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Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Posted by Raident (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 23:45

I come from a duvet cover family. Every time my mother bought a sheet set, the flat sheet would always end up sitting in some random corner of the storage room until she needed more rags, at which point it got cut up. I never really thought much about it until I moved out and started buying my own sheets, at which point I finally Googled it up and realized that a treatment which I'd only seen in hotels up till that point was actually something that millions of Americans do at home.

Having now tried the flat-sheet-between-me-and-the-comforter approach for a week, I still don't get it. It's sooooo much more work to make the bed every morning - with a duvet cover all I need to do is straighten it out and re-center when I get out of bed, but with the flat sheet the whole ensemble needs to be tucked in again in addition to that. Hotels might have room service, but I can't imagine how anyone who isn't rich enough to hire a full-time maid can put up with all the work.

There's gotta be something that makes the flat sheet approach attractive, but what is it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

In the summer when it's warmer sometimes all you want is a sheet covering you. In the summer when it's cooler you want a duvet. I use a sheet with a lightweight down "blanket" in the summer - no cover. In the winter I just use the fitted sheet and heavier down comforter with cover.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I agree that unless it's summer and you want very light covers, the flat sheet makes no sense - assuming your comforter is covered by a duvet cover (which it should, particularly if it's down, wool, etc).

During the summer we sleep with a flat sheet topped by a very light, soft cotton blanket. Perfect for the South.

I would surely love to have that tightly-made, endless layers- hotel bed every day, but that would absolutely require a maid. It is not realistic for a regular household, and even less realistic if both spouses work.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I grew up the same as you - no top sheet just a duvet. My DH grew up with a top sheet AND a duvet. To me it always seemed stupid (there I said it) and somewhat redundant. It is a battle I lost. For the last 30 years I have washed both a top sheet and a duvet cover. I also find a top sheet rather restrictive. Dh likes his side all tucked in and I never tuck in my side.

edited to add - I don't think my DH realizes it but our sons were raised without top sheets - just duvets.

This post was edited by blfenton on Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 0:47


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I like both, but have gotten used to a flannel duvet cover in the winter and LOVE how it sleeps (or rather, how I sleep under it). But I have a king sized bed and live alone (bed's from before I was widowed) and washing that duvet cover, getting it off, out of the dryer before it wrinkles and then restuffing it myself is a huge chore. It's a several hour job to change my sheets (including wash time). So sometimes, I put on the top sheet and the down comforter without the cover and it seems like a really quick and easy change.

I grew up with blankets and top sheets, and bed spreads. It seemed really odd and unsanitary to me to sleep under a duvet (cover or no) without a top sheet that was more easily washed.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

We are a duvet-only family. Fine for just the two of us, and when I inherited my mother's twin beds (beautiful MCM stuff), I got new bedding for them, duvets and covers from IKEA, for the guest room. And I put the old flat sheets in a drawer in the guest room. Can't tell you how many times we have found that guests remake the beds with top sheets. Sigh.

FWIW, we live on the Central Coast of CA, close enough to the ocean to need no AC and we have cool (60 degree) nights even in the summer,

I never buy sheet "sets". What a waste. I buy fitted sheets and pillowcases. Period. I think I'll put Mother's old flat sheets away in the garage,


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

olychick, have you tried turning the duvet cover inside out, tying the retaining strings on one end (if any), and then slowly "rolling" the cover onto the comforter? I find it much easier than the stuffing method.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I grew up with a top sheet but ditched it long ago.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I just switched to duvet cover/no flat sheets a few days ago for my children. It is so much easier to make their beds, but I haven't gone through the process of washing the covers yet. That seems like it will be a chore. For my own bed I just use a flat sheet and a quilt that falls almost to the floor. It's super easy to make because there isn't much bulk and the sheet doesn't need to be tucked or even positioned on the bed evenly. I can't do that for my children though because the climate control in my house isn't very good. In the winter they freeze while we burn up so they need heavier covers.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I forego the top sheet in cooler weather and use only the duvet. In cold temps, I put a flannel duvet cover on my wool-filled, and then down, comforters and sleep directly under it. In spring and fall, it's a cotton duvet cover. But in summer ,when it's hot, the comforter is too warm, so I switch to a top sheet and light blanket.

