Folding bedsheets.

images Loving Couple

oosterman etching

It is not a new or a recent discovery that the running of modern households is often done by two people or even more, organised in such a way that is fairly shared. Perhaps before the invention of beds, clothes and footwear, the only thing to organise was the hunting and gathering of food, eating and sleeping with, of course, the occasional curious but well-known joining of bodies with up-down rhythmic shudderings lasting a few seconds, ensuring that life would go on in caves and other hollowed out interconnected warrens fit enough for human habitation.   Life was simple and there were no issues of life-style. Keeping up with Joneses wasn’t much more than perhaps having a bigger cave or better accuracy with the spear throwing.

Swivelling chairs, smart TVs or Apps were unknown, and so were washing machines, irons, vacuum cleaners, electric toothbrushes, dishwashers, air conditioning, hotplates, refrigerators, wine racks, dictionaries, Facebooks, tablets, micro waves, crosswords, (including cryptic) climate change, coal, Morrison, Hawaii, sport grants, Fitted Sheets.

Most of the above items would be familiar to most readers. Perhaps even owned by them. I have found out that I have been sleeping on top of fitted sheets for many years and now that I am widowed am slowly coming to terms in washing and folding them. I haven’t yet reached the much wanted stage of logic and rationality that I have stopped wanting what I can’t have anymore, ever, and that is Helvi…

The best I can do is to continue doing domestic things, as much as possible without hesitation or fear,  and hope the evening comes and I can fall in a deep sleep while still in my chair, slowly slipping into a heavenlike unconsciousness whereby most nights, I do spend with Helvi, albeit in dreams but her voice is real, and I am with her. On awakening in my own bed through some miracle, (perhaps levitational moving about) I find Milo on the floor next to my socks. He nudges me to get up and let him out.

I have to fold the sheets

And so, the next day starts and I put on the kettle for a cup of tea and look around what needs doing. Perhaps a quick vacuum? No, I have to fold the sheets I took out of the cloth- dryer the night before. I can’t dry washing outside. Since the bush- fires ash is still falling from the sky and coats cars, plants, the roads and rooftops. We had some rain and it turned the ash into a frothy slush.

The aim in folding the bedsheets is to have them in such way as to make the bed look newly made with, if possible a fold in the exact middle making it easy to have equal sides hanging over the edge of the bed. The modern way of making beds is to first have a matrass cover. I suppose it is to save the matrass of getting stains, from heaven knows what. (Nocturnal emissions or involuntary bowel/intestinal leakages.?)

Anyway, just leaving that aside. Above the matrass cover at least on my bed I have a ‘fitted sheet’. This is a queen size sheet that have the corners turned and sewn in such a way as to form a loop around the corners of the matrass. If sewn properly it makes a perfected tight fit on which to put a normal queen size top-sheet. Those fitted sheets are hard to fold neatly so I have found it best to just give up on folding them neatly and just roll them up in a fashion hoping for the best.

Of coarse making the double bed was always a job for both of us but on my own I now leave it to a good friend who every two weeks renews my sheets and makes the bed. The first night in a newly made bed with crispy sheets is very nice and I go early to bed so I can enjoy it while still awake for some time. She also cleans the house, top to bottom and as a good friend of Helvi is a wonderful companion who knows to listen to my woes and cries without criticisms or undue advice.

I never leave the bed unmade. Even on the fortnightly day the sheets gets taken off. It helps to have a discipline. I never really was much for routine but now I found out it helps.

It is a new situation I am in.


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33 Responses to “Folding bedsheets.”

  1. berlioz1935 Says:

    To put on a fitted sheet is a big challenge for even two people. I have no energy to lift the mattress to put the sheet on the corner. Next morning the sheet looks like I had a wrestling match.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is quite challenging. Our matrass is very thick and heavy and it took a Herculean effort to put the fitted sheet on. Especially at the head-end close to the wall. Helvi insisted to get it done though. She took much pleasure in making the bed look good with nicely folded sheets, colourful cushions on top.

