How to fold a fitted sheet

Fitted bed sheets are notoriously difficult to fold. I used to do the folding method where you tuck corners into each other, but my sheets always ended up looking more like clouds or gigantic cotton balls than something that could be stored easily in my closet.

After buying a new pair of sheets, I decided to unfold the fitted sheet from the packaging in such a way that I might be able to determine how the manufacturer was able to get the sheet extremely small and flat. Based on this process, and a few tweaks of my own, I have found the following steps to be the least cumbersome way to fold a fitted sheet. Here’s how I do it:

1. Either lay the fitted sheet top-side down on a clean surface or, with the help of a buddy, hold the sheet in a similar manner:

2. Fold into thirds (lengthwise):

3. Fold in half (this step is only necessary for queen and king sizes):

4. Fold the long strip in half (bring short edges together):

5. Fold the strip into thirds:

I purposefully made the bed sheet a little off kilter so that you could see that you don’t have to do every step perfectly to obtain superior results.

52 Comments for “How to fold a fitted sheet”

  1. posted by Jessica on

    Thank you for this! I too have had trouble with the “tuck in all the corners” method. It never worked for me. This method looks easier.

  2. posted by Gloria on

    Good info. I have a question about your floors. Mine loook to be the same oak wood and we just refinished 2 bedrooms ourselves. We used Varathane waterbased polyurethane. I’m debating on if I should use oil based for the living room when we do that because i’ve heard it is more durable but it has an amber tint that I don’t really want. Are yours oil or water? Thanks.

  3. posted by Kristin on

    Thank you for the helpful diagram. I hate folding fitted sheets so much that I usually just wash the sheets and then immediately put them back on the bed so I don’t have to fold them. I will try this the next time I change the sheets.

  4. posted by NancyV908 on

    Thanks. I’ve never been able to make other methods of folding work for me either. I’ll try yours next time. (Blogs are helping me with my bed linens! Chezlarsson taught me how to put a comforter cover on! :-) )

    Also, I think those sheets are so cute! Where are they from? Thanks.

  5. posted by Robbin on

    I do something similar, but combining the tuck the corners and lay it flat…I fold in half, tucking the top corners together, then in half again (so now in quarters) and tuck the bottom corners in with the top corners. THEN I lay it flat so it looks like a quarter of the top photo. Then I do the folding of the flat in halves or thirds depending on closet space and sheet thickness. I don’t need as large a flat space or a helper.

  6. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Gloria — No idea. They were refinished right before we moved in and we haven’t had a need to redo them yet. They are cleaned twice a month with Murphy’s Oil Soap, though. Sorry that I don’t know more.

    @NancyV908 — They’re from Pottery Barn Kids. Unfortunately, they’re a few years old, so I don’t think that PBK sells them any longer.

  7. posted by sunshine on

    This is great info. Thanks. For an even more uncluttered approach to storing sheets I don’t “store” mine at all. They come out of the washer into a washing basket (roughly folded). The washing baskets stay (in their appointed spot on a utility room shelf built to hold them) until the cleaner sorts all the washing back into the drawers and makes up the beds. If something means that we don’t need the sheets changed (e.g. we are on holiday) they just stay in the basket until the next week. It works because I built a cupboard around my desire not to be running around putting laundry back and have a cleaner,so it won’t work for everyone. NB – the washing gets sorted as it comes off the line into separate baskets for towels, linens, mine, DH, and children.

  8. posted by Kathryn Pasteur on

    I do the same thing only I fold a fitted sheet inside out to tell the difference between the fitted and the top sheet.

  9. posted by Natalie on

    My comment would be.. why bother going to all that effort? I fold mine loosely in half lengthways and then roll them up. Then when you are looking for sheets, its easy to know which is which – if its folded its a flat sheet, if its rolled its a fitted one. Easy peasy. And I dont think it takes up extra space because they all tuck into a row really easily. Having said that, I have mine in seperate wire baskets anyway but you still know at first glance which sheet it is that you need.

  10. posted by Elizabeth on

    I had this problem just last weekend, and was very frustrated. I will now happily refold. Thank you so much!

  11. posted by Rue on

    Nice! I never could understand how Martha Stewart could do the tucking-the-corners method and make it come out so well, and yet mine looked like a big pile of…sheet.

  12. posted by the weakonomist on

    Now if someone could simply explain to me how to keep the sheets ON my bed I’d be all set. Short of superglue, I just can’t get them to stay on.

