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Linen minimalism

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am planning on reducing our towels, sheets, and blankets to the bare minimum. I figure one set of sheets per bed and one towel per person should be sufficient. But how many dish cloths and towels? We wash dishes by hand. How many rags? I have way too many of both of these. What is the fewest amount a family of 6 can get away with?
post #2 of 19
Sounds like a plan! But this is my issue. Literally everytime I think of doing just this, we have an overnight vomit issue and everything is dirty and there is nothing fresh. I have learned to stop talking about it.

We have 3 sets of sheets for each bed in the house and that includes the flannel sheets we use only during the cold cold months. Exception is the guest bedroom that has one set of sheets that gets changed after a guest leaves. We strip the bed, wash and remake for the next guest whenever that maybe.
post #3 of 19
I would have at least two sets of sheets for every bed, unless all the beds are the same size and you have at least one extra set. We tend to all get the stomach bug at the same time here, so we all have two sets. Also DD got a bladder infection well after she was fully potty trained and wet the bed one night.....I keep looking at our stack of sheets too, I'm going to tackle it this winter.

I'd count how many dishrags/towels you go through in one wash cycle, and keep a few extras.
post #4 of 19
We have 3 sets of sheets per bed. We do laundry once a week, so there's always one set on the bed, one set in the linen closet, and one set in the dirty clothes. It just makes the cycle easier for me.

As for the kitchen, we have probably 6-7 drying clothes (so the larger ones) and about 4 washing clothes (those really common plaid terrycloth kind). That works for us, but we only wash a few of our dishes by hand. We are trying to reduce (ultimately eliminate!) paper towels, so we may need to add some of the bigger cloths for spills this year.

We are moving to cloth napkins right now, and I have no idea how many we need. DH thinks 28 (one per person per day for a week), but that seems so excessive to me. Right now we have 10, but we're only on the first week of using them.
post #5 of 19
We have two sets of sheets for each bed and two towels per person (monoramed and color coded ). I have probably 8-10 of the regular sized dishtowels and 15-20 of the smaller ones because we only use paper tows for things like
eat juice.
post #6 of 19
Three sets of sheets per bed. Towels, a dozen or so. Dishtowels a dozen or so.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
I already had reduced us to 2 sheets per bed, but realistically I just wash and dry them and remake the bed. I guess I could keep 2 extra and just do the boys' room and girls' room on separate days. The 4 kids are all in twin beds so their sheets are interchangeable.

I think maybe one dishcloth and towel per day should be fine. I am aiming for one load of towels and one load of sheets so that I am never behind on laundry. One load and I would be caught up

We don't use paper towels, I just have a bin of rags to clean up spills and a bin of homemade flannel clothes for messy fingers. I need lots less of those too, no sense having too many when I can just wash regularly and not need them.

I have never had a wet bed and generally they are old enough to not vomit in the bed (except the 2 year old and even she does pretty well). Realistically the sick ones always end up with us anyway, so we would have time to wash bedding before it was needed again.

We are striving for absolute minimalism. Nothing more than the bare minimum. I would rather have less as we are a large family in a small home and space is limited enough

Thanks for all the input!
post #8 of 19
I have two sets of sheets for each bed.

Bathroom towels : I have what fits in the allocated space - maybe 10-12 towels for me and 3 kids.

Kitchen towels : I might have around 50 or so. It seems like a lot, but we don't use any paper products. They are the barmop style. I keep one drawer in the kitchen stocked with them (and a small stack of old t-shirts, use to clean glass/mirrors), the rest I store in the linen closet.

Wipes : These started out as cloth diaper wipes, now we use them for TP, runny noses, etc. I probably have around 100 or so.
post #9 of 19
I would suggest, before cutting back on sheets and towels drastically - that you store the extras for a while before you get rid of them completely. Then if it turns out you do need more sheets or towels, you won't have to go out and buy new.
post #10 of 19
I have 2 sheet sets per bed, but if I had a lot of one size bed, I would probably have one sheet set for each bed + one extra. I find it easier to have an extra on hand to make the bed with immediately and the laundry can be more leisurely. Of course, I wouldn't be able to change them all at once this way.
post #11 of 19
After 7 years of only having one set of sheets per bed I caved and bought second sets for each. It makes life far easier!

There are 5 of us here, and we each have 7 bath towels. We tend to share towels and wash them every 3 days.

I have 7 dish towels and sometimes think thats not enough.

I have about 12 handkerchiefs for noses.

I think there are about 6 old cloth diaper wipes around for hands and faces.

No clue how many rags. I used to have at least 20 but after 3 years of heavey use I think I am down to 5. Need to get some more microfiber cloth!
post #12 of 19
I still have far too many (towels and dishtowels) but I've started downsizing by giving away what always landed magically on the bottom of the stack (I know, that's a no-brainer).

