Today's mission is to declutter sheets and pillowcases in your home, as well as other bedding.
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Organize Linen Closet Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, although of course you can do it whenever the mood strikes you.
The beauty of focusing on one small task like this is that you can get it done in a short period of time, and then feel accomplished because you've made forward progress in your home, which is what all of these daily 15 minute missions are about.
As mentioned above, today focus on sheets and pillowcases, as well as bedding such as mattress covers and pads, and dust ruffles.
Some of the other missions we're focused on this week, when decluttering your linen closet, include:
That means you can focus on those other common linen closet items on other days, and today have a more narrow focus on sheets and pillowcases.
With such a narrow focus in mind, doing this declutter mission is pretty simple.
All you've got to do is gather up all of your sheets, pillowcases and other bedding, from wherever you store it in your home, and then begin to evaluate what you'll keep versus what to get rid of.
As always, I am not suggesting you get rid of them all! After all, you need something to sleep on each night! But this is your chance to only keep what you need and will use, and get rid of the excess.
Criteria To Help You Decide Which Sheets & Bedding To Keep
Here are some criteria to help you choose what sheets to keep versus to get rid of.
Get rid of ones that:
Are worn out, such as those that have holes or are fraying;
Don't fit beds that you currently own (example, get rid of king size sheets if you no longer own a king size bed)
No longer have the full set, if that is important for you (example, you are missing pillowcases or the fitted sheet)
Don't match your decor or that you don't like (if you've got several sets to choose from)
Excess, if you have too many sets
This last criteria is what often trips people up. How many sheets is too many?
I've answered that question for you below, so scroll down to see my advice.
As always when I approach the subject of providing a definitive answer to "how many" of anything you should keep in your home, I feel a bit of trepidation.
The answer is always, at least to a certain extent, "it depends" and also has a lot to do with your personal preferences and your personal situation.
Therefore, instead of taking this discussion which follows as rules of law, I suggest you take them instead as rules of thumb, where you can at least consider what I'm saying, apply it to help you out, and still give yourself permission to do something different if it really does work better for you, either less or more.
General Rule Of Thumb For Sheets & Pillowcases
My general rule of thumb is to have two sets of sheets, with both a top sheet and bottom sheet (which is often a fitted sheet), plus either one or two pillowcases (one if a single bed, or two for a full size or larger bed) for each bed in your home.
That means, for example, that if you have two full sized beds in your home you'll have a total of 4 sets of sheets, with 4 top sheets, 4 fitted or bottom sheets, and 8 pillowcases.
This minimum amount of sheet sets allows you to have one set dirty and waiting to be washed while the other is ready to be put onto the bed immediately. That means, most of the time you're never without sheets on any bed.
Emergencies or accidents happen, and also sometimes people, including guests, may sleep somewhere in your home beside a bed, so you may also choose to have an additional 1-2 sets more of sheets that are extra. These can be used for making up a bed that would be used with a blow up mattress, or for a couch if needed, or for emergencies if there is illness and more than one set of sheets is used before the other can be washed.
You can choose for yourself if you'll have one or two mattress pads per bed, since they are not washed as often. I tend to lean toward having two for each bed, so you don't have to rush to wash and dry the mattress pad when it's time to wash it.
Babies & Young Children May Need More
If you have a baby, or young child that is still in diapers or potty training, or someone in your home deals with illnesses often, you may want to get a few more sets of sheets, and more mattress pads, than the general rule of thumb suggested above, for those particular beds, cribs or bassinets.
There can be a lot of bedwetting accidents, spit up, and late night tummy troubles that will have you wishing for more sheets or pads, since caring for a sick child and doing laundry at the same time can be difficult.
Don't Forget About Seasonal Sheets
Some people have winter sheets and summer sheets. I don't, personally, because of our air conditioning and central heat, but I know there are others who enjoy switching out sheets as the seasons change.
If you do this you'll still want to have two sets of winter sheets, and two for summer, per bed, so you're basically doubling the total amount of sheets you will own. However, if it makes you more comfy for sleeping, and you have room for them, I say go for it!
Ideas For What To Do With The Bedding You Declutter From Your Home
Once you've decided to declutter some of your sheets and pillowcases, and other bedding, you'll be left with a pile of fabric, and will need to decide what to do with it.
Assuming that the bedding you're getting rid of is still in good enough condition for someone else to use, your two main choices are to sell or donate the items.
If you're going to sell the bedding it's best for it to have all parts of the set, because otherwise people aren't normally as interested.
When deciding where to donate, some ideas include:
Someone who is setting up a new home for themselves
Homeless shelters and similar places
Consignment shops or churches with clothes closets, which also have a household items area
Pet shelters, which are often looking for bedding for the animals
The most important thing is just to get it out of your house and somewhere else, where someone else can use the items.
A reader, Marlo, sent in this photo, above, of what she ended up donating. She said, "Old bed linen: comforter, bed skirt, set of sheets, pillow shams and accent pillow covers along with a random top sheet! It's been in this bag for 2yrs because I hoping to give to someone in need...DUH that's what The Goodwill is for, so I pulled it out from under the bed and it's going to be donated tomorrow!"
*** Update ***
I recently got another ideas for repurposing old fitted sheets, which is to use them for hauling away yard waste. You can check out this and lots more ideas for decluttering your yard in the linked article.
Top photos, of before and after of the linen closet, submitted by a reader, Barbara. She explained in the before picture that "Many sheets were not a size to match any of our beds!"
Getting Rid Of Bedding Clutter Will Make Life Easier
Are you ready to declutter your own bedding clutter now? I hope so, but if not, check out this quick story from a reader, Stephanie, who sent in the photo above.
Stephanie said, "Not that anyone asked (!) but this is the bedding for all my kids. Two sets per 7 kids. It takes up very little room. They all have an easily washable comforter from IKEA that slips inside the duvets.
Before I standardized the bedding, I think we had five times the amount. Keeping track of everything was overwhelming for me.
Now it's much simpler, and I'm so glad I got rid of the excess!"
Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?
I hope seeing these pictures has inspired you to get rid of your bedding clutter.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!