By Jessica Ghilani

(Photo: Jessica Ghilani)

‘Tis the season for Spring-cleaning. And while you’re at it, consider updating and upgrading those everyday staples around the home. This guide will assist you in determining what to do when towels, sheets, pillows, blankets, and other household linens have too little life left.

Though it is debated hotly, housekeeping experts say that you should change your sheets weekly. No matter how often you rotate your linens, with regular use and laundering, things will wear out. Sheets, towels, pillows, blankets, and everything else that sees regular, daily use will require replacement eventually.

The minimalist shopping mantra to “buy less, buy better” beckons consumers to consider both quality and price. But a thrifty slogan from World War II encourages Americans instead to “make do or do without.” When it comes to household staples, doing without is not an option. Instead, the challenge is to determine whether making do with what you already have is realistic or desirable.

Accordingly, you will need to take stock. If you are already spring cleaning, you might be organizing your linen closet anyway. Unfold items and examine them closely. Is anything threadbare? What is starting to look shabby or pilled? How much longer can you realistically keep these items? Are towels falling apart or fraying? The answers will vary and only you can decide your rubrics for quality assessments. Remember that some things can be salvaged with a bit of creativity. Consider enlisting your sewing skills. If something is no longer useful in the way it was intended, you can also recycle these items for dusting or car polishing. Old sheets can double as drop clothes. Alternately, you can donate old but useable blankets, towels, and sheets to your local animal shelter.

In this economy, many of us want to make do, especially when it comes to our everyday staples. That is no reason for neglect. Maximize the longevity of what you have with some upkeep. A dingy duvet might just need a trip to the cleaners or a trip to your laundry mat where larger sized washing machines are available. Throw pillows or removable couch cushions might benefit from a bit more stuffing. Not long ago, I spent $10 on some bags of poly fill at a craft store and extended the life of some older throw pillows. It was a lot cheaper to fluff and re-stuff than it would have been to replace them. With bed pillows, experts recommend replacement when the foam or stuffing starts to look more lumpy than fluffy. This might mean every few years, depending on the type of fill. Real Simple Magazine recommends that people own three sets of sheets so they can easily clean and rotate through them.

After you have figured out what you need, expect to do a little bit of research. I was raised in a deal-conscious household so I enjoy seeking out bargains. But doing so requires patience and time. Streamline the process by visiting websites for couponing and deal-hunting forums. I visit and to see which nearby stores are running promotions or clearance sales.

As always, consider shopping locally. Altmeyers Bed Bath Home is a smaller Pennsylvanian chain based in Delmont. You can support them by shopping their website or visiting one of their 12 SWPA retail locations. They offer coupons through in-store circulars, the newspaper, or online. They carry a wide selection of towels, throw blankets, sheets, and other items for the home to suit a range of budgets.

(Photo: Jessica Ghilani)

Altmeyer’s Bed Bath Home

617 Clairton Blvd.
Pleasant Hills, PA 15236
(412) 653-3360
Hours: Mon – Sat 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Larger chains like Bed, Bath and Beyond mail 20% off single item coupons regularly. Macy’s runs a Friends and Family promotion a few times a year offering 25% off. But more regularly, they offer $10 off coupons for purchases over $25. The coupon includes items from their home department such as sheets or towels.

Bed Bath and Beyond (multiple locations)

490 Waterfront Drive East
Homestead, PA 15120
(412) 464 5531
Hours: Mon 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Tues to Fri 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Sat 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Do not rule out discount and closeout stores like Ross Dress for Less, Kohl’s, Burlington Coat Factory, or Marshalls. Although you might have to dig and the selection will be limited, you gain the potential to uncover high thread count sheets, plush towels, and other linens for the home for sale at a fraction of their retail prices.

Select your new linens carefully. They might not make the most glamorous purchases but they will be items you use frequently and ideally for a long amount of time. Touch the textiles and read the car labels. Open up neatly folded towels to make sure they are large enough for your needs. Consider mixing and matching so that you are less likely to feel bored over time. Open up the snap closures of sheet sets to make sure you like the feel of them. And keep your receipts in case the items wear poorly after the initial laundering.

For a guide to selecting a thoughtful hostess gift, see my CBS piece at this link!

Jessica Ghilani blogs about (mostly her own) shopping for clothes in Pittsburgh and beyond at Consume or Consumed. Follow her on Twitter @jesspgh.