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How much linen do you need?

A neatly made-up bed in a pleasant blue bedroom
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Operations - Store and Insure

How many towels and bedding sets does a family need? Too many, and you’re struggling for storage; not enough and you feel like you never stop doing laundry.

Is there a rule of thumb for buying bed linen?

A good rule is to allow three bedding sets for each regularly used bed in the house. That way you’ll have one on the bed, one in the wash and one in the cupboard. It’s worth buying extra white pillow cases, particularly if you like to change them more frequently. By the way, if you’re wondering how often experts think you should change your bedding, we have an article to help!

Families with very young children may need more linen than this, and it’s a good idea to have a made-up set – cases on pillows, cover on duvet – bagged up and ready to go for late night emergency bed changes.

For a guest room, you can probably get away with just one bedding set (you can always borrow off another member of the family if you have two guests in quick succession).

Should I change my bedding sets with the seasons?

The fabric of your bedding set has an impact on its thermal properties. You’d never want to sleep on brushed cotton in the summer, for example. You should account for this seasonality when working out how many bedding sets you’ll need. It’s a good idea to store out-of-season bed linens away from your ‘working’ linen storage. A satisfying way to mark the changing seasons is to make a trip to your storage unit with your warm weather linens, lightweight covers and cotton throws and to get out the cosy blankets and high-tog duvets.

What’s the best place to store bedding?

To make your housework easier, store in-season bedding near where it will be used. Underbed storage is good for this – but those underbed spaces can get dusty, so make sure it’s in a bag or a box with a lid. Another alternative is an ottoman seat with storage at the end of the bed. Dedicated bedding storage will help keep your sleeping space tidy, as recommended by The Sleep Charity.

Once you’ve washed and dried a bedding set, fold everything up and put it inside one of the pillowcases. This keeps it neat and contained so you don’t need to search through piles of sheets to find the one you want.

How many towels does a family need?

Three per person is also a good number for bath towels. Hand towels should be changed every couple of days – more often if they get grubby quickly. So the number of towels you need depends on the number of regularly used bathrooms and toilets you have.

Bright towels are fun to add a splash of colour, but they can fade quickly if you line dry or if you don’t use a colour-safe washing detergent. White towels match everything and can take anything you need to do to them to get them clean: hot wash, bleach, sunlight, no problem. Neutrals add a bit of calm to your colour scheme, and don’t show the dirt as much, which may be a curse or a blessing depending on your family and your tolerance levels.

Get separate beach and swimming towels for your household – no-one wants their luxurious bath sheets trailed round swimming pool changing rooms! This is a good use for towels that have faded, or if you’ve changed your bathroom colour scheme.

So now you know roughly how much household linen and towels you should have!


Question and Answer


Is it safe to store wool blankets in plastic boxes?

Some people say that plastic boxes don’t allow natural fibres to breathe. But as long as your blankets are completely dry and clean when you store them, there is no reason not to store them in a tough plastic box. Plastic boxes are lightweight and cheap, and if you choose heavy duty boxes they can protect your stored goods from rodents, too. Avoid plastic containers and bags containing PVC as it can go sticky over time.