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The fitted sheet dilemma

August 2, 2014

This summer, our lives have settled into a different routine than we had been dreaming about during our hygge moments of the long winter. One of the by-products of having an athlete injured is all your have-to’s and want-to’s were changed in an instant. Instead, our summer has turned into a pretty freeing one (although wrapped around doctor appointments and therapy) where each new day holds its own adventure. We wake up and decide what new and fun thing we are going to accomplish today. I just wish our carefree days were completely free of cares. But as I have alluded to before, we tackle Mt. St. Laundry each week.

Thankfully, though another by-product of being limited in choices of activities has been my children deciding there are certain chores that they prefer over others. As long as we aren’t looking like a pigsty, I don’t mind who does a job as long as the job gets done.

My knee brace-wearing girl has decided laundry is her thing. She has developed a Zen-like attitude about the whole process. She enjoys the washing and drying, but she has proven to be a true All-Star when it comes to folding. At times, she has even recruited her siblings in supporting roles, especially when needing to return folded items to their proper location. She has also learned about the thorn in my side when it comes to folding laundry. Our ninety-seven pound golden retriever thinks he is four-legged iron, laying on top of any item and pressing it flat with all his furry-ness.

At times, my basement family room appears to be a Gap store (more on that in a moment) with stacks of items arranged for a quick sale. I really should consider this a proud moment; however, more than once, I have encountered this scene in my travels up and down the basement steps.

fitted sheet

Notice the beautifully folded and stacked clothes and towels. Did you also notice the wadded up pile of bed sheets. I decided to use this as a teachable moment. What follows next is the true conversation:

Me: Do you see anything wrong with this picture? (Imagine me doing my best Vanna White interpretation gesticulating my hands over the room.)

Oldest Daughter: Not really.

Me: How many times have I shown you all how to fold sheets?

OD: Not enough, I guess.

Me: It really isn’t that hard. Let me show you.

OD: (With as much enthusiasm as if I asked her to trim my toenails) Okay. But for the record, it only bothers you.

Me: I don’t think I am going to enjoy going to your houses in the future. All your sheets will be wadded up messes.

Oldest Daughter: Well, we don’t plan on washing our sheets like you.

Me: Whatever do you mean?

OD: We will wash the sheets. Dry the sheets. And then replace the sheet sets right back on the bed; thus eliminating the need to fold them.

Me: But you have flannel and cotton sets now. How do you plan on dealing with that?

OD: Maybe our spouses will know how to fold fitted sheets or maybe you can just bring your own set when you come to visit.

Argh! I have one leaving for college a year from now, and I am probably going to have to add lack of ability to fold fitted sheets to my letter of apology to the college roommates. I have tried. I have really tried. I use the fist method of folding fitted sheets, as in each fist in a corner . Then fist over fist until the whole works is folded into a quarter of the original size. A little smoothing out, a final couple folds, and Voila! You have a nice bundle that matches your flat sheet; both of which are placed inside the pillowcase for organized (read: not a crumpled mess) storage.

How can I reframe this utter disinterest for finely folded bed linens? My solution to this perplexing dilemma is to have a tutorial. If you think I am kidding, talk to my kids. The summer before their 7th, 5th, and 3rd grade years, the big kids watched the how to “fold a t-shirt Gap style video” one afternoon, per their mother’s insistence. Then we practiced folding shirts like it was some necessary skill needed to return to school. That little tidbit came in handy in a folding contest against a football coach at a camp. Wasn’t such a big waste of time after all, was it?

So who could I turn to for assistance in my disheveled dilemma? The guru of all fine homemaking skills herself has a delightfully entertaining video on this very issue. But seriously, even I struggled with that tutorial.

This one is much more my speed. Not nearly as funny as the first one, I think we can follow Jill’s instructions in the second one. Although, I almost sprayed iced tea on the screen, the moment I saw the crumpled mess example. She gets me. . . she really gets me.

Guess we know what we will be working as we start collecting school supplies over the next few weeks. Because, I really do not want to wave the white flag sheet too soon. I still have hope that these young pupils are moldable and impressionable.

Of course, we will probably end up in as much giggles as the audience of the first video because you can never take yourself too seriously.

In all honesty, who do I think I’m kidding?  I cried the day Reed finished 6th grade because I wasn’t ready for him to grow up.  How small that worry seems today.  So even if their sheets aren’t folded, I will still visit their future homes someday, just to be with them . . . wishing for the days when we previously used the sheets to build forts instead.

Hug your kids every day and let the laundry worry about itself!


  1. permalink

    Kandy, Loved, loved, loved this post! You and I are more alike than I realized! Nicole and I have had this conversation several times. On a side note she taught me how to do the “hospital corner” when making a bed. (we are way to anal in our lives I swear). But back to folding t-shirts Gap style. Your “son” Josh wants his t-shirts folded this way! When I was visiting them while Lydia was making her arrival I learned of the Gap fold. I will now think of you when I fold t-shirts. Have a great day! Jean

    On Sat, 2 Aug 2014 15:31:24 +0000

    • Oh Jean – you just gave me the heartiest of chuckles! I guess I will have to go over and give the tutorial to Josh and Nicole too! Thanks for the laugh! Kandy

  2. Funniest conversation ever. Bring your daughter to me and I’ll teach her how to fold a fitted sheet the Nancy Holte way: not quite Martha Stewart, not quite a wadded up mess. I LOVED the woman in the Martha Stewart video who just couldn’t quite make it work. Hysterical! And, by the way, I usually employee the wash ’em and put ’em back on the bed method that your OD suggested, occasionally switching up the sheet set and then resorting to the Nancy Holte sheet folding method.

  3. This just keeps getting better. You know, now, dear Nancy, that I will want a tutorial during my next visit. I almost fell over when Martha suggested that folding sheets led to her divorce. I don’t believe it, but at least she was making her guest feel better. On a brighter note, they all are pretty good cooks!

  4. I’ll be happy to accommodate you on the sheet folding lesson! 🙂 In fact, when IS your next visit going to be?

  5. Thanks for sharing this post! I must say, one of the best ways to tackle laundry is to use a laundry service. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. They wash, fold and help save my family a lot of extra time. The convenience is definitely worth it!

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