Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Worry Wednesday? Tackling Your Towels

Continuing our Simple Life Series on clutter:
Find YOUR method to YOUR madness. Not everyone's work ethic is the same, but if you streamline your common household areas, your entire family will unconsciously work together to keep organized areas, well, organized.
Tackle Your Towels
Let's go to your linen closet. Your assignment is to pare down your towels. Apply the "undie" principle and pull out any towels with holes, tears or stains. Now, pare down to 6 bath towels per family member, 6 washcloths and two hand towels. Put the extra good towels in a bag for donating. The ones that are torn or too stained can be made into shop/cleaning rags, just don't keep too many!

TIP: If you want to cut up bath towels for cleaning rags, wash them after you cut them before you use them. Take it from me, they tend to shed threads and make a terrible mess if you don't. If you keep them whole, mark them with a black Sharpie "OLD" so they don't make their way back into circulation on laundry day. Also, don't keep them in the regular linen closet or you will end up grabbing one when you run out of your regular ones. Designate an area in the laundry room or garage for these rags.

MY STORY: Last year I started completely over and bought all new towels for all five members of my family. Each family member received 6 new towels, 6 new washcloths and 2 new hand towels in their own color to match their bathrooms (if you have children who share a bathroom, still get them different, but coordinating colors). I bought my husband and myself different colors. Finally, I bought 6 new white towels for guest-only towels. If you think it's too expensive to replace all your towels see my tip below for my own wash test and price comparison or replace one bathroom at a time. I replaced all our towels (we are a family of 5) for just around $100!

REASON THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR CLUTTER: At first it may not make much sense why you are getting rid of mis-matched towels, but when you see your linen closet full of solid colors instead of pink, brown and yellow ones, it will make you want to keep your linen closets folded and neat. Case in point: my mother is always saying that she hates Martha Stewart and that nobody has the time or patience to try her ideas. I, on the other hand, love to try (the practical) tips she offers. The first major one I tried when we moved into our new house 8 years ago, is pictured below. I took baskets I already owned, bought cheap laundry tags from Hobby Lobby, and set about to organize my linen closet. It has stayed neat and organized ever since!

GREEN TIP: By reducing the number of towels per family member, this simple step will promote your family to hang up and re-use towels, which cuts down laundry loads, detergent use and run-off waste from the wash water.
EXTRA CREDIT: Go ahead and do the same thing with your kitchen towels, sheet sets, blankets, table linens, etc,

TOWEL PURCHASING TIP: I researched, watched sale papers, bought and tried one washcloth in a few different brands to see which ones lasted - kinda my own Good Housekeeping Research Project. After a few washes, the Wal-mart brand ($2.99 for the regular sized towel) actually stood up to the test against the $9.99 Belk Brand and the $5.99 Martha Stewart Brand. I went with the Walmart brand for everyone except the guest bath - which got the higher end Belk Brand. When it's just you and your spouse at home then you can upgrade your brand, but I can tell you with certainty that after one full year - the Walmart brand is still in great condition - and the Belk brand has a couple of picks. If you have children I suggest the Wal-mart brand. They are inexpensive, most cost efficient to replace and hold up well.

Next Wednesday....MISSION FOUR: The dreaded SOCK drawer!

Wednesdays in the Simple Life Series are for YOUR CLUTTER (and yes, it multiplies in my home too). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own home to clear out my clutter. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together.

No comments: