When do you get rid of/replace household stuff....? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 11-14-2009, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Towels?
Pillows?
Bath mats?
...etc.?

The reason I ask is that I think we might be hanging on to things for too long...they're still serviceable, but look old/ratty after so much use. Most of the stuff we got for our wedding....

Some peoples' homes always have new-looking stuff, and I don't know if I'm missing the boat here on the 'time to throw it out' thing or if others are just being wasteful for the sake of show...

I am so not Martha Homemaker
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#2 of 19 Old 11-14-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Old towels go in my rag bin or if not shredded too badly.. I'll put them in the camping stuff for a time. Pillowcases.. if not horrible go to summer camp with kids. Then I don't have to worry about the ones that match their room decor getting all gross. Bathmats, if these have changed color in some way... might find their way into the shop for warming up the concrete floors there. Or give them to a friend for her dog's bedding.

My stuff doesn't need to look brand new, just in good repair. I don't care about faded unless it faded just in one spot or something odd like that.
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#3 of 19 Old 11-14-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Usually everything has a pecking order in the house before it truly is gotten rid of. Towels can be used for many purposes... resewn for hand towels, wash cloths, cleaning rags, shop rags, wipes in the car, and about a million other things. Bathmats are delegated to the camping totes when they get old and worn and then from there, they can be used to lay on for doing repairs under cars, plumbing, or if they have a rubber backing, I will throw these into the car in the winter to gain traction if I get stuck in the snow/ice. Pillows... remove the stuffing and make throw pillows, smaller pillows or stuffed toys for kids. The fabric can be used as cleaning rags. Just about everything can be repurposed for something. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
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#4 of 19 Old 11-14-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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I replace some stuff on an ongoing process curosity of the thrift store. My bath mat is super comfy on the bare feet fresh from the shower, but looks just plain bad... I keep looking, but haven't found anything to replace with yet. If i can't find something in the next 6 months or so, I will start considering buying new.

A lot of that other stuff is recycled thru the house on an ongoing basis, but I don't really sweat the rest of it.

Not certain if that helps or not, but replacing/ upgrading isn't a bad thing, just make sure it's a conscience shopping.
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#5 of 19 Old 11-14-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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I cut stuff like linens into rags when they start develop holes. When that happens it's only a matter of time before the hole turns into a big tear. But, I'm not all that concerned with my house looking "picture perfect" either. As long as it's clean and does the job it's okay with me. I do try to keep the nicer/newer hand towels in the powder room since that's the bathroom guests use when they come over. But if they're staying the night, they get the same (well, the best ones) towels and linens the family uses.
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#6 of 19 Old 11-15-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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I recently replaced all of our 10-15 year old towels, the old towels are now in the rag closet for the animals.

I normally wait a little longer than I should but then I hate spending money unless its a great deal.
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#7 of 19 Old 11-15-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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Towels that become practically thread-bare and ratty are then used as rags. Bath mats here last a long time. I have a few that we use in the mudroom when it is rainy/snowy.

Pillows turn into play pillows for forts, etc. I usually use pillows for at least 10-15 years (down).

I keep old sheets for taking on vacations, using as covers for furniture when moving, kids play or donate.

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#8 of 19 Old 11-15-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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I keep things until they are basically falling apart. Towels usually get turned into rags, pillow cases I usually keep for fabric, or for camping.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#9 of 19 Old 11-15-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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I also keep things until they're basically falling apart. If they're functional, I really don't care how "worn" they look.

A year ago I purchased new washcloths for the bathroom, and all the old ones are now kitchen rags. The kitchen towels with holes also get cut down to washcloths. When they're really threadbare and unusable, I'll throw them out.

I can't think of the last time I actually purchased new towels. I have relatives that "update" their linens more often than I do, and I get their "hand-me-downs." If I didn't get gently used towels for free, I'd be checking out thrift stores when I had towels looking ratty enough to throw out.

Sheets I buy new every decade or so- when the old ones are no longer comfortable and/or the elastic is shot on the fitted sheets. If the old ones are still usable but not comfortable (such as poly/cotton sheets that are now mostly poly because the cotton wore out) and I really have more than I need for spares and guest beds, then I freecycle the extras. Sheets and pillowcaess are about the only category of linens that I might give away while they still have life left in them, and wouldn't purchase used.

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#10 of 19 Old 11-16-2009, 10:00 AM
 
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I think a lot of people get rid of perfectly good things just so they can get something that 'looks nice'. That's NOT our household.

