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?

My household contents vs 21st century US houses

If you don’t read An Exacting Life, you’re missing out! She’s inspired so many of my posts.  Today, I was a little stuck on what to write.  Nothing I’d drafted felt right or finished, and I just lacked the drive to know what to write (so, if there’s something you’d like to know, feel free to send me an email with what you’d like to know livetolist(AT)  And then whoosh,  An Eaxcting Life’s post comes and I think ‘oh, I could write a whole post on that, rather than just commenting!’.  So here goes:

Inspiration behind An Exacting Life's post.

Inspiration behind An Exacting Life’s post.

An Exacting Life’s post is about a book she recently read, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors (Jeanne E. Arnold et al., Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA, 2012).  She used images and the texts to compare to her life.

Firstly, I live alone, so my ‘stuff’ ratio is at least 1/3 of what a couple with one child would have.  However, I likely earn as much as these couples, based on my rudimentary knowledge of US salaries and my salary.  So I have the means to have as much as these families, if not the time in life to have bought it all (I’m 28, I’m not sure how old the respondents were).

Interestingly, if I was to participate in a program like this, I wouldn’t react with ‘Oh no, I don’t want someone poking through my house’ (probably explains why I blog!), or even ‘I need to clean first’.  Sure there’s dust on the skirting boards at the moment, but overall I’m content to show strangers a few bowls in the sink.

I also have nothing on my fridge – I think the advent of stainless steel fridges has made that more and more common.  No one has ever said anything about it being ‘empty’.  I do have a magnetic noticeboard nearby, and that’s where invites and cards go, as well as some nice subway map magnets.

Noticeboard takes clutter off the fridge

Noticeboard takes clutter off the fridge

To some extent, my house is a cultural museum, almost all my ‘art’ is from my travels (I plan to catalogue all my art in a blog post in the future).  Actually,  I buy almost all my clothing overseas too.  I plan and save for trips and have the time to shop thoughtfully.  If homewares weren’t so heavy, I might also partake in buying those too (I didn’t even know there was Zara Home til I got to Dubai.  I was in HEAVEN! )  I don’t display anything related to my religion. Religious art sort of creeps me out.  And if it creeps me, imagine all my non religious friends’ reactions!.  I don’t have any trophies at all, and I don’t display my certificates.  As to photos of family: I have none! I have a photo strip of my best friends and myself from the day of my first date – but none of the said date, now bf!  I LOVE making photo albums for my brother’s 21st and my grandmother’s Christmas present last year, but I don’t display photos.  They age quickly.  And… I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all those years at boarding school, it was too painful (at the height of homesickness) to see a reminder?

With technology, I have two phones (work and personal).  The work phone tends to live in my handbag at the front of the house.  My personal phone follows me around, and it charges at the foot of my bed.  I watch a bit of TV, particularly when I’m home alone.  But I try to pick programs rather than just watch for the sake of it.  Cause I have book reviews to get too as well!  And I actually quite like the radio on, and often feel conflicted when I have to turn it off!

I do not stockpile food – I don’t have the space! I have a 10L water canteen just in case, and lots of grains, so I can eat from my pantry should I have to.  But I buy all my meat and fruit/vege fresh as it’s just outside my door.  I can’t imagine having an additional fridge or freezer, as I grew up in a family of five without one.  I always cook in my own kitchen, and about 50% of the time I cook with the bf’s help at his place.  He can cook by himself, and I’ll leave him to it, but happy to help as requested. (So blessed to have a man that cooks… something I need to teach one of my brothers!)

I don’t have a backyard.  I have a comically small balcony. I have one fold up chair. It’s sad – the size, but I knew I wouldn’t utilise a balcony, or bother keeping it clean and nice, so it’s probably good I didn’t waste money on a place with a bigger outdoor space.  I’m lucky to have a communal rooftop, that’s super sunny with an awesome view, and soon a pool and BBQs – all of which I don’t have to maintain!

More colourful than a hotel room.

More colourful than a hotel room.

In my bedroom, I think it’s spartan, similar to a hotel. But there’s more colour than a hotel – at least in the bedding.  White bedspreads are a little scary to me.  In my house inventory, I spend roughly 4% on my bedroom in the past 16 months, but I don’t include soft furnishings in that (that’d add 10% or so in actual costs).  When I look at replacement cost of the furniture (I owned by bed when I moved in), it’s closer to 11% of the total costs on the place.  The electrical items (ie ANYTHING with a power cord: fridge, phone charger etc) and the living room are the highest ‘stuff’ costs.

My car space is almost totally for my car, and my unridden motor scooter.  I have a metal tool box, with all the scooter accoutrements, and some paperwork that I seldom need, but keep.

I think I have a minimal home, mainly because I was mindful when I ‘filled’ it when I moved in at the start of 2012.  It helps that it’s small, so I don’t have space to ‘hide’ stuff.  I also sit around thinking ‘where do I have too much stuff’ and look to thin things out regularly.  And I’m happy to defend my choices when I compare my stuff to others, such as extreme minimalists like Zero Waste Home.

How about you? (Don’t worry, if you already comment over at An Exacting Life, I’ll be reading eagerly!)