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Living Space: Take advantage of January white sales to refresh your linens

Jan. 5, 2012 at midnight
Updated Jan. 4, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.

White sales offer the perfect excuse to pep up your bath towel collection.

By Kathryn WeberEvery winter, just after the holidays, it's White Sale season. Whether you actually prefer snow-white bedding and towels or brighter shades, there's no better time to stock up on linens.

Take stock

Before heading out to the mall, take stock of your bed, bath and kitchen linens to assess your needs. Create a list of needed items to help you make the most of your time and money. Check to see if you need new towels or a fresh shower curtain. If you have frequent overnight visitors, you may want to replenish your supply of guest towels.

You may not need full sets of new linens. For example, instead of buying the standard set of one bath towel, one hand towel and one washcloth, you may want to provide two hand towels for every bath towel - one for the sink and one for wet hair. Create the sets that suit you best.

Be sure to test the texture of any towels you're considering buying. Don't assume that soft equals absorbent. Many downy towels merely smear water on your skin rather than soak it up; this can make stepping out of the shower feel downright frigid in winter.

Cozy bed

White sales are terrific for stocking up on necessities like new sheets. When buying sheet sets, don't forget to grab an extra set of pillowcases. Many pillowcases wear out quickly, and the extra set will mean you'll have a spare if needed or you can provide four pillows for two sleepers.

Buy sheets according to comfort. Although higher thread count is considered a marker for quality, comfort is really the best barometer. If you like soft sheets, don't just go by the numbers. Feel a sheet's texture. Consider buying sheets for the seasons. Purchase a softer sheet for winter and a crisp sheet for summer. Check to see if pillows need replacing, too.

Go for something different

Take advantage of lower prices to try a sheet you've never used before. Soft fleece sheet take the chill out of cold nights and offer a luxurious feel, or pick a jersey sheet that feels like your favorite T-shirt. If your blankets are frayed, pilled or matted, look at new styles and textures. Toasty, lightweight down comforters are a particularly good buy now. Down substitute comforters are also a good buy.

Quick tips

Don't overlook the kitchen during white-sale season. This is a great time to replace ratty hot pads and dish towels. You can even pick up some holiday prints at reduced prices to put away for next year.

Placemats, napkin rings and tablecloths are all on sale. When you get your purchases home, throw everything in the wash to take out the stiffness and add a fresh smell.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.

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