Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tell Me About Your Linens!

Long time readers of my blog will know that, influenced by Ali Edwards, each year I choose "One Little Word" to help me focus on big picture goals.  My word for 2012 is "home," and one of the ways in which I am focusing on home is to organize my house, room by room. When we pulled the carpet in the downstairs hallway and replaced it with hardwood floors, I had the occasion to empty the linen closet. I used this as the opportunity to organize my household linens (which included cleaning out the kitchen cupboards where I store the kitchen linens).  I put my "heirloom linens" (lace, embroidery, crochet, etc. created by my Grandmothers and aunts) into storage containers, along with baby linens (blankets mainly) that I couldn't bear to part with.   I tossed a large bag of soiled, torn, fully depreciated linens and two big bags of paperwork from the kitchen storage areas.
My ultimate goal in this reorganizing project is to have the "correct" number of towels, sheet sets, table cloths, napkins and place mats in the linen closet and kitchen storage.  So, now I'm trying to figure out that "correct" number.  And I'm looking for your input.  How many sheet sets do you have per bed? How many towels? How many table cloths, napkins and place mats?  Please tell me your linen strategy in comments.  Thanks!


Kirsty.A said...

I recently purged bed linene. I donated a bundle of 'kiddy' duvet covers to charity as my kids have more grownup tastes now. I don't 'need' more than 3 sets per bed, but I have kept more for emergencies like vomit or overnight guests

scrappyjacky said...

This made me think a bit,Rinda....probably far too many!!!
We have 3 duvet covers and 2 sheets per a couple of old sets as 'spares'.
We never use table cloths [except at christmas] but I still have 3 of them....though no napkins as we use paper ones if we ever need them.I've one set of handmade place mats....but usually use woven,wipe clean ones.
We've loads of towels and T towels which are used for allsorts of cleaning jobs as well as their true purpose.
I'll also admit to having a couple of sacks in the roof with various linens in.

Amy said...

Ahh, a subject close to my heart - I am a fan of manchester.
That being said, I don't really have heaps of it - like Kirsty, I do have several spares for the children's beds because if one gets a tummy bug then they are both likely to and then all hell breaks out - usually at 3am! Fortunately they are a little older now and make it to the bucket ... off track I know.

The short answer is that I have three sets for our bed.
I have lots of towels and tea towels and probably not enough spare bed linen for when visitors come over - especially pillows, you have to bring your own if you stay over!

I do have a couple of tablecloths but have not used them since the children were little for safety reasons - we use placemats. I have linen table napkins but often use paper ones, plain white, when we have a lot of people over.

I reckon keep as many as you want, can store or feel you use. Efficient folding is the key to good storage - took me years to work that out!

Anne said...

Hello Rinda,
we have 2 sets of sheets/duvet cover for our bed, and same for the kids beds, may 7 or 8 sets of towels to be able to cope when visitors come. We don't use table cloths or place mats excepted for Christmas (so only 1 set). As for napkins, we only use them for Xmas, the rest of the time, we use Kitchen towels ( we love tomato sauce pasta ...). Have a great day ! xx

Elizabeth said...

I cleaned my linen closet out about six months ago and donated lots of things to an animal shelter. For the bed linens, I only have two sets. One on the bed and one in the wash. Towels, I have three sets. We use an electric blanket in the winter and a light blanket in the summer. I have one tablecloth for when guests are her for dinner, and two sets of place mats for the kitchen table. Kitchen towels are my biggest problem...I have way too many but whenever I see a cute one in the department store, it tends to find their way into my cart! I should mention that it is only the two of us now so I can go a bit minimalist as far as linens go.

Elizabeth said...

Whoops, forgot napkins. I make my own cotton napkins and have about a dozen of them in all different colors and patterns. I really do not like paper napkins but love the cloth ones as they get softer with each washing.

Irene said...

Your post drew me to my linen cupboard, and I quickly closed the door again... The answer is, I have far too much and I have already had a recent purge giving some to my daughters. Time for another sort-out I fear. I do have a friend who only has one set of everything. She says it makes her very efficient!

Ladkyis said...

