How many towels does one person need?

Let’s start the week with a personal question. No, you don’t need to share the answer. Just answer it in your head. Here we go: How many bath towels do you have?

If you’re like most people, I’m betting there are at least five bath towels per person in your house. Maybe even six or seven. That’s just a guess; I’ve never seen any official statistics on such an important question.

My wife is like most people. And I don’t mean this to be a criticism of her, or of you. I’m a goofball minimalist and I’ll share my answer to this critical question shortly.

Lots of towels take up lots of space

I’m sure this isn’t a particularly enlightening observation, but the more towels you have, the more space you need to store them. Go for thicker, luxurious bath towels and you’ll find your stored towels take up more room than my whole wardrobe. Over time, you replace some. And of course, you can’t find the exact some ones, so you end up with mishmash of different colors, sizes, and brands.

My wife currently has eight towels, seven in the closet and one in the bathroom. Here’s what they look like in our closet.

Seven towels on a closet shelf

A few months ago, there were even more towels crammed into this shelf space. I couldn’t walk in the closet without fearing I’d be attacked by these cotton thugs. Thankfully, my wife has downsized to just eight towels.

My towels in comparison

About a year ago, I thought about the attack of the towels. I think it was once when I forgot to turn the closet light on. I’m not scared of the dark, but I swear I felt a towel reach out and try to grab me. Never found out which one.

Anyway, after that I tackled the towel problem. Doing some research, I found that many van-lifers used camping or backpacking towels. And I bought three of them for $17 each. They’re all 60-inches by 30-inches, so plenty big enough for me, even as my belly expands over time.

Here’s the same closet picture of my wife’s seven towels, with one of mine added to the mix. It’s at the top right.

Eight towels on a closet shelf

Mine is far thinner, takes up much less space and dries me off just the same. Does it feel as luxurious? Definitely not. It does the job as a functional item without any discomfort, though.

Calling it a towel is even a stretch because it’s effectively a microfiber chamios. Only instead of being made to dry off a car, it’s for drying off a person. Admittedly, it felt weird to use after a shower at first. Within a week, it was the new normal for me.

Maybe using a traditional, towel brings you joy after every shower or bath. There’s nothing wrong that. I don’t get that feeling of joy though. So anything that can dry me off is more than good enough for me.

Yes, I only have 3 bath towels

Back to the original question. Now you know I have three bath towels. 😱

While some people shower religiously every day, or even twice on some days, I’m not one of them. I’m on more of ‘every 36 hours or so’ shower schedule.

Sometimes I’ll shower at night before bed. Unless there’s a really compelling reason to shower the next day, I’ll wait until the following morning. After that shower, I may go a full second day without another one.

This schedule, combined with just three thin towels, saves both time and resources. When I do my weekly one load of laundry, the towels go in with the clothes. There’s no load of “just towels” for me, saving water and electricity. And I’m good with clean clothes and towels for the entire week with that single load.

A razor on top of a microfiber towel

Aside from that, my three skinny towels are easy to manage on a small shelf. They don’t overflow past the shelf or look like they’re crammed into a small space. I can even walk past them in a dark room without fear! 🤣

I’m not suggesting you have to follow my lead. Instead, consider this as kicking off a thought experiment with your towels. Or with something else in your home that requires perhaps too much time, effort and\or space.

Some resources

🚿 Purchase Raintree Microfiber Towels (affiliate link)

📼 Raintree Microfiber Towel Video Overview

💻 How Many Towels Do You Need?

💻 The Minimalist Linen Closet