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From the Home Front: Taking it from the top

Recently, when perusing the Apartment Therapy website, I came across an old post entitled “Don’t Fall for It: 5 Things You Really DON’T Need At Home.”

Topping the list: Top sheet.

“Forgoing a top sheet has made zero difference in my sleeping comfort, but a major difference in my laundry load and morning bed-making time. I’m a convert,” wrote contributor Jennifer Hunter.

Well, that woke people up. Many, many people. In the comments section, they voiced some very strong opinions for or against top sheets. Who knew?

Among the comments, edited:

For: “I cannot do without my top sheet. Take that away and civilization goes with it.”

Against: “I hate hate hate the top sheet!! I get all twisted up in it and it always ends up at the bottom of the bed in a ball.”

For: “The top sheet is my favorite thing, especially in summer. A crisp percale sheet is like a soothing, cool cocoon.”

Against: “Hate how it gets all tangled around me! Sure, I have to wash my duvet cover more often – but I’m good with that.”

Of course, a variety of factors come into play here. What is the top layer? A blanket of some sort? A comforter? A down-filled duvet with a removable washable cover?

Growing weary of wading through more comments, I turned to the book “Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House” By Cheryl Mendelson. It didn’t take long to find her opinion on the matter.

“I do not favor the new style of using no top sheet,” she wrote in a chapter called, I kid you not, “The Cave of Nakedness.”

“There are concrete reasons to use a top sheet: it is more comfortable, cleaner, and more convenient,” she wrote. “Sheets are designed to be comfortable next to your skin, and there are many different types of sheets to suit many different tastes (she tackles that in another chapter with a more yawner of a title, “Beds and Bedding.”)

Blankets, quilts and comforter covers are less skin-friendly, she noted.

Furthermore, she continued, “not only are sheets – good sheets – meant to feel good on your skin, they are meant to save you the trouble of having to launder your blankets or other warm covers every week or more often.”

I very much prefer a top sheet – and not only because it’s so much easier to fold than the fitted bottom sheet. Plus, if it’s a patterned sheet, which was usually the case with our daughter’s sheets (pink flamingos!), I stick with the method of placing the wrong side up so that when the top hem is folded down over the blanket, the print pops into view – just as my mother taught me and just as Mendelson advises.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering what the other four items were on Apartment Therapy’s list of “5 Things You Really DON’T Need At Home,” here they are: Place settings for 12; specialized cleaning products; matching night stands or lamps, and ALL those knives that come in a set.

The topic of top sheets is far more interesting. Maybe that’s why it topped the list.

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