How to fold a fitted sheet

I have always had a reputation for being cantankerous particular about my bed. It has to be made, it has to be made my way, and it has to stay the way I left it all day. My poor sisters — I would go into a panic if I walked into our bedroom and saw a person-shaped depression in my down comforter.

I’ve gotten better… Marginally. I still like a well-made bed, and I refuse to get into anything other than smooth, tidy sheets at night. (Yes, I’m one of those people who, even if I’m in bed sick all day, will make the bed before climbing in and falling asleep for the night. I’m convinced my sleep is better when I do this.)

A well-made bed for me, though, starts with carefully folded sheets. I guess I also have a reputation for best sheet-folder, because somehow I’ve been nominated to offer you this “how to fold a fitted sheet” tutorial.

(And, by the way, this chore is much easier if you have a sister to help you out, which is one reason to make folding laundry a joint chore for your daughters!)

Grab your sheets, and let’s go!

1. Starting with one side, slip your index fingers inside the pockets, holding the sheet up by two points.


2. Bring the tips of your index fingers together.


3. Flip one pocket over the other.


4. Do the same with the other side, but flip the pockets in the opposite direction. (Ideally, someone is helping you. I don’t recommend the make-do approach you can see depicted in the photo.)


5. Slip hands inside the doubled-up pockets, index fingers again holding the sheet up by two points.


6. Slide one pocket inside the other. (There will be an obvious way to do this.)


8. Look! You’re almost there!


9. Lay sheet flat. Smooth, and straighten all sides.


10. Fold in thirds lengthwise, by folding pocket side toward the middle…


11. …and then folding the straight side toward the middle. (Like a letter!)


12. Fold in half, and then half again.


13. Good job! (Spiritual gift of encouragement oozing out of that photo, don’t you think??)


14. Now your fitted sheet will be the perfect size to fit inside a folded flat sheet, along with folded pillow cases — and that’s how I store my sheet sets.


Got it? Good! Now, go forth and fold away!


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  1. Ahhh! Totally love it! (The folding in 3rds part is something I must have missed along the way– that will work much better than folding in half and then half and then half…)

    Posted by Brietta Paladin | March 6, 2008, 7:57 am
  2. I’m with you, I like to get into a made bed as well and have been known to make it just before getting ready to turn in.

    I fold my fitted sheets much the same way but never had a sister so I learned it a bit different. (I don’t have that extra part in my mouth.) In fact, I was recently complimented on my sheet folding ability when I was helping care for my grandpa. :)

    Great tutorial, great pictures.

    Oh no! As I was typing this I realized I have never taught my girls to fold sheets since I do all the laundry. (And since we usually wash them and put them right back on.) I must give Kara a crash course before she leaves home!

    Posted by sam | March 6, 2008, 8:04 am
  3. @Bri: Yeah, the thirds is crucial to end up with a size that will fit with the flat sheet. What a lightbulb moment for me! :)

    @sam: My grandmother complimented me on my sheet folding, too! I’ll never forget — it’s one of my sweetest Grandma memories!

    (and care to share how you fold it sans sisters? I was pretty embarrassed last night when I realized the “whole world” would see my shortcut!)

    Posted by Danica Dunphey | March 6, 2008, 8:16 am
  4. You need a raise!

    Posted by Ryan | March 6, 2008, 8:20 am
  5. I don’t know how you do it without anyone else!!! I’ve tried before… It always ends up terribly.

    Posted by julia | March 6, 2008, 8:57 am
  6. I loved the pictures.What a hoot!We were never taught how to fold fitted sheets properly growing up. I remember when my mother in law was sick and a couple came and helped us out and they folded towels in half and then in thirds. It changed my life.

    Posted by Marianne | March 6, 2008, 9:11 am
  7. Marianne’s comment reminded me of how incapable I was at folding anything – I never did laundry at home either! (Or many other chores, for that matter.)

    Danica may not remember, but the “let’s fold the fitted sheets this way” came from watching Aunt Gerry do laundry; her linen closet was always neatly stacked. It was my envy and inspiration all at once. So we watched her fold sheets, observing that they were always stored away in complete sets. I loved it! I knew I had to get better at this – then Danica came along and perfected it!

    Learning from watching others is the best. I learned to fold jeans visiting a high school friend and seeing her mom fold one pair after another. I may have been conversing with my friend, but my eyes never left the mom, taking in every repeated movement. I could hardly wait to get home and try folding my own jeans her way!

    Posted by darlenesinclair | March 6, 2008, 9:23 am
  8. He..he..We women should let some of the college-age , single guys in on this website. Have you seen the debacle men can make out of sheets ? This pictorial will lead them step by step !! Then , when they get married..what a blessing they shall be to their spouse !! Oh yeah !!
    Ladies, I am loving this whole concept. Makes being away from NNY a little more tolerable..b/c I feel like I’m keeping “in touch” with our CFC “family”. Love you all SO much !

