You’ve been making your bed the wrong way THIS WHOLE TIME. Six ways to repent (number 4 will shock you!)

by worstideas


After washing bedsheets, it is difficult to immediately determine the proper orientation for a non-patterned fitted sheet (the bottommost sheet, with the elastic border, the one that looks like this).

Frequently, one turns the sheet 90°, only to discover that the sheet was actually correct the first way. Shameful!

Now that we have solved the issues of bubonic plague, dinosaur attacks, and coastal piracy, we must turn our efforts to solving the “fitted sheet orientation” problem.

Current state of the art:

If a set of sheets have an obvious pattern on them (e.g., stripes), it can be easy to remember the proper orientation of the sheet.


Fig 1: An obvious pattern (here, stripes) makes proper sheet orientation clear. This weird striped blob is supposed to be a fitted sheet.


Fig 2: The mattress has a long edge and a short edge, unless you have some weird square- or circle-shaped bed, in which case you probably have problems finding sheets in the first place.


Fig 3: Unfortunately, with solid color sheets, the only obvious orientation-determining feature is the location of the washing instructions tag.

If you remember exactly where the tag is (e.g. “it goes on the left side”), then you have solved the fitted sheet orientation problem.

Unfortunately, this tag is located in different places in different sheets.


One simple solution would be to establish a regulatory organization (ideally at an international level) to standardize the location of the tag on fitted sheets.

We could call this the “Fitted Sheet Tag Administration.” The advantage of just standardizing the tag location is that no manufacturing process would need to be changed, and no additional costs would need to be incurred in sheet design and/or production, since the tag is already present on all sheets.


Fig 4: Tag location could be standardized. “The tag always goes nearest the starboard-side pillow.” Assumes that the bed is a boat, for sake of standardization.

If a consumer could purchase a set of FSTA-licensed fitted sheets and know that the tag always belonged on (say) the right side of the headboard, then that individual would be able to put the sheet on the bed without experiencing any psychological trauma due to having to rotate the sheet.


Fig 5: Standardized tag location allows the sheet to be rotated to the proper orientation without requiring guesswork.

Justification with math:

If we assume that there are:

  • 7 billion individuals in the world
  • of whom 20% have fitted sheets
  • and that these are changed an average of 24 times per year
  • and that orientation-determination wastes an average of 10 seconds per sheet-changing
  • Then we end up with a total time wasted per year of:
    • (7,000,000,000 * 0.20 * 24 * 10) seconds = 336,000,000,000 seconds
  • Which is a total of
    • 10,647 man-years of wasted effort every single year

This is more total time than has passed since all of recorded history!

PROS: Saves 10,647 man-years of work for every year. Generates new bureaucratic employment positions.

CONS: The Fitted Sheet Tag Administration may become corrupt and decadent if it faces no accountability.