We even had old bath towels that were starting to fall apart at the edges, so I just cut them down, serged edges and let my nieces tie dye them. Now they've been used so much there are threads and pieces hanging off but they still dry things so they get used.

We use washcloths with holes, etc. for rags. Everything gets used eventually. We recycle and re-purpose everything we possibly can. Old sheets go to cover veggies when the frosts start to hit. Old towels and washcloths get washed really well then used as 'batting' for homemade potholders I make for family and friends.

There are very few things we can't find a use for.

Looks aren't important in our house since there are more important things to think about. I'd rather put more energy into making sure my house is clean and everyone's happy and enjoying each other.

loving a small homestead with DH and DS (12/2005) keeping it natural, frugal and back to basics :
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#11 of 19 Old 11-16-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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I keep out the good stuff for guests. I like having nice clean new looking hand towels in the guest bathroom for example. Then as things start to wear a little they move to family use. Then as it wears even more it moves on to the pets or the rag bin. I certainly do not throw out useable sheets just because I want something that looks nice. But on the other hand I am not about to put the sheets with holes on a guest bed. I save those for me & DH. My problem is that I run out of rags quickly with the horses. I have been known to steal my DH's perfectly good socks for use on a leg injury.
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#12 of 19 Old 11-16-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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I keep stuff like that until it's completely unusable. I did take an old towel I don't like and cut it up to make the center of some potholders. Dishtowels and washcloths are used no matter what they look like, although I also have nice, pretty tea towels to dry hands and put out when company comes. My old potholders look like someone barfed on them.

We don't have money to replace things, so it's either use them until they are worn to nothing, or do without. I have some cookie sheets that are 20 years old, handed down from my mom, and they look it. (Burnt and warped and blackened.)

If I have something still in good use that I just don't want/use/don't have room for, I donate it.

Stained and ruined clothes become rag rugs. Shredded and worn towels and rags become grease rags for DH. Everything gets used to nothingness.
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#13 of 19 Old 11-16-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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I don't know that I have EVER replaced the items you mentioned and I have been out on my own for over 15 years! I have inherited towels and such from here and there and bought them one at a time over the years. There is always one nice set hanging when guests come over. Past that, the others (that we use everyday) look like crap. Sheets have been bought over the years. I have two sets for my bed and several for each of the kids beds. They have come from thrift stores over the years. Recently though, I was thinking about how nice it would be to have all new towels that matched... Maybe that will be in the budget sometime in the next 20 years or so.
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#14 of 19 Old 11-19-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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I have a friend the redecorates her bathroom at least once a year- new shower curtain, towel set, bathmat, toilet cover, etc. She donates that other stuff. I think she is nuts.

I have a set of "nice towels" that I hang up if I am going to have company. Actually there are a couple of sets of these since I have some holiday themed ones specifically. We actually USE the bath towels that may or may not match. I have gotten some from thrift stores, some from people that were moving or upgrading or whatnot.

I cut up towels that start to tear or have a seam coming out or sometimes some of them have a weird band near the bottom edge that gets weirdly puckered if dried too many times. (I really don't like that).

So that's the pecking order in my house..

Guest towels then
everyday use towels then
cleaning rags.

I have been thinking about this lately because I love those super fluffy towels that nice hotels have.. and those are so not the towels I actually use in my house..

oh well.

ETA:

Sheet sets I will use until torn but any stains would NEVER go on a guest bed... I HAVE been known to match up two sheets that were not actually part of the original set (a white and green striped fitted sheet with a white flat sheet that are not the same brand for example) because one or the other got torn..

I do not use bathmats. My cats like to mess with them too much.

I wash my shower curtains in the washer, but if they get to the point that they no longer keep moisture in the bath then it is time to replace the liner. I usually have a decorative cotton curtain on the outside and the liner on the inside though, and rarely have to replace more than the liner.

One of my son's had a hive incident a couple of years ago. The notice at the allergists office said that pillows should be replaced every 6 MONTHS to reduce allergens in the home. I SO need to work on that.
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#15 of 19 Old 11-20-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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Sometimes I wish I could care about this. But I would rather have the money for other things!

Our towels are about 5 years old and I am sure we will use themf or at least another 5 years. Sheets we used for decades. Bath amts we have never replaced- it is just to soak up water on the floor who cares if it looks pretty!