    Posted by Debbie Page | March 6, 2008, 11:57 am
  9. Amazing! I thought I was the only obsessive woman who actually does this! It makes for a much neater bed. Yay! Keep inspiring us!

    Posted by Tammy McOrmond | March 6, 2008, 6:31 pm
  10. I love this! Dad tried to show me this method one time (he WOULD know something like that…), but I couldn’t quite figure it out. Now that I have the pictures, my sheets will neat as a pin! :-)

    Posted by abbi | March 6, 2008, 8:02 pm
  11. How Fun are you and your sisters! This is great, and I am learning tons of new skills! I agree with Ryan, you need a raise!!!!

    Posted by Ami Brown | March 6, 2008, 11:01 pm
  12. To avoid the embarrassing ‘teeth hold,’ start at one corner, then travel around the sheet, stuffing the adjacent corners inside the first as you go. It’s much easier for folding solo.

    Here’s a picture: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/fold-a-fitted-sheet?lnc=7ee3c380cb3ee010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD

    Posted by Sarah | March 7, 2008, 4:06 am
  13. Yes, that is how I do it – just like Martha. Thanks for posting the link, Sarah, now I don’t have to post pictures on my site. :) I have been known to not pay attention, start folding with the sheet on the right side and end up with the inside-out on the finished project. Of course I then have to take it apart and refold it because, heaven knows, the world will be totally askew if my sheets were not folded 100% correctly. (You never know who might look in the linen closet and be totally dismayed!) No, I’m not OCD in any way. Why do you ask?

    Posted by sam | March 7, 2008, 7:07 am
  14. Trying to fold Fitted Sheets has been a bane of homemaking for me! Having a neatly organized linen closet is one of those things that is quite important to me, I had finally figured out something I’m only half happy with.

    I have to tell you that I immediately pulled a twin size fitted sheet out of my closet to give your tutorial a hands on try…. and it works! :-O Imagine my shock that I can fold a fitted sheet successfully!

    I love that you ladies are putting up things like this to help the rest of us!!!

    Posted by Katie | March 7, 2008, 9:01 am
  15. Wow, I’m so relieved. Every time I fold fitted sheets I get frustrated and end up trying to smash them down underneath my perfectly folded top sheets in the linen closet. I feel very empowered to “go forth & fold away!”

    Jennie Mauer
    (friend of Brietta & Carina)

    Posted by Jennie Mauer | March 7, 2008, 9:05 am
  16. Triple Fold!!! That is what has been missing all along!!! I have loathed fitted sheets because it never seemed to work anyway. Today I gave the “triple fold” a chance and voila! Thanks!!! And I’ll take your pictures over Martha Stewart’s video any day!

    Posted by Keila | March 7, 2008, 1:07 pm
  17. THANK YOU! I always knew there had to be some trick to those silly fitted sheets. Maybe mine won’t be so wrinkled next time. :)

    Posted by Heather | March 7, 2008, 2:39 pm
  18. I honestly didn’t know there was a way to fold fitted sheets that didn’t end in a wrinkled ball. Thanks!

    Posted by Jill Grow | March 11, 2008, 4:17 am
  19. I will have to admit that My linen closet is a reck… all these years I have never known how to fold a fitted sheet … I find them very frustrating ….but now…. I think I am going to dig into my closet and fold thos sheets… thank you for the tutorial

    Posted by Jenn | March 12, 2008, 6:16 am
  20. Yeheeeheessss! Would you believe I learned this method of folding FROM MY HUSBAND?! I always balled up the fitted sheet in utter frustration, I hate to say. But when Josh taught me “his” way, the linens were revolutionized! Definitely a needed tutorial, Danica, and what a GREAT site! Love to all the Sinclair ladies. :*

    Posted by Paige | March 14, 2008, 8:10 pm
  21. I had finally gotten too frustrated with folding fitted sheets and searched on the web. This is the only one that said to fold the second set of corners of the OTHER way so they fit perfectly into the first set. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I went and refolded the whole closet. It looks very pretty!

    again. thank you. i can’t wait for my husband to see the “new way” of folding the fitted sheets. *giggle* he’ll be in awe….

    Posted by Tracy | June 9, 2009, 2:50 pm
  22. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I just finished folding my fitted sheet and it looks just like your picture, except mine are red. I can’t wait to impress somebody with my new fitted-sheet folding skills, haha. I have always HATED folding sheets because of the fitted sheet. I get so frustrated I would always smash it into a ball and stuff in the corner of my closet, but not anymore!!

    Posted by Georgia | June 29, 2010, 4:11 pm
  23. This is great. I have done it a couple of times then I stop and forget. Now I wil stay with it.

    Posted by Carter | April 20, 2011, 6:02 pm