I keep surprising myself.
The next subcategory I wanted to tackle was linens, meaning: towels, bedding, table linens, rags, and some miscellaneous fabric. I chose to do this for two reasons. The first is that I want to clear some space and I happen to have a decent sized linen closet, a hope chest, and a massive steamer trunk. The second is that I thought this would be a nice manageable, easy victory subcategory.
Now that you’ve all finished laughing. I think this is indicative of why this is such a useful method. I mean look at just what I have for towels alone.
But in the end, just sorting through towels was pretty easy. I had a couple that had been gifts—decent quality, but just not my taste. They never sparked joy. The rest of it, well, if they were shredding, I tossed. I kept a spare set, a few extra washcloths, some of my guest towels, and that was it.
Can you tell I was a child of the 70s? My mom used to make my clothes when I was little. These are leftover pieces of fabric and I look at them and they totally spark joy. Not sure yet what to do with them, but I still love them and want to keep them. The rest of the fabric and batting was left over from upholstery projects and I tossed it.
Of my blankets and throws, I ended up keeping three. One I knit and I still love. Number 2 was a Google throw from my days being a Google Answers researcher, and the last is a “keep till I replace it.” It’s not in terrific shape, so I’ve added a new blanket to my list of things to buy. In the trash pile was a purple thing and to that one I said, “this teaches me that if you knit with crap yarn, you’re going to have a crap project.”
Sheets – in the end, I kept one spare set, some cutwork pillowcases my great grandmother made, and (don’t judge me) two Peter Rabbit pillowcases.
Rags, super easy. It felt so good to toss the old flannel sheet that I’d cut up into pieces. I have at least 6 really nice rags. I don’t need more.
For some bizarre reason, the hardest sub-category was my table linens. I guess because making room for nice, fluffy towels is not that hard, but going through some really nice vintage pieces was a different story. A few were no brainers. I had a set of place mats I’d won in a basket at some function, some odd things picked up here and there at estate sales (thank you, tablecloth that does not fit for teaching me I need to know the measurements of my tables before I buy you). And then I got down to the hard stuff. What to do with my great grandmother’s crocheted tablecloth that I have never used? (it sparked joy-I kept it). What to do with the toy-sized tablecloths from my childhood? (they were ratty and as I held them I remembered Mom getting them from a garage sale, bye bye).
Among the items that made it into the donation pile:
- A ton of these weird little doily coasters I picked up at an estate sale—lovely things but so not practical for me
- A set of twelve hotel-quality white cloth napkins—I know they’re more ecologically sound, but I’m a slob and then I spend way too long trying to get stains out
- Aforementioned tablecloths
- More cloth napkins
- Some more placemats
And then I figured out how to store what was left. As you can see from these pics, I have a ton of room now.
I played around with different configurations for the towels before deciding on rolling them. I could fit more in the box that way and I can still see what I have. The guest towels got the Marie Kondo treatment.
One of the nice thing from doing all of this was discovering that I had a couple of lovely pieces that do need to make it into my rotation for entertaining. The lace tablecloth I bought in Bruges fits my dining room table as does another estate sale find. I made the call to put a few things that I guess probably qualify as sentimental in some storage bags and they’re with my first communion dress in the steamer trunk. Everything else is either in the hope chest or the linen closet.
I may come back to this and look for a better method, but for now I think this works. And I have one big subcategory done!