  13. posted by Peter (a different one) on

    Thanks! This was very helpful. I just went to my linen closet and refolded all of my son’s sheets (they are all fitted toddler sized sheets) They have never looked so neat and they seem to take up less space now.

  14. posted by Michele on

    I’ve found that the Martha Stewart method works best for me — maybe because my sheets are all cheap perma-press cotton-poly, LOL!

    Also, I have only a twin bed (for my daughter) and a full bed (for myself). When I had a king bed, and very high thread-count sheets, the fitted sheets were drapey and slippery, making it more challenging to fold it the Martha Stewart way.

    One last point: laundry folding is a good reason to keep the kitchen/dining table cleared off and crumb-free. Folding fitted sheets is a lot easier when I have a large, flat space to work on.

  15. posted by mae on

    or just roll it up!!!!

  16. posted by Kathryn on

    I’ve gone to rolling for both my sheets and towels. For the sheets, I fold the flat sheet lengthwise so that the width is a good match for the width of my linen closet shelves, then fold the fitted sheet lengthwise so it fits within that, lay the pillow cases on top, and roll up.

    Fewer creases, and everything stays together, which makes it easier for the linen-unsaavy members of the household (IOW, everyone but me) to grab a matching set. There’s also less tendency for whole stacks of folded sheets or towels to topple over when a shortish someone hastily grabs one up high and pulls it down.

  17. posted by Lola on

    Here’s a similar tutorial from a friend of mine, which also includes the flat sheet and pillow cases so everything ends up in a nice little packet.

  18. posted by Pammyfay on

    If you’re a “folder,” you might want to try this tip: Once all the sheets are folded the way you want them, fold one pillowcase, stack the set and tuck it into the other pillowcase, folding the excess under for a neat little package (no, I’m not OCD!). Makes the shelf a lot neater, and you can grab a complete set much more easily. I use only white sheets on my bed, but 2 different patterns, so this makes everything very easy.

  19. posted by kendra on

    @weakonomist – I bought these a few years ago from home trends and they work like a charm:
    http://www.shophometrends.com/.....n_E_016403

  20. posted by Jessica on

    I solved this problem by simply owning only one set of sheets. They come out of the dryer and return directly to the bed.

  21. posted by Jessica on

    @weakonomist: You might also need deeper sheets. If you have a thick or pillow-top mattress, regular sheets won’t fit. Try switching to the 18″ deep size.

  22. posted by Linda on

    Here’s a great idea I stole from Martha Stewart years ago. Many of us have different size beds and sheets in our homes. Her hint to keep them together includes folding the flat and fitted sheets and place them inside the matching pillow case (include additional pillow cases with the folded sheets). Fold the excess of the pillow case over the contents and place them on the shelf…now when you want the sheet set to make the bed, everything is in the package! An additional plus is that it makes your linen closet look neater without having piles of pillow cases here and flats there, etc.

  23. posted by Linda on

    oooops! Never read all the posts and see that Pammy had the same idea

  24. posted by Leah on

    I’m a bit like Jessica… While I do have two sets of sheets for my bed (to, in theory, alternate) I usually just wash the one and put it back on my bed… unless I can convince someone else in the household that it’s in their best interest to help me fold the fitted sheet… Seems like such an easy task, but it foils me every time!!!

    This is great — I might bump up laundry day today just to celebrate! (And practice!)

  25. posted by Kathy on

    I have the same rule as Jessica – just one set of sheets per bed. I haven’t folded sheets in years. :)

  26. posted by J on

    I don’t fold. I just stuff the sheets into the matching pillow case. Life is too short.

  27. posted by Laura on

    @Rue…

    ROFLMAO!!!!! :^D

  28. posted by Christine on

    Thank you for this article! My husband and I were just folding our sheets last night and always struggle with the fitted sheet. We have limited space in our apartment, so we look for any space we can save!

  29. posted by Tracy on

    @jessica
    This doesn’t work when your kid throws up all over her bed at 3am.

  30. posted by mae on

    re j’s comment just to stuff it in a pillow case… amen…. life is way to short to worry about folding a fitted sheet!

  31. posted by James on

    Gotta agree with J above. And proof that it works – my wife immediately got on board with it.

    An entire matching bedding set stuffed into one pillow case. Then whenever it’s time to change the sheets, just grab the “bag” and you have everything you need. And after washing a set, “pack” it all in a pillow case and stow it up high in the otherwise unusable top shelf of the closet.

  32. posted by Kristof on

    I find it easier to turn the sheet inside-out. Tuck your hand inside the corner then fold the opposing side over — essentially tucking one corner inside the other. Pull taught and fold like you would a towel. Easy peasy.

