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    • Yesterday you may have seen "towels" trending on social media. Here's why.

      It began with one Twitter user asking the perfectly innocuous question about how many towels does a household of 2 people need.

      This elicited a wide variety of responses, most notably this one:

      Yashar then clarified his stance on differences between each towel gradiation:

      Many people had thoughts on this, ranging from the silly...

      to the serious.

      And there's a lot of media analysis of the subject.

      That being said, in terms of actual utility and having an NYC linen closet (which I know I'm fortunate enough to have a closet that I can shove towels into along with extra pillows and linens - washing often and rotating towels! - but many people do not have storage for any extra towels at all) here's my general thoughts on the subject and current towel inventory:

      4 bath sheets that we got as a wedding gift - they are immense "mega towels" that only my husband uses. I find them impractical as you can't dry your hair and your body at the same time with one mega-towel. Because they were a gift, they match and are in excellent condition.

      8 regular bath towels - these are a hodge-podge blend of towels from us moving in together that we didn't deem worthy of adding to the registry. Would I like fancy coordinated towels? That would be awesome. But until then, I'm making it work with the free TV show promotional towel.

      4 hand towels - I don't know where to hang them, but I have them.

      Misc. washcloths - see above re: linens not matching and being generally inherited.

      Why did this subject generate so much debate? I'm thinking because:

      1) It's not something you think about but you use every day - a bit like asking "How many mugs should someone have?" (*which, as a sidenote, I have seemingly 200 mugs but I refuse to cull due to sentimentality)

      2) Towels are not cheap, especially nice ones, so it's a significant investment in terms of set up (*and yes, I give towels as wedding gifts when I see them on a registry - they are way more useful than a food processor).

      3) Towels are bulky and hard to store, but essential post-immersion items.

      What are your thoughts?

    • towel queen here. we have 10 bath towels: 5 white ones which are used exclusively by my partner, and 5 plushy ones that are used by me and offered to guests. then there are 4 or 5 face towels, which are actually just white hand towels that are designated for drying my face after washing it. please note that the white bath and hand towels were gifted to me by the woman who waxed my eyebrows for several years, in exchange for my promise to not get back together with a terrible boyfriend. i did not hold up my end of the deal, so these are guilt towels. then there 10-15 towels consisting of both hand towels and kitchen towels. we have 3 sets of bed sheets and many, many extra pillowcases. i bathe and sleep like a rich woman.

    • i would also like to note that the plushy towels are from Target. so while they were relatively inexpensive, they still felt like luxury purchases at the time.

    • That is.... so many towels! I feel like it's worthwhile to note what function a towel has.

      For Example, in our house:

      Master Bath - We need 1 towel per person at any given time. As soon as shower is done, put it on a rack and it will be dry by the next day. Then 1 hand towel minimum for drying hands on something other than body towels. Then you need 1 additional towel or wrap for each long haired person. Then it is convenient to have 1 of towel person in reserve closet so that you can replace the ones. Add washcloths or loofah if you wish. Another useful thing is a bath mat towel. I throw that one in as a towel because we hang it up ofter every shower.

      Min: 1 towel x people, 1 hand towel, 1 hair towel

      What we ended up is basically 4 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 hair towels.

      Of course there are a lot of other functions for towels.

      Kitchen - We have about a dozen kitchen towels that can be used for drying dishes and for wiping things off the floor. It's useful to have a lot here so that you are encouraged to wipe something up and throw the towel in the laundry instead of using paper towels for everything.

      Workouts - If you have a workout space where you are going to be sweating a lot, it could be useful to have a good supply of workout towels. This could vary, but maybe something like 2 per person x the number of workouts you do per week.

      Guest Bath - If you have a guest bathroom with a shower, you probably want to have something like we had for the master bath. The max number of guests you expect to have x 2, same formula.

      So at our house we would only ever expect 1 person max guest (on the couch), so 2x guest towels, Some washcloths (we don't know how they bathe), and a couple hand towels above the sink. This is where we put our decorative hand towels.

      Small children - If you need to bathe small children, this can get kind of tricky. Depending on your process. What we are using now is about 8 washcloths (some in reserve) and a few full body wraps to dry off and stay warm after.

      Beach towels - If you like going to the beach, or just laying out in wet grass these can be useful.

      TL;DR; it depends 😄

    • Speaking of towels - this was in the NYTimes today, in an article entitled "‘There Are No Towels?’ The Renter’s Lament":

      At the vacation rental company HomeAway, missing or shabby sheets and
      towels are the most common complaints mentioned in customer satisfaction
      surveys about house amenities, says Karen Fuller, HomeAway’s senior
      director for global market research. While it may seem obvious that
      overnight guests would need sheets and towels — and would be unlikely to
      be bringing their own — Ms. Fuller noted that some owners of ski cabins
      and beach cottages, particularly in places like Cape Cod, don’t provide
      sheets or charge “linen fees” to rent them. That information might be
      included in listing for homes, but some visitors “don’t read all the
      details,” she said.

    • I honestly have no idea how many towels and washcloths we own. "Some" is the quantity that most readily comes to mind. All of mixed quality and vintage, and few enough that I occasionally go to get a new towel and wind up empty-handed and then rampage through the house collecting towels to wash.

      Until this conversation I had no idea there was a thing called a "bath sheet" and that that thing is canonically different from a "bath towel". I just thought there were big towels and less-big towels.

      The only time I can say I really think a lot about towels is when I travel. Then I always pack a compact, super-absorbent travel towel, because I believe it's important to be a hoopy frood who always (mostly) knows where his towel is. It has often come in handy.

    • It's a thing in Cape Cod, for sure - I love the region, but visiting there (if you're not staying in a hotel) there's the implied "You are driving here, so bring all the supplies you would need for a glamping expedition."

      Here's an article about it:

      Unlike most of the rest of the vacation rental world, Cape Cod owners, for the most part, do not furnish sheets and towels for rental guests. Vacationers either bring their own or rent them so they are at the property when the group arrives.  Naturally, most guests would love to find fresh linens ready to use when they start their vacation. So why don’t more owners throw in the sheets and towels? In most cases, it’s not the added cost, it’s the
      logistics of the typical, very hectic rental turnover day.

    • One of the perks of being a suburbanite is the bounty of towels we are able to keep handy. However, rather than categorize them by size I categorize them by quality. The bottom end of the spectrum being the towels we use to dry off the dogs, the mid-range towels we use to dry off the children, and fancy towels are tucked away in the master bath...

    • I rank towels and linens on the same category as dress shoes. I prefer NOT to stay with friends when traveling, but, if that is part of the deal I do JUDGE. If the guest bed has Four Seasons equiv bed linen and your bath towels (including a washcloth) are plush....we are friends for life, even if I don't like you. hhahhahahaha

      My old sales days sitting in the lobby with 10 other sales guys waiting to meet the same Purchasing Agent.....I always had $400+(that was 20 years ago) dress shoes. Whether that gave me the confidence or it was I just looked more professional, I usually spanked my competition. lol

    • I suppose it depends... how many does a person really need? At least 1.

      According to the classic Hitchiker's guide to the Galaxy states:

      “A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

      "More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost." What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

    • I mentioned it here. 😜

      The only time I can say I really think a lot about towels is when I travel. Then I always pack a compact, super-absorbent travel towel, because I believe it's important to be a hoopy frood who always (mostly) knows where his towel is. It has often come in handy.