Avoid messy shelves and wasted time with these five tricks to keep sheet sets sorted.

By Ayn-Monique Klahre
Updated November 19, 2019
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A new set of sheets is perfection straight out of the packaging—the way they're wrapped, wrinkle-free, around the cardboard to form a perfect rectangle is something most people will agree is hard to top. But after a few washes—and maybe some less-than-perfect folding of the dreaded fitted sheet—that previously perfect set of sheets can turn into one big jumble of fabric. Multiply that by a house-full of beds, and it's easy to understand how a linen closet can become one big mess. That's why it's so important to adopt a method for keeping sheet sets together. As it turns out, there's no one single best way to do this; instead, you should figure out that method that works best for your organizing style, who else will be accessing the sheets, and your closet configuration. Before you do anything else, pare your linen collection down to the essentials. "The biggest challenge to keeping matching sheets together is having more sheets than you need," says Kelley Jonkoff, a certified KonMari consultant in Raleigh, N.C. "When there are more options to sift through, especially if they are similar to other sets, they more easily get mixed together and reach disarray." A good rule of thumb is to have two sets of sheets per bed.

Once you know what you're working with, designate which sheet sets will go where. Categorize your linens in a way that makes the most sense for you—by size or by room, for example—and, especially if more than one person will be handling the sheets, label where each set should live. "If many hands are reaching into that closet to put sheets away or pull them out to use, labeling eliminates the guessing game of where to place them and which ones to use," says Cary Prince, a certified professional organizer in Los Angeles. Beyond labeling, the best way to store your matching sheet sets will depend on what kind of space you have available. Linen closets are typically filled with shallow shelves, but a closet with a rod can work, too. However you choose to physically store them, it's essential that you come up with a system, says Jonkoff. "It's much nicer to interact with your linen closet if you're not feeling exasperated every time you open the linen closet door," she says. Here are five pro-approved ways to keep matching sheet sets together in a linen closet.

Fold Matching Sheet Sets Inside a Pillowcase

For a neat-and-tidy look, fold your fitted sheet, flat sheet, and one pillowcase into a rectangle. Then, tuck the entire bundle inside the other pillowcase so everything is flush with the opening. Fold any extra fabric in to make a rectangle. Stack these bundles according to size (twin, full, queen, and king) or by the room you use the sheets in (master bedroom, kids' bedroom, and guest bedroom). The pillowcases will hold the set together and keep from sliding around. "This method keeps sheet sets together, makes it easy for whoever is putting the sheets away, and is a breeze for the person who is taking them out to make a bed," says Prince. "And, for aesthetic purposes, the closet immediately looks more organized and manageable." If you have lots of sheets, consider adding shelf dividers to keep the stacks straight.

Fold Matching Sheet Sets Inside a Pillowcase, 2.0

Here's a riff on folding matching sheet sets inside a pillow cover: Knot the edges of the pillowcase to create little bundles that can be stored upright. Popularized by lifestyle blogger Jessica Bruno of Four Generations One Roof, this version is a little less precise on the folding front, but it's still a handy way to keep everything together. "Tying them is cute and functional—especially for kids—as it's easy to grab and carry the bundles," says Bruno. "The knot acts as a great handle!"

Store Matching Sheet Sets Inside Bins

Storing sheets in baskets or bins, organized by size or by room, is another easy solution. "Baskets and bins are great, because they contain well and you can take them out to see the contents," says Jonkoff, who says that they are especially nice for closets with high shelves. Within the bin, you have options: Jonkoff prefers the KonMari style of folding linens, so they can be "filed" vertically inside the bin, but Prince notes that bins can also be a good workaround for folks who don't like to fold, since the sets will stay contained inside ("Drop that set into the basket and voilà: you're done!"). For silk or satin sheets, it may be easier to roll than fold them; store them on their ends inside a bin. Prince recommends canvas bins or wire baskets, as sheets can get snagged on a natural-weave basket.

Hang Matching Sheets Sets from Hangers

Sturdy hangers can hold a set of sheets each—and that cuts down on folding time, too. "This is also a good solution if the place where you'd store them is hard to reach, like the high shelf in a closet," says Prince. One caveat: Jonkoff warns that hanging sheets can get dusty if they are not rotated often, so if you don't switch out these sheets often (say, in a guest room), consider enclosing them in a hanging storage bag.

Use a Hanging Organizer to Store Matching Sheet Sets

Another solution for a closet with a rod: Storing sheets in a large hanging organizer. Often marketed for bulky items like sweaters, each cloth shelf in a hanging organizer can hold one to two sheet sets, and the cubbies keep them contained. Use this when you want to create a shelf-style system when you don't have shelving.

Comments (36)

Anonymous
September 21, 2012
This is a SUPERB idea! It's so useful especially for me, staying in an extended family, with young children in the household. www.motherhoodmeansbusiness.com
Anonymous
September 19, 2012
Anonymous
May 24, 2012
The pillow cases do not look like they are open to their full width. They almost look like they might be folded over underneath ...I wish they would give a picture tutorial for how they folded the sheets to what width to make them look so skinny. I know how to do the fitted sheet tutorial, it would be nice to have a flat sheet tutorial to make this idea a success.
Anonymous
May 24, 2012
The pillow cases do not look like they are open to their full width. They almost look like they might be folded over underneath ...I wish they would give a picture tutorial for how they folded the sheets to what width to make them look so skinny. I know how to do the fitted sheet tutorial, it would be nice to have a flat sheet tutorial to make this idea a success.
Anonymous
March 12, 2012
I never fold sheets -- I wash them, dry them and put them back on the bed. I don't see the point in buying an extra set of sheets for beds. (Plus then, you don't have loads of sheets/bedding that need to be washed.)
Anonymous
February 7, 2011
I have been doing this too and fold them a lot smaller, but it doesn't look like Martha's sheets here. She is the best.
Anonymous
February 4, 2011
I tuck the pillow case ends in, and that holds the sheets in pretty tidy,
Anonymous
February 4, 2011
Fold the sheets just slightly smaller than the actual pillow case and slide them in. Fitted sheets fold best if you ignore the gathers and treat the sheet as if it folds from the top of the fitted portion as you would the flat sheet.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I use this trick, but am unable to make in look as neat as it is in the picture. Any tips?
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
This is a brilliant idea! I'm going to do it. Thanks!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Looks nice, however, I have the toughest time folding the fitted sheet.....help!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
so simple! why wouldn't I have thought of that. I am immediately reorg-ing my linen closet. Thanks
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I have always folded my top and bottom sheets together, but never thought to put them inside the pillowcase what a cute idea Thanks Martha
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
After I read this suggestion for storing sheets it came to mind that there are drawers under our bed. Since I don?
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Dinsept- Martha was on Oprah not so long ag and she showed us how to fold fitted sheets perfectly! - try to google it! (im yet to try it!)
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I've been doing this one for a while too! I love this tip. It certainly makes changing the beds a breeze and saves a lot of space in my linen closet. Love it!!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Ohh brilliant!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
and I have been doing this for quite a while now and loooove how easy it is to see, the space it seems to save and how much faster finding a matching set is now!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
My hubby
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Awesome idea. Great for those of us who failed fitted sheet folding 101. Yeah!!!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
This is a great idea! Why didn't I think of this!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Where have I been, I love this idea!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Ive been using this trick for years ever since I first saw Martha do it on her show a few years back. Its so simple and so much neater, I haven't misplaced any pillowcases since!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I have been doing this for years, mostly becaue of limited space, but also to separate the king sheets from twin, etc., and I could always grab the right sheet set and know all the pieces were thee. It just takes a little practice to fold the king bottom fittted sheet.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I make sure that I launder sheets only when I'm available to transfer them to the dryer as soon as the wash cycle is complete and fold them as they come out of the dryer. They fold flat much easier when they are warm. If you use the process suggested by Martha, your sheets really will lie flat. Even my king-size sheets easily fit into a pillow case!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
How can you fold huge king bed fitted sheets to be flat enough for this to work? Even if they're perfectly done "Martha's way," the sheer bulk is too much and they end up being terribly wrinkled from being stuffed in.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
mine never look this nice. I use this trick tho... I just can never get the sheets that flat no matter how I fold them.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Great idea! I get my fitted sheets nice and flat by folding them on a table or on the bed. It's much easier than trying to do it with your hubby holding the other end of them.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
MamaDriggs - Hanging extra sheets in the closet in the room where they're used is a terrific idea. I have a very very small linen closet in relation to my sheet/towel collection so will take this tip and put it to good use.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Great idea looks great but like the others how do you fold the sheets and pillow case????
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I don't store sheets in the linen closet, I put them in the room where they're used. For instance, my son's extra set hangs on a hangar in his closet. That way the linen closet is used for blankets which are MUCH bulkier. I do, however, store the EXTRA sheet sets like this.
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
great idea, but how do you fold them so they fit?
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
This is a great idea. I have been struggling with this. Thank you
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
This is nice looking...but...how do you organize mis matched sheets which I like to use! Also, what's the best way to fold different pillow cases...euro's boudoir, king, queen, etc..?
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
I love this Idea but I can never get my fitted sheets so flat!
Anonymous
February 3, 2011
Great tip! Thanks!