But yes, sleeping under just a comforter with a duvet on it is so yummy. I tried it because it's what my father does, and he's a very wise person! And lo an behold, he's right again!

I think people feel that putting duvet covers on comforters is too hard. IT isn't, once you figure out how to do it. So many people also have king beds, and therefore comforters, and I can see how putting a duvet cover on a king comforter might be cumbersome.

Best source of warmth is body heat. Kew, get flannel covers for your kids winter comforters. They'll be toasty.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I grew up with flat sheets (on both top and bottom), a blanket and a bedspread.

I've tried just the duvet in a cover and I didn't like it. Mostly, I seem to need the tucked in top sheet. With just the duvet, my feet poke out and get cold--and that wakes me up. Then there's the hassle of taking the cover off every week, washing it and putting it back on.

Plus, duvets don't cover the box spring and then you need a bedskirt. I am bedskirt challenged and can't tuck in the top sheet without tucking in the bedskirt as well, leading to several minutes of tucking in and pulling out and tucking in again.

My trick is to buy a flat sheet a size larger than my bed. A full sheet on a twin bed, a queen sheet on a full bed. This gives you plenty of fabric to tuck in, and the bed stays made much better over night, no matter how much you kick or squirm around.

Making the bed in the morning consists of pulling everything up to the top of the bed smoothly, refolding the sheet over the blanket, tucking it on on both sides, and pulling the bedspread up over the pillows. A step or two more than the duvet, but not much more.

It all comes down to personal preference, I think. If you use blankets, the top sheet protects them from body oils and dirt. If you use a duvet, the cover protects it.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I grew up with a fitted and top sheet used with a blanket. Bedspreads, comforters, etc. were used mainly to cover the bed and pulled down at night (not used). That's how I still do to this day. I don't remember how old I was before I even knew what a duvet was!

We're in the south also and sometimes just a sheet feels good, although I almost always have a sheet and a blanket. In winter we use flannel sheets and I love the feel of them. Actually, I love a good feeling sheet - summer or fall. I also grew up with quilts and still love those as an added layer in really cold temps.

I guess I'm used to making a bed with a top sheet, blanket, etc. but I'm not sure how much you are tucking in. I also love the look of folding down the covers and having a pretty/or coordinating top sheet show.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I didn't even know that people use duvet covers as top sheets. So, you guys must wash yours a lot? My daughter does this and when I sleep in her bed it feels like something's missing, like she didn't feel like making a proper bed and just threw the comforter on.

I too grew up with top/bottom sheets, blanket and something on top, e.g., a bedspread. Now I use a duvet cover instead of a bedspread. I'm still not sure if the duvet is the cover or the thing inside.

I'm generally opposed to spending a fortune on bedding and fussing with skirts and shams and a herd of pillows. It's not a spa get-away. It's where (my cats and) I sleep and where I get dressed.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

So, the duvet covers get washed as often as the sheets do? Not using a top sheet with a comforter or duvet cover just seems dirty to me. I'd be very uncomfortable as a guest, slipping into a bed without a top sheet.

Making a bed in the morning with a top sheet probably adds 30 seconds to my daily routine. I know...onorous beyond reason! :-)


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I'm with rhizo.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

i grew up with blankets and bedspreads and later comforters and top sheets-- my mother never washed the bedspreads or comforters weekly- just the sheets.
i am a nurse, and of course i learned to make beds the same way in nursing school and every hotel and friends' house i have ever stayed at had beds made with top sheets too, so i have never slept without a topsheet!

i prefer comforters, etc (with nonremoveable covers) and use a full set of sheets and only regularly wash the sheets... to me, taking the duvet out of the cover frequently and washing would be much more of a pain than making the bed with a top sheet! (can't say that i nicely make the bed every single day either!)
i'm sure if i grew up without topsheets, i would view it differently!
tho, come to think of it, a couple of my college aged sons have ditched the top sheet and just sleep under the blanket or comforter- neither wash anything on their beds too frequently tho i don't think.....!!


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Another one that uses a top sheet with the duvet (and cover) in the cooler months -- and with the lighter weight comforter in the summer .....

