All about Linens
According to the FlyLady, small steps go a long way toward making your bedroom a retreat. She suggests that you invest in a bedspread that you love. With a new bedspread (and possibly linens) you may find fresh inspiration to make the bed every day because you just like to look at it. Also, beauty attracts more beauty. After your bed is made with the lovely spread, you'll naturally feel inspired to keep your clothes off the floor and your bedside tables tidy.
The linens (sheets, pillowcases, comforter cover, pillow shams, bed skirt, and so on) you choose are an investment. If properly cared for, they'll last for many years and provide much-needed comfort as you sleep. To ensure that you experience the most comfort possible, understand what you're buying.
When purchasing sheets, the quality and softness are related to thread count. In terms of comfort, the higher thread count you can afford, the better. Although all-cotton sheets breathe well, be aware that they tend to wrinkle more than cotton-polyester blends. Until a few years ago, the best quality sheets had a thread count of 180 threads per square inch. In the past few years, manufacturers have begun offering sheets up to a 700 thread count.
After a thread count goes above 350 threads per square inch, the consumer won't notice a difference in quality. Some foreign manufacturers even use a technique called double-pick insertion to boost thread count, without improving the feel of the cloth. Sheets with a thread count between 250 to 360 threads per inch offer ideal softness.
When you wash sheets, take care not to use too much detergent. Over time, too much detergent will harm your sheets. Also, be careful that your detergent is not too harsh and that your dryer is not too hot. These conditions can drastically shorten the lifespan of your linens.
The trick to finding a fitted sheet that will stay on your mattress is to find sheets with elastic that has been sewn all the way around the sheet, not just into the corners. When looking at a sheet's packaging, it should clearly state the mattress size it should fit. There are a variety of non-standard mattress sizes that may appear to be standard but may require special sheets, such as Olympic Queen and California King.
Before heading to the store to purchase your bedding, determine what your exact needs are for each bed in your home. Ideally, you'll own three sets of sheets for each bed in your home. That way, one can be in use, one in the laundry, and one in storage. Rotate the three sets regularly. Rotating your linens will extend their life dramatically, and by keeping your linens clean, you can eliminate dust mites and other allergens that can make you feel congested and uncomfortable.
To save money on sheets, you can buy irregulars. Irregulars often have very small, unnoticeable flaws — or they could have larger problems. You can ask for permission to view the sheets at the store before you purchase them, just to be sure that you can live with the flaws. This is a great way to buy top-quality linens at a fraction of the price.
In addition to having three sets of bed linens and rotating them, another way to make cotton linens last longer is to line dry them as opposed to putting them in the dryer. Also, beware of detergents with too many whiteners — they will compromise the dyes over time.
When bed linens aren't in use, store them properly. Linens should be laundered before being stored. Sheets and pillowcases, for example, can be kept in plastic bags in a cool and dry closet, out of direct light. To prevent mold and mildew from forming on them, linens should be stored in a way that keeps them away from moisture. Storing the items in a plastic bag also prevents damage from moths or other insects.
Folding linens can be tricky! Here are some steps to follow:
Fit one pocket at the top of the fitted sheet into the opposite pocket by inserting your hand behind one pocket and stuffing it inside the other.
Smooth the sheet lengthwise and fold lengthwise in half again.
Fold the sheets one more time.
Store in a plastic bag in a closet, in a dresser drawer, or under your bed in an airtight container.
When storing your comforters and blankets, always launder or dry-clean them first. Also, don't overfold or crush a down comforter or pillow. Allow it to remain as fluffy as possible. Loosely wrap the comforter or blanket in plastic, and then store it in a cool, dry place, such as a closet, a wooden (cedar) storage chest, or an airtight plastic container. To fold thinner blankets, place them in a cotton pillowcase, and then place them in a closet.
Blankets and comforters can also be stored using a freestanding blanket or quilt rack. These are typically made of wood, are placed near the foot of a bed, and provide places to hang various types of blankets out in the open (when they're not actually on a bed). This type of rack can be as lovely as it is functional.