  33. posted by David on

    Let’s get to the important stuff: I love those sheets! More precisely, my son would love those sheets.

  34. posted by Friday Faves: Miscellaneous Homemaking | TheHouseholdHelper on

    […] Do you know how to fold a fitted sheet? […]

  35. posted by Becka on

    I stuff mine into a pillow case as well. Boy, has it simplified my life.

  36. posted by juliana on

    I’ve been “Imperfect”ing the tucking corners method for YEARS. Thanks so much for this, I can’t wait to try it!

  37. posted by Maureen on

    I just tried this yesterday and it totally worked! To the rest of you, one set of sheets, really?

  38. posted by Cat on

    Just tried this myself – so easy. We have two sets of sheets (although we usually end up washing/replacing one of them several times in a row until we want to change them but put off the laundry!) and I am liking how the folds will keep the fitted sheet crisp and neat in the closet.

  39. posted by biscuitx on

    I fold the Martha Stewart way, taught to me when I cleaned houses one summer. My challenge is getting the fitted sheets on the correct corner. I seem to always pick the wrong one ( so it is going sideways the first time I try) Admittedly, this is not a hard problem to solve, the adjacent corner will be the right one.

    But even better is to only have sheets with a direction on them – like stripes or a pattern that has a clear direction. That way I can think even less!

    Erin I hope your laundry challenges are getting easier.

    Oh – also I have been using a clothesline now for about a year. Saves tons of electricity!

  40. posted by biscuitx on

    I fold the Martha Stewart way, taught to me when I cleaned houses one summer. My challenge is getting the fitted sheets on the correct corner. I seem to always pick the wrong one ( so it is going sideways the first time I try) Admittedly, this is not a hard problem to solve, the adjacent corner will be the right one.

    But even better is to only have sheets with a direction on them – like stripes or a pattern that has a clear direction. That way I can think even less!

    Erin I hope your laundry challenges are getting easier.

    Oh – also I have been using a clothesline now for about a year. Saves tons of electricity!

  41. posted by Carrie on

    I like this technique:

    http://www.marthastewart.com/a.....c=header_1

  42. posted by Closet clutter remediation @ Hardwood Artisans on

    […] a great guide to folding a fitted sheet that will leave your closet, blanket chest or other storage free from balled-up, badly folded […]

  43. posted by LJ on

    This is a great guide. My mom is of the tuck-the-corners together school and I could never master it. I use a very similar method to what you have shown, only when I have the long strip I bring both ends to the middle and then fold in half to “hide” the edges.

  44. posted by Allie Orange on

    Finally! Thank you, Erin

    In the category of “misery loves company”, glad that someone else had the trouble with the corners into each other.

  45. posted by Julia Urwin on

    Gosh – talk about make a mountain out of a molehill! Just role it up, don’t even try and fold a fitted sheet! Takes 2 seconds! And once you pop it on the bed, Bob’s your uncle and most of the creases disappear anyway.

  46. posted by Sue on

    Thank you for this! I too have had trouble with the “tuck in all the corners” method. It never worked for me. This method looks easier.

  47. posted by Julie on

    I’ve been doing the tuck-the-corners thing for 30 years. I can do a queen-size fitted without help and without laying it down, but it makes my arms tired. I may try the rolling it up method just for kicks.

  48. posted by Margaret on

    Mine don’t get as flat, but I don’t lay them out. I fold them just as I would a regular sheet, only instead of grabbing the corners where the elastic is, I grab the corners just inside the corner seams, ie the part that would be on the corner of the top of the bed when made. Then I just ignore all the extra material that goes down the sides and fold like normal. And sometimes I just roll them up and stuff them in the closet because I have room and I don’t really care.

  49. posted by Diigo bookmarks 02/18/2010 « Jill’s Place on

    […] How to fold a fitted sheet […]

  50. posted by Unitasker Wednesday: Fit and Fold on

    […] manufacturers fold their fitted sheets for packaging, I was abysmal at the chore. Once I learned how to fold a fitted sheet without all the corner tucking nonsense, however, I realized it was extremely simple. In seconds […]

  51. posted by Darn Fitted Sheets! on

    […] As of today i think that will all have changed.  At Unclutter i found an article on how to Fold Fitted Sheets.  It seems super simple and i wont have to worry about getting my arms stuck in those elasticized […]

  52. posted by Kate on

    I saw the question about hardwood floors in the comments. Read my post on caring for wood floors to learn more about how best to maintain their inherent beauty.
    http://wp.me/pNfrb-a3

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