How to Fold a Fitted Sheet.

How to fold a fitted sheet so it lays nice and flat in your linen cupboard. I know.  Crumpling it into a ball is easier. And more artistic. True.  But if you live in a house with very little storage space, learning how to fold your fitted sheets properly will help you regain some room and sanity.

A bedroom with wide plank floors, a Turkish rug, an ornate antique bed covered in fresh white linens.

Yes.  It’s true.  I tackled the greatest puzzle known to mankind.  A puzzle more intriguing than the great pyramids, more mysterious than Stonehenge and more frustrating than the success of anyone who became rich and famous for having a (mediocre at that) sex tape.

How to fold a fitted sheet.

Several years ago I spent 2 months in training for this moment.  I experimented, investigated and scoured the Internet for every folding a fitted sheet technique possible.  I ate properly, got plenty of rest and drank 8 glasses of  water a day.  The result?

I gained 4 pounds, and peed a lot.

In between eating and peeing I figured out not only the easiest way to fold a fitted sheet, but also the technique that was the easiest to learn.  I tested this technique by making my mother watch me do it once.

I then handed Betty the ceremonial fitted sheet and asked her to do what she just watched me do.  It was a success.  An actual success.

The BIG mistake people make when folding a fitted sheet is not sticking their hands into the corners from the proper direction.

The other big mistake people make is trying to just guess how to do it.  You can’t guess. You need to learn how to do it, memorize how to do it, then force other people to learn how to do it.

That’s just the way it is. 

I’ve included step by step instructions on how to fold a fitted sheet, but honestly, watching the video below will be the fastest way for you to learn.  You just need a fitted sheet and a flat surface to fold the sheet on.

These instructions are for people who are right handed, but if you’re left handed just – well you’ll know what to do. Just reverse which hand you’re using. You’ll start off on the top two corners on the long side of the sheet.  Ready?

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet.

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet.

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy(ish)

How to fold a fitted sheet so it lays flat.


  • 1 fitted sheet with partial or full elastic around it.


  1. Hold the sheet so the wrong side (with the seams) is facing away from you and the right side, is toward you.
  2. Put your hand inside one corner (your hand will be touching the RIGHT side). Put your other hand in the opposite corner (your hand will also be touching the RIGHT side). You want your hands in the corners that are the length of the sheet. Not the width.
  3. Move your hands together and flip the corner that is on your left hand over your right hand. They'll be nestled together now on your right hand with your left hand free.
  4. Move everything to your left hand again.
  5. Run your right hand down the portion of the sheet closest to your body and find the corner.
  6. Slip your hand into the corner like before with your hand touching the WRONG (seam side) of the fabric. Stick that corner underneath the other corners on your left hand.
  7. Run your right hand down the sheet again until you find the final corner but this time stick your hand in the corner so it's touching the RIGHT side of the fabric. (the side without the seam). Stick that corner underneath the other corners on your left hand like before.
  8. Your sheet is now pretty much folded. Lay it on a flat surface and adjust it until it's a nice square. Fold in half, then fold in thirds. Done!


So the order your hands go into corners is right side, right side, wrong side, right side.

How to Fold A Fitted Sheet Part II

Yes, there are more ways to do this.  Yes, they all work.  But this one is the easiest to teach, the easiest to learn and the easiest to remember.  I want you all to go and fold a fitted sheet.  RIGHT NOW.  Or at your earliest convenience as long as that’s right now.  Then report back!  

The funny thing is – I don’t use fitted sheets anymore.  I use 2 flat sheets. A tip taught to me by Tricia Rose of Rough Linen.  

To do this just cover your mattress with a flat sheet and tuck it all in tight. Then add your regular top sheet as you normally do. Unless you don’t use a top sheet in which case there’s nothing normal about you at all.

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have a pyramid to finish building.  (I completed the sex tape last year and figuring out Stonehenge seems like more of a summer project)


Update:  For everyone wondering if this technique works as well for sheets with elastic all the way around.  I tested it.  Works perfectly!


  1. Tricia Rose says:

    Stonehenge has been figured out, didn’t you know? And I stood in the middle of the henge for sunrise on the winter solstice of the millenium and sang the gayatra mantra (ignoring the Druids), and if iI hadn’t the world would have gone into a dark place…

    Are you still using fitted sheets Karen?

    • Karen says:

      No ma’m. No more fitted sheets. (I mentioned that in one of the comments. I thought I’d still need a set of regular sheets to use in between washings of your sheets but … I just wash yours and put them back on the bed immediately. :) ~ karen!

  2. Andrea T says:

    The way I go is slightly longer, but the end result is the same. All my fitted sheets also have lots of elastic. :(

    I do 2 corner sets separately and then bring them together. I kind of figured it out myself in a moment of anguish about two years ago. Can’t believe I didn’t figure it out before!

  3. Jane says:

    The more I watch your videos the more I realize I have seen you before.
    On T.v Perhaps?

    • Karen says:

      Jane – Yes. That’s my *actual* job. I’m a television host and writer. I was on CFMT in between the Jerry Springer show and David Letterman etc., MuchMoreMusic, W Network hosting a makeover show, HGTV hosting various shows and back to W Network for a few shows. And some other stuff in between. ~ karen

  4. Evalyn says:

    While I admire your perseverance AND your ability to step ball-change while folding a sheet, I.AM.NOT.FOLDING.FITTED.SHEETS. Period.

  5. carey says:

    Oh my gosh, that was both informative and hilarious! I can’t wait to share your video!

  6. Amanda says:

    That almost makes me want to go home and fold my wadded up, king-sized bed sheets. Almost.
    OK, OK, I know I need to. :P


  7. Allyson says:

    All this training can be avoided by not having extra sheets. Wash them, put them back on. No folding, no storing.
    OR, do as I do, use a larger flat sheet as a bottom sheet (King size flat on queen bed) and tuck on all sides – saves the gymnastics required for putting a fitted sheet, particularly a shrunken one, onto the 4 corners of a mattress.

    • G.P. says:

      What if you have a king size bed? I find no matter if its a fitted sheet or a king size comforter it always seems too small. Especially when my hubby hogs the covers!

  8. Susan says:

    Nope, not the end of the folded sheet videos.

    Can you show me how to fold a FLANNEL KING SIZE sheet OUTSIDE. (With your back to the camera, of course.)

    I hang my laundry outside. You should see me dance and wad my way to the basket so the sheet won’t touch the ground….

    Thank you Karen!!

  9. Marie says:

    Hi Karen, my mom (also Betty by the way) taught me to iron my sheets so they’ll take up less room in the linen closet and are nice and crisp when you need them. They’re also easier to fold when pressed and ironing is relaxing for me. Video looks complicated to me but I’ll try it!
    Way back when I had dance lessons, it was step-ball-chain (you mimic having a ball and chain attached to your leg).

  10. Heather says:

    Hi Karen. Just to add to the challenge, I folded a fitted flannel double (or full) sheet with elastic all around.

    Couldn’t make it more awkward, but it worked!!
    Except, it didn’t fit the shelf in my linen closet beside 2 other pairs. :(

    BUT, I figured it out — I folded it in half the other way, so it is longer and narrower. Then when I folded it in thirds, it was wider and shorter than your narrower and longer one. Confusing, I know, but it fits in the closet! YAY!!

    I’m going to try to teach my husband! He always leaves the fitted sheets to me — he does the pillow cases, and helps with the flat sheet.

    By the way, I’m 68, and there were no fitted sheets when I was a child. We used flat on top and on the bottom, with hospital corners to keep it tidy. Much easier to fold!! When a sheet got worn in the middle, Mum would cut it lengthwise, and sew the edges together to make a new middle.

    A great big thank you for demonstrating with your back to the camera — so helpful :)

  11. Larita says:

    My God, woman, you crack me up. I don’t have a problem folding my fitted sheets, but this looks like it would be easier once I did it a few times. I’d currently have to go unfold a fitted sheet to refold it and, really, I just don’t have that much time on my hands.

  12. Jenna says:

    Holy smokes, batman, you’ve cracked the code! Thank you!

  13. ev says:

    What fun! I have been folding like this for awhile (married for gee, let me see, um, 45 freakin’ years), but mine (sheets) don’t look as flat as yours. Oh well. Thanks for the video, Karen.

