How to Declutter: Bathroom Towels

Color coded towels.

Each person in our family has their own towel color. That’s all we ever use.

We have 7 people in our family so we have 7 different colored towels. I keep 2 extras in the cabinet for when we have company from out of town.

Colored coded towels save time and loads of laundry each week because you only have to wash towels once a week. (We live in Montana, so don’t struggle with mildew here.)

I know for some people that sounds gross, (I know a guy who refuses to use a towel more than once) but let’s think about this:

When do you use your towel? After you’re clean!

Why spend time washing things that aren’t getting dirty?

If you think color coding can’t work with your decor, it’s worth it to monogram each person’s towel.

Make sure you have two in each color or with each person’s initials, so you don’t have to break the routine if you forget to run the dryer, or if they do get dirty.

For more decluttering inspiration, click here.

About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.


  1. Mary Ann on 07/25/2012 at 1:27 PM

    We use our towels for a week before washing too. Some think it’s gross but we like how it simplifies things!

    Color coding is a great idea!

    Enjoying your blog!

  2. Rachel on 07/25/2012 at 2:36 PM

    Thanks Mary Ann!

  3. Rozy Lass on 08/25/2012 at 5:06 PM

    Just found your blog and have enjoyed looking around. So nice to find other families who color code and use towels all week long. I’ve taught our children (5 of them) that when you use the towel you are only wet, not dirty so you can use it all week. My sister was the opposite and her family used a towel once and into the laundry it went. She wore her towels out washing and drying them! I’m still using towels we got as wedding presents 24 years ago. We’ve moved around a lot and one of the first things we do in each new house is put up enough towel bars or hooks so everyone can hang up their towel. One final note, years ago I read about color coding towels and the author quoted a friend whose mother had also done it and to this day he couldn’t see a brown and white striped towel without the urge to wash up. I thought that was pretty funny.

  4. Anonymous on 08/13/2013 at 8:54 PM

    We have been doing the color coding for over a year with 3 kids. Don’t know why I didn’t of it when we had 6 home… 🙂

  5. Elizabeth on 09/21/2013 at 12:36 AM

    I like this, but would need wider spacing between towels. I don’t like to have anything touch my towel, even a family member’s hands, and they would definitely need adequate spacing to allow for proper drying between uses.

  6. Wholesale Spa Towels on 11/27/2013 at 2:40 PM

    Yes, I agree with Elizabeth, he is saying right space must keep between towels while hang it. But I know that everyone have own mind and someone like it or someone are not.

  7. jenn on 12/01/2013 at 1:27 PM

    You can use Norwex towels. They are thin, microfiber and have silver in them which naturally kids virus and bacteria (including e. coli and Sars…) You can use them without issue for even more then a week.

    • Rachel on 12/01/2013 at 3:24 PM

      Jenn, does Norwex have full size bath towels as well? I’ve heard wonderful things about Norwex!

  8. Leah on 07/30/2014 at 11:04 PM

    What would you suggest for those of us who have large extended families? I am currently trying to downsize our towel supply in our small home, but we frequently have overnight visitors. I have 15 bath towels, which is crazy for 2 adults and 2 babies who use children’s hooded towels. But there are times when my parents and 5 brothers and sisters all come to stay for several days to a week, when every towel is used out of the closet. I hate storing them for those times 3-4 times a year when we have 4+ overnight guests, but am not sure what to do otherwise.

    • Rachel on 07/31/2014 at 12:25 AM

      That’s a tough one! If you don’t have room in your linen closet, then perhaps store them somewhere else in the house whent they are not needed. We have a large extended family too (I’m the middle of 10), I do have extras on hand, but when my mom and siblings, who still live at home, come to visit, they bring their own towels.

    • Ali on 08/19/2014 at 2:45 PM

      Leah, the solution to your problem would be to direct your family members to the nearest hotel, where there are always clean towels for everyone! 😉

    • Jamie on 08/24/2014 at 12:13 AM

      You could always ask your family members to bring their own towels with them when they come to visit you. 🙂

      • Jamie on 08/24/2014 at 12:14 AM

        oops! I just saw that Rachel already suggested that . . . sorry :/

      • Ruth on 02/28/2017 at 8:35 PM

        That sounds a bit inhospitable, unless you live in a tiny house (less than 200 sq.ft.)

        You don’t have to wash all the towels at once, and you could stagger them so they go around between more people.

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