Folding a Fitted Sheet: Instructions for Couples

If you are cohabitating with someone or you are married and filed a single tax return as a couple, these are your instructions for folding a fitted sheet.

Visual instructions for folding a fitted sheet

First, take all the laundry out of the dryer. Put the sheets aside, fluff and fold everything else and then store it away, so you don't have any distractions. Next, take the top sheet and let the person with the shortest temper fold it. The more patient and goal-oriented person should be left with the task of folding the fitted sheet.

The fitted sheet has four elasticized corners, which sometimes become surrogate pouches for other pieces of laundry or various forgotten items such as lottery tickets, dog toys or, in Colorado and Washington, zip-lock bags of combustible herbage. Additionally, make sure to check all the side pockets for an eight ball.

After this exercise is completed and you hear the all-clear signal, proceed to the task of gathering together the top two corners of the sheet. Unless you are truly fastidious, you may not know which end is up. Here is the easiest way to tell: the top two corners don't have a tag on them. However, one of the bottom corners conveniently displays a dangling chad with washing instructions, for those who can't remember from week to week how to launder a bed sheet.

The next step requires holding the top two corners in one hand while using the other hand to hold the fold. Now join your hands together and pray, without dropping the sheet. If my math is correct, you have folded your fitted sheet into quarters.

At this point, you may notice the bottom two corners have made an attempt to follow the top ones with every fold. If that hasn't happened, you might try folding the sheet in half so that all four corners are in your hands. This step is especially helpful when you're trying to manage a California king fitted sheet, which can be quite daunting, because it usually weighs about five pounds. In fact, at the expense of sounding too judgmental, you might want to reconsider washing your California king until the drought is over. According to the Department of Water & Power, the amount of water it takes to wash a ridiculously vast bed sheet would be put to better use irrigating an orchard of almond trees.

But let's return to the fold.

Now that the (normal-sized) fitted sheet has been quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise, you'll be able to tuck in the excess corner material to form a neat square. Once the sheet is fairly square, you can fold it again and again until it fits on the shelf of your linen cabinet, where presumably you've already stored the folded top sheet and matching pillowcases.

After you've mastered these origami-like instructions, you will soon overcome your fear and loathing of things that come out of the dryer.

On the other hand, if you resent the idea of needing a manual to fold fitted bed sheets, you might want to peruse the following tutorial…

Folding a Fitted Sheet: Instructions for Singles

Close enough for folding a fitted sheet into a ball 

If you are an uncoupled individual currently living happily or unhappily in solitary confinement, these are your singular instructions for folding a fitted bed sheet.

Note: Since you probably only wash your linens once in a blue moon (unless you sleep with exfoliating house pets or other hirsute animals you've managed to domesticate), you'll be able to memorize this mini-lesson at one fell sitting. Of course, it's always prudent to keep this cheat sheet handy, in the event you inconveniently need to entertain houseguests during the blue moon laundry cycle. (Hint: If you're expecting houseguests, refer to the "instructions for couples" listed above.)

Assuming you've allotted the necessary time for the laundry to complete the drying process, remove all the items of clothing you'll need for the day at hand and sort them first.

Next, locate the bed sheets and separate them from the non-essential remnants in the dryer. Set aside the fitted sheet and proceed with the folding of the top sheet and pillowcases. Place the folded linens in two piles on top of the dryer.

Now pick up the fitted sheet and bring together the four corners. Roll the material into a ball and stack it on the top sheet. Take the folded pillowcases and place them on top of the fitted sheet ball. This arrangement should conjure up the image of a double-filled sandwich cookie.

Next, take the "sheet cookie" and compress it into a pile that somehow fits inside your linen cabinet.

Then forget about it.

Sure, your wadded-up fitted sheet is going to be fairly wrinkled when it's time to make up the bed. But ask yourself: who's going to know, and why should I care? After all, that's the beauty of being single. If the aesthetics of your fitted sheet really makes a difference, then you might as well be married.

You may want to sleep on that.