Linen closet audit

I’m not sure what it is about Bea at Zero Waste Home that sometime rubs me up the wrong way. I’m sure she doesn’t mean to make me feel inferior (actually, only you have the power to change how you feel).  But I see some things in her life, and flat out reject that it could ever be me!  So her recent Facebook photo has riled me up, and when my comment got eaten by an e monster, I figured I’d rather type out a whole blog post instead!  Here I look at her (very white) zero waste linen closet, and look at my (not so white) line closet.

Bea, at Zero Waste Home's linen closetsource:

Bea, at Zero Waste Home’s linen closetsource:


Linen closet. Top shelf (r to l): Doona covers and matching pillows case, pillow cases & cushion covers, surplus fabric Bottom shelf (r to l): Bath towel, bathmat, box containing hand towel and face washers

Linen closet.
Top shelf (r to l): Aqua doona covers and matching pillow cases, guest sheets and pillow cases, pillow cases & cushion covers, surplus fabric
Bottom shelf (r to l): Bath towel, bathmat, box containing hand towel and face washers

My sheets:

1 set on the bed (with two pillowcases), 1 set in the cupboard (with two pillow cases).

Justification: I air dry everything, so I need sheets the night of washing day.  I won’t compromise on owning a dryer.  And I don’t have central or other heating to ‘speed’ things along.

Linen cupboard off site storage. Sheets lives in the top of my wardrobe cause sheets dry upstairs AND get used upstairs, so why store them downstairs?

Linen cupboard off site storage. Sheets lives in the top of my wardrobe cause sheets dry upstairs AND get used upstairs, so why store them downstairs?

My ‘other’ sheets:

1 single pink flat and fitted sheet – there’s a small stain on the flat top sheet, so I avoid using it.  With two pillow cases.

1 double pale blue flat and fitted sheet – there’s no need for the fitted, but I use the flat with the pink sheet above. With two white pillows cases

Justification: I have a single foam mattress for guests.  Need to return the blue set to my parents I think – no need for it in my house! <- drafting posts works wonders, I’ve done this already!

My bath towels:

2 white towel: 1 in use, 1 in the cupboard

Justification: I don’t wash daily, more like weekly.  As soon as the towel noticably smells, it goes in the washing basket til I generate enough washing to run a white load

My ‘other’ towels (guests included)

3 small blue towels – one for guests (ie BF, therefore in regular use), one for water polo, one excess (currently for my use at the BF’s place)

1 small navy towel (damaged) – gym towel (or spills etc at a pinch) <– this is headed to an animal shelter, I never like it when I use it, cause of the hole

1 large navy towel – additional guests, spills, mishaps, protect furniture as needed

Justification: I don’t wash the polo or gym towel after each use, therefore they are single purpose. I could perhaps have 1-2 less towel though.


Towels in action at my house recently!

Why was my towel in the kitchen? Well I usually hang it upstairs but I didn’t want to wake the sleeping guests.

Bathmats, hand towel and face washers

2 blue bathmats

3 blue hand towels

3 blue face washers

My doona covers:

1 on the bed – Navy and white + 2 pillow cases *usually on my bed*

1 for whilst the other dries – Aqua stripe + 2 pillow cases

1 that’s become a drop sheet – Black and white check (bless your hearts, professional painters, I’m not sure what I was paying for!) + 4 pillow cases!

My blankets:

1 cotton queen sized aqua blanket *lives on the bed whilst the weather warrants it – 9 months of so*

1 thick knitted grey wool throw *this lives on the sofa in winter, and on the foot of the bed in summer*

1 knitted teal throw *this lives on the sofa in summer (and likely winter too, it’s new and I love it)*

1 single sized quilt cover (signature quilt from school) *this lives on the bed in winter and the sofa in summer*

Overall, I have some excesses – duplicate doona covers and sheets.  And a lot of pillow cases!  Writing this list has promoted me to donate some excess bathmats, and return a sheet set to my parents.  I could have one less face washer and hand towel, but they aren’t ‘nice enough’ for the local op shop, so I’ll just ‘use them up’.

How about you? How’s your linen closest supplies?

19 thoughts on “Linen closet audit

  1. I pared mine down in the past 6 months, but still have too much. However, most is 5 years old and showing some wear, so I’ll be able to cut down further as they are used up. I also have some sentimental items such as a quilt my grandmother made and 2 crochet tablecloths that my mom made.

    • Supposedly it’s something most Australians buy in boxing day sales! Seems an oversupply is pretty common! Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

  2. My linen supply is similar to yours – two sets of sheets for the bed because they take longer than a day to dry if it’s been raining. I also own two single blankets that I can put on the bed when the weather cools down, since my doona is not very warm.

    I don’t have anywhere for guests to sleep, but I do still have some single sheets I used to use on my air mattress for fieldwork. The air mattress is long-dead, and I’m using one of the sheets as a curtain, but I really should get rid of the other one.

    • I just turned an op shop sheet into hankies – well I’m yet to hem them but they’re all cut up into squares. Still you’re pretty minimalist on linen, nice work.

  3. When we bought our new house, we got a TON of towels and washcloths. It looks nice in the linen closet, But in hindsight it was really kinda dumb to spend so much money on them. Now that it just me (hubby passed away) I use only 4 towels a week. I did get rid of all of the extra bedding, Think I had eight sets. I have two nice bedding cotton sets that I use. So that is all I need. I wash clothing once a week.

  4. We have 2 sets of everything for adult beds but 3 sets for kids’ beds (in case of sickness – you can easily go through 3 sets in a night.) Towels are a different story…we seem to only have about 5 and we are constantly running out in a family of 3 people. This is one area where I have to add more, not declutter!

    • Towels are interesting – I remember getting into a controversial argument at work about them! Some people wash them after every use, others after a day or two and then “disgusting” people like me who let them dry between uses and wash weekly! Thankfully my bf and family are the same so no dramas with the near and dear!

      Indulge yourself and get lovely fluffy big towels just to pamper yourself!

    • Join the (practical) grotty club!

      I can’t work out all the white with no bleach! Surely her boys bleed? She drinks red wine? And there must have been some waste to get to such a minimal home? Still the idea of zero waste is admirable

  5. Reminder that I wanted to do a post on this – must get that drafted. I have way, way too much in the way of bedlinens and towels. That partly comes from the fact that when I still lived in Ireland, my sister would usually come over from France for a month with her family. They’d rent a house but rather than having to pay excess baggage charges/overfill their car if they were driving over, I used to give them sheets and duvets and towels. A lot of the sheets and covers were actually donated by our older sister so at least it was mostly old stuff getting re-used. When I moved, I bought one of those cloth wardrobes, shoved most of it in there and just left it in a corner of the bedroom. While decorating a bit last year, I moved stuff around so that came out of there and has just been taking up room in the sitting room since. I need to go through it all properly and sort out what to keep (I use some of it when I have guests) and what to chop up to add to my fabric stash. I think part of it comes from being from a very big family so to me it’s “normal” for there to be a big cupboard full of stuff. Of course, what’s normal for a family of eight isn’t really what should be normal for a household of one!

    • It’s so easy to repeat what you’ve grown up with, and linen closets seem particularly in that vein! Eight person family is definately larger than normal too! I’d love to hear some stories. And I think linens get dull so we replace them but the old ones still linger cause they have life in them but not good enough for guests/donation.

  6. Pingback: My house review | livetolist

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