In more than one place I read that you should use the 6 month rule to help you decide. If you will not use them within the next 6 months, get rid of them. Maybe someone else will have use for them or have the time to make them into something reusable. Another thing I read is that if you really cannot decide, put them in a box dated 6 months from now. If you have not used those items within the next 6 months, they need to go. (The exception would be seasonal/holiday items.) If you are still undecided, asking yourself if the item could be replaced for under $20 would be another indicator of its proper place. Answering "yes" would be a sign that it needs to go in the donation pile.
There are basically three options when sorting through the pile--save, throw, donate.
You might want to have a couple of bags ready for the items to donate. Label the bags with their destination and put them immediately in the car or by the front door. The intent is not to stash them somewhere else.
Remember, that all those items in the "save" pile will need new homes. (The option of moving something to the donate pile is always open.) If you are saving one of those old sheets to cover the garden on a frosty night like I am, it should probably be put in the garage or shed with all the rest of your gardening supplies. Also, if you only need two sheets, only save two of them. Some of those saved items can also be used for multiple purposes on the list I will give you. In that case, you might just want to designate a specific area for old sheets or old towels. That way, you will know where to find them when you need them.
With that, here are a some suggested ways to reuse and recycle old linens:
• Use them for drop cloths for painting projects
• Let children drape them over chairs to make tents or forts
• Cut them into thin strips and use them to knit or crochet
• Crochet them into rag rugs
• Turn them into linen napkins or tablecloths
• Make kitchen curtains
• Use to slip cover chairs
• Cut them up and use them to make and stuff throw pillows
• Use them for quilt backing
• Make a laundry bag
• Make drawstring gift bags
• Use it to make gift wrap
• Donate them to homeless shelters
• Take them to the beach and use for picnics
• Use for picnic or camping tablecloth
• Cover fruit trees and/or flowers to protect from frost
• Tear them into strips and use them to tie your tomato plants to stakes
• Cut them up and use them for dusting
• Knot them and make a dog toy
• Use it for dog bedding
• Donate them to animal shelters
Thanks to: http://www.blisstree.com/thriftymommy/20-things-to-do-with-old-bed-sheets/ for the majority of these great ideas.
This website also has some wonderful ideas for organizing you linen closet. There are tips for sorting, caring for antique linens, and even adding herbal sachets. http://howtomakedo.net/137/how-to-organize-a-linen-closet
My next post will be about one of my sheet reuse projects. =)