The Power Of Three

Let’s start out with full disclosure that I am a bit of a neat freak when it comes to cleaning and organization. The upside of my little obsession has led me to discover something magical about household items that I use on a regular basis – there is power in the threes.


Let me explain. I used to think that the power was in pairs – two sets of sheets for each bed, two bath mats, two sets of guest hand towels, two tablecloths, etc. But I have recently discovered that the magic number is three.

The old thinking was that if I had two of certain items, take bed sheets for example, that I could put the clean set on the bed while the dirty sheets were in the laundry. Makes sense. And I believe that many people work off the same notion. But more often than not I found that I was scrambling to wash sheets for guests in cases where I had  back-to-back houseguests or the doggie had a rare accident on the bed or there was some sort of unexpected spill.

The same with bath mats. I am always throwing one in the wash, having one out for use and then finding that guest were coming and my bath mat looked matted down and worn (I hate that about bath mats). So, I needed a third one.

I also realized that my cold-brew coffee obsession required three vessels to keep it going on a daily basis. One was always in the dishwasher, one was half gone in the fridge and I needed to start brewing another batch. Three! Perect!

Now, I’m not saying that you need three of everything. That would be outrageous. No one needs three blenders or three pizza cutters. But there are some things that having triples just works for – these are mostly items that have to be frequently laundered or washed.

Some of my friends think this is obsessive and call it “having a back-up for the back-up”. But that’s not quite right. I don’t use one item until its worn and then bring out the new one. I keep all three in a regular rotation.

Let’s talk about water bottles. I love the idea of being eco-friendly and having a good reusable water bottle. But if one is the dishwasher and I leave one in the car by accident, then I have a third one at the ready. I have applied the triples principle to my everyday tablecloths as well.


I’m also big advocate of buying multiples of the exact same item. I used to hear my mom say this and think it was an “old person” thing. Why would someone want duplicates (or even triplicates) of the same thing?  Boring, right? Now I realize that if you like or love something and it really works for you – whether it’s clothing (like a great pair of black pants that fit you perfectly) or a  commonly-used household item – buy three!  You’ll be glad you did.

Of course, I usually buy one of the item, decide if I love it and then go back online and purchase two more. I don’t want to buy three of anything right off the bat unless I’m sure it’s going to do the job. For me, three is a big time and money saver.

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