Category Archives: Baby & Kids

5 Reasons to Make Your Bed Every Day

Pem America American Traditions Deena Quilt SetYour mother told you as a kid to make your bed every day. You might have been the kind of agreeable child who did it simply because you were told to do it, or maybe you liked the idea of having a tidy room (these kinds of children must exist somewhere, right?). But if you were like most kids, you probably didn’t see the point of it. You’re just going to mess up the covers when you get in bed at night, so why bother making the bed look neat?

We’ll give you a reason. We’ll actually give you five.

  1. It jumpstarts the rest of your day.
    • When you make your bed, you are setting yourself up for a day full of productivity — because within 10 minutes of waking up, you’ve already completed one task. Sure, it’s small, but it’s finished. It’s not an essential task, like brushing your teeth or showering or eating, so when it’s finished, you know that you’ve completed something, and it will affect the way you approach the rest of your day.
  2. Forming little habits like this can lead to better habits overall.
    • Charles Duhigg wrote a book called The Power of Habit, and says that “Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget. It’s not that . . . a tidy bed causes better grades or less frivolous spending. But somehow those initial shifts start chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.” How can you argue with that?
  3. It keeps animal hair out of your sheets.
    • If your bed is made, hair and dander and dust can’t get into your sheets as easily. And if you have pets, you know how much they love to try to get on your bed and shed everywhere. It’s a great way to keep yourself a little bit healthier.
  4. It makes your bedroom look better.
    • Even the messiest bedrooms will look more put-together if your bed is made. Plus, there’s no point to owning nice bedding if it’s always crumpled! Even if you’re the only one who sees your bedroom, you deserve to see it looking nice.
  5. It can lead to greater happiness.
    • If making your bed can lead to greater productivity and better habits, why couldn’t it lead to greater happiness? Psychology Today corroborates the correlation between bed-making and happiness. And since making your bed already leads to two other great life changes, what could hurt in trying it to sustain and improve your happiness?

Now start tomorrow off right — by making your bed!

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Making the Most of Blanket Season

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Peacock Alley All Seasons Blanket

Now that autumn is officially here, there’s no question that it’s time to start enjoying brisk weather, colorful leaves, and maybe even a pumpkin spice latte or two. It’s also the beginning of blanket season, so get ready to snuggle.

However, it’s not until you need to use your blankets that you generally find if any of them are getting old and threadbare. If that’s the case, then you know that it’s probably time to replace them, since they’re not going to keep you cozy and warm like a new, plush blanket would.

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Tommy Bahama Super Queen Blanket by DOWNLITE

A cotton blanket is going to be easy to wash and care for, which is good, since a well-loved blanket will take a few hits if it gets used a lot. Cotton is also great because it’s a breathable fabric that can be comfortable in all seasons.

Wool blankets are also a popular choice. A wool blanket is going to be a little heavier than some other kinds of blankets, but you can’t beat the fact that wool is a natural fiber that requires little to no chemicals when it’s processed. Plus, wool doesn’t mold or mildew, so if you live in a humid environment, it’s going to stay healthy and hypoallergenic.

One of the most popular kinds of wool is cashmere. Cashmere is a luxury fabric, but there’s a reason it’s been a favorite for centuries. Textiles made of cashmere are known for being sumptuously soft and warm, and they have the same natural and hypoallergenic properties as generic wool.

It’s important when you’re shopping to remember where and how you’re going to use your blanket. A blanket that you keep on your bed for chilly nights may not be the same kind you keep on your sofa for a movie night with ice cream.

If you’re not sure what kind of blanket you’re looking for, check out LinensforLiving. We have a wide variety of blankets, so you can get an idea of what you need to keep cozy during blanket season.

Expect the Unexpected: Wool Bedding

sferra-dorsey-throw-1Wool. It’s always been portrayed as itchy, scratchy, and hot. But has anyone ever thought that maybe we’re all just living a lie?