I don't think I would go to one set per bed only, though. During sicky times I'm always thankful for that extra set "just in case". (But then, we have different beds - as Germans we still use featherbeds or wool quilts.)

Thanks for the inspiration from all the posters - makes me feel a little less crazy (for trying to be a little green)!
post #13 of 19
I also would have at least 2 sheet sets per bed. Kids get sick. And the middle of the night is so much easier when you can grab clean sheets off a shelf.

I keep all my old towels. They come in handy. Hot water heater leaks all over the basement? Old towels. Dog spills water everywhere? Old towels. Throw a messy party and no one remembers to bring their own towles? Yeah, I put out a laundry basket full of old towels and they all got used. I have used them more than I can remember.

I have a ton of dishtowels and we go through them all. I bet I have about 20 towels and maybe 10 dishclothes.

Regular towels? I have 4 guest sets, about 5 misc towels for DS, and I think 8 adult bath towels. Bunch of washclothes and a bunch of hand towels. I probably have 20 hand towels but for parties I put 3 in each bath so...yeah.

I have no idea how many cloth napkins I have - maybe 40? But I have 3 different colors.
post #14 of 19
I cut way back on linens in the fall. So far I haven't needed anything I gave away.

For a family of 4.

Towels - 8 towels and about 8 washcloths.

Sheets - We have 2 sets of sheets for each bed.

Tea Towels - I have a lot as I hand wash dishes using a tea towel as the drying board and I line dry all my laundry. Maybe 20 tea towels and 10 dishcloths.

Cloth Napkins - 20

Cloth Hankies - approx. 100 flannel 6x6 squares in circulation. I am always thankful I have so many when everyone is sick at the same time.

Cloth TP - approx. 100 baby washcloths in circulation.

Blankets, Douvets and Quilts - We have a lot of because we keep the house chilly at night in the winter. Some where I picked up the trick of storing extra blankets under the mattress' and I did this last summer and it worked great. We have a decorative quilt rack as well.

Rags - I use DS's old flat cloth diapers for dirty spills or a tea towel for food spills. 40 diapers, DS still wears dipers at night.
post #15 of 19
We are more minimalist than I thought.

1 set of sheets per kid bed, plus a random extra flat sheet that I use if we have an overnight accident.

2 sets of sheets for my bed.

10 bath towels for 5 people, 3 hand towels, 3 wash cloths.

12 dish towels and 6 wash cloths for the kitchen.

We have been paying down debt for years and I skip spending money on towels. They are expensive!!!

ETA -- I do have a mess of cloth napkins (16 maybe?) and a lot of old, ragged cloth diapers for cleaning/puke/big messes.
post #16 of 19
My bare minimum would be:

1 set of sheets per bed, plus an extra set for each bed sixe (so an extra twin and and extra queen).

1 bath towel per person + 2 extras + 2 grungy/dog/mess towels

2 hand towels per bathroom

4 kitchen towels + 9 kitchen washclothes/rags + 9 washclothes for wiping up baby/toddler faces after meals.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Clearly some of you have actual linen CLOSETS I could never squeeze too many of any of these things in my small house. My main goal for cutting out the extra is to make my tiny house livable (and comfortable) for 6 of us in the long term.

I figure I often have a basket of towels that doesn't get put away until we have already dirtied a new load. That means I have a full load too many. I always wash and replace the sheets the same day (or again they sit in the basket way too long) so I can do without. We have gone through a stomach bug recently and didn't need extra, so I don't want to keep extra around for the once or twice a year they may actually be useful to me.

We have never used paper towel and don't use napkins at the table for most of what we eat, so a flannel cloth has worked just fine. I don't think I will get rid of any except those that are old and full of holes. Rags I will maybe just toss the extra in storage so I have some when my current supply gets worn out. We use those for messes and water spills.

Dishcloths, one per day of the week of each a wash cloth and a dish towel should be sufficient. I do laundry daily anyway, so this system should work better for me than having extra and just letting it go unfolded for days at a time.

Thanks for all the input, it has really helped me clarify what will work for me!
post #18 of 19
Yeah, I've been wondering about the right number of dishcloths too. We have too few right now but I don't want to overbuy.

Just wanted to add that I specifically bought a full size bed for my son instead of a twin so it would match the guest bed and I could get by with fewer sheets. We have one set of sheets for our Queen bed and it works out fine.
post #19 of 19
We have two fitted sheets for each bed. I have a stack of flat sheets, but am thinking we just need one for each bed for spring/summer months, when blankets are too much.

We probably have more towels than we need (family of seven, 12 towels).

I have about 8 dish towels that are used to dry counters/table/dishes/hands and whatever else paper towels would be used for.

I have a bunch of prefolds that we use for cleaning/icky messes.
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