I guess if we were moving, maybe I would freecycle them, and get new at the new place, but other than that.... I can't imagine I will feel an urge to replace any time soon. I think our house looks pretty nice- but bathroom rugs and linens are not something I worry about. If the rug in the middle of the living room had a hole or stain, I would replace it!

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#16 of 19 Old 11-20-2009, 05:19 PM
 
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With bath mats, I'm only getting the machine washable ones from now on, so that makes those last longer.

Old towels should always come in handy, I don't see any reason to throw those away, unless you really have too many of them. Same with pillow case covers.

Pillows...I've been wondering about. What is inside of them: drool? sweat? dust mites? mold? Just guessing. I'd like to get all new pillows. My husband changed his head pillow about a year ago. His was 4 years old. Same age as mine so mine is 5 years now and I think its time to change mine.

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#17 of 19 Old 11-20-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
Pillows...I've been wondering about. What is inside of them: drool? sweat? dust mites? mold? Just guessing. I'd like to get all new pillows. My husband changed his head pillow about a year ago. His was 4 years old. Same age as mine so mine is 5 years now and I think its time to change mine.
I would think it is germs from drool, sweat, and lots of dustmites.. mold MAYBE.. The big difference I think is that it used to be common to get the pillow fillings replaced at the dry cleaners.. they would remove all the insides, wash the bags themselves and stuff them with fresh, but no one really does that anymore... so you have to buy new. Unfortunately.
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#18 of 19 Old 11-20-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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I'm tempted to replace some of mine soon, we've just moved house and I'd like things to match the new rooms. I will probably get a couple of new hand towels for the downstairs bathroom where people with see them and they will add a bit of much needed colour. The ones that will only be used buy us I can't really justify replacing.

Otherwise I tend to use them till they shed too much in the washer. Then they get used for rags.

We do get through a lot of washcloths. I try to keep a basket of "nice" ones for cleaning up the kids after meals but they tend to grab them for all cleaning jobs. Since I like that they clean up their own spills I don't object too much. Once they get too stained and don't look clean I stick them in the "one last use" rag pile, and throw them away after use.
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#19 of 19 Old 11-21-2009, 02:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
Like:

Towels?
Pillows?
Bath mats?
...etc.?
Towels:
We still have a few towels from when my DH was a child (30+ years ago now) that are in better shape than towels from my teenage years (20+ years ago now). All of those are in the rag cabinet. All the towels purchased when we were each on our own in our early twenties have been pitched long ago because they simply didn't hold up. We have one set of older towels for DH & I as our backup. DD has two hooded children's towels that are still serviceable. When we did some remodeling and painted the entire house with C O L O R back a few years ago, I decided it was time to purchase new towels. Each bathroom has nice towels that are used by us and guests. We are worthy of "guest" towels!

Pillows:
I still have two down pillows from the 90s. They are for guests who like flatter pillows or prefer down pillows. DD liked one for a couple years. I wash them and keep them in zippered covers and then pop them into a clean case when needed. DH & I (and now DD) prefer different pillows. They are inexpensive (2 for $10 @ Costco) and I wash them frequently. We have a set of two for guests and then three for us. I gradually purchased them back when we got new beds (early-to-mid 2000s). I have no idea what happened to the missing one...

Bath mats:
I only like the reversible, washable type rugs for bathrooms and kitchens. I was slowly replacing old, ratty ones when we had a major flood back in May. The flood ruined all the rugs on the first floor, so now I am back to replacing rugs AGAIN. It is tiresome because the quality keeps dropping and price is NOT a good indicator of quality anymore (at least not with these). With step-out-of-the-shower/bath-type mats, we have one that is basically a super thick towel in our bathroom. I got supremely lucky with this and got it for an incredibly low price and it is the best quality bath mat I've ever owned or seen. It has been 4 or 5 years now and it still looks perfect. We hang it up on the bar across our shower door after each use to dry and I wash it with our towels every other time.

Other:
Sheets - We purchased new sheets when we purchased new beds (2000 & 2004). We just replaced sheets for oldest (twins) this past summer. I've yet to find good sheets both DH & I like for our queen size bed. I have all the old sheets to use as fabric and have used some for quilt backs and costumes.

Kitchen towels - We received nice kitchen towels for our wedding (1999) and just replaced them in the last year or so since they were falling apart and horribly stained. I only got a couple new ones and we still use the old ones as back-ups. We need new bar mop towels and dishcloths. I purchased microfiber ones and regret it. I dislike them immensely. I want to knit or crochet the dishcloths myself and repurpose the microfiber ones.

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