Home Decor

So Wait, I Need *How* Many Sets of Sheets?

June 19, 2018

According to the L.A. Times, there are around 300,000 things—no, that’s not a typo—in the average U.S. household, including everything from paper clips to pots and pans, furniture, and more. That’s a lot of stuff! It’s no wonder so many people feel stressed about the clutter in their homes.

If you're interested in streamlining some of your belongings, why not start with your linen closet? It’s an easy, manageable project, and chances are you have one too many sets of sheets, towels, and other linens, anyway.

Sheets

So how many sets of sheets do you need? Most sources agree that three is the magic number when it comes to sheets. Sharon Hines, a home organization and decluttering expert, says you should aim to have three sets per person in the household.

Why? Simple. You need one on the bed, one to keep in the linen closet, and one that can be in the laundry. This way, you’ll always have a backup set ready to go in case you’re behind on laundry. If you have a regimented laundry schedule, you might even be able to get by with just two sets.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“You can cut down on that number if you can use the same type / color of sheets on every bed. Empty-nesters, we have 3 bedrooms, each with a queen size bed so most of our sheets are interchangeable. 4 pillow cases per set. Really like white Ralph Lauren 100% cotton sateen sheets. They don't fade and can be whitened if needed. I think they are 300 threads per inch and a nice medium weight for year round use. I can find them at TJ Maxx for $50 / set and pick up another package of pillowcases if they have them. M - We have lived in Florida and now North Carolina and have been fortunate to have both AC and heat, but I can see where flannel and fleece would be a good choice for really cold winters. ”
— Gammy
Comment

However, if you like to change your pillowcases more frequently than your sheets, you may want to invest in a few extra sets.

Wondering what to do with your once-loved sheet sets? You can donate old sheets to a local animal shelter, where they use these types of linens to line cages—so no worries if they’re torn or dirty. If your sheets are still in good shape, you may be able to donate them to a homeless shelter or church.

Towels

Follow the same rule of thumb when it comes to towels: Three per person should do the trick. Again, this leaves one for the bathroom, one for the closet, and one in the laundry. Same goes for hand towels.

Most people change washcloths more frequently than regular towels, so you may need a few extra spares. However, if you notice you never actually reach the bottom of your stack of washcloths, you may have too many!

Towels are another good item to donate to local animal shelters. Put together a donation pile as you declutter—it’ll feel good to send your linens off to somewhere they’re needed.

Table Linens

If you’re the hostess with the mostest, you might have the mostest table linens on the block. Even if you hold regular dinner parties, you still don’t need a dozen tablecloths and a huge pile of cloth napkins. Gracious Style recommends you keep one formal and one informal tablecloth, as well as a set of formal and a set of informal napkins.

You can also keep a set of tablecloths around, but make sure you actually use them. The widely-cited Pareto Principle talks about the 80/20 rule; in this case, it's quite possible that we use 20 percent of our possessions 80 percent of the time—meaning there are a lot of items you could part with and you wouldn’t even notice they were gone.

Kitchen Towels and Cloths

Kitchen towels are essential for cleaning counters, washing dishes, drying your hands, and the like, and because these towels can often come in contact with harmful bacteria around the kitchen, experts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommend you change them every day.

If you’re doing the mental math, you may have figured out that you’ll probably need quite a few dish towels to keep up this habit. By this rule, you’ll need to keep 10 or more kitchen towels around, assuming you do laundry once a week—after all, there will likely be days when you use more than one.

Similarly, some homeowners choose to use dishcloths instead of sponges as a more eco-friendly option, and you’ll want to follow the same guidelines of using a fresh one each day. To this end, you should probably 10 or more dishcloths in your linen closet.


More Sheet (Pan) Goodness This Way!

Tell us the truth: How many sheet sets do you own? Let us know below!

11 Comments

bunten October 20, 2018
13 sets and 52 pillowcases. Some were a part of my two grandmothers' and my mom's trousseau--100+ and 70+ years old.
 
Noel K. October 20, 2018
Two sets for adults. Three for young children. You all know why.
 
Linda S. October 20, 2018
Not a bed linen comment but as someone who does not use paper napkins, your table napkin numbers are much too low unless you do laundry daily!
 
BerryBaby July 8, 2018
Maybe I’m in the minority but sheets and towels get washed immediately. They never take up space in the hamper. I love folding sheets....especially fitted sheets and towels.🙃
 
Sundog R. June 26, 2018
Living in the tropics as an empty nester, we have two queen beds in the house. There are 5 sets of linen sheets. I particularly like Parachute's linen sets. They are durable and less expensive.
 
marcellatp June 24, 2018
Four - two smooth cotton (one on bed, one in linen closet - no hanging around in the laundry at my house ;-) and two sets of flannel for the same game in the cold months.
 
Kat June 24, 2018
Three is too much (IMHO). Two per bed is just right. One on the bed one clean and ready to go, although I would concede to the person who lives in extreme weather that you may need a couple sets of flannel. I personally enjoy a wool blanket under my sheets to keep me warm during the cold months.
 
Annie June 24, 2018
I have 5, though one set needs to go. I iron my sheets and I like the extras in case my back is not up to the task. In my perkier days it was off-wash-dry-iron-on
 
Gammy June 23, 2018
3 sets / per BED (not per person) is good. You can cut down on that number if you can use the same type / color of sheets on every bed. Empty-nesters, we have 3 bedrooms, each with a queen size bed so most of our sheets are interchangeable. 4 pillow cases per set. Really like white Ralph Lauren 100% cotton sateen sheets. They don't fade and can be whitened if needed. I think they are 300 threads per inch and a nice medium weight for year round use. I can find them at TJ Maxx for $50 / set and pick up another package of pillowcases if they have them. M - We have lived in Florida and now North Carolina and have been fortunate to have both AC and heat, but I can see where flannel and fleece would be a good choice for really cold winters.
 
M June 19, 2018
Do these 3-sheet-set people live in warm climates? As someone who has never lived in a warm climate -- and has lived in homes with no AC, or expensive baseboard heat, or buildings where I don't control when AC/heat is turned on, or homes where the power/heat might go out -- 3 isn't practical. It's a good start, but colder weather, sub-zero mid-winters, etc, call for additional flannel and fleece varieties.
 
ktr June 19, 2018
I have 3 sets of sheets but I usually just put them right back on after washing them so I don't have to fold them. I would also recommend 2 waterproof mattress pads for each young child. Otherwise, if they wet the bed in the middle of the night you have a spare one to put back on.