Being able to fold a fitted sheet is the mark of an exceptional homemaker. Sure, paying the bills on time and keeping food in the fridge does more to keep your household running smoothly. But if you can do all that and perfect the origami-like art of folding a fitted sheet, you will truly be the master of your domain. And the technique is easier than it looks, as Consumer Reports’ fabric expert Pat Slaven demonstrates here.

It goes without saying that you should always launder sheets before storing them. Most sheets can be safely washed in a machine, though check the care label for specific instructions, including how hot the water can be. Cotton sheets can handle hot water, ideal for killing germs and mites, though you may need to opt for warm water with polyester blends. Wash dark sheets separately, especially if you’re not sure if they’re color fast. Check our sheets buying guide for more advice.   

The choice of laundry detergent matters as well. Persil and Tide currently hold the top spots in our laundry detergent Ratings. If you shop at warehouse clubs, formulas from Member’s Mark (Sam’s Club) and Kirkland (Costco) also delivered solid cleaning for less than half the cost of their name brand competitors.

Once that sheet is clean and fresh, here’s how to fold a fitted sheet into a neat bundle for the linen closet.      

Step One

Holding the sheet inside out with its elastic edge facing you, place your hands into the two adjacent top corners. Bring your hands together, folding one corner over the other to create a pocket. 

Tip: Always fold sheets right out of the dryer to minimize wrinkles.

Step Two

Holding the pocket you just created with one hand, gather the other end of the sheet with your free hand and again place one pocket point into the other.

With your arms outstretched, bring the two pockets together and flip the elastic edges over each other. You should be left with a partially folded sheet that's about one fourth its original size. If necessary, straighten the edges to make the corners as square as possible.

Step Three

Arrange the partially folded sheet on a table or bed with the gathered edges facing up. Fold the sides in on the center so that all the elastic is concealed and the sheet is shaped like a rectangle. Fold the rectangle into halves or into thirds, depending on how small you need the sheet to be for storage.