...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where do you keep all your stuff - part two: tablecloths

The majority of my tablecloths hang in one of the closets built in the hallway. They are hanging by size within color.

The shelf above the hanging rod, holds some coverings for outdoors, some extra linen yet to be made into towels, placemats or runners, a runner or two, some new tablecloths still in their cover, and the faux poppies for our Mexican meals outside. Do you notice the tags on the hangers?

Now this is where my OCD comes into play. Although I do know the size of most of the tablecloths hanging, there quite a few that I don't use as often so their size can be a mystery. By size, I'm referring to the length. Our old table required a 84" length and I still have a few of those, but most of the ones are now at least a 90" length. Can you tell that the tags are color codes? Brown tags are odd things (my grandmother's 70" length, runners, squares, etc). White takes are 84" length, yellow tags are 90" length, blue are 100+" and the green tags are 126". By size within color I mean that they all hang from the shortest to the longest in for instance, the white grouping, then they hang from shortest to longest in the beige grouping and so on. Makes pulling one out pretty easy. I know, I know.. too much organization. But it makes me happy :-).

I want to share a few tips with you on preserving your linens:
1. First, use the right washing agents. The detergents that contain bleaching agents are perfect for white linen but should not be used for washing colored linen or else your linen would get discolored or spotted. Only bleach-free detergents must be used for washing colored articles. Use pure soap or gentle detergents. Soap works best in soft water. Never use chlorine bleaches to avoid damage to the fiber. Only oxygen-type bleaches should be used for white linen laundering. However, no bleach should be used when washing spun, colored or embroidered linen. 

If the water you use is hard due to a high lime content add a softening agent, especially for darker-colored articles. Use plenty of water because linen is very water-absorbent. Water temperature should be selected according to the care instructions attached to your linen article. If the temperature exceeds the recommended maximum temperature it may lead to fabric shrinkage.  

Whether washing by hand or by machine, linen items have to be thoroughly rinsed in plenty of water to remove all soap, detergent and residual soil and prevent the formation of the so-called age spots due to the oxidation effect.

2.  Resist the urge to store your linens fully starched if they are some you don't use often. Instead of the fibers bending when you fold, the starch I can break the fiber instead. Continuous folding of starched linens will surely show the wear and tear. If linen articles are stored for a long time, refold them from time to time.

3. The easiest way to iron your linens is  to spray them with water, or take them from the dryer fairly damp and place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight. I'm not sure why this works, it just does. The next day when you take them out to iron, you will find you don't need starch and ironing is a breeze.

In case of light-colored linens, iron on the wrong side first, then on the right side to bring out the sheen. As regards dark-colored articles, iron on the wrong side only. 

Iron embroidered items on the wrong side on a towel.. This keeps the embroidered portion  from flattening out.

4. I don't use an ironing board to iron. I had a board cut 3 ft by 8 ft long. Wrapped the entire board in an old wool blanket. Then covered the blanket with a cotton covering. Staple the covering to the side not on the ironing surface. Place it on the end of your table and iron the tablecloth on this. Pull the ironed part over the table until all parts of the tablecloth are ironed. No creases, once across the width and your tablecloth will be wrinkle free. 


Entertaining Women said...

We use very similar techniques for linen storage. I also tag my cloths. Mine are stored in two full sized closets...large oblong cloths in one and round and square cloths in the other on double rods. It does make it quite easy to select a cloth. Napkins are stored in all the drawers of a bureau in the same room. This particular guest room often becomes a staging room for entertaining...a blessing to have. Thanks for the idea about the covered board for ironing. I'll remember that one. Cherry Kay

Debbie said...

Great idea about the covered board for ironing. I may just have to implement that idea! Organization is key, and you have mastered that ;o)

Kuby said...

Thanks for the tips on the linen! Your table cloth collection is incredible!

Johanna said...

Hallo Marlis,
du bist perfekt organisiert. Das ist eine super Idee, die Tischdecken auf Bügel zu hängen. So werden sie nicht belastet und knittern nicht. Dein schwarz-weißer Tisch sieht auch sehr edel aus.
Liebe Grüße, Johanna

Laura said...

What wonderful organizational tips.
Thank you Marlis.
I am off to read more posts.
I enjoyed visiting,

White Spray Paint

Miss Char said...

Well Marlis your OCD tops my ADD. :) I do hang my linens and soon they will find a new home in my dish room but (and here is where the ADD comes in) I don't have mine tagged with the size. What a great idea but I'm afraid that somewhere between the ironing and hanging I'd get lost again and not tag them. Thanks for the great information on washing and storing.

Dianne said...

Your idea for ironing tablecloths just saved me a world of work! We were going to try to extend an ironing board, but your solution is genius.

I think we have similar passions after reading your second blog. I also do papercrafts, but haven't been inspired lately. After the Christmas push and with the Garden Show bearing down on us, it will probably be awhile, but I will be checking both your blogs regularly.

Dianne and Dianne's Creative Table

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

You are SO ORGANIZED!!! I am very impressed and I will never remember all you just told me SO I'll remember it's YOU I must ask for advice on my linens! I have "Trunks and Trunks of them"!!! Your black and white table setting is Gorgeous! I always love that color combo. Especially in the heart of winter!Thank you SO much for all your important information...
Hugs to you,

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Marlis, I'm so impressed. You are orgnized to a science. I am so impressed with your ironing techinque, too. Thanks so much for sharing.


Sheila :-)

Beth said...

Marlis, Your table is stunning! Love the black and white. Your flatware and plates are lovely. I have those same Mikasa polka dot mugs - had my milk at lunch time in one...I know, they're for tea or coffee...lol
Thanks for the education on care of linens. You have many lovely tablecloths and I like how you have organized them.
Blessings, Beth

xinex said...

You are so organized, Marlis. I love the idea of labeling the hangers with the tablecloth size....Christine

xinex said...

You are so organized, Marlis. I love the idea of labeling the hangers with the tablecloth size....Christine

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Marlis, great storage ideas - and linen care advice, especially not storing starched linens. Not only can the fibers break, but the starch sometimes attracts bugs. My very favorite linen cleaner is Restoration. It's especially wonderful for getting storage stains out of vintage linens!


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