Sheets & towels simplified!

Came up in my socials feed this morn, Q thread from a permaculture design colleague who’s a beautiful soul, cool Mom, and a bright star of her community:

How often do y’all buy all new, or fully replace, old sheets and towels? I’ve got some that are 20 years old. Is that “normal,” “weird,” “ew, no, gross”?

I’ve got newer ones too. But I’m considering a larger purchase and change out on all linens. Bath towels, sheets, kitchen towels. It is so expensive though and I’m wondering if this is crazy or just basic life stuff … Where’s the dang manual for this sh*t

My approach:

— I only replace towels or sheets if they have holes (and sometimes esp w sheets i even mend the holes which has been known to extend the life by years while adding cute stitching, patches, & other non-corporate unique embellishment not available from manufacturers at any price ).

— when stuff gets super threadbare & holey I cycle it thru various levels of household rag (including finally bicycle/garage/carpentry/garden tasks) before finally tossing it into the yard to compost.

— i strive to own the fewest towels & sheets i can possbly get by with; more is a liability in terms of storage space, mold & mildew etc

— long ago i stopped being into “matching sets” of anything — greatly reduced my financial expenditure, eco footprint, and general level of fuss / labor

— The waste stream from thrift stores & free-boxes & friends/curbside on down, is filled with expensive towels & sheets that are still good. Can’t remember last time I paid for a towel; last time I bought sheets was in 2000, it was a set and i do still have some of those sheets (some I sewed into pillowcases, skirts, cycled-down thru the household rag cycle etc; but a couple sheets are still fine for bed use!) .

— — Washing gently by hand w minimal detergent (or even just rain/sun w maybe a spritz of a dilute essential-oil solution), keeps sheets & towels nice & fresh while helping them last longer and minimizing eco impact. And personalizing my unique sense of “home identity”!

And on a meta note:

— “The system” (corporations, advertisers, colonizer culture social norms, etc.) wants us to NOT decide for ourselves what’s right for us. But, we do get to decide!! And we will be A LOT happier and less economically stressed and time-pressed, the more we do decide!!

— “Etiquette” is handed down by entities that do not have our best interests at heart. Much of it shame-based, classist, etc. Even our own loving aunts, grandmothers, etc were often operating from unconscious internalized misogyny / patriarchy, colonialist mentality. WE each get to decide what is right for us!! We and everyone else on the planet will be much better off.

— Household processes are a way-overlooked oppty for sustainability … and for joy; self-expression!! And, the interior of your home is part of permaculture!!!

#homeeconomics #oikos #hygge #gemütlichkeit #konmarimindset #doesitsparkjoy #permaculturezonezero

Further exploration:

• Awhile back I wrote a post that included my joy at discovering I didn’t need to buy, own, wash, or otherwise deal with any big thick towels ever again! My five years living in Tokyo back in the 1990s, bathing mainly at public baths (sento), introduced me to the super versatile, handy, multipurpose tenugui washcloth/hand-towel, and I became an instant convert! It was certainly liberating to find that I could meet all of my body-washing/drying needs with just this small hand-towel! I never looked back. Anyone living in a humid climate especially, and/or wanting to optimize space (van-dwellers etc.) … a tenugui is your friend! I will try to dig up my old post for you and will post the link here.

• OK! Here’s that post for you: More Tips for the Ultra-Waterwise Household. The hand-towel paragraph is near the end. Enjoy!

• And I just found a fun link for you: Iroha Shop Japan. “Tenugui, a Japanese towel. People in Edo period used tenugui in many ways, for instance, washing and drying off their bodies at public baths, called sento in Japanese, and for wrapping things. They wore it around their necks or on their heads for protection against cold or dust. It was therefore natural that they enjoyed, as a fashion, putting many different colors or patterns on tenugui. To this day, designs created in the Edo period can often be seen, and they never become stale: rather, they are modern and urbane.”


I hope you are enjoying this blog. Thank you for being here.

If you would like to access my personalized services and/or support my ongoing community work, here are some ways:

book a private teleconsult/workshop*: $100 (I will contact you to schedule upon receipt of payment)
buy my book DEEP GREEN (while limited supply lasts): $25 for book; $50 for book plus half-hour teleconsult* — prices include shipping
tangibly express thanks for value you’ve received from my many public writings, talks, videos, or other public content: any amount gratefully received; suggested minimum $3

my cashapp $jennynazak (contact me if you need to use a different method)

*Teleconsult: Although my teleconsults were originally intended to give you personalized one-on-one attention (up to 2-1/2 hours if you want!), you are welcome to invite members of your family, communities etc. to sit in also.