      Liked by 1 person

    • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

      HA! “a wrestling match”…you captured that perfectly!
      And for some reason the sheets always win and I always lose! 😉 😛
      (((HUGS))) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Big M Says:

    I’m so glad that you have someone you know and trust to help out with cleaning and bed making. Making double beds always seems like a two person job. I have an old nursing trick for replacing pillow cases, but have no idea about fitted sheets.

    Sometimes routine, or the idea of having certain responsibilities, keeps one in line. I went through a period of living alone some years back. I think that daily shaving and bed making kept me going.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That must have been hard ,Big M, living on your own! I don’t like it and miss hearing domestic noises. How did you cope? I go out and shop have a coffee, and hopefully talk to people.
      Tomorrow I am going to Sydney to meet with friends from our Balmain period. Some of those are on their own too. It seems that is what life often serves up.
      What we need is some kind of open fire for people to sit around and talk, a kind of water-well in the village square where women would meet. I remember in France the men playing boule and walking up and down the main street, sitting around sipping coffee.
      I often read, often after some gruesome murder, that it was ‘such a peaceful community, and so close knit’.
      Where are those ‘close-knitted communities?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Big M Says:

        I found myself walking very long distances, ruminating over life’s challenges, and reading. Computers and tablets weren’t even invented, so heaven knows.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. freefall852 Says:

    My partner has a particular way of fitting the undersheet that drives me impatient watching…so I go out of the room while she does her work…and when I see her shadow go past the doorway, I return to help finish the job…I just cannot endure the repetitious methodology of her actions…it drives me insane…but on the same note about fresh, cotton sheets, I find there is nothing more private and delighful and relaxing than laying awake in the cool bed in the small hours in the dark and letting my mind wander to wherever it wants to go…oh, indeed!…the number of famous symphonies, the stories and books I have written and taken the accolades for!…mine..all mine!..and the political assasinations and the intricate, plotted murders of my perceived enemies!!…and the tranquility of having that personal dreamland to wander about in..the glory being that when one gets old enough one never crosses that line between conjected fantasy and reality…and the memories of lustful nights and teenage delight….mine..all share with the midnight hours…my lovely private memories…one can live a second life.

    “I am a person of the night,
    I bask and wallow in its quiet delight.
    I stand drenched in the light of a million stars,
    I wash my soul in Celest’s sweet baths.
    Night,soft as scented smoke,
    Velvet smoothed draping cloak.
    Comes,caresses me gentle all around,
    Sweet as complexion rain on a Derry Down.” (Frank O’Conner).

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jo. Glad you like the embrace of a newly sheeted bed. I remember when we migrated to Australia my [parents had shipped all our mattresses over by boat. They were made of kapok and each bed consisted of three of those./
      On landing in Sydney we were given some money which my mother used to buy the actual bed frames. They were made of chrome and able to stack on top of each other .
      The fitted sheets were yet to be invented. I don’t think my dad ever involved himself in fitting sheets or help making the beds. He did do the dishes at times.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Fitted sheets: One of my banes, Gerard. You have my complete sympathy. Folding them is nigh unto possible for me. Like you, I roll them up. Now I think about it, whoever designed them must have been a sadist. Peggy rightfully wanted me to always help make the bed with her. I started making breakfast every day to get out of it. It works. She prefers me making breakfast for her as opposed to making the bed. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I don’t know at what year they made their entrance. Now fitted sheets are on every new to wed couple’s bridal wish list.
      Many a bride after the wedding and going through the gifts, will
      proudly shows their fitted sheets.

      They are often fought over tooth and nail in divorce cases. Judges are at great pains to remain fair and impartial, not easy. Many a bitter battle over those sheets, often blamed for causing the marital discourse in the first place.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yvonne Says:

    I can fold those sheets, but what a struggle to get that bottom sheet nice and snug over the mattress. The mattress is so heavy. Like berlioz said, it looks like a mess in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, many people forego the gym and instead practice fitting those sheets instead.
      I made our own bed years ago when living in Holland. I bought the timber and electric saw and doweled the lot together. That was in 1973. We took it with us on returning to Australia and only got rid of it after we sold the farm in 2010. Fitted sheets were unknown then. No one talked about them.

