April 10, 2023

I Don’t Own Extra Sheets

When people ask me for tips and tricks on organizing a linen closet, my number one tip is always the same.

Don’t organize things you don’t need.

Having only one set of sheets for each bed has massively simplified my own life. I believe you can have one set of sheets for each bed AND still live a good life. The idea of having a linen closet full of extra sheets is a bit outdated, in my opinion. We live in a time where we have access to washers and dryers and we have fast shipping for pretty much any product we need. I am not suggesting you don’t need sheets for all of your beds. I’m merely offering the idea that having more than one set for each bed might actually be creating more work and taking up more space than needed. So hear me out and consider if you could make your life easier by adopting the one-set of sheets per bed system in your own home.

It saves time!

Let’s get real, I’m kind of looking for the lazy way out. Not having extra sheets means I never have to watch tutorials on how to fold a fitted sheet. I wash our sheets every week or so. I take them off the bed, launder them and then put them right back on the bed. This opens up time to spend on other things I’d rather be doing. When our sheets wear out, I mend them or buy a new set of sheets and recycle the old ones.

It frees space in my home for other things!

We do have a linen closet but ours doesn’t really store linens. Instead, we use it for easy access to things all the bedrooms might need. Our closet holds a variety of things; ready-to-go sleepover bags, our humidifier, first aid products, kleenex and a few other items. In the winter, the top shelf holds all our beach and pool towels (which are now relocated to the mudroom closet for summer). Even though the closet is pretty small, there is plenty of space to grow. This means when our storage needs shift, it’s easy for us to accommodate new and exciting things we need for our future lives.

It gives me freedom!

As someone who helps other people keep their linen closets organized, I’m grateful we have made the decision in our own house to NOT store extra sheets. It’s amazing how much bandwidth this frees up in my brain. Since we don’t keep our pull-out sofa set up as a bed all the time, we have a bsaket in a nearby closet with all the components to make up the bed. I proactively make sure everything for that bed is clean and ready. Everyone in the household knows it’s there and can get the bed ready without me. It’s amazingly freeing having systems in my house so it can function when I’m not there.

But….WHAT IF?

Let’s talk about all the reasons why you might have extra sets of sheets? These are the “what if” statements I hear day in and day out from my clients. I like to think there are two categories of “what if” statements:

  • Highly improbable “what if” statements

  • Highly likely “what if” statements

The “what if” statements that are most likely never going to happen are usually about worst case scenarios. These can range from alien invasions to power grid failures. While I cannot really dismiss these thoughts — we all did just live through a global pandemic — I try to challenge myself and others not to hold onto things for the “what if” of very unlikely events.

Highly likely “what if” statements are actually “FOR SURE GOING TO HAPPEN” statements. In terms of needing extra sets of sheets, the “what if” I get a lot is about a child waking up in the middle of the night and not making it to the bathroom or throwing up in their bed. I’m all about proactive problem-solving so we can come up with a game plan in advance. Here we go.

Let’s get creative. Your tiny human throws up in their bed. We don’t have an extra set of sheets so what do we do? I can tell you my kids spent many nights sleeping on a blanket or a towel or a sleeping bag if their bedding got soiled. Instead of spending 10 minutes trying to get a set of sheets on the bed, I would throw the sheets in the washer before I went back to sleep. In the morning, I could throw them in the dryer and put them right back on the bed. Putting a fitted sheet on a bed is horrible in the middle of the day, so trying to do it at 3 am when you’re half-asleep; it’s setting yourself up for frustration. In that scenario, our plan has always been to forgo sheets entirely, and instead to throw a blanket on the bed. It’s good enough.

If you are holding onto items thinking “what if” I need them someday, I challenge you to consider an alternative. One of my favorite books is Messy Minimalism: Realistic Strategies for the Rest of Us by Rachelle Crawford. Not only is she a fellow Michigander (yeah for the mitten), but she has such amazing ideas for creating a clutter-free life that works for you. In the beginning, she introduces the concept of asking a different type of “what if” question. Instead of asking “What if I need that someday?” ask yourself “What if someone else needs this item RIGHT NOW?”

Nice idea, Paige, but this idea isn’t for me!

That’s cool. If you really don’t think you could stand to use an alternative to a set of sheets, by all means, keep an extra set and store them in the bedroom so they are handy for when they are needed. But do you really need four extra sets of sheets? As your kids grow older, these potty and throw-up situations hopefully become less frequent and at that point, you can reevaluate if you need that extra set. Things that serve you at one point of your life might not serve you at another time. But maybe now isn’t the time.

You also might be someone who gets an immense amount of happiness from switching out your sheets seasonally or just likes to change things up for a different look sometimes. If that’s of more value to you than having less stuff to manage, you know what makes you happy! I’m merely suggesting an alternative clutter-free and time-saving solution, if you’re looking for more time and less stuff. But it’s ok if it’s not for you.

I hope this has planted a seed in your head. If not with sheets, maybe this concept can be applied to another area of your life where you’re thinking you might have a little more than what you actually might need.

I want to leave you with a few questions:

  1. What if someone else could use all those extra sheets you are storing right now?

  2. What would you do with the extra space if you weren’t storing all those linens?

  3. What would you do with the extra time you would have by having less stuff to manage?

Food for thought.

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