Do you still have every towel you ever owned — including the ones you used in college? Is it impossible for you to pull anything out of your linen closet without everything coming out because it’s so stuffed? Perhaps it’s time for you to give your linen closet a makeover.
Let’s figure out how many sheets, towels, blankets, etc., you really need.
Sheets: for each bed in your house, you need two sets of sheets: one on the bed, and one in the closet. When you take off the sheets to launder them, remake the bed with the second set. Rotating them keeps both of them fresher.
Pillowcases: keep any pillowcases that match your sheet sets, and rotate them as well. Keep some extra pillowcases that are in excellent shape, since they can be used in different bedrooms, regardless of the size of the bed. Discard any pillowcases that are soiled or frayed.
Blankets: they can be very bulky, so you don’t want to keep more than you need. One summer and one winter blanket for each bed should be sufficient. That still provides you with extras in case of a sleepover.
Bath towels: each person in the house should have two towels, which should be rotated on laundry day. Also keep one extra towel for each overnight guest that you can accommodate. (Hint: if you only have sleeping accommodations for two overnight guests, you don’t need 12 extra towels!)
Hand towels: two per bathroom. Rotate them on laundry day.
Dish towels: these can get soiled easily, so you may need to change them between laundry days if necessary. Three to five should suffice.
Beach towels: this depends on your family and your habits. If you go swimming frequently as a family, then you’ll need more than if you rarely go swimming or if only one or two members of your family swim. A basic rule is one per family member, plus one or two extra for guests, but adjust that up or down depending on your situation.
Tablecloths and napkins: do you actually use these? Or are they a leftover from an earlier period in your life? Feel free to part with them if you never use them. If you do keep them, make sure you keep only those that fit the table you currently have, and only those that are free of stains.
Where to donate used linens
Now that you have streamlined your overstuffed linen closet, what should you do with the discards?
The ASPCA is in need of thick towels and blankets for taking care of homeless animals. All bedding should be laundered and clean. They may be dropped off at the ASPCA Adoption Center at 424 East 92nd Street, between 1st and York Avenues, on Monday to Saturday from 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM or Sunday from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Young Israel Yeshiva of Brighton Beach, located on Neptune Avenue in Brooklyn, will pick up linens and blankets (as well as men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, shoes, dishes, and toys). You can call 718-385-5002 to arrange a pick-up in Brooklyn or Manhattan, and perhaps in other boroughs as well.