Confession time! Apparently I never learned how to fold sheets properly…until last week! The wonderful lady who watches the boys a few days a week recently helped me finish up some laundry, including folding up all of our freshly washed bedsheets. When I looked at the perfectly square, neat and tidy package she made out of my jumble of sheets, I instantly said “Teach me your ways!” After watching her method just once, I was struck how simple and obvious it was (especially to get the fitted sheet nice and flat!), and I knew adopting her folding techniques would make a huge difference in keeping our linen closet more orderly. Let me show you how to fold sheets so they are tidy, look great, and stack nicely…in case you never learned either!
In all honestly, I never really thought folding sheets was hard. I just folded everything into squares, as best I could, stacked them on my shelf and didn’t think much of it. It never really occurred to me there could be a better, prettier, tidier way until I saw this before and after:
After practicing with all the sheets in our house, I determined this method worked for every size…
…and every type of sheets! Below are our huge, bulky King-sized flannel sheets; and although they are aren’t quite the tidy package our regular sheets are, it’s still a considerable improvement from the huge wad I used to stuff into our closet!
I’m breaking the entire process down in pictures for you first (including the fun pillowcase hack which makes all the difference!) Then at the bottom of this post, I have a short video that shows me folding up sheets in action, so you can see exactly how to do it if the pictures don’t quite make sense! Let’s get folding!
NOTE: The picture tutorial is done with King sheets; the video tutorial is done with Full sheets!
I suggest beginning with the fitted sheet.
How to Fold a Fitted Sheet
1. Start with freshly cleaned sheets right out of the dryer to keep wrinkles to a minimum, resulting in smooth folds and tidier results.
(Steps 2 and 3 are the most important and the most “ah ha!” of the entire process!)
2. Fold the fitted sheet in half (doesn’t really matter which direction). Match up the corner seems then fit the top corners INTO the bottom corners (ah!!! why did that never occur to me?!?), smoothing out the fabric as much as possible.
3. Fold the sheet in half again, again tucking the top set of corners into the bottom set of corners. Once you lay the sheet flat and smooth out the wrinkles all the way around, you’ll end up with a square/rectangle which is now much easier to fold! (Life changing!!) Orient the sheet so that the open end is on the bottom, and the folded sides are along the top, right and left.
4 – 6. These steps involve folding your square/rectangle into a long skinny stripe by folding the right and left sides toward the middle. How wide you make your folds depends the size and shape you want your final sheet package to be based on the shelf, basket or drawer you place them in/on. For all the sets I folded, I found three folds just right.
7 – 8. Finally, fold your long rectangle into a square by folding both the top and bottom into each other. If you want a more compact final product, you may want to do additional (smaller) folds.
How to Fold a Flat Sheet
Folding a flat sheet is much easier, but there are a few important steps to take to ensure your entire package ends up stacking nicely!
9. Fold the flat sheet in half in one direction.
10. Fold the flat sheet in half the other direction. Place the open ends on the top, left and bottom, and the folded side along the right.
11. Next, fold the rectangle very similarly to how you folded the fitted sheet. However, this rectangle will be a bit bigger because it doesn’t have the gathers that laid inside the rectangle. As such, it’s important to compare the folded width of the flat sheet to the width of your completed fitted sheet. Your goal is to make your long rectangle the exact same width as your finished fitted sheet. If needed fold the edges under before doing larger folds to create the same width.
12. Before proceeding, make sure your flat and fitted sheets are the same width.
13. Again using your fitted sheet as a guide, fold up the top and bottom of the flat sheet so that it ends up the exact same size. If needed, fold over the top and bottom edges a few inches before folding bigger sections to achieve the same size.
14. Once complete, your fitted and flat sheet should stack nicely on top of each other!
Creating the “Total Package”
I’m sure we’ve all seen the “hack” to put sheet sets inside a pillow case to keep everything together. Honestly I always loved the idea, but never really tried it since my sheets were always a balled up mess anyway. However, with my sheets now nicely stacked, it’s quite simple to put everything in a tidy little package that 1) keeps everything together, and 2) stacks so much nicer on a shelf!
15. Place your folded fitted sheet, flat sheet, and one pillow case into the end of the second pillow case.
16. Fold the “package” down the pillow case, smoothing and tugging out excess as needed.
17. Flip the end of the open pillow case back over the sheet set…
18. ….and smooth out the flaps and any creases!
Now you have a pillow case that holds all the sheets together and even nicely shows the pattern on the outside!
Tips & Tricks
Beyond just the process of folding sheets, there are a few tricks I learned that make a big difference:
- Matching the sizes of the flat and fitted sheet is so important. Don’t hesitate to un-fold and re-fold as you go in order to get the sizes to match up perfectly.
- Smooth, smooth and smooth some more. Part of the reason my folded sheets ended up so bunchy (before) is because I didn’t take the time to pull out, flatten and smooth any bunched up fabric (especially at corners). Working with warm, wrinkle-free sheets certainly helps, but smoothing at every step results in much more compact folds!
- Fold in open ends. Before doing larger folds, I found it helpful to do a “skinny” fold of the open edges to keep them tucked in tighter.
- Put uneven layers toward the inside. When you don’t match up edges perfectly, you often end up with a messy, “stacked” result of your layers on the outside. Instead of re-folding though, the solution is easy! Simply flip your sheet over so those un-even edges are toward the inside! Once you fold everything up, those uneven edges aren’t noticeable!
- Practice! My first few tries seemed to take forever and didn’t end up nearly as compact as I would have liked. But even after a few rounds, my results got better and better! Keep practicing!
Video: How to Fold Sheets
NOTE: If you don’t see the video below, disable your ad blocker to watch!
I realize that “properly” folding sheets might not be new to some of you. But if you’re like me and never really took the time to learn (and you just ball them up and stuff them wherever they belong!), then I hope this video not only shows you how to do it, but encourages you to take the time…every time…to fold your sheets up nicely! It’s incredibly gratifying, and really makes a huge difference!
Now that my sheets are so tidy, I can’t wait to take on that linen closet update and get the rest of the space looking as neat!