John and I recently gave away about half of our bath towels. Before that, we were always running out of towels. It might seem counterintuitive to get rid of towels when you don't have enough towels, right?
Here's the deal:
We have 4 kids (a baby, 2 pre-teens, and a teen) who share a bathroom, and we also have a bathroom in the master bedroom. No matter how many towels I would put in the girls' bathroom, they would ALL be used within 1 day. Seriously. Then when those towels were gone (thrown in a bedroom laundry basket or on the washing machine), then the kids would start taking clean towels from the master bathroom AND the spare bath towels in the hall closet. So, often when someone would go to take a shower, guess what? Not a dry towel to be found in the whole house!
In most cases, towels are used to dry off clean people and can reasonably be re-used a few times (at least) if they are hung to dry after use. Obviously there will be some exceptions, but there shouldn't be SO MANY exceptions that we are using 20+ bath towels a day.
I try to only do laundry 2x a week (or more often if there is a "situation"), but I would have to do more laundry every time the towels became scarce or non-existent (pretty much every day). Of course, I could track down the wet towels, but by the time I found them they would be soaking everything in a laundry basket somewhere. And the laundry would start up again!
On the rare occasion that one of the kids would put their towel back, it would inevitably end up on the bathroom floor anyhow, because our towels are on the heavy side and the rack of hooks of the back of the door is sort of slippery. Towels easily slide off. Then someone's towel becomes a bonus bath-mat for the next shower, and everything ends up in the laundry again.
To fix our disappearing-towel problem, we gathered up all of the towels in the house and decided which ones we wanted to keep. Generally, these were the nicer looking of the towels. The rougher looking towels were automatically in the "get rid of" pile. We got rid of about 10 bath towels.
|This loop system from designmom.com |
is similar to the loops I made
FIRST, certain towels would be assigned to certain people.
SECOND, we would make those towels easier to hang up (and stay hanging up)
We had 3 "Frozen" theme towels for the little girls (one with Olaf, one with Anna, etc). These particular towels weren't the newest (or the classiest), but we decided to keep them, so each of the younger girls would have her own specific towel. I sewed a loop of elastic on the side of each one, so that they can hang to dry on the hooks on the back of the bathroom door (the towels always seemed to slide off the hook before I added the elastic loops, this solved the problem!)
I used plain white elastic loops for our towels. In the photo here, they have used colored ribbon with same-color towels (assigning a ribbon color to a specific family member), which is another way to go. Ribbon probably works just as well as elastic, but I like that elastic has a little "give."
The rest of the towels we already had were regular (non-cartoon) of the same type & brand, and we had 2 of each specific color. We decided that the 2 blue towels would be for John, the 2 purple towels would be for me, and the 2 coral towels would be for our teenage daughter. We put these on the hanging towel racks in the bathrooms to dry when not being used.
(PS- Part of my concern with getting rid of extra towels was that we wouldn't have any nice towels if we had relatives visiting, because they would all be in constant use, so we also kept the 4 nicest towels (all dark blue) and put them away for when we have overnight guests)
Any towels that were not part of the system (or my 4 guest spares) were donated.
We all now have our own assigned towels, which each have a specific place to hang dry in between laundry days. I can easily see whose towels are missing (weren't hung up) and that keeps some accountability in the system...if towels start disappearing, I will be able to tell who the culprit is pretty easily. If I see a purple towel in the little girls' laundry basket, I know that something is amiss!
We've been using this minimized assigned-towel system for a month (using 1/2 the number of towels that we used to have), and we haven't run out of towels or had a towel-stealing incident since!
Less towels + assigned towels + loops making it easier to hang towels up = less laundry.