Friday “Fiction” — How to Fold a Towel

I usually reserve Fridays for fiction writing. Armed with a writing prompt provided by WordPress blogger, SidevieW, I’ve spent the past month generating Friday’s fiction based on her theme. Today’s theme “DOING IT RIGHT” has less of fiction feel… Here goes…

Which is the right way?

Which is the right way?

Towel Wars

My mother has ONE way to fold a towel. The right way.

  • Lay the towel on a flat surface
  • fold the width of the towel in thirds
  • then fold it in half length wise
  • and fold in half again.

It makes for a nice compact square of towel-ly goodness.

Mom's method. Start with a flat towel. Four steps later... You've done it "the right way."

Mom’s method. Start with a flat towel. Four steps later… You’ve done it “the right way.”

Martha Steward folds her towels that way. So does Oprah. But, let me be clear… my mom did it first. (Maybe not first in the whole world, but before these two gals became daytime goddesses.)

Necessity being the mother of invention, mom came up with that method so they’d fit nicely into our linen closet. In fact, on laundry day, after the towels had been washed, line dried and folded (properly) and the linen closet reloaded to its towel storage capacity you couldn’t get anything else in there.

My mom must have had an innate sense of towel geometry. Her towel-to-linen closet ratio was absolutely pitch perfect.

The towels were so compactly and precisely placed in that closet that the first person to take a bath was in serious danger or toppling the whole works if they pulled out the top towel too gingerly.

And if the towel had been folded the wrong way, or had been placed in the closet askew… it just would not have worked. They wouldn’t have fit. That’s because there’s a right way of doing something and a wrong way of doing it.

We tried to rebel of course. As we came into our teen years we JUST KNEW that mom’s insistence that we fold the towels “in thirds and in thirds again” was just some 1950’s drivel — like dressing up and fixing your hair to go food shopping.

We tried:

  • folding them in half and then in half again (too wide and too flat).
  • foldeing in half (short side) and rolling. (too long).
  • kind of folding them and stuffing them in (known as the “brother special” — on the rare occasion that he did it at all — (um no.)

No, no. No. NO. Any job worth doing is worth doing right. So you might as well do it right the first time… because mom is only going to make you do it again… the right way.

When my parents downsized from our family home and looked for a condo I don’t think my mom took a folded towel with her on the real estate showings.  But I’m pretty sure she had that inner towel calculator going in her head. A condo without a proper linen closet wasn’t going to pass muster.

Perhaps it is my rebellious nature, my sheer laziness, or the configuration of our towel storage area but I do not use the 3 x 3 folding method mom favored. I fold my towels in half lengthwise, give them a 90 degree turn, fold in half again, then starting at the bound side (not the fold side) roll them tightly.

Crazy, I know, but it works. And, for us it’s just the right way of doing it.

My method. Start with a flat towel. Three steps later... towel nirvana. (OK I'm biased.)

My method. Start with a flat towel. Three steps later… towel nirvana. (OK I’m biased.)

Here’s an alarmingly loud video from “Ask the Decorator” that shows three ways to fold towels.


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

7 responses to “Friday “Fiction” — How to Fold a Towel

  • Liisa

    Women after my own heart. I have tried to fold things “differently” … You know towels, sheets, etc. but there is only one right way. Otherwise it is pure bedlam. Thanks for being part of the OCD crowd!

    • ritalovestowrite

      I was really feeling free-spirited and hippie until I wrote the part at the end… where some one could come to my house and roll them fold side in. And seriously! That just makes me feel all icky inside. Oh, dear.

  • SidevieW

    groan,family use the rolling method. n\but when i look in my linen cupboard the bottom towels are folded flat, the one side is sort of your brother’s method and some are rolled. I guess I am trying to agree with everyone

  • ritalovestowrite

    Sidey– ahhh… Here’s to the diversity of toweldom!

  • Bay Ridge Writer

    Your Mother’s method sounds very similar to what I was taught in Boot Camp – a method I still follow. Since space aboard a Navy Warship is extremely limited (and much more so for low ranking sailors) we were taught to fold our uniforms, underwear, socks and towels into precise packages. Nearly half a century later I still do it that way – old habits die hard. The time I spend doing it drives my wife a little nutty, as she believes in spending the minimal amount of time necessary to put everything away. Thanks for posting this; it’s shown me that I’m not the only one who feels it’s necessary to stow everything correctly, regardless of which methodology you choose to use!

  • Margie

    “When you are at my house… you do it my way . … When you have your own house you can do it your way.”

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