  14. Ann says:

    I have never had the problem of folding fitted sheets. Seems I get one set of sheets that really fit a bed and I just take them off, wash them and put them right back on til they are so worn out that I have to go replace that set. I always swear I will get 2 sets at a time but I am never brave enough. I feel like I have to take the new set home and make sure they really fit and go thru the washer and dryer well enough before I buy a 2nd set. Then of course, I find tons of other things to spend my money on.

  15. AmieM says:

    Great video, thanks! Now take your spare sheets, and put them in the matching pillowcase. All ready to go!

  16. Louise says:

    After reading Teri’s comment, I think I did it like her. It was as neat, I swear.

    • Karen says:

      If you can manage to get two corners in one hand and shove them inside the other corner it would be fine, but if you grab the 2 last corners and just put everything together as opposed to snugging all the corners inside one another it isn’t quite the same because you end up with 2 edges at the top as opposed to 1. Does that make sense? Or do I need to make a video? LOL! NOOOOO. No more fitted sheet videos. ~ karen

      • Louise says:

        I think I understand what you mean. Let’s put it that way, I’m pretty sure I ended up with the same square you ended up with at the end when you said it was almost folded and you finished it on the table. There were no bulges when it was completely folded, it was surprisingly flat.

  17. Louise says:

    Where were you yesterday when I was swearing while folding my sheets? lol I might unfold them just to try, although I might have to play the video a few times first, not sure I got it all. Plus, you’re either much taller than me or you took a single bed sheet. I was struggling with a queen size bed sheet… Ok, I interrupted myself writing and went to try lol I think I skipped a step as I tucked in the two opposite corners at the same time at the end, not sure what I did… But I have to say, it worked really nicely :) I should have videotaped it haha!

  18. Karena says:

    Bravo Karena and Thank you so so much!! I cannot believe it has taken me this long to learn how to fold a fitted sheet!


    Art by Karena

  19. Deb says:

    Being a devoted follower of your sheet folding video’s I must commend you on the decision to take the bold step (ball-change) of filming away from the golden artichokes(see How to Fold a Fitted Sheet Part 1). Having substituted a vase for the lack of golden artichokes (please don’t try this at home)it was getting pretty expensive to fold sheets around here. I have found using an empty Campbell’s tomato soup can to be an inexpensive substitute for the artichokes, but certainly not as pleasing to the eye.

    Just an FYI @Karen & Karen & Betty & Betty, NO it is NOT a rule, however it is highly recommended that all Bettys name one of their children Karen…it just helps avoid a lot of confusion. My mom’s name was Betty. My name isn’t Karen, my mom was a renegade…she used flat sheets on the bottom and avoided the whole fitted sheet issue.

    • Karen says:

      Hahhhh! ~ karen (btw … my sheets from Rough Linen are just that … 2 flat sheets. One for bottom, one for top. Works GREAT.)

  20. Teri says:

    I do it almost the same way except that I do both corners on both ends then marry the two ends together. Not as much thinking involved and it comes out the same….only easier…try it…

    • Karen says:

      Teri – I have tried it and it actually doesn’t come out quite the same. It’s not as neat and believe it or not, not as easy. Try this … you’ll be hooked. Honestly. ~ karen

    • Alissa says:

      Me too, Teri. I don’t know about this whole “find a corner but hold the wrong side then find a corner but hold the right side” bit. Seems too confusing for me. I’ll give it a shot, Karen, but I’m pretty happy with the pair + pair technique.

      • Karen says:

        LOL. Trust me. It’s easy. All you need to know is you touch the seam on the 3rd corner and don’t touch the seam on the 4th. If I *didn’t* tell you that little tip, it would be confusing! Voila. ~ karen

  21. christine says:

    I have a wedding to go to this June.Could you please make a cool dance video.To teach me, not to show at the wedding!

  22. Very Nice!!!! I believe you’ve got it!!!

  23. Mary says:

    Would like to see a video on how to fold a fitted sheet with elastic all around. I just end up wadded it up and shoving it in the linen closet.