So much easier to wash the top sheet (and the rest of the basic bedding -- bottom sheet, pillow cases etc.)


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I have a "thing" about clean, fresh, sheets...I change/wash ours 2x per week. There is absolutely no way I would want to stuff/destuff duvet covers that often! To me that is much more work than tucking in my top sheet when I make my bed each day.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Hi there,
This is the funniest conversation! I grew up in Germany and people only have sheets for the mattress and the duvet cover for the comforter. Weekly routine in our house was to take off all sheets/duvets and wash them & put fresh ones on.
The way a "made" bed looks like at home is the comforter folded in half laying on your mattress with the fold side facing the outside side of your spot in bed. Basically when you got obedience you take your comforter turn it and unfold.
So when an coworker - I now live in the U.S. - went on a business trip to Germany, he came back all irritated about the crappy hotel maid service... They never made my bed... No top sheet and they just laid the comforter on the side.... I finally explained to him that was completely normal, unless they left the duvet all wrinkly folded.

Anyway, I never got used to the top sheet and I rip the tucked in sides out the second I enter a hotel room. Could not sleep tucked in like that it's too restrictive. My kids know only the duvet, but if I have American guests stay over, I supply the required top sheet / duvet setup.

Oh, and until I came here I never saw queen or king sized comforters. Everyone I know uses two twin comforters for queen or double beds. It limits the arguments over who uses too much of a given item to the space on the mattress. No one can mess with your blanket :-)

Thanks for making me smile by starting the conversation. Megan


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Growing up, we always had fitted, top sheet, with a patterned or colored comforter. I never entertained not having a top sheet!

We live in the south but, even with a/c, I'm often hot. My top sheet is my main cover and I use a patterned duvet cover only (no duvet) in case I want something more. The two layer cover would be too much for me in the summer and in the winter I appreciate the 3 layers. DH gets cold, so he'll have an electric blanket on his side in the winter.

That said, my kids usually scrunch the top sheet to the bottom of the bed, overnight, and sleep with comforter/quilt only. I don't use a cover/duvet for them for ease of laundering. Maybe I should delete the top sheet from their beds!


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Straightening the top sheet in the morning takes like 20 seconds. Most of that is taken up by me walking around the bed to the other side. I don't like a tucked in feeling, except at the foot of the bed. Here in the Bay Area, our summer nights tend to cool off and I use the same type of bedding year-round. Stopped using flannel sheets decades ago. For the few nights when it doesn't cool off, I start with just the top sheet but invariably end up completely covered by morning.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I haven't read all the posts, but I think it depends on the generation. Some generations in the US grew up with bedspreads. They were washed periodically, and protected by a flat sheet. Then, comforters came in style. Same thing. When we were kids I remember when we switched to duvets and duvet covers. Sheets are optional w duvet covers, but id rather wash a sheet that arm wrestle getting my duvet back in.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Even the lightest duvet is too much for me, especially in summer, so I use a top sheet and a combination of cotton quilts. When I make the bed, I do not tuck the sheets into the sides. Why would I need to? They are covered by the quilt.

I don't like the way a bed looks when is is made in the European fashion with two folded duvets on top and the flat sheet and pillow cases showing. I know it's all about what you are accustomed to seeing, but those beds look unmade to me.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I haven't read all the posts...but honestly, I don't get the popularity of duvets and covers. I've tried them and still have them in the guest rooms but I'll never use them again. They don't stay in place and yes....I've used all the tricks with ties and such. They always look rumpled, not smooth like a bedspread or quilt. PITA to stuff/unstuff. Way more work than a quilt or bedspread IMO.

Can't imagine not using a top sheet, unless you're washing that duvet cover every time you change the sheets. Would you want to sleep in a hotel bed where there was just a duvet that you know isn't getting washed in between guests? The top sheet (or duvet if that's all you use) collects body odor/oils, dead skin cells, etc. just like the bottom sheet... ok....not life threatening....but not using a top sheet or not washing a duvet cover if you don't use a top sheet would be like getting in a half dirty bed to me.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Actually, I think a duvet cover is cleaner than sheets, the reason is that they cover the whole comforter/blanket. I always put a top sheet on the beds for guests and renters, but I always give them the option of sleeping without the sheet, esp. in winter, since it's warmer, but always wash the duvet cover. What I'm never sure about, in terms of cleanliness, are blankets.

