A Cheap, Creative Winter Blanket Storage Idea

contributed by Susan Beth
Winter Blanket Storage photo
It’s the time of year to start pulling out the winter blankets. If you’d rather not have to pack them away come spring, why not use them as pillows during the warmer months?

I got this idea from a friend, and I think it’s worth sharing. We live in New England, which means we have very cold winters. Since we turn the thermostat down to save dollars on heating, we need to have lots of blankets, comforters and afghans handy for winter months. The problem is that these are all extremely bulky items, which means throughout Spring/Summer/early Fall, they hog storage space.

What my friend does is turn them into pillows! Floor pillows, throw pillows, a heap of pillows in the corner reading nest. Instead of filling up your linen closet, make them useful year-round. If you work on these ideas over the cold months, you won’t have to figure out where to put all of your blankets next spring.

How To Disguise Blankets as Pillows for Simple Stylish Storage

If you have any sewing skills at all, storing blankets as pillows is very easy:

1. Fold it up.

Take the blanket you want to store and experiment with folding it up until you find a shape that would make a useful pillow. This will become the ‘filling’ of the pillow.

2. Measure it.

Measure the pile to determine the size of the cover. Since pillows work best if they’re rather firm, what you do is wrap a tape measure around the pile (the width of the top, down the side, across the bottom, up the opposite side) and pull it tight enough to ‘compress’ the filling to a suitable firmness. Take the same measurement going the other way (the length of the top, down, across the bottom, up).

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3. Choose and cut out your material.

Cut two rectangles of cloth. For floor pillows, you’ll want something sturdy, and darkish patterned materials won’t show dirt as easily. Throw pillows can be made from whatever suits your decor or whatever leftover material you have to hand. Each piece should be 1/2 your ‘width’ measurement by 1/2 your ‘length’ measurement. (Don’t bother adding on extra material to allow for what will be lost in the seams. Your pillow will end up an inch or two smaller and thus a little firmer. Trust me, firmer is better in this case.)

4. Sew your seams.

Put the two pieces of cloth together, right sides together, and sew 1/2″ seams on three sides and about three inches on each end of the remaining side. (That is, leave just the center of one side open.) Restitch these seams a hair away from the first line of stitches to reinforce them.

5. Tie the corners.

Tie the fabric in each corner into a small single knot — this will create a sort of ‘third dimension’ to the cover, eliminating what would otherwise probably be saggy, not very well-filled flat corners. (An alternative if you know the technique: Open the corners and fold them ‘the other’ way, and stitch a diagonal ‘squared off corner line’ a couple of inches long in each corner.)

6. Turn the pillowcase inside out.

Turn the pillow cover inside out. This actually brings the “right” side of the fabric to view. Tuck/shove your folded-up blanket into the cover, and then close up the rest of the fourth side. You can use strips of velcro, zippers, etc. if you want the cover to be taken on and off frequently. I just basted them shut by hand. I figure I’ll only be putting the covers on and taking them off once per year, so why get fancy? It only takes a few minutes to do the sewing, and cutting the fairly large stitches open will take seconds.

7. Get fancy.

If you are into sewing, you can make the covers as ornamental as you like: embroidery, needlepoint, applique, patchwork, fancy closing techniques. You can also experiment with different shapes — try rolling a blanket to make a ‘sausage’ pillow. Fold a couple of blankets together to make a larger pillow. Have fun!

A Sew-Free Option

Or, if you want the absolute minimum of effort: just use ordinary pillowcases! Fold the comforter or whatever to a suitable width, stuff it into the pillow case, and machine stitch (long stitches — 6 to the inch — so you can re-open it easier come winter) the opening shut after folding down inside any extra length of the pillowcase.

From my experiments:

  • Polyester-type ‘puffy’ comforters make great floor-sized pillows.
  • I use cotton thermal blankets and afghans turn as pillows for tossing on couches/window seats.
  • Personally, I wouldn’t do this with real down comforters (I’m afraid they might not fluff up again properly) or items made from satin or other materials that might retain sharp creases, though my friend says they come out fine. She just pops them in a dryer and tumbles them for a bit on ‘cold’ setting.

Reviewed October 2023

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