      I don’t know when we ventured into the fitted sheets.
      Our mattress weighs a tonne and I always helped Helvi with fitting the sheet over the corners of our new mattress, a very thick one.

      The bottom mattress cover sheet has elastic loops to fit over the mattress, much easier than the sheet that follows on top of that one…
      My mattress now carries three sheets. Is it normal?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. leggypeggy Says:

    So glad you have someone who can change the sheets and do some cleaning. I love a well-made bed and make mine everyday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, she is very small but strong in fitting the sheets. She told me she wants me to sleep on fresh sheets every two weeks. It is nice to feel the crisp sheets and smell of soap.
      I too make the bed each day and walk around it several times trying to get the creases out. It satisfies and helps.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. rangewriter Says:

    Oh the damnation of fitted sheets. While they’re fitted onto the mattress they are a supreme invention. But trying to fold them is a nightmare! Who has arms long enough to punch a fist into two opposing corners of said sheets? They are unwieldy and uncompromising. I usually leave my bed naked until the sheets I’ve just removed have been laundered and dried. The only time I leave the bed unmade, and it does bother me a bit. When I am forced to fold a danged fitted sheet, I employ the back of a straight chair to hook the pockets of two corners into. Then I can manually tackled the two pockets at the opposite/long end and double that over to hook over the chair back, joining the first 2 pockets. Then I have something sort of resembling a rounded squared which I sort of fold into more squares. But, the rolling up technique sounds a lot simpler. Why do I even go through all that, I wonder?

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, to get the fists in the corners is difficult. That’s why I helped Helvi with that task and now on my own I just roll in into a fashion. Normal sheets are easy and I fold them very nicely.

      Your invention using a chair seems amazing. It ought to be featured on a video. I am sure it would get many followers.

      I used to end up kneeling on the bed after I have managed to do one corner and then lay across flat out to the other corner and try and fold the second corner while laying horizontal.

      After that I move to the bottom and while squatting akimbo on one corner try and reach over to do the last and final corner.
      At the finish I get satisfaction over a very taut looking bed. It’s not much to keep me going but it all helps.

      I am glad I have a helper and she is a good listener too.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    It is also ‘of course’ and not ‘of coarse.’


  9. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    HA! You make me laugh! 😀 F
    Yes, folding fitted sheets, all sheets really…and making beds…can be quite the conundrum and challenge! 😉 😀
    I’m glad you have a friend to help!
    My only advice would be DO NOT try folding sheets or bedmaking after you’ve had too much wine to drink! 😉 😛 HA! 😀 Other than that, I have no helpful advice! 😉 😮
    I, too, like a nice looking neat bed. And I always make the bed in the a.m. because I want it looking nice when I return to it in the p.m. 😀
    I’m so glad to hear that Helvi is visiting you in your dreams. That is sweet.
    (((HUGS))) and Happy Folding! 😉 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  10. shoreacres Says:

    I’m not sure how this can be, but — I’ve never thought of rolling those fitted sheets. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it, either. You’re a genius, Gerard. Not only is it an easier way to approach the issue of folding, you can store the sheets more easily. Of course, I usually just take them off the bed, launder them, and put them back on, but if I’m ever in the position to have to prepare those horrible things for storage, I’ll remember you, and roll.

    Fresh sheets certainly are one of life’s little luxuries. Another luxury is really good quality flannel sheets in the winter. Cool and crisp is great in summer, but in winter, those same sheets aren’t so comfy. Good flannel’s as smooth as silk, and there’s not that cold shock when you first get in. At the end of the day, I’ve generally had all the shocks I can take, and I don’t need another one when I’m crawling into bed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The genius wasn’t me but Helvi who discovered that rolling was the only way with the fitted sheets some years ago. They look surprisingly neat and with not too many folds or creases. At some stage I have to decide about the bed sheets. With our B&B on the farm we ended up with a huge amount of sheets, pillow cases and towels.