However, I would guess that not many people wash their duvet covers like they wash their sheets. Which is why I let tenants and guests know I've washed the duvet cover.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I must have a top and bottom sheet, blanket(s), and the bedpread/quilt/top covering gets folded to the end of the bed and not touched.
To make the bed in the morning, the flat sheet is tucked in around, the blanket smoothed out and the top covering pulled up and straightened. Then pillows sitting on the bench are arranged.
Takes 2-3 minutes at most. The way the top covering is folded down at night has a lot to do with how easy it is to make the bed in the morning.

Can't imagine not having a top sheet....what joaniepoanie said.

When I was a child, I went through a phase of not wanting to make my bed, not an option, so I slept on the floor in my sleeping bag just so I wouldn't have to make the bed!


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I have always used a top sheet and never found making the bed to be difficult. I use a quilted coverlet on my bed and it is wide enough to cover the sheet without tucking it in. In the winter I use a down comforter between the sheet and the quilt. IN the summer, I use just the sheet and the quilt, even though I have AC. There's no way I would wrestle a duvet cover off and on again every week. On balmy nights, I turn off the AC, open the windows and sleep under just the sheet.

I do like the look of duvets.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Hate top sheets, hate making the bed with them. Duvet with no sheet, and yes I wash it each week. Thank goodness my first duvet came with instructions on how to put it on easily (turn it inside out, lay comforter on top, pull the corners through.) If you don't know this trick, I can see why you'd be turned off by the process.

However in the hot summer, I use a sheet and light blanket; the duvet is too hot.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

The other way to put a duvet cover on, this is how I do it: Lay the duvet cover flat on the bed. Grab the corner of the comforter, and put it into the cover, pulling the cover down along the seam until you reach the corner. Tie the comforter in, then do the other side. Then just reach under and pull the bunched up cover to the end, tie the bottom corners in, button it up, and flap it until it's smooth. Easy as pie. I'm going to try it worm girl's way too.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Back in the day, my mom used to send all the sheets out to the French Laundry. No fitted sheets yet. When we changed our beds each week, the bottom sheet and pillow cases would go to the laundry and the top sheet would become the bottom sheet, fresh sheet on the top. Maybe it was my mom's way to economize after paying for someone else to wash, dry and iron the sheets.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

linelle, my mother did the same thing with the top sheet moving down to be the bottom sheet, only she did all the laundry. With seven kids, I'm sure she did this to save on laundry--it would cut the number of sheets washed each week in half.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

camlan! The top sheet really didn't see much action, so moving it to the bottom seemed reasonable. Back then we called them "contour" sheets, not fitted.

I remember the sheets all wrapped in blue paper and string from the laundry. Once my mom sent all my dad and brother's underwear to the laundry by mistake. They returned all pressed and folded.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Linelle & Camlan, that sounds wonderfully decadent!


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I MUST have a top sheet, and it must be tucked tight-like in a hotel. My DH is the complete opposite, so every.single.night I have to remake the bed because he's pulled the sheet out.

We have a duvet & cover-I find it easy to put on (king size) by turning the cover inside out, tie the bottom, then shake it out and then tie up the top.

I was the duvet every couple months, but change the sheets at least once a week. I never considered not having a top sheet-I require it year round. I like the cool sheets year round. DH like flannel sheets, but they're too hot for my taste.

This is very interesting-when we met, DH did not use top sheets-and it grossed me out so much. I could never imagine not having a top sheet. And making the bed just takes seconds, really-pull the top sheet up, pull the duvet up, pull the top sheet down. I don't tuck the sides up beyond a foot or so from the end of the bed-the duvet covers the rest.

I also quit using a bed skirt and bought a coordinating color (to the duvet cover) fitted sheet and placed it over the box springs-no problems with tucking the sheets in over that.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I just bought some bunk beds for my stepson and I am switching him to a duvet and cover only. It's roughing making up the top bunk.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I like the idea of a duvet cover only, but in reality I prefer both sheets tucked in tightly at the bottom so there is no danger of the monsters getting my feet.

