoanJ January 10, 2019
I learned this as a newlywed from my mother-in-law in 1969. Thank you, Evie. I'm surprised that the technique is a revelation to some. Old hat to the rest of us.
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 10, 2019
What a great mother-in-law to show you :)
 
Pam January 10, 2019
right hand in a corner, like a mitten, left arm/hand holds the rest of the sheet. Let the rest of the sheet drop onto the bed/chair/couch, and the left hand starts to the left of the right hand and travels along the edge of the sheet till it finds the next corner. Left hand in that corner like a mitten. Put both hands together, and left hand pushes its corner over the right hand, which is now holding two corners like a mitten. Left hand over right hand, flip the two corners over the right hand which now has all four corners like one mitten. <br /><br />Now, right hand gripping the four corners, gently shake the sheet a bit till the edges and folds start to line up, left hand straightens as needed. The partly folded sheet is roughly square. Bring the bottom and side up and over toward the corners to fold the sheet in half one way, then in half the other way, done.
 
jodi P. January 10, 2019
I"d like to know the ages of those who do, and do not, know how to do this. I think if you're over 40, you're likely to already know. I'm 49<br /><br />Seems like my generation didn't show the next generation how to do this. They should have had more chores!<br /><br />My sister and I learned this method when we were 6 and 9 years old.......but we had to do it together, with each of us holding our end and tucking the corners together, then we'd walk towards each other to meet, and I'd tuck mine into hers. Then we'd lay it on the bed to finish.
 
Joy C. January 18, 2019
I think that's what this is highlighting, that there's a generation that lost information from a previous one. Whether it was because they didn't have enough chores (I had plenty and I'm under 40 but from an immigrant family, somehow my mum didn't have a good technique for folding fitted sheets but she showed me how to make a bed hospital style), or house work was outsourced because people could afford to do so, or people settle for convenience and speed to get things done, or taking for granted information within family and community. It makes me more conscious of teaching my kids these simple tips, doing chores and giving them the tools to go into the world with life skills most take for granted. I'm sure there are plenty of stories of college room mates who didn't know how to make a fresh bed, or didn't do dishes or clean up after themselves because it was all done for them at home.
 
Karen January 10, 2019
I love this! Thanks so much! I'm old enough to predate sheets with corners. My mom taught me how to neatly make corners on the mattress with a flat sheet, the way she was taught as a WWII WAAC. <br />
 
Author Comment
Katie M. January 10, 2019
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, too :)
 
mary January 10, 2019
There must have been a whole generation that was never taught to fold sheets. I've been folding sheets like this for over 50 years. Maybe coincides with more mothers working outside the home and not teaching their kids?
 
Pam January 10, 2019
Me too. I've always folded fitted sheets by putting two corners on two hands, like mittens, then the next two corners, then hand-to-hand, all four together, smooth out the rest, tuck and fold. Easy Peasy. I don't know what the big deal is!
 
Cea January 10, 2019
My mom and Dad didn’t have folded sheets when she grew grew up and so neither did we until I was well into my teens. They were just enough more expensive that they were a luxury. My kid ugly folds just like I do. Keep in mind that flat sheets are still cheaper than fitted and sometimes the budget calls for hospital corners rather than fitted corners.
 
Pam January 10, 2019
I rarely see flats and fitted sold separately, and when I do, they're the same price. Hmmm.......
 
jodi P. January 10, 2019
I think whether our moms worked or not, back-in-the-day kids were given chores, and were expected to help with the house and yard work, overall. <br /><br />I helped fold laundry when I was 4, and was doing a lot of laundry when I was 9. AT THE LAUNDROMAT without our mother, there. Ok, she was pretty negligent, but we were still capable of doing it.
 
Cea January 10, 2019
Resale storesand places like YJ Maxx have separate packaging. Donation stores get more flat than fitted because the corners end up tearing out.
 
Kathy Z. January 11, 2019
JCP online offers single flat and fitted sheets. Other online companies and some thru Amazon do, too.
 
Pam January 11, 2019
Back when my grown kids were in elementary school and occasionally needed to do Projects and bring them to school, I got solid black flat sheets on clearance from Lands' End, to use for table-cloths / display-cloths. I picked up some reds and navy too. Those sheets have gotten lots of use over the years for their intended and other purposes.