    • Karen says:

      Mary – The exact same way. This method works perfectly with elastic all the way around sheets. I’ve tried it myself to make sure. ~ karen

  24. Karen says:

    I must comment because my name is Karen & my Mother’s name is also Betty!! Maybe it is a rule that all Betty’s name one of their children Karen??
    Anyway, I always though it would be a test for marriage to see if I could fold a fitted sheet!! I’m prett good at it now but also now don’t care!!

  25. Rose says:

    Done and done! However, I’m in the same boat as Whitney. My “ends” didn’t fold as nicely as yours. Still kinda floppy in the middle. Oh well practice practice practice!!!

    • Karen says:

      Rose – Try again. You’ll do fine. Just pull the excess in until it’s straight, flatten it down with your hands and fold. (you probably have sheets with elastic all the way around … they’re puffier) I just did one like that last night and it worked perfectly, so I have faith you can do it. ~ karen

  26. Debbie Neal says:

    I think this is a lot better than your last lesson! I’m going to get a sheet and try it now!!!!!

  27. Thank you so much for sharing… so when is Paula is going to show how to fold the sheets….

  28. Pat Gibson says:

    OMG! You are marvelous!! I have been trying to properly fold a fitted sheet FOR YEARS!!!
    I have been fitting corners to corners, but not the way you did it one the video. It must have been the step ball change that made the difference! The really scary part is that I want to get out every misfolded fitted sheet I own and to REFOLD ALL OF THEM! Isn’t that frightening?
    I don’t feel too bad about being in my 50s and finally learning this. We have a 91 year old friend, a retired rocket scientist, who has been on this same quest. (I’m not kidding about the rocket scientist part!) George asked my husband, an engineer, to help him figure it out. Now Keith does many things well, but he is totally out of his realm when cooking or laundry is involved. I just can’t wait to show them it can BE DONE!
    Yep, it’s the Step Ball Change that makes the difference!!

  29. Debbie A says:

    Maybe I won’t be rolling them in a messy ball now… will try this weekend and let you know.

    They drive me crazy.

  30. Denise says:

    Ug. I have been trying to perfect this for a while. I can never get it to look like it should. They say after you fold the sheets and matching pillow cases to open one pillow case and place the sheets in there to stack neatly on the shelf….I have a ball of sheets in a pillow case. :/
    I will keep trying……

  31. Barbie says:

    In my younger years I worked for a hotel in Santa Cruz and sometimes in the laundry room folding sheets….I have never seen a sheet folded “this” perfectly. Very good job Karen….especially the dance moves….It would be so awesome if Paula Abdul watched your video and herself learned how to fold a fitted sheet.

  32. Nicole2 says:

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one struggling with learning this process. I first learned with Martha’s Homekeeping Handbook and still didn’t perfect it. With this video, I think I can get closer. I love to look at a nicely organized linen closet. It makes me happy. I’m sad that way.

  33. Alexandra says:

    Way to fold that…



    …fitted sheet.

  34. Jules says:

    your video is perfect Karen- great instruction- even on the dance moves! I remember my mother telling me how to do it this way – way back when. Fortunately for me, my husband does most of the laundry- and he rolls them into a coordinated ball in our linen closet..but I don’t care..I hate laundry so I let him do it that way

  35. Emily says:

    That was absolutely amazing – you put Martha Stewart to shame! Thank you for sharing this, I usually just roll mine b/c I thought it was impossible to fold them flat (unless you’re a machine). Side note – I wish they did exercise videos from behind, they would be so much easier to follow.

  36. Melissa says:

    That was amazing, Karen. I don’t have time to try this before I go to work today but I will definitely try this later!

    Hopefully this video will help stem the tide of tragedies related to fitted sheets:,27286/

  37. marilyn says:

    you crack me up..can’t say i was running to fold a fitted sheet but the next time i do have to fold one i will give it the old college try..

  38. Julee says:

    I wonder if I can convince my husband to watch this. He’s master of the laundry until sheets are involved. Then intimidating law enforcement man becomes a big, fat chicken. (No offense to your chickens.) He’s not afraid of guns, but he is afraid of the fitted sheet. He’ll likely be more comfortable learning the step, ball change part of this video.

