How Many Sheet Sets Should One Person Own?

published Nov 9, 2021
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I have an entire section of my closet dedicated to bed sheets. I have three sets for my own bed, and I like to keep three or four sets on hand for my kids’ twin-sized beds. Plus, I keep an extra set for our futon — just in case a guest wants to change theirs out.

It’s a lot, yes, but it’s a system that works for me for a few reasons: I have room in my closet and I have kids and dogs who sully the sheets regularly. Equally as important: I like the feel of fresh sheets, but don’t dread laundry day.

That said, how I do it certainly isn’t the best way, and there’s no cardinal rule about sheets. How many bedsheets you keep on hand for your bed depends on the same considerations that led me to borderline excess. What’s your life like? Who lives with you? How often do you do laundry? All those questions (and more) can help determine how many bedsheets you own. 

But if you still want a little guidance, here’s what the experts have to say about it all:

The average single or married person without extenuating circumstances: Two sets

If you have access to laundry (and you don’t mind doing it), and you don’t anticipate frequent spills or stains, two might be the magic number. Jodie Hamilton, a professional cleaner at Amazing Services, says having only one set is a bit risky, as you’ll never know when you’ll need to urgently change them. 

Even if pets or kids don’t sleep in your bed,  a backup set of sheets is an insurance policy when it’s time to change sheets but you don’t want to do the laundry straightaway. “If you love a clean house, this helps you decrease the time your bed is unmade,” adds Michelle Hansen, a cleaning and organizing expert and owner of Practical Perfection.

The average single or married person who has a bit of extra storage: Three sets

If you resonate with the above and you have ample closet space, you could invest in three total sets of sheets — that’s the ideal number for Dean Davies, a professional cleaner at Fantastic Cleaners

“Why three? Because one set will be on the bed, one in the washer, and one spare if you need to change them in case of an accident,” he says. “This way, you’ll always have a fresh and clean set of bed sheets, whether you change them once a week or every other day.” As a bonus, he says a trio of sheets will slow down the wear and tear process of the fabric a bit.

Really clean people with fancy sheets: One set

If super-soft, high-quality (read: linen!) sheets are a core value for you, and you’re relatively clean, then you probably don’t have to worry about switching out sheets as much (whether for cleanliness reasons or preventing wear and tear).

“If you invest in good-quality sheets, which are less prone to wear and tear, one set of sheets would be perfect, as long as you stick to a regular washing cycle,” says Janet Wischnia, CEO of American Blossom Linens.

Credit: Brittany Purlee

People with limited storage space but access to laundry: One set

The same rule applies if you don’t have extra room for storage but you do have the ability to wash and dry your sheets regularly. “If you have limited storage space and easy access to laundry, you can get by with one set per bed,” says Seana Turner, professional organizer and owner of The Seana Method. “Strip the sheets, wash them, put them back on.”

People with potentially messy kids or pets: Three to four sets

If you’re a parent of either children or pets who occasionally sneak into your bed, you might consider more sets, as you never know if there might be a need to change the sheets more than once a day. “And who wants to wait or be rushed to do the laundry?” Wischnia says.  This many sets might also work well for your kids’ beds, especially if they’re new to the potty training thing.

Hot (or sweaty) people who don’t want to do laundry constantly: Two to three sets

Anki Spets, owner and designer of the bedding company AREA Home, generally suggests two sets for the average consumer. If you’re prone to sweating, you live in a hot area, or you don’t have A/C, though, you might want to up the number. It all depends on how often you want to do laundry. (And if you can tolerate sleeping in gross sheets.)

People who do laundry at the laundromat: Three sets

Julia de’Caneva, a life coach and former professional organizer, usually tells people to have two sets of bedsheets on hand. But if you don’t have a washer and you go to the laundromat twice a month, she says it could help to keep three sets of sheets so you’re not without sheets mid-month.

People with allergies or medical issues: Five sets or more

If you have seasonal allergies, sensitive skin, or a medical issue that requires you to change your sheets more than once a week, it could be worth it to invest in several sets. And if you’re differently-abled or you experience chronic pain and laundry is hard for you, having fresh sheets on standby could be really nice (as long as you have space for them).

People who eat in bed: Three sets

Not everyone has a cozy couch to watch Netflix on, and that’s OK! If you have a TV in your room and you snack there regularly, you might want to up your number, too. Either way, most of the experts agree that you should stock an extra top sheet for snack time (or sexy time). “It will make it super easy to clean up and limit the times you have to do entire sheet sets of laundry per week,” De’Caneva says.

People who live in extreme climates: Four sets

Lucky enough to live in a climate with real winter? Then you might want to have separate sheets for the seasons — two breathable sets for warmer months and perhaps two flannel sets for winter, suggests Alessandro Gazzo from Emily’s Maids, a house-cleaning and maid service in Dallas.

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy

More Tips to Keep Your Sheets Looking Better for Longer:

1. Keep extra pillowcases on hand

For every set of sheets, it’s a good idea to keep a couple of extra pillowcases on hand. “I recommend having a few extra, as they get more wear as they are exposed to hair products and even makeup,” Spets says. 

2. Take care of your sheets

You can get by with fewer sheets if yours are nicer, but make sure to take care of them. “To make your sheets last longer, you shouldn’t fully dry them — the dryer is the worst for all-natural materials,” Spets says. “Never over-dry by taking the sheets out when slightly damp, and then leaving them out to completely dry. This is good for the fabric.”

3. Make sheets easy to find

“If you keep all sheets in a linen closet, be sure to label the shelves, so you know which sets are where. It can be hard to quickly tell a queen sheet set from a full sheet set,” says Turner. “If your sheets have a tag, use an indelible ink pen to note the size on the tag. The tags can fade quickly when washed.”

4. Don’t keep incomplete sets

Unless you’ve designated an old sheet as a dropcloth, don’t keep incomplete sets of sheets around — it’s a waste of space. “I can’t tell you how many times clients went to use old sheet sets only to realize there were no pillowcases, the fitted sheet was ripped, or some other such woe that didn’t serve their needs,” De’Caneva says.

5. Don’t keep sheets for beds you don’t have anymore

Another, similar suggestion: When you get rid of a bed and no longer have any beds of that size, remove all sheets of that size from the house. “They will get mixed into your linens and clog up your space,” says Turner.