I'm kidding.

Kind of.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Carrie, That's so silly. Everyone knows monsters can get up into the sheets.

I have a few friends whose cleaning people iron their sheets. I am afraid to find out what that feels like, since I don't want be paying for that to be done!

We were on vacation once and had some laundry done. Accidentally my toddler's socks got sent with the laundry. They came back folded, in tissue paper, wrapped with a satiny ribbon with the hotel's logo embroidered on it, in a wicker basket discreetly placed in our closet while we dined downstairs. $8 for that teeny tiny pair of socks to be laundered.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

My Mom not only ironed the sheets, but hung them outside to dry during the warmer months. In the winter, they were hung I the basement. What a treat it was getting into that freshly made bed, and this was done once a week .

Not having a top sheet is incomprehensible to me. If you take a bath/ shower every night before getting under the duvet, that would be ok. If not, think of the mites, daily dirt that's going on the duvet cover. I would much rather wash a top sheet every week with the fitted sheet/ pillow cases than removing the duvet cover and having the hastle of putting it back on every week. If you don't wash it every week, well personally I find the thought disgusting, but that's just me and the way I was brought up, maybe by a Mother who may have been a little OCD.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Carrie, you're not thinking clearly. Monsters can always get at your feet, but if your feet are trapped in a tucked-in sheet, you can't kick those monsters from here to Kingdom Come, and so they will have their way with your feet.

Untucked = safer. Police will tell you, "Untuck your sheets!"


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Patty_cakes, I hang all of my laundry to dry once the temp hits 40 degrees. I love it. There is nothing like a bed made with sheets hung in the sun to dry. It is also economical and conserves energy. If it's sunny, I hang the sheets to dry on turnover days so that my tenants who are renting for their vacation can climb into that fresh bed their first night at my house.

Electricity has gotten so expensive. W/o the dryer, my electric bill is @ $25/mo. Tenants come in and refuse to hang laundry to dry and use the dryer, and my bill skyrockets to $160, which makes me want to hang THEM out to dry!


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Tibb, I've thought of installing an umbrella clothesline, but am unsure about the HOA. Maybe I could hang them out in the VERY early morning when the sun first comes up. lol I know in the rural areas of Austin I wouldn't have to even think about it, but in a housing development your choices aren't your own. I envy you!! Maybe next house. ;)


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Tibbrix, I will respectfully disagree. I have been told that the only time exposed sleeping feet are safe is while on the couch, but only because the monsters are too big to fit underneath.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

I grew up in So Cal and my mom hung all our laundry out. We didn't have a dryer until I was grown. The weather was usually pretty great....4 miles from the beach...so yes, the sheets were springtime fresh. Mom always ironed the pillow cases. The towels were awful however...stiff as a board. I can't Imagine hanging laundry out now here on the east coast except for maybe spring and fall...certainly not in the disgusting hot and humid summer.

My grandmother lived with my aunt and her family. They were totally old school...they ironed everything, including underwear, sheets, towels. Can you imagine doing that today?


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Joanie, and they did it in high heels and with smiles on their faces!

I do hang my towels to dry, but then I throw them in the dryer on fluff to soften them up. I'm on the East Coast, and line dry everything spring through fall. But I don't wear high heels when I'm hanging my laundry. Well, sometimes I do.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Carrie, I just can't believe how wrong you are. Okay, here's another scenario: let's say the power goes out. Who will get to the Haagen-Dasz, before it melts, first? The person tucked in, or the person whose legs aren't bound by a sheet?

I rest my case.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

You need the top sheet because the monsters are impotent if your mouth is covered by the sheet and they can't make a positive I.D.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

Plus top sheets are easier to grab and wave up and down to get rid of any unfortunate aromas.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

As long as my neck is covered, the monsters are rendered impotent. That's the only body part they want. I have my TOP SHEET draped around my shoulders while the rest of my body is exposed to the breeze of the fan.


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RE: Benefits of a flat sheet over a duvet cover?

You do not need a sheet if you have a dream/monster shark...

It eats bad dreams and keeps monsters away. For the kids. ;)


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