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Frugal living tip #43. October 30, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: , ,

Silence Dogood here. As faithful readers know, we’re posting a Frugal Living Tip here at Poor Richard’s Almanac every week in 2009 to try to help folks like ourselves get through these hard financial times. This week’s tip is about sheets.

Yes, you read that right: sheets. If you buy new sheets, you know they’re not cheap. And if, like us, you have six pillows on your bed (we each sleep with three), trying to buy extra matching pillowcases ranges from pricey to impossible. And yow, new (even expensive new) sheets are scratchy. There’s another problem with storebought sheets: They tend to be boring. And I don’t know about you, but since I have to make the stupid bed every single day, I’d appreciate anything that could turn a tedious chore into something more fun—such as colorful and/or entertaining sheets.

So you can imagine how delighted (but also chagrined) I was a few years ago to read somewhere that you could easily add a touch of vintage “flower power” to a bedroom with mismatched but color-coordinated sheets and pillowcases. Why hadn’t I thought of that?! They went on to suggest adding an Indian cotton bedspread to the bed or as a window curtain, tossing some exotic cushions on the floor for seating, putting a bead curtain at the door, and setting up lots of candles, Moroccan lanterns, and incense for a total hippie look. And yes, this would all be cool. But we’re talking about frugal living here.

What this said to me was that I could buy sheets and pillowcases for a dollar or less each at thrift stores and still create a wonderful, one-of-a-kind display. Sure enough, the local Goodwill and Salvation Army between them provided enough flower power for anybody’s spring and summer sheeting: a pink fitted sheet with wonderful clusters of black-and-white flowers, and a pink top sheet with truly psychedelic orange, black and white flowers, along with two matching pillowcases, two plain pink pillowcases, and two pink-based pillowcases with a contrasting pattern. All for less than $5! For a fall set, I was even luckier, since I found the same psychedelic sheet pattern in a different thrift store—a bottom and top sheet and two pillowcases in yellow with green, orange and brown flowers—then went on to get other pillowcases in green, yellow, and orange to go with them.

Nobody could describe our bedding as boring now! But it sure was cheap. And as you know if you grew up with or inherited frequently-washed sheets, the older they are and more often they’ve been washed, the softer they are. Aaahhhh!!!

Too bad the local thrift stores don’t carry Moroccan lanterns.

           ‘Til next time,



1. fairegarden - October 30, 2009

Oh how funny! Imagining your colorful bed makes me laugh. As a young wife I was so into the wildly colored flowered sheets too. And boy they did get soft after millions of washings, and hanging out on the clothesline back in PA. Now I only want white everything, soothing and peaceful. But still wish for that much washed softness. Maybe the goodwill has white? 🙂

White, Frances?! Surely not!!! (Though they would make great ghost costumes about now… )

2. Heather - October 30, 2009

Fun idea! I can only imagine how great it looks and the pleasure of sleeping in soft and cheap sheets is definitely a draw!

Thanks, Heather! And yes, they really do look fun and feel great!

3. Lzyjo - October 30, 2009

I went to the GW looking for backdrops and lucked into a ginormous king sized white sheet. WOW! It was perfect for the project. I’ve read custom requests on alchemy where people wanted their old, and possibly stained, sheets tie-died! I thought that’s what you meant by colorful! LOL! RIT has wonderful colors nowadays, great for a quick face-lift on tired sheets. Of course you can use reactive dyes and washing soda for a more permanent die job. I made the mistake, as a newly wed, of buying sateen sheets that were on sale at the department store. They lasted about 6 months!!! I didn’t know that the diagonal shiny weave was much less durable then the perpendicular percale! Good sheets are a luxury, I surely long for vintage French muslin sheets, or anything from the Garnet Hill catalog!! But more realistically I shop from linen closeout stores. like Lauren’s Linens. 30-40 a set. Not too bad. http://www.laurenslinens.com/sheetpil.html

I looked for untreated sheets one time, sheets without permanent press, or what ever anti-wrinkle chemicals, OMG they were SO MUCH more expensive than regular? The CHEAPEST I found was like 60 or 70 for a full sized set. I’ll check the goodwill sometime for sheets, I don’t think there’s much a lot of soap and hot water can’t handle.

Thanks for the link, Lzyjo! I actually once found a great tie-dyed flannel sheet at a Goodwill! You just never know what you’ll find. I wonder about yard and estate sales for those old, untreated cotton (or even linen) sheets? I guess a lot of them go to antique or vintage textile stores these days, but there might still be some good deals out there if somebody’s cleaning out Grandma’s attic!

4. fairegarden - October 30, 2009

I meant to add that I still have my grandmother’s white percale flat sheets. They are the softest thing in the world, densely woven and heavy. Too bad they are for full size beds, but we always use them for when the family comes. They are most precious!

Yes, there’s a treasure, Frances! Yum!!!

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