      Downstairs and upstairs I am greeted with towels and bedsheets every time I open a drawer or wardrobe including the drawers underneath the wardrobes. And then so much cutlery, I counted 26 wine glasses and 3 stack of saucers. Where did they come from. Do people leave saucers behind when they visit?

      Yes, in winter too I have flannel both in sheets and pyjamas. I have seen my pyjamas somewhere..


  11. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Aaaah yes, fitted sheets, almost as good as the invention of that old saying- “better than sliced bread.” Taking sheets off the bed is so much easier than putting them back on and as you have written those heavy and thick mattresses are quite a pain and I struggle with making my bed sometimes. So for the past year I have slept in my recliner in the den, more than I have slept in my bed.

    It is good that you have someone to help with some of the household chores. I am sure it breaks up the loneliness a bit and makes some of your chores less frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My bed that I made in Holland from wooden planks and dowels we left behind on the farm. It was at least 30 years years old but served us well. It never fell apart. We left it in the shed next to my Ford tractor which was part of the deal when we sold the farm.

      The new bed we bough has an enormously thick mattress as Helvi wanted a firm surface to sleep on. This was fine except when trying to fold the fitted sheet around the corners. It needed my help as it was very difficult and exhausting. Helen is a friend of Helvi and perhaps I should help her or at least suggest it! What do you reckon?

      She is a good help and doesn’t mind talking. You are right, it all helps make me feel better..

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Probably not a bad idea to offer to help Helen with the corners. That is what gives me trouble as well. Very difficult because as I have aged- I just don’t have the strength in my hands as I once did.


  12. Forestwood Says:

    I know well the battle with the fitted sheet monster! But I didn’t know Helvi had passed. I am so sorry Gerard and commend you on your refuge in routine. It does help. And great that you have that support once a fortnight. May you continue to have sweet dreams.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Helvi passed away on the 29th of Oct. It still came too sudden and now after almost three months I feel sad beyond anything, and try and stay busy looking for chores and bits of writing down words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forestwood Says:

        A mammoth adjustment and grieving that will undoubtedly take a long time to adjust to. I could tell how devoted you two were to each other. It is a good thing you are keeping busy. I found writing so cathartic when our minds are sad. All the best, Gerard. Thinking of you.


  13. freefall852 Says:

    Why all the fuss about crinkled sheets?….just tuck them in and jump in!…it’s what I did before I became “partnered”….never lost any sleep over it…
    I’ll tell you a short anecdote about worrying the small things in life…:
    My old brickie mate was telling me about working with this gang of bricklayers that had a hard-driving foreman who got a commission for the number of thousands of bricks laid by the gang…so he chivvied them along…one day, one of the brickies was cutting a brick with his trowel, and he missed and hit his thumb, nearly severing it from his hand…blood everywhere and the gang stopped work to assist…the foreman, seeing the men stalled rushed to see the matter…He broke into the centre of the circle, looked at the poor man’s hand and thrusting it aside exclaimed in a disgusted voice…:
    “Ah!…it’s worry too much..lay bricks!”..
    I use that foreman’s expression now as a maxim for when things become too silly to worry about…


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jo. Just keep at it. It’s all we can do. I am over Australia Day though. All that stuff about ‘rolling up the sleeves’ .Can we have a special day and call it NM…A normal day!.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Same on Australia Day…This was my reply to that scumbag ; Peter Dutton, when he posted his version of “best wishes for our people on Australia Day..”

        Joe Carli
        Replying to
        “Our people”??..I am the son of an Italian migrant who came here before the 2nd WW..was interned as an “enemy alien” by your c#nty ancestors who wouldn’t work in an iron lung& if it wasn’t for migrants like my father’s people you’d still be sucking marrow from a wild animal bone.


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