I have two sets for our bed and two sets for each spare double bed. I also have three single bed duvets and six duvet covers. I have lost count of the pillow cases and pillows because you can never have enough of those. I have at least six bath size towels in each bathroom and at least six hand towels too. I have a pile of facecloths in each bathroom. The kitchen stuff Hmmmmm are 24 small hand towels too many? I seem to use them all over the course of a week or two and the drying cloths or tea towels well I stopped counting at thirty. You can never have too many of those because they are so useful for so many things!
It's a good job our house is big because I haven't counted the duvets and blankets that are in spacebags or the baby stuff I can't bear to part with

Karen said...

We have four sets of sheets for each bed--two sets for spring and summer and two for fall and winter (flannel). I have too many sets of placemats and napkins, but I have collected them over many years, and still use the ones I have. I purged everything I didn't use (or those that had seen better days) the year I retired. We have two sets of towels for each of the two bathrooms, and a few extras for company.

laurie said...

as a person who loves the idea of organization and all the products that go with it, i'm not very organized in real life! i think i have 2 sets of sheets per bed but i have NO idea how many towels or other linens i have stuffed in closets and chests. i am imagining the wonderful feeling you will get when your own linens are neatly arranged and accounted for. ahhhhh.

Sian said...

TSO and I cleaned out our linen cupboard or "hotpress" this summer. We discovered lots of sets we had been given as wedding presents and which had fallen out of use over the years. I can't bring myslef to give them away though, so we just restacked it all and now it's threatening to fall off the shelves again!

We have more towels than anything else. On;y a couple of tablecloths and a couple of sets of napkins which we keep in the dining room

Cheri said...

As an aspiring minimalist, I've tried to keep my linen collection reasonable. 2 sheet sets per bed - one for on the bed while the other is in the wash. But then, my kids are all adults now and no need to worry about "accidents or illness" requiring a quick sheet change. However, we've kept a lot of the old ones in a basket in the laundry room which are used for painting and other messy projects.

Towels - two sets for Jay & I (again, one on the rack, one in the wash), but about a dozen random towels between the girls because they can't seem to hang a towel after use to save their lives (something new in the past few years) I would have less if they used less!

Actually only 3 shelves in my linen closet have linens - the rest store supplies - shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, toothpaste, bathroom cleaners, tp and tissues, etc. We buy all those items in bulk or on sale and keep a sizeable supply.

We rarely use tablecloths, but I have two nice ones for Thanksgiving/Christmas. We have 3 sets of placemats (fabric). These are stored in the kitchen.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Judging by all the different answers here, there is no correct number to have. We have one set for our own bed plus an extra fitted sheet. Two sets for both children (in case of illness) plus an extra fitted sheet and two flat sheets for hot summer nights when no duvet is required. I have one 'linen' tablecloth for special occasions my other two are oil cloth. We don't really use napkins but I do have one set of six with a matching table runner. Towels are another matter and I actually have no idea how many we own!

soulbrush said...

I am quite ashamed to say that my bed linen is in complete disarray- we are using bits and pieces that don't always match and are getting very frayed at the edges. But somehow, with all the other things that need doing we feel that bed linen is not a necessity.

Mary B said...

Two sets of bed linen per bed should be enough one to use one in the wash.
as for towels now I think you can't have too many of those
Don't use table linen any longer as I don't have a dining table, if I did I think 4 table cloths should do.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

We have 4 sets of sheets for our bed - two are regular & two are flannel for winter. The boys each have 3 bottom sheets. They don't like the top ones & use blankets instead. I also have a set of sheets for the guest futon.
I have 5 cloth tablecloths, 3 semi-seasonal ones (floral, harvest & winter) & 2 solid colors. Plus 3 sets of 4 placemats that mix & match with the tablecloths. Oh and 8 cloth napkins & 8 dishtowels.
I have 10 big towels, 10 hand towels and more washcloths than I can count.
Sheets are kept in their bedrooms, towels in the bathrooms & the kitchen stuff is stored in various places in the kitchen.

debs14 said...

We have two duvet covers and pillowcases and two sheets per bed.
I have far too many towels caused by changing the paint in our bathroom too often and needing new ones to match!
I have 4 tablecloths, 3 normal size and 1 large one for when we add the extension piece to the table at Christmas or other family gatherings.
Old Linen and towels get saved for emergencies or decorating dustsheets.