  39. Violet says:

    One of my best friends has been helping me as a personal assistant for years. Random chores, errands, dog walking, whatever I happen to need help with on days she comes. She used to fold fitted sheets perfectly into squares that came out the exact same size as the flat sheets. A few years ago, she suffered a brain aneurysm. She’s recovered, thankfully, but has some residual problems as a result (for instance, she has some blind spots in one eye and her coordination isn’t what it used to be). After she got better, I asked her to show me how she folded fitted sheets because I always envied how perfectly they came out, and she can’t remember how she did it! It’s destined to remain an unsolved mystery like the lost secret of Stonehenge or Easter island or something! If she’d only had the foresight to make a how-to video, it could have saved the world and there would be no more wars or famine and and life would be all cotton candy clouds and flying pink unicorns, but now it’s lost to us forever! Now her folded fitted sheets look like the rest of us mortals’ — a mass of fabric bunched into a wonky blobby wad.

  40. Gayla T says:

    I certainly hope you did not do away with Sheet Folding 101. That, my dear, needs to go into the annuls of sheet folding history right beside Lucille Ball’s teaching tape on making chocolates. The chocolate makers had nothing to benefit from as the sheet makers did not in your case but the day will come when people who watch that old Lucy show will turn to one another with tears in their eyes and say, “That was good but you should have seen Karen fold sheets.” Instructional videos are a dime a dozen but high class, sophisticated humor is a rare commodity.

  41. kate says:

    Very, very nice – Please, now I want to see the video demonstrating how to fold the fitted sheet that has ELASTIC all the way around it! — Thanks ahead of time

    • Karen says:

      Kate – Exact same way! I tested it and it works perfectly with those sheets. I have one of those dreaded sheets too! ~ karen!

      • Nathalie says:

        Those all elastic sheets always confuse me. It takes me a few tries to put them on the mattress proper. Which one is the long side and which one is the short side meh.

  42. Lucy says:

    Yup, that’s what I was talking about. It becomes automatic after a time or two and you no longer have to do the “step, ball, change” movement to get it right. It was one of the things my mother taught me as she prepared me to go off to college. I’m sure it was so I wouldn’t look like the country bumpkin I am. Other students thought it was a great idea and I found a whole new following as the “sheet girl.” Not sure if that’s better than “country bumpkin.” Can you believe I was never invited to join a sorority???

  43. Heather says:

    Excellent! When I watched your last sheet-folding video I thought to my self, “I can’t believe Karen doesn’t do it the easy way!” I’m glad to see you’ve figured it out… and are hydrated.

  44. Nicole says:

    ok, the step ball change was awesome. and so is your accent!

    • Karen says:

      Accent? ACCENT???!!!! I have no accent! I’m from the part of the world that speaks like they do on television! Well, except for the word “house” and “out” apparently. ~ karen!

  45. Stacy says:

    hmph. I knew there was a better way than just wadding it into a ball and shoving it into the linen closet.
    I really want to try this. I do. Buuuutttt….it’s late and the the linen closet is all the way over there. I WILL try this tomorrow. Kinda excited about it too. I will report back at my earliest convenience.

  46. itchbay says:

    I love that your name is Karen and your mother’s name is Betty. That’s my name, and my mom’s name too. You’re much cooler than I am. I’m not going to compare our mothers, because my mom is seriously kick-ass.

    Also, folding fitted sheets was something I learned very young. Or maybe I devised it on my own. I’ve always been a pretty meticulous linen folder. I put myself through college (two semesters, at least) working at a Linens and More, which is like a poor cousin of Linens and Things. I would hide in the back from the terrible customers and fold towels for the display wall for hours. It was surprisingly meditative.

  47. Whitney says:

    I don’t know if its because the sheet I have is so soft and floppy but I had a very difficult time with the end of the folding process. I took your “do whatever you have to do to get this sheet folded just do it” instructions quite literally. Didn’t go quite as smoothly as yours but it was folded much more nicely than any fitted sheet I’ve ever folded, so I am going to call it a success.

  48. Christina says:

    It looks so simple!!! I have to try this instead of laying it out on my bed and running around to fold each side

  49. Marti says:

    Yeah, but so when is Paula Abdul going to teach us how to fold a sheet?

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