10 steps to a decently folded fitted sheet
Seriously, if I can do it with one hand, you can do it with two.
Everyone knows, especially women, how difficult it can be to fold a fitted sheet. Luckily for me, my mom was heavily involved in the “housekeeping” industry while I was growing up. By the time I was 14 I knew how to properly make a bed. Ironically, I rarely ever made my bed at home. I liked coming home and falling into the mess of my bed with all my pillows around me and my blankets bunched up for me to cuddle with. I forget now why it is but I was actually astounded, yes, astounded by the purpose for covers having two right angle corners and two rounded corners. One is for tucking but I forget which end goes where…been a while.
When I was 14 my step dad was arrested then sent to prison, yay. That summer I started working for my mom at a lodge up in New England. I wasn’t allowed to use anything electronic or with chemicals because of my age so I did all of the things like stripping down rooms, clearing out garbage, restocking carts and emptying ashtrays – basically all of the things that slowed down a housekeeper. Because I usually entered the rooms before the ladies I was typically done before them but was also one of the last to leave because of my mom. She would let me stay on the clock while I waited as long as I worked. Sometimes I’d clean the little workers eating area or organized the stock room. occasionally I’d clock out and swim in the pool. Usually, though, I was in the laundry room with Maria (that was her actual name). I couldn’t understand her, she was an older Puerto Rican lady with a thick accent. She taught me how to fold sheets and towels in her narrow little laundry room with its bins, bulky and loud machinery and folding table.
Ever since I’ve been out on my own I’ve had this weird obsession with my linen closet. My linens must be neat, they must be square and only the rounded fold must face outward as if this proves I have some sort of skill with keeping an organized home. What a crock of…. So you can imagine my distress when I came home after a month in a hospital setting to discover I had all these “guests” staying with us in “support” of our quest and struggle to find some sort of normalcy once again in our lives. I’m not entirely clear on why this particular nugget sticks out amongst all the other things I could have been worried about like, Oh, I don’t know, holding my newborn baby. Regardless of the ‘should haves’ and ‘wtf’s,’ it still grated on my nerves that Kasper could not fold my sheets they way I like them folded. He’s a dude…just. a. dude. If the sheet needs to be rolled into a ball and then sat on to be flattened and take on the appearance of a well-folded sheet well then sobeit, that is the troubles he would go through just to prove his love and purpose to his severely crippled wife who he so dearly felt deserves the best. I love him. …but he’s still just a dude. And I will take pride and announce with that pride clear in my voice that it only took this one-armed woman a year to teach him how to fold a fitted sheet somewhat to my liking. The corners aren’t as squared as I like them but one of the things I’ve picked up with being a newly classified disabled person: not everything can go your way; you shrug it off like all those other things that secretly make you miserable.
I had to practice patience after a year of watching my sheets get put in the closets with their bunchy corners and sides; they don’t even stack right! It’s so sloppy in there; everything is on a slant and it just drives me nuts. Every time I open that closet door I only look at the shelf holding the item I’m in search of. The sheets are deliberately below my line of sight because I just can’t bear to look at those shelves. The towels are easy to fold…those shelves look quite nice. I don’t want to yell at Kasper or nag him because let’s be honest: the fact that he first tried to fold a fitted sheet before learning is a miracle in itself; I know ladies, I got me a sure-fire winner.
Naturally, this patience skill testing enabled me to consider learning how to fold those pesky fitted sheets on my own or to continue harboring this arcane hatred for the way my husband folds a sheet. Which one is wiser? My pettiness got ahead of me and so I put off learning for a while. I have fears when it comes to these challenges and I prefer to assume they are natural. I really dislike failure, who wants to fail? Especially when in reference to learning your new limitations and loss of abilities? My other fear is giving in to the frustration that comes with new challenges. People think I am so head strong and always say something silly like, “You are a warrior. I would have given up by now.” Or, “You are such an inspiration.” I guess my fears are not as clear on my face as they feel. There is nothing worse than trying to face something and coming so close and it just slips or it breaks or you lose your hard-earned position. I have this issue with frustration. Frustration has become somewhat of a nemesis for me. My…Oh, my Newman. Every time I see failure ahead of me, I get frustrated and I yell and cuss and sometimes I’ll throw stuff. It’s never a good thing to let frustration step in and take over, you will inevitably fail.
These little things like this, these moments where I am challenged and pitted between changing my ‘new’ habits or allowing them to settle more firmly into the concrete waiting to form solidly around the ‘new’ me, are the things I cherish most about this stage of my long recovery.
About a month or so ago, on a particularly calm day, I stood in front of my dryer sorting out a basket while practicing weight-bearing on my left leg. My hip always hurts afterward but I guess that’s the point? I’m not really sure. At the bottom of the basket was a fitted sheet. I knew it was a good day to give it a shot because nothing extreme had happened at all that day (rare). I vacuumed our area rug in the living room and the surrounding area of the floor then sat down and folded the sheet. I was very calm, it’s possible I had smoked recently, and I had no worries about failing. I folded the sheet with my one hand. It was a commemorative moment for me and I talked about it for days. Probably irritated Kasper to no end.
I found myself home alone this afternoon and once again tackled the laundry. I saw a king sized fitted sheet in the basket…this time I took pictures and wanted to share my process. Remember to anyone who may possibly be reading this, I only have one useable arm (the other is pretty useless and pointless) and a very stiff yet somewhat useable leg accompanying my very normal right leg (hemiparesis), so this is all one-handed.
1. Throw your sheet onto a clean floor, or if you’re fortunate enough to have a large flat surface like a bigger table than mine, use that.
2. Stretch the sheet out with the top side down, so it is basically inside out.
3. This isn’t a good photo but you want to take one corner, that top left one (TLC) in photo 2 and bring the inside seam of that corner over to match the inside seam of the top right corner (TRC), fold TLC under TRC. Follow that same procedure for the remaining two corners.
5. Similar to step 3, you’ll have to align the seams of the fitted corners with each other only this time you will notice your seams are facing the correct way and you will only be tucking the BRC (bottom right corner) up under the TRC. Notice you now have one fitted corner.
6. Straighten out your sheet into a square. My OCD got me here because I really can’t stand those wrinkles. With one hand it’s difficult for me to get a straight pull and today my leg and arm were stiff (weather related) so they were utterly useless.
8. Fold over one more time.
9. To keep it neat, I fold that last fold from the outside in. To me it looks cleaner without all those edges poking out but obviously anyone can fold their sheets however they flipping want to.
10. I start my final fold just after that original bulge left by that one remaining fitted corner. It takes me 4 even folds down to get the square that’s needed to fit evenly in my linens closet. Voila! You have yourself a folded fitted sheet!
It’s really a test of patience for me so every time I manage to fold these sheets I take it more seriously than I should. It’s an accomplishment on various levels especially if I don’t cuss once.