Anonymous said...

i have a closet full of table cloths.. my grandma embroidered them and i cherish every single one .. they have matching napkins of which i have almost two drawers full ... i can't bear to part with any of these. Towels, we have one shelf of bath towels and one shelf of beach towels (all of which have some meaning) ... sheets, when Angelina was little she tossed her cookies every night and we have like 4 sets of sheets for our bed and 3 for her bed, 2 for the extra bed and 2 for the fold out couch... apparently i have too many .. cuz that doesnt even start on the blankets, most of which are from family long gone and i'm not parting with them, either!

Mariana in CA who clearly needs linen intervention!

Missus Wookie said...

Have you read "Home Comforts" it is a wonderful book about the whys and wherefores of running a home. My current bridal/leaving home gift :)

We aim to have two sets per bed per season (hot/cold) which is one on and one in the wash. Wookie & I only have one flannel set and need to replace the normal sheets.

Towels - Princess just bought her set for Uni - 2 towels and 5 or 7 washcloths/flannels which would get her through over a week we figured. Ewok has half that and will get the rest for Christmas.

There are a few hand towels and flannels that are communal, plus some spares for guests.

Missus Wookie said...

Oh didn't see table stuff too - I have about 18 cloth napkins in two colour-ways (autumnal, more summery), two tablecloths that get used inside and three 6' oilcloth ones for the big tables next door we use during parties.

We don't use a table cloth very often - usually just have bare wood or table mats, have two dozen or so of them in various coordinating colours. I mix and match those, plus a couple of runners. Tried to keep all to similar colours so I don't have to worry about a match.

alexa said...

Great question, and just look at all the answers! I've just cleared out our hot-press/airing cupboard and table linen drawers. Two changes for each bed, and as we have spare duvets for guests who might sleep on the sofa/sofabed, then one for each of those. Table linen: four everyday clothes and 12 white napkins, and two 'special occasion' ones with napkins. Plus half a dozen tray clothes. Too much, probably!

Melissa said...

My strategy for sheets is simple - 3 sets per bed, stored under the bed because that's the closest place to where they are used. My strategy for tableclothes, napkins, & placemats is that they can only be stored in the china cabinet, sideboard, or baskets on top of the cookbook shelf - when those areas are full, that's enough! :>)

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Whoa - I'm supposed to have a linen strategy? I didn't even know there was a guideline for the number of linens to have. Clearly, my mother failed me on that portion of the housekeeping training. LOL.

I have two sets of sheets for our bed, and wow - lots and lots and lots of towels. Our local animal shelter loves towel donations, so I'm sure I could purge a few to pass along to them.

You have me thinking that I really need to organize my linens. Thanks, Rinda (I think!). ;o)

Ginger said...

LOL at Deb's comment above! I agree - I didn't know there was a strategy :) But after thinking about this I now realize I need my own strategy.

I don't know how many towels we have, but there are lots, like at least 12 extra large ones and maybe 8 hand towels and face cloths. As for sheets, there are 2 sets per bed. Table linens - well that's probably where I don't have enough. I think I have 6 or 8 settings (mats and napkins). As for table cloths, I only have one that fits my table and I cannot seem to find any large enough. I've often thought I should get a few custom made but that would require organization ;)

Susanne said...

I've been doing a bit of closet clean-out too, but haven't gotten to the linens. Now that my kids are older, all the beds in the house are queen size. I normally strip a bed, launder the sheets and put them right back on. So I have 1 set per bed, plus an emergency set that I could use on any bed in the house. On towels, I have 2 sets per person, plus about 3 sets for guests. And lots and lots of extra washcloths. For kitchen linens, I have lots of placemat sets with matching napkins, but only a couple of tablecloths and formal napkins. These need to be sorted and purged as they are bulging out of their space in a chest of drawers near the kitchen which since we remodeled is now a different color scheme.

The Mann Fam said...

Hmmm. I've never thought much about my linens before. Is that odd? But I'm thinking about them now. I'm just thinking that since the weather as dropped 30 degrees since Monday it's time to get the flannel sheets on the bed!

Jimjams said...

I see I'm too late to influence your linen strategy but I'll add my 2 pennies worth nonetheless: 2 sets of sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers per bed, with about 4 spare sets for guests. Towels and flannels are colour coordinated for each person (saves arguments in the bathroom) with blue, green and yellow for each of the kids and separate sets for our bathroom. Plenty of spares for taking away on trips as well as a couple of guest sets. I have one "best" tablecloth and napkins and one Christmas set - we use class table mats the rest of the year.

A lovely post Rinda, prompting a very interesting set of replies!