365 days. 12 months. 52 weeks. You could do ANYTHING in that time, couldn’t you? Renovate a house? Declutter a house? Let’s do September.
“Why on earth is linen a separate decluttering category Liz?”
“Well, a lot of my clients are very attached to their linen. VERY attached.”
“Oh, I guess I do like a duvet set or two, or three… AND matching towels. It’s really nice to have a few guest sets too. And then there’s the amazing specials you can find now…”
“Are you maybe running out of room in your linen cupboard?”
“Liz, how did you know!”
There are a lot of rules around decluttering, organising and minimalism. They’re one-size-fits-all rules usually. And technically they work just fine. Like the two-sets-for-each-person rule:
2 duvet covers or bedspreads per person.
2 sets of sheets per person.
2 towels per person.
This rule is based on one-in-the-wash-one-in-use logic. Which works just fine unless:
You love to choose different colours and textures to make your beds look pretty.
You love a variety of coloured towels to make the bathroom look pretty.
You have a bed-wetter.
You do laundry as little as possible.
So what’s the best decluttering rule for linen?
They’re more like guidelines.
Collectors: If You Love To Buy Linen.
Oh the thrill when you come across a high thread count Egyptian cotton on special! Why wouldn’t you buy it?! It’s so cheap compared to the usual price. It’s so beautiful. It feels so lush. And you don’t have one in that colour. Wait, is that person eyeing them up!? Quick buy it!
I’m not going to tell you not to buy it. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post. What I am going to do is suggest this:
Sometimes we spend quite a bit of money on our collections. So much that we feel a bit guilty at the thought of getting rid of something that we no longer like. Especially if they’ve never been used. You might like to look at it this way – if you continue to add to your collection without decluttering or weeding you will eventually reach Maximum Capacity.
Maximum Capacity is when it’s really hard to pull out or put something back. It’s when you’re wondering where to put your new treasure, other than your linen cupboard, because it won’t fit. It’s when you’re thinking about buying another linen cupboard, or taking over other storage for your linen. Filling boxes with linen and storing it anywhere other than your linen cupboard is also a sign you may have reached Maximum Capacity.
If you love to collect linen and towels, make sure you can enjoy them. Organise them so you can see them. Make it a pleasure to open your linen cupboard. Make everything easily accessible. There’s no point in having your much loved collection all squished and rumpled and hidden by other stuff piled on top.
It might be time to make some space by easing out the less loved so you can enjoy your most loved.
Decorators: If You Love To Play With Linen.
You can change the whole look of a bedroom or bathroom with linen right? And it’s fun! It’s nice to have choices, to mix and match, arrange and design.
Use the linen! Don’t keep linen for special occasions (What is a linen Special Occasion anyway?) Guest linen is different, but unless you own a BnB you probably only need a few sets. Put them to good use, change them up regularly. If you find you’re not choosing to use some of your linen, maybe you don’t like them as much as the rest?
There might be some linen that you don’t use. There might be linen that you don’t like anymore. Even if you change all your linen every week, you will have your favourites that you use more often than any other.
Decorators often find they get stuck by the potential in an item, a cushion, a throw, a random pillowcase that matches nothing. It might come in handy, it match something contrasting. You might need a duplicate set that only fits one bed, even though you have 6 other sets in different colours that only fit that one bed. That can only have one set of sheets on at one time… So maybe you don’t really need that duplicate?
There may be linen that no longer fits any bed in your house. Used and new blankets and sheets and towels that are no longer loved. It’s OK to donate them. Forget about the money you spent. They are no longer worth that amount. Free up some space for lovely new things AND do some good.
Too Busy, Or If You Hate Laundry.
Having a lot of linen for purely practical reasons often has the opposite effect. Especially if it’s a struggle to stay organised. Or if storage space is at a premium. Do you find yourself stuffing great big bunches of clean linen into your cupboard? Are you struggling to find the sheets you need?
Maybe you bought heaps of linen over time with the thought that you’ll do laundry less often. Just bigger loads. But is that happening? Or are you finding that it’s just too hard to find the linen you want so you just wash what’s in use. You might only be using the top layer of the linen crammed into the space you have available because it’s just too hard to dig down or to find the right size.
FYI it’s totally legit to send linen out to a laundry service if you hate doing it.
Often the busiest people are the ones with too much stuff. Why? Because they never have the time to declutter. They have time to shop though. But decluttering is tedious, boring, annoying, anxiety kicks in and overwhelm. And so the problem grows and grows!
But in the end a streamlined, organised linen cupboard with only what you need in it will save you time and energy. Imagine opening your linen cupboard and seeing matching sets, easy to grab and easy to replace when they’re clean and folded.
Imagine how much time you’ll save!