The Messy Towel Drawer

When we built our house eleven years ago, we planned the kitchen to be efficient and productive. One of those enhancements was two large drawers beside the sink where items that are normally used with the sink could be stored. One of the drawers holds our dish-drying towels.

For all my married life, I folded dish towels after laundering them and neatly put them in the drawer or on the shelf where they belonged. We go through several dish towels each day so we wash them two or three times a week.

One day, one of our sons questioned why I went to all the work of folding the dishtowels when they were stored in a drawer, out of sight. It didn’t matter if they were wrinkled since they were used again so quickly. My best answer was that the drawer looked nice with neatly folded towels.

Pondering that discussion, I decided it was worth trying dish towels going directly from the dryer to the drawer. Practically speaking, it was great. Aesthetically, it left something to be desired. I enjoyed the five or ten extra minutes I gained by not folding the towels, though. In the end, I decided a tidy drawer where it didn’t matter, wasn’t worth the time.

Our current towel drawer!

I think that was about three years ago. If I spent 20 minutes a week folding dish towels and haven’t had to do that for 3 years, I just figured out that netted me 52 hours of time to do things that do matter.

What about you? Any things come to mind that you might be doing that have outlived their reason to do them and that you could gain time if you let go of continuing to do them?

Trusting in Jesus,

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
(Ephesians 5:16)

33 thoughts on “The Messy Towel Drawer”

  1. We do that in our family with all undergarments and nightgowns/nightclothes. A huge time saver indeed.

  2. Yes! I never fold my kitchen towels. Many other things don’t get folded either, like PJ’s, underthings, around-the-house clothes, etc. I don’t separate my laundry. It’s colors and towels/whites. I’m sure there’s many other things I’ve forgotten about. As a work-from-home and homeschooling mom, I have to let go of things!

  3. I am grateful that you showed off your messy dish towel drawer. I wish I would have seen it years ago when I was struggling under the weight of a perfect standard of homemaking that was completely unattainable. I desired to have a godly, orderly home and no one I was reading about or looking to for guidance ever deviated from the perfection is holier trope. I know you are not advocating slovenliness, but your point is, I believe to have priorities in order and places where you flex. We can manifest godly homes in different ways and still be pleasing to God. I might not be able to cope with a messy towel drawer, and you might not be able to cope with my 3 weeks before washing sheets. That is ok! Finding places to streamline and short cuts are a fine way to save time.

  4. I don’t fold children’s pajamas or underwear! Bath towels, though, I have begun rolling. I roll them in a way that they stay rolled up no matter what, and it has improved the efficiency of our linen closet.

  5. Socks. My children will not keep their socks matched and together so I just put them in each child’s clothes pile unmatched. They won’t wear them matched anyway. I figure when matching socks become important they can match them.

    1. That’s not only a practical one but a cute one, Deana. I think they sell socks these days that don’t look the same for both feet! Your children probably have some creative sock sets on their feet.

  6. I don’t fold baby clothes. They are so small and end up getting unfolded anyway. Nice pieces, like special dresses, get hung up so they don’t wrinkle. Everyday onesies, t-shirts, and pants get sorted and put in drawers.

  7. I love that you shared this – thank you! It is so smart to economize time that way. I remember in your “Managers of Their Homes” book how you said you went from washing sheets every week to some longer interval, so I changed from every week to every other week (or when needed in between scheduled washes) and I really value the saved time! Thanks again!

      1. I changed my sheet washing routine because of that too! Went from weekly to monthly.

  8. This article was extremely helpful to me – not just the original message, but also others’ comments.
    It is so hard to accept less-than-perfect when we really just want what is best for our families – but it is so true that much of what we give our time to actually detracts from far more important uses of our time, things that our families truly benefit by.
    Hmmm…not folding clothes…I think I will try this, at least for the little ones whose clothes don’t stay folded and whose drawers are big enough to accommodate the unfolded clothing.
    For the parents, though, I just wonder if I own too much clothing, because it doesn’t neatly fit in my drawers. I’ve been working on a purge…
    Thank you for the insight and encouragement – SO much needed this at this stage of life!

  9. I quit making beds. A doctor once told me because of my allergies that making your bed is actually a bad idea and creates a place for allergens and dust mites, and bugs. We fold our blankets or comforters neatly.

    1. When your doctor suggests it, that’s a really good reason! Does that mean you leave the top sheet pulled back or do you pull it up with the blanket folded on top of it?

    2. We decided to save and invest in Beddys for the kids, Bought a pair used on marketplace… it’s been life changing! Highly recommend the investment. They go on sale twice a year.

  10. Love the message behind this 🙂 I can’t think of a specific example at the moment, but I’m sure I have many!

  11. I’ve found over the years that the beds often got left & I didn’t like it. So I simplified; fitted sheets and comforters with duvet covers. Quick & Easy. Also found in the end the comforters lasted SO much longer as I didn’t need to wash em as often. As for less folding, would like that option, but small house means everything has a place and everything must go in it’s place. Thank you for your blog.

    1. Does that mean you don’t use a top sheet, just the bottom fitted sheet? And if so, isn’t the comforter hot in the summer? For us with the towels, the unfolded towels fit into the drawer the same as the folded ones. That wouldn’t be the same for a closet shelf though.

      1. I use the top sheets in the guest beds, other than that no top sheets. Just makes making the beds so quick and I wash the duvet cover once a month or so.
        And here in Northern Alberta, for a few warm days in summer, a thin blanket is fine, other than that, the comforter is wonderful.

  12. There isn’t much space in our towel drawer, so I find folding them gives me more room.
    One chore I do far less now is ironing. So many of our clothes are a fabric that looks fine so long as the clothes are hung up as soon as they are dried.

    1. That’s interesting about more towels fitting folded into the drawer than if you don’t fold them. Ours is a big, deep drawer so I guess I don’t have that perspective. Not having to iron so much is a great time saver!

  13. Growing up we had a crate under the kitchen sink where we would dump old towels and rags,( ne need to fold them at the rate we went through them) we rarely use the iron unless something is noticeably wrinkled, sheets are washed once a month, blankets as needed. In the winter people were always bringing there blankets to the livingroom since we keep the heat around 65-70 so my mom got a bin for the corner of the livingroom and filled it with extra blankets. Floors get swept and mopped once a week except for the kitchen dining room and sometimes the living room get swept every day and spot mopped as needed.In the kitchen we often pour muffin batter into cake pans and bake, we keep a bucket of homemade baking mix in the cabinet for quick biscuits and such I’m sure that there are many other time saving things that we do that my mom taught us that I just assume that is the norm.
    Blessings Charisa

    1. Under the sink is a good place for dish towels if you don’t have a drawer or shelf for them, and it is close to the sink where they are needed.

  14. I love this post! Someone who recently came to our place for the first time later commented on the fellowship of peace in the group of people that was gathering here at the time. Amongst the unfinished aspects of our home and less-than perfect areas in the home, she saw a serenity in her time here and that she desired; it didn’t deter her from thinking she wanted that same connection with God. Yes – priorities!

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