If you look and feel ridiculous trying to fold a fitted bed sheet, you've come to the right place. There is in fact a proper way to do this, and it can save both your dignity and some space in your linen closet, because your folded sheet set will no longer look like a sad, rumpled mess. There's also a tried-and-true technique for folding flat sheets, and it works just as well for thin comforters and large blankets. Once mastered, your new folding skills will result in tidy rectangular bundles that stack neatly together. Best of all, you can fold both sheets yourself, without a helper. As the saying goes, if you want something done right…
How to Fold a Fitted Bed Sheet
With all its elastic and billowing fabric, folding a fitted sheet can make you feel like a squirrel wrestling with a shower cap. But that's before you learned how to do it right. This technique takes a little practice, but it's a lot simpler once it clicks. The trick is to keep all of the elastic on the same side and to keep fitting one corner pocket into the next until all four corners are layered together (you'll get it with some trial and error).
- Arrange the sheet inside-out (wrong-side-out) so all of the elastic is facing you.
- Hold up the sheet with one hand stuck into each corner like a pocket, using any two adjacent corners.
- Bring the two hands together and fold the right-hand corner over the left-hand corner, flipping the right-hand corner right-side-out in the process, so that the left-hand pocket fits inside right-hand pocket; hold up the sheet with your right hand inside this new pocket.
- Reach down with your left hand and grab the third—the next closest—corner and fit it over the pockets in your right hand. The third pocket will cover the other two but will stay wrong-side-out.
- Repeat the same process to grab the fourth corner and fit it over the other three (still in your right hand). The fourth pocket will be inverted so it ends up right-side-out.
- Lay the sheet onto a flat surface and straighten it up so it forms a roughly rectangular shape with elastic on one long side and one short side of the rectangle (although the elastic will be well inside of the folded edges).
- Fold the long elastic side toward the middle, then fold the opposite long side over the first to fold the rectangle into thirds, creating a narrow strip of sheet with no elastic edges showing.
- Starting with the bulky end of the strip (where the most elastic is located), make two folds in the same direction to fold the strip into thirds. If you have a queen sheet, the resulting bundle will be about 10 by 12 inches.
How to Fold a Flat Bed Sheet
Flat sheets are easier to fold than fitted sheets, of course, but you have to take the time to align the edges with each fold to get good results.
- Match up the two top corners along the top hem and hold them in one hand.
- Reach down with the free hand and grab both hemmed edges near the middle of the sheet's overall length (you can adjust this hand position later). Make sure the hemmed edges are aligned.
- Let go at the top corner and grab the folded edge of the sheet (opposite the hemmed edge) with that same hand, folding the sheet in half, with the sheet hanging straight down.
- Adjust both hand positions as needed to form a square (using a queen sheet) with all edges aligned.
- Pull the folded top edge of the square taut, with your hands out to both sides, then tuck the edge under your chin and grab it with your chin at the halfway point. Bring your hands together in front of you to fold the sheet in half.
- Take the corner under your chin into one hand so you have a long rectangle hanging straight down. Fold this in half to form a square.
- Lay the square onto a flat surface. Straighten the edges, as needed, and smooth out the wrinkles with flat hands.
- Fold the square in half from front to back to form a rectangle.
- Rotate the rectangle 90 degrees so the short side is facing you.
- Make two folds from front to back (in the same direction) to fold the rectangle into thirds, creating and neat rectangular bundle. If prefer, you can make only one fold to end up with a square (a square will be closer to the shape of the folded fitted sheet).
Fold your sheets as soon as possible after they finish drying (whether in the dryer or on a clothesline) to minimize wrinkles.
Philip Schmidt is author of Install Your Own Solar Panels, The Complete Guide to Treehouses, and 18 other home-related how-to books. A former carpenter, he has been a full-time writer and editor for over two decades, teaching DIYers about houses and everything we do with them.