He went to work for a couple of hours the day after Christmas, saying he planned to wash the sheets when he got back. Sort of like locking the barn after the horses were gone, really, but he thought a good dose of Clorox might help get rid of some of the cooties.
Feeling generous, I put the sheets in myself after he left – including the pillowcases even though they aren’t white. In fact, they’re five different colors. Suddenly I realized that this would never have happened when I was a kid or a young married woman. Sheets and pillowcases had to match.
Guess what? I no longer care. How about you?
Linens were pretty straightforward when I was a kid. We owned one set of sheets for each bed and they all got washed on Saturday. My mom believed in hospital corners and taught us early the proper way to make a bed. You could probably have bounced a quarter off our mattresses.
But we each had one pillow and one quilt (handmade by my great-grandmother). The bedspread was from Sears and was always tidy, never allowed to touch the floor on one side. Had my mom seen such a thing she would have called us in from play and made us fix it so it “looked nice.” She came up rough, so having nice things was almost a religion for her.
While writing for the “Habitat” section of the newspaper I was startled to find out about things like dust ruffles, shams, duvets, and decorative pillows in multiple shapes and sizes. Modern beds looked like explosions of fabric, with untidy heaps of pillows that would have horrified my mother: They looked so messy.
I never adopted that look, which is just as well: All that extra fabric would have been just so many more dust-catchers, making asthmatic me wheezier than ever. However, I did have the luxury of two sets of sheets per bed, in case I didn’t find time to wash every Saturday. (Usually I did, though.)
When I fled my marriage I took one set of sheets with me and bought another set at a yard sale ($3); my comforter, bought at a church rummage sale, cost me $5. One of the older sheets eventually developed holes and I had to mix-and-match. It bothered me a lot less than I thought. In fact, it bothered me not at all: Who was going to see?
This is not intended as a slam against those who like the sheets to match the curtains and contrast with the dust ruffle and area rugs. It’s just another example of how a “who cares?” attitude can save you a ton of money.
The old me would never have thrown colored pillowcases in with a white (i.e., Cloroxed) laundry. But that would have meant either doing a second load or making sure I had enough extra pillowcases to tide us over until next washday.
The white flannel sheets came out nice and bright and the pillowcases were maybe a little faded. But once again: I no longer care, and DF is not the kind of guy who wants everything to coordinate. In fact, he laughed the first time I asked if he thought it would be okay to throw the pillowcases into the bleach wash. Like my mom (and me!), he thinks Clorox = clean. When the house smells like a public swimming pool we’re both happy.
A few minutes ago he came indoors from putting a ham onto the Weber grill, for sandwiches and for a bunch of other dishes, including the hoppin’ john we’ll eat on Jan 1 to bring good luck in the year to come. He smelled of cold air and smoke, and snow was melting on his sleeve. I suggested doing away with the no-kissing ban now that we’re both sick.
He obliged with a nice long buss and a big hug. Then he smiled and said, “Hope we both had the same thing.”
If not, there’s always Clorox.
So how about it, readers: Is matching linens a real thing with you, or don’t you care? Has this changed as you got older, the way it did with me?