My Mother-In-Law… and the Towel Obsession

Rule no 1 of the blog: Never write about the mother-in-law.

Rule no 2: If you are thinking about writing about the mother-in-law, refer to rule no 1.

Rule no 3: If you really are hellbent on writing about the mother-in-law, make it light-hearted and humorous, and on no account mention behaviours that could be deemed obsessive or eccentric…

I think my mother-