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How many linen closets do you have? I hope it’s none, for your sake. I have one in the laundry room, but I recently discovered that linens are stored in no less than seven places in my house. I knew something was up when my husband kept saying “I’ll take care of the linens.” Not in a mafia hit man sort of way, which would have been troubling for other reasons, but in a sort of panicked way. He asked for my help and I came up to our room to discover this:


And thisIMG_7600

He started talking really fast about not being too sentimental about anything and how we should approach the sorting method. It might have been the three shots of espresso in his latte talking, but my takeaway was this: we had a linen problem, and in about 20 minutes he was leaving to pick up the kids and this would be my linen problem.

So here’s what I learned:

1. I have too many linens. Probably we all do. Actually, I don’t know how many you have, but  I think it’s easy to have way more than you really need or realize. Linens don’t usually break, they don’t particularly go out of style and they fold up neatly. It’s easy to just keep them “in case.” Next thing you know there is not a tent fortress imaginable that could use up all the linens you have

2. I don’t have to keep linens for nostalgic reasons. I mean, if someone makes you a quilt or you have a personalized blanket, keep it. Even binkies can stay. But my youngest kids are 10 and I have three crib sheets. They were cute to look at, but I got rid of them.

3. Newer sheets are better. They came up with this thing called thread count. When I was first buying my own for college, Oprah was spending her billions on 1200 thread count but 400 was a pretty nice standard. Now, my kids have 400 and if I ever wind up sleeping in their beds (also another story) I feel like I’ve slept on sandpaper. I think that thread count is still maybe the same, but they’ve made cotton blends and any number of advances in sheet softness. Worth checking out.

4. Sheets come in sizes they are shy about sharing. I spent most of the time unfolding and refolding sheets and desperately looking for tiny faded tags that may or may not say the size of the sheets. Twin are easy to tell, but the difference between full, kind and queen is tricky. Plus: I don’t have that size bed anymore. Why do I have several sets of sheets for bed sized I don’t have? Are we going to fail sleeping on a king sized bed and get demoted back to a queen? That is not going to happen.

5. There’s nothing  – other than making a sheet fort – to do with an incomplete sheet set. Sure some people will just put all different sheets on the bed, but you are a grownup now, and you can have matching sheets. You DO have matching sheets, and they are only going to make a giant mess of sheet tent if you don’t get rid of them

6. Those extra blankets can find a home. Our local animal shelter is always looking of old linens to use for their dogs and cats. And other charities will take sheets.Our local junior league takes just about everything. But call first to see what you have is what they want.

7. Keep enough for your beds plus a backup and that’s it. I was looking at a pile of old blankets and I thought “What if there’s an EMP and we have no heat. Won’t everyone be so greatful that I didn’t give away all these warmth-providing blankets?” To this I say: probably not. We already have enough for our beds plus a backup. Plus all our clothes! But then again, I’m an ill-prepared housewife, so maybe not the one to listen to about that stuff.