Wool is actually a lot more versatile than most people think, and a lot of this is because it’s a natural fiber. It’s not man-made, and it doesn’t require chemicals to be processed into something functional and comfortable. The qualities that stem from these characteristics mean that wool creates a healthy sleep environment. Plus, wool can help you sleep more deeply.

One of the best traits of wool is that its fiber structure doesn’t retain moisture. The fibers are semi-permeable, so it absorbs any moisture and allows it to evaporate. This means that the fibers closest to your skin remain dry. This is especially great if you are a sweaty sleeper. So if you have wool bedding, it’s not going to grow mold, mildew, or any other kinds of microbes; it also won’t retain a gross smell.

This same quality allows wool to regulate your body temperature. So if you are a hot sleeper, or even a sweaty sleeper, wool will draw excess heat and moisture away from your body. At the same time, that layer of fibers closest to your body remains dry, which retains heat at the surface of your skin, keeping you warm in cold months.

Additionally, wool is hypoallergenic. Because chemicals aren’t used in the production of woolen goods, the only potential allergen in wool is the lanolin, which is the oil found in wool fibers. Very few people are allergic to lanolin, but far, far more are allergic to the harsh chemicals that are used in the manufacture of many other fabrics.

What’s even cooler, and even something unexpected, is that wool actually can lower your heart rate. Scientists at the Polytechnic Institute of Wales conducted a study measuring the physical effects of various fibers on human sleep, and they discovered that people who slept with wool bedding experienced a lower heart rate. A lower heart rate results in deeper, more restful sleep; this leads to a more energized day once you wake up.

Even though wool seems like a nontraditional choice for bedding, it’s actually a great way to increase the quality of your sleep, and therefore, your life. It’s also a nice choice if you prefer natural materials and more eco-friendly manufacturing methods.

We carry several kinds of wool bedding, including pillows, comforters, and mattress pads. Isn’t it nice to know that simply switching out your bedding can result in better sleep? I guess it’s true what they say: all’s wool that ends wool.

What Is Batting?

Powell Hand-Tacked Comforter by Eastern AccentsOne of the most important factors in the quality of the bedding you buy is also one of the least obvious — the batting. In the linens and textiles industry, batting is an absolute essential when you’re looking for any kind of bedding thicker than a blanket. It’s the fibrous material between layers of fabric that insulates you.

Batts are made with a drum carder, which pulls the fibers straight and lays them into the storage drum’s card cloth. The result is either a flat, sheet-like piece or an unformed mass of fibers.

The two most notable factors to keep in mind with batting are the fiber and the loft.

Your most popular fibers are cotton, polyester, and a cotton-poly blend. Cotton and polyester each have specific benefits, but by combining them, you get benefits of both.

Cotton is a natural fiber, which gives it an edge over polyester, especially with the growing trend toward natural products. It’s also more breathable than polyester. Quilts, duvets, and comforters made with cotton batting need to have close stitching, because cotton batting will shift over time.

Polyester batting has a lower price tag than most other kinds of batting. These fibers also will shift as time passes, so bedding made with polyester batting should have close stitching or baffles to keep it in place.

Cotton-poly batting usually comes in a 80:20 ratio, respectively. Its characteristics are very similar to cotton, but you also get a cheaper price than if you were to choose bedding with 100% cotton batting.

As far as loft goes, it’s mainly about personal preference. The higher the loft, the thicker your bedding will be. This is going to affect both the appearance and the warmth of the bedding. Many people have quilts with low-loft batting in them for the summer months, and comforters or duvets with high-loft batting for winter.

Check out our wide selection of bedding at linensforliving.com. We have quilts, comforters, and duvets with different kinds of batting and loft so that you can find exactly what you need to make a comfortable bed.

Why You Should Ditch Fabric Softener

LinensforLiving Vinegar as Natural Fabric Softener AlternativeLinensforLiving Aluminum Foil Balls as Natural Dryer Sheet AlternativeFabric softener is a staple for most American households, but it’s also a pretty good way to wear out your linens faster and expose yourself to chemicals. So what’s a person to do?

