Like many things that tend to come in sets, towels, bed linens, and cloths never seem to come in the right-for-me quantity. I've got stacks of washcloths that I never use, while I have to frequently wash kitchen towels since I seem to never have enough. I've decided: it's time to tailor my linens to my behavior, so that the inefficiency comes to an end.
Some things to consider when you're going through your current stock of linens or when you're going to buy new ones:
- Do you need the same number of washcloths as you need towels? If you only use 1 towel for every three uses of a washcloth, then you probably don't need equal numbers of them. Or, if you don't tend to use a washcloth at all, why let them pile up? Repurpose them in the kitchen or as cleaning rags or get rid of them!
- Do you need a giant bath sheet? Bigger isn't always better, and while some people love the idea of a giant terrycloth blanket after a shower, others prefer to use a smaller towel or several smaller towels (that hair towel can come in handy sometimes) to get dry. Think about which you prefer and don't give into the default idea that a bigger towel necessarily means more luxury.
- Do you like duvet covers, or are they more trouble than they're worth? I tend to love duvet covers; they can instantly alter the look of a room, and there are so many beautiful options. My partner, on the other hand, can't stand to change duvet covers, and we'd end up going too long between bedding changes simply because he dreaded changing the cover. If you hate a chore that much, figure out a way around it. We now use washable comforters, and there's just as much color and much more cleanliness.
- Do you sleep with a flat sheet? Personally, I hate sleeping with a flat sheet because I always seem to end up tangled in it. After living in France for a while and loving the fact that the flat sheet isn't standard practice, I've started trying to buy my bedding separately. And if the set you love comes with a top sheet, then donate it and pass the flat sheet to someone who will use it.
- Do you need absorbent kitchen towels? Dish towels are often cute and affordable, but I don't understand the thin, non-absorbent material that many of them seem to be made of. If you use your towels more for decor or for low-absorbency tasks like hand-wiping, then go for a lovely, thin option. But if, like me, you also want your towels to do mop-up or dish-drying duty, then buy the types of towels that can handle the job. Or, repurpose all those washcloths or hand towels that you may not have been using in the bathroom!
If you think about your lifestyle, your preferences, and about what you want to achieve with a particular item before you buy it, it will help you cut down on extraneous items that you don't need, and it will also help your life feel more streamlined. There will be no more frustration with a tangled sheet, a too-thin towel, or a recalcitrant duvet. Instead, you'll have items that are perfectly suited to the tasks at hand.