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White Ideas: How to Make the Most of Winter White Sales

Editor tips that will change the way you shop.

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If December is for wish lists, January is for honey-do lists. But luckily, thanks to winter white sales, sprucing up your home for the New Year can be a budget-friendly breeze. But just what is a White Sale? Credited to John Wanamaker (of Wanamaker’s—the first department store in Philadelphia), the White Sale was initiated in 1878 to keep linen makers in business during the slow sale season. Ever since, retailers have blanketed the month of January in deep bedding discounts—and our editors love taking full advantage. Here, they share a few tips to keep you from going off the (sales) rails.

Think beyond “white.”

Back in 1878, the term “White Sale” was pretty literal—markdowns applied to white bedding only. But today, they’ve (thankfully) evolved to include items of all colors, patterns, and prints. So if your bedroom is putting you to sleep (and not in a good way), now’s the time to liven it up with a bold comforter and accent pillows in perky patterns.

Look past numbers.

January is the best time of the year to save on higher-quality sheets, but before you scroll to the set with the highest thread count, consider a few other factors like fiber (long-staple cotton is less likely to wear thin and pill up over time, so if you see that phrase on a label, snap up those sheets). Weave is also a factor: Percale breathes easier, while sateen is known for its soft feel on your skin. One buzzword that’s worth the hype? Egyptian cotton—it really does make for the best bedding.

Step outside the bedroom.

Why stop at the linen closet? White sales are no longer just limited to sheets and duvets. Today, they include just about all household linens, from towels and shower curtains to napkins and placemats (which are a perfect, inexpensive way to spruce up your kitchen table post-holiday).

Stock up for next season.

Like ornaments and wrapping paper, you can expect to find festive linens at an incredible discount this month. So if you’re looking to make next year’s celebrations even brighter, white sales are where to stock up on all those cheer-filled pillows, throws, and tea towels.