May 4, 2002
2:58 PM   Subscribe

All right, I'll admit it. I've never known how to fold a fitted sheet. A quick web search on the topic brought me to these instructions, which I tried, and failed miserably at. I need pictures! Isn't this what the WWW is for ... non-pornographic pictures? Or am I forever doomed to balling the damn things up and tossing them to the rear of my linen closest, where no unsuspecting guest will find it and discover my terrible secret? I guess I could give the things up and just go for hospital corners. Martha Stewart, help me!
posted by WolfDaddy (18 comments total)
I fold fitted sheets in half midway down the length, disregarding the corners, then in half again, crosslength, another time across the width, until they are small enough to fit in my linen closet without falling off the shelf. It's not as neat as a pin, but it's in there and that's it! There's nothing like the smell of fresh, clean sheets on a bed!
posted by Lynsey at 3:02 PM on May 4, 2002

1. Go to your local library or bookstore
2. Get a copy of "Home Comforts: the art and science of keeping house" by Cheryl Mendelson (ISBN: 0-684-81465-X)
3. Look on page 356: words *and* pictures!
posted by maudlin at 3:10 PM on May 4, 2002

No no no no no. Fitted sheets are simply a bad idea.

They have a superficial appeal to neatness freaks, but if you really get off on tidiness, you discover that it is _impossible_ to fold the damn things. Then you realise that half your sheets can only go on the bottom, thus limiting you boudoir options. They are a classic example of an apparently improved design leading to a loss of utility.

Just say no to fitted sheets. And those stupid lacy things on top of the dresser, too.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:28 PM on May 4, 2002

Let a "corner" of a fitted sheet = the end of the seams -- one of the points on the sheet that are intended to be positioned directly over the corners of the top of the mattress.

The key to those instructions is simply to fold those corners of the fitted sheet into each other. The fitted parts of the sheet will then also fold into each other, making it much easier to fold the entire sheet.
posted by mattpfeff at 3:33 PM on May 4, 2002

Maudlin -- you rock, as I was *just* about to quote from my copy of that very book. :D
posted by metrocake at 3:44 PM on May 4, 2002

who knew metafilter was full of crazy obsessive compulsives?! :P i kinda assumed people would think this post was funny, but people instead are fighting over the best technique, and which is the best sheet-folding-reference-guide. ha, i love you crazy people :)

my folding technique:
1. hold sheet in one hand by any edge
2. put your other arm about a foot below the one holding the sheet
3. quickly start making circles with your hands, and it makes a very manageable ball of sheets.

i have never understood folding anything that you don't plan to wear (and i mean on the outside, underwear/sock folders are not healthy)
posted by rhyax at 4:00 PM on May 4, 2002

You know, rhyax, it's possible to be both obsessive-compulsive AND have a sense of humor. Didn't you see "As Good as it Gets"? :)

Thanks for everyone's tips! You've eased the lives of MILLIONS of people who can't fold their sheets, myself included. You know that, right? Take pride in it!
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:17 PM on May 4, 2002

Sounds to me like you need a module to fold flat as well as fitted sheets to a final folded size of 6" x 9".

You can also see that demand for a "specialised curtain folder" is up. Dramatically.

It's good to know that someone out there is spending their waking hours meeting the demand for sharper creases.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:22 PM on May 4, 2002

Can't find a link to it, as I believe this was before the Web came along, but some years ago a big-city newspaper (the Cleveland Plain Dealer comes to mind, but I'm far from certain) ran a huge graphic (3 columns by about 9 inches) from Martha Stewart about folding a fitted sheet. The paper was immediately and loudly ridiculed by its peers for printing such fluff. It probably looked great, though.
posted by diddlegnome at 5:49 PM on May 4, 2002

Folding . . . what's that?
posted by mcwetboy at 6:24 PM on May 4, 2002

My mother ridicules my homemaking instincts, sheet folding included. I say it's that she never taught me how do do any of it correctly. But this will help me to impress her. Thank you.
posted by katieinshoes at 6:58 PM on May 4, 2002

Oh oh -- metrocake and I have outed ourselves as Mendelson fan-girls! I'm still working on the fitted sheet folding, but I'm a total convert to washing sheets in *hot* water. I can tell you that pretty good quality cotton percale, in a variety of deep colours, has stood up quite well to the new regime.
posted by maudlin at 7:44 PM on May 4, 2002

Mendelson's book has been on my wishlist for a year or so, and now that I know it shows how to fold fitted sheets (with pictures!), I want it that much more.

I don't have a method as of right now, i just try and fold them as small as possible. Currently my sheets go on the top shelf of my linen/toiletry closet, and since I can't really reach, things often get tossed, thus losing their folded-ness, so I try not to get too bummed about it.
posted by melissa at 7:58 PM on May 4, 2002

it's possible to be both obsessive-compulsive AND have a sense of humor

implying that you had no sense of humor was the last thing i meant to do, i promise ;) (picturing lots of people holding sheets, balancing a book with folding instructions) hehe
posted by rhyax at 8:08 PM on May 4, 2002

Here's another page from with three pictures illustrating how to fold a fitted sheet. Pretty much the same method that Mendelson and mattpfeff use, but the pictures don't show the first step.

Using a clean counter, floor space or bed, lay the sheet down so that the right side of the sheet is on the counter, floor or bed. This will leave the fitted corners facing up.

Fold it in half lengthwise. It's going to still look pretty floppy, but take the half of the sheet that was just folded over and tuck *its* corners into the half that's on the bottom. (This is what the first picture on the page is showing you).
posted by maudlin at 8:25 PM on May 4, 2002

Hey! I fold my underwear and socks! Keeps drawers neat.
I fold my fitted sheets just like that lady in the About article, except I do it super fast, standing up.
posted by sadie01221975 at 9:10 PM on May 4, 2002

This thread brought back horrible flashbacks to my childhood......while other kids I knew had grandmas that baked cookies and spoiled them endlessly, my grandma's idea of a fun time was ironing. Any time she ended up babysitting me, that was how she "entertained" me....hauled out the ironing board. I started on easy things like men's handkerchiefs (grandpa was long dead, so who was using these things?) and graduated to sheets, both fitted and top.

I guess it's some sort of deep-seated resentment or rebellion that makes me now yank fitted sheets out of the dryer, ball them up, and stuff them in the linen closet until they're needed.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:10 AM on May 5, 2002

yes, but what would f_and_m do?!
posted by modge at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2002

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