I was asked recently about the best linens and how to choose linens for your bed. I’ve worked with high-end clients who thought high-quality linens were a must, but still were just as overwhelmed by wrinkled sheets and unruly comforters just like anyone else. Me? I am selective and definitely not overwhelmed by bedding in our house. Here’s how to sleep in luxury, and still stay organized.
The best set of sheets I ever owned were bamboo sheets. They aren’t as common as other sheets, and I’ve heard that the processing required to turn bamboo into fabric fibers disqualifies them as being a green product, but all I can tell you is that they were the softest, most comfortable temperature sheets ever, and they were comfortable year round. If you find sheets you love, you don’t need as many sets.
My new favorite sheets for winter are fleece sheets. Basically, they are the next step up from flannel. (If you are reading this in spring or summer, keep an eye out on the clearance rack.) They are super warm, so not for people who need to be cool when they sleep. Here is an example, if you haven’t ever seen them. They are pretty thick, so they take up a lot more room than standard sheets when they are stored for the summer.
Satin sheets sound lovely, but in reality, they catch on every little hangnail and dry bit of skin. I have never loved satin sheets, even satin pillow cases that are supposed to help ease wrinkles.
Silk pillow cases, however, really are lovely. I own this one, even though it is a bit pricey. It is supposed to reduce pulling, and therefore wrinkles, on facial skin. I dunno if it’s a gimmick, but it is pretty comfy. As a bonus, natural materials like silk and wool tend to be naturally hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, or so they say.
Sheets vary widely in price. I like to get quality sets at HomeGoods and TJ Maxx for about $30-50 for queen sheet sets or king sheet sets. If you purchase individual pieces, you’ll end up paying more in most cases, than if you buy sets. Some people prefer to do this if they don’t like fitted sheets, or if they prefer to mix prints. You can easily pay $240 for a single set of sheets at Lands’ End, and these aren’t even considered super luxury. For this price, at least you are getting no-iron sheets. Can you believe that some sheets still require ironing???? Who does that?
I like to buy one new set of sheets a year that are decent quality, especially if I find them on sale. I try to buy flannel at the end of the season, and I buy white or solid sets, so they mostly are mix and match with various pillow cases. I don’t want to be invested in expensive sheets, because they all get stained at some point, and with my luck, the more expensive they are, the faster they will get stained and ruined. And when I bring the new bedding home, I use the one-in-one-out rule. The most worn, most stained set goes into the craft bin to get used by my little crafters, or gets donated as recyclable fabric.
I do keep extra pillow cases on hand, because I’ve found that my kiddos cough constantly at night during certain times of the year. If I change out their pillow-case every night, it reduces the allergens, and they don’t cough.
What about thread count? Is a higher thread count really better/more comfy or is there a mid range one that’s best? Thread count refers to the amount of threads that are packed into a square inch. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious and softer it is supposed to be, but some very high thread count sheets are neither soft nor wrinkle-free. Besides, once someone throws up on them or hits it with permanent marker, it just doesn’t have that luxury appeal anymore, regardless of thread count.
Honestly, I haven’t found a direct correlation between thread count and comfort. For me, the material matters a great deal more than the thread count. I’d rather have a higher grade material (bamboo or supima cotton) in a lower thread count than a lower grade of polyester in a higher thread count.
Whatever bedding you choose, here’s how to keep bedding organized:
I only have two sizes of beds in my house: twin beds for my kiddos and king beds for the other rooms. I realize this may not be ideal for everyone. The point is, think about how many sizes of beds and bedding you want to care for throughout your house. This is another one of those “STOP DECLUTTERING” decisions that come way before organizing overwhelm and decluttering frustration. Limit the amount of beds you need to buy for, and you’ll have less (but nicer) stuff. For example, we might “hand down” a set of sheets from one bed to another, or have just one set of extra sheets that gets rotated among the guest beds. Do you really need a separate set of queen sheets for the hide-a-bed sofa? A set of king sheets can be tucked in just as well on a smaller bed.
Speaking of extra sheets, we don’t keep extra sheets in a closet. Each bedroom has one set of sheets on the bed, and another set of sheets in the dresser drawers. Extra pillows blankets, and seasonal quilts are kept high in each closet. This frees up the bathroom closet for towels and medicines. And toilet paper. Can’t have too much toilet paper. If you really, really and truly do not have space in the room where the sheets get used, then an easy way to keep them organized in your linen closet is to use the pillow case or a pretty ribbon to keep sets together just as they come out of the wash.
We keep the comforter inside the duvet, and it stays on the bed all year long. During the hottest part of the summer, it gets turned down to the end of the bed, or laid on the bench at the foot of the bed.
I just don’t value a bunch of extra sheets on hand. They tend to get funky when stored too long. A family with many out of town guests and folks crashing on their sofa might need more than we do, but often, I’m finding clients just don’t realize what they have, keeps sheets and bedding past their prime for “just in case,” and are happier to have closet shelves where they can find things, rather than toppling piles of laundry-in-the-making.
Are you overwhelmed by bedding, mismatched sheets and just-in-case comforters? What’s your solution?