Never fold another fitted sheet -

Never fold another fitted sheet

A guide to domestic liberation offers a compilation of ‘cheats and compromises’

taking it easy, easy cleaning, hosting

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To the viewers at home, TV host Lisa Quinn looked like she had it all going on. ABC had hired her to be their Martha Stewart-type lifestyle correspondent. “But I had a dirty little secret. I was living a lie,” confesses the former interior designer in a new self-help book for stressed-out moms like her “who want to entertain, and to have the nice house, the clean kids, the decent meal, but don’t want to kill themselves in the process.” Quinn admits, “While I strived to be the perfect picture of domestic bliss at work, I could never quite pull it off in my own home. I could barely get dinner on the table for my family three nights a week. I was an overwhelmed mother of two, and I felt like a complete fraud.”

Her book, Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets: Your Ultimate Guide to Domestic Liberation, is a compilation of “cheats and compromises.” The title comes from an incident at work when a producer asked Quinn to teach viewers how to fold fitted sheets. “I have never folded a fitted sheet in my whole life,” Quinn told the producer. “She was shocked to hear I couldn’t do it, and I was embarrassed to admit it.”

In her new anti-Martha, shortcut manifesto, Quinn advises women that folding fitted sheets can only result “in a migraine” and sheets looking like “a huge turban.” “Stop stressing about it. Just wad it up the best you can, and shove it in the closet. Most of the wrinkles stretch out when you put the sheet on the bed, anyway.”

Then there’s Quinn’s “Top 10 Things You Have to Clean if Company Is Coming in 30 Minutes,” starting with the No.1 item, the toilet. “At some point, somebody’s going to need to pee. The toilet needs to be spotless if company is coming.” To quick-clean a bathroom, “run a disinfecting wipe over the sink, then hit the seat of the toilet (don’t forget the underside). Check the mirror. Empty the wastebasket. Check for any hair on the floor. Run a wipe over the worst—who’s got time to mop?”

She also recommends a car-cleaning product for the bathroom, called Rain-X. “Original use: helps rainwater slide off car windshields. Wipe it all over your glass shower doors. You’ll never have to squeegee again.” To prevent mould on bathroom grout, use a white candle and rub the wax over the grout, she says.

As for floors, it’s rubbish to think you have to scrub them every time you clean them, she writes. “Vacuum your floors when you vacuum the rugs. This will keep your floors tidier between cleanings.” Dark walnut floors look beautiful but they “show every piece of lint that falls on them.” When deciding on floors, “choose oak or pine; the busier grain will camouflage the dirt.” And for upholstery, buy brown leather. “I will tell you right now that the key to a happy home is brown leather. It’s tough and it hides dirt better than any textile.”

For quick dinners for the kids, Quinn’s come up with “17 Meals Made From a Deli Chicken.” “My standards are very low. I rarely measure anything and I implore you to do the same.” Each recipe involves first tearing the chicken into shreds. Her chicken Parmesan, for instance, has only three other ingredients: jarred pasta sauce, shredded mozzarella and spaghetti.

In a chapter on entertaining, Quinn tells the cautionary tale of how she once threw a theme party for 180 people and broke her toe in a last-minute cleaning frenzy before the guests arrived. Her mantra now is, “Bring it down a notch.” In that regard, “My husband has been a huge inspiration to me,” she tells Maclean’s from her home in southern California. “It’s funny because it’s been this process where I’m trying to live more like a guy, you know, pop a beer, sit down and have some fun. Why does [entertaining] have to be so much work?” Besides, “when a hostess is so wrapped up in the details that she misses out on the conversation, she’s missing the point. Forget the formalities. Be a half-assed hostess,” she writes.

Among her bring-it-down-a-notch tips is “Forget the matchy-matchy. Contrary to popular belief, it is not required to have matching dishes, silverware and placemats for every guest. Those perfect tables with all the forks in the right place are just plain intimidating. Someone breaks a wineglass almost every time we entertain, so we’ve ended up with a motley inventory. I feel that as long as everyone has a glass, it shouldn’t matter if the glasses match. When you think about it, mismatched glasses are easier to tell apart. There’s no need to buy those dumb wine charms.”


Never fold another fitted sheet


  2. Thanks, Julia.
    I am going through the same modifications in life.

    Excellent advise to women, all women –
    moms, working moms or not-moms.
    After all the house is for me, not the other way around.
    Our health as individuals is more important to us, our families, communites … than a perfecty perfect home.

  3. Entering into my thirties and had a discussion this weekend with a girl friend lamenting the lost art of folding fitted sheets. Our Moms could do it, and somehow my generation can't! At least this book makes me feel more normal when I consider frozen chicken and boxed frozen veggies a home cooked meal!

    • A couple of observations in reply to OttawaGirl:
      1- We can't do it because our moms never taught us.
      2- Fitted sheets are different than they used to be and harder to fold than previous generations (I'm older than you and have seen the change from elasticized corners only, to completely elasticized all-the-way-round fitted sheets that always end up in a ball no matter how hard you try to fold them.

  4. My mother missed alot of conversations trying to be the perfect hostess. I am not willing to do that. I want to hear every word so a half-assed hostess is what I will be. This article is so right on!!

  5. And I'll add another – possibly ultimate – shortcut to her list:

    Don't invite domestic fusspots into your house; only befriend the non-judgemental. Ahhhh….the weight of a thousand imperatives……gone!

  6. So true!
    she just described my life.

  7. excellent article – I will be reading her book as soon as I can get it!!!

  8. I'ts true, things cant pe perfect all the time, but not striving to be the best you can some of the time is a cop out. Folding a flat sheet is not brain surgery, nor should take longer than 20 seconds to accomplish correctly.

  9. Folding a fitted sheet is easy…just insert one corner end into the opposite one and keep folding until you have a semi-flat surface to fold like you would a regular flat sheet. It will never be a smooth as a flat sheet, but at least it fits in the linen closet and remains pretty wrinkle-free!

  10. Er, Dale, she's talking fitted sheets, not flat sheets. Would you care to share how you fold a fitted sheet up pretty in 20 seconds? I agree, striving to be the best you can be is a good thing…but I'm sure we all have more important contributions to make in the world than obsessing over matching glassware.

    What I was going to say, originally: my impression when I began reading this article was that Quinn was a single mom. Turns out she's married. How does her husband contribute with the housework, given he lives there too?

  11. I CAN fold a fitted sheet…but do I WANT to? No…it takes to long. :wad wad wad:

    • I wash–dry– and put back on the bed..No folding required.Simple

      • Me too! I thought for sure that would be the answer to the question.

  12. Excellent article and good for a laugh – she describes all of us who work and really DON'T have time (or want to) to fold fitted sheets properly – I fold corner to corner and shove them in the linen closet – who cares what they look like in a linen closet – you close the door and their out of sight anyway! – put other sheets / towels on top and they flatten out and look just fine!

  13. In my 50"snow and I think of all the lost conversations because I was soo busy entertaining my guests, I mean trying to impress. Now it's any plate will do , as long as the stuff is clean, enjoy life, it may be shorter than you think.

  14. I've always wondered about the obsessive compulsive freaks who feel that they need to fold their fitted sheets perfectly so that it's wrinkle free.

    I mean, let's think about the function – it's going to go under a mound of blankets where you're going to sleep on it and wrinkle it probably within the first several hours.

    So unless you're running a B&B, why do you need wrinkle-free fitted sheets????!!! What a waste of time!

  15. re dinners for families…why does everyone feel you must quickly feed kids. Kids do fine with a carrot or apple until the parents can take a breath and regroup after returning home from work/school etc. European families use dinner prep and eating as a way to stay connected, not as another chore to accomplish in record time. Perhaps more time taken to make nutritious meals (which can still be cheap) and get kids to help, will keep the family together and teach children the value of both food prep and closeness

    • Yes, agreed on how it should be. European family as an example: bad choice. In Europe people start their jobs early in the morning, and finish at 4 or 5 pm, or earlier. They have time to take care of family in the evening. In America, we finish later, takes more time to get home due to distances, so you have to use whatever time left in the evening to do your best. Taking time to prepare a nice meal and connect during dinner would mean putting children to bed at a very late hour. You pick which one is worse….

    • and here is how you stop caring about how to fold a fitted sheet, before the video even en…

  16. Try harder. Please.

  17. Bonko sounds like a guy all women would josu "love " to me married to. What a chauvanistic pig!

  18. Lets try this again with correct spelling. Bonko sounds like the guy that all women would just love to marry. What a chauvanistic pig!

  19. Well, being the guy in my household who took care of dinners, I can tell you, Anne, that feeding kids quickly can frequently be a requirement because there's more to be done AFTER dinner as well. If dinner takes too long to prepare, other things (like laundry, helping with homework) either get left behind or eat into valuable sleep time. Of course, there's also the lessons and activities that are scheduled for after dinner, especially with older kids: dance lessons, joint homework projects, hockey games. Sometimes, half an hour is the most time you have. And then there are the times when too many things are happening before dinner, and it doesn't even get started until after 8:30. Unless you want to send your kids to bed having only eaten snacks, you need to pull something together PDQ.

    Of course, that doesn't mean dinner should be crap — it just means dinner can't always be fancy.

    But really, what's wrong with a pre-cooked chicken, jarred sauce and pasta? Throw in some frozen broccoli steamed in the microwave, use whole grain pasta, and you've got an excellent meal in 25 minutes.

  20. Dad? Is that you? I miss you, Daddy! When are you coming home?

    • LOL, you're lucky, my old man is a Liberal. Ugh.

      slut c.1400, "a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman," probably cognate with dialectal Ger. Schlutt "slovenly woman," dialectal Swed. slata "idle woman, slut," and Du. slodder "slut," but the ultimate origin is doubtful. Chaucer uses sluttish (late 14c.) in reference to the appearance of an untidy man.

      I can see how this word picked up the meaning "prostitute": a woman who doesn't cook or feed her children or host guests or clean her home – what in the hell is she good for? And can you imagine the self esteem issues this leads to?

      There is only one reason a man would stay with a slut, and we all know what that is. Imagine being a slut and knowing the only thing useful about you is putting out, probably reluctantly too, rationing it out like it's uncut China White. These women must hate themselves immensely, hence the Prozac, and cutting of selves, and high suicide rates, etc., etc….

      • "There is only one reason a man would stay with a slut, and we all know what that is."


      • You are such a dumbass. If you guys would earn enough to support a family, your wives would not need to work and be a "slot" as you call them. It has nothing to do with feminism. So do not even try to blame us women. If we would stay at home to be housewives, you would call us lazy for not having a job and play the martyr for having to support the family alone…. What a schovinist…

  21. It's very funny that anyone actually worries about 'how to fold a fitted sheet' when children need help with their homework, we need time for our spouses to talk to us…etc. I never have had a house that is always tidy. However, we eat great meals, on clean dishes; sleep in clean beds and wear clean clothes. My priorities are different. If a friend (or otherwise) finds me at home in an untidy house, I say 'sorry it's a mess' once, and then we socialize. I listen to a friend's news, whether or not it's good…and have time for them. No one has ever, in my 47 years of marriage, refused an invitation to dinner or a party at our house. I'm known to be untidy; but fortunately I don't worry about it. I never litter the environment and spend more hours cleaning up litter after other people than I do on cleaning my house. That's how I live. And I don't apologize for it

  22. Hang a sign on your door……… "If you're coming to see me – come anytime! If you're coming to see my house – please make an appointment…" My mantra – and I live by it! Don't like it? Don't come!