First, the gory details: Repeated washings with fabric softeners will definitely increase the material’s flammability and decrease its ability to absorb water and breathe, especially if the fabric is 100% cotton or 100% polyester.

Softener coats fabric with petroleum-based chemicals that are designed to prevent static electricity in your clothes and bedding. One of the effects is that the original finish of the fabric, which is part of what makes it feel or look the way it does, begins to break down so that the fabric wears out more quickly and more easily.

Another effect, and the more dangerous one, is that many of these chemicals are, at the very least, irritants to the human body. Ingredients range from benzyl alcohol, which bothers the upper respiratory tract, to phthalates and benzyl acetate, which have been linked to breast cancer and pancreatic cancer, respectively. A number of these ingredients have been put on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Hazardous Waste Lists.

So how do you keep your linens and textiles soft without exposing yourself to all these chemicals?

Vinegar is a good natural softener that won’t put chemicals on your fabrics or make your clothes less absorbent. Plus, it’s generally cheaper than traditional softeners. If you’re concerned that it will make your clothes and sheets smell like vinegar, no worries — it doesn’t leave a smell behind at all. Check out this post from Green Idea Reviews for a personal account of vinegar as a fabric softener.

However, vinegar won’t prevent static quite like regular fabric softener or dryer sheets. A great alternative to these is an aluminum foil ball. Not only is it cheaper in the long run (as they easily can be used for over six months), but an aluminum foil ball won’t leave chemicals on your clothes or bedding. It will work well in conjunction with the vinegar as a softener. Once again, Green Idea Reviews has a good personal post about using this alternative to dryer sheets.

Not only is it a cheaper transition from traditional softener to vinegar and aluminum foil, but it’s also a fairly smooth one. It’s an easy way to live a healthier life while maintaining your basic life habits.

 

College Dorm Checklist

Indiana University Bed in a Bag by Northwest CompanyIf you’ve gone shopping lately, you’ve surely seen the racks and stacks of back-to-school supplies that are on display now. While it’s generally easy to figure out what a kid in middle school or high school will need, it gets a little trickier with college kids. Not only do they need regular school supplies, but they also need regular living basics if they’re living in a dorm or an apartment.

Not to worry — we have a comprehensive list of all the linens essentials that your college kid will need for the next four years. Shop online with us and save both time and money. Plus, get free shipping on everything you order!

Now without further ado, the Linens Essentials for College:

Bedding:

Bath:

Living Area:

Don’t forget — we have a plethora of school-themed home products so that your kid can show their school spirit. Check out brands Northwest Company and College Covers to find licensed bedding and linens today!

Plus, we have a Back-to-School Pinterest board! This is a great place to start if you want a specially curated selection of college dorm items.

Looking for even better deals? Check out our clearance section, where you could find an even better price on the product you want.

Sleep, Smell, and Your Sheets

RB Casa Siena Sheet SetYou can find the health benefits of regularly washing your sheets pretty easily when you search the internet — everyone from the National Sleep Foundation to regular bloggers will discuss it, and research can show you what’s actually in your bed.

But there’s one more reason to wash your sheets on a regular basis: their smell. A 2011 poll from the National Sleep Foundation shows that 71% of Americans “agreed that they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent” (16).

Maybe it’s partly a reflection of knowing that your sheets are clean, or maybe it has to do with the softer feel that freshly washed sheets have. However, smells have been shown to influence our dreams, and lavender is known for decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, which can help you fall asleep.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that the fresh smell of clean sheets and pillowcases could have an impact on how you sleep. Having a couple spare sets of sheets for regular use will help maintain that appealing laundered scent, and spraying a little lavender pillow mist will help you feel more relaxed when you crawl under the covers. (You can find a good lavender pillow mist at Bath and Body Works for only $10.00.)

If you want more information on how smell affects your sleep, check out the research that the National Sleep Foundation has collected to help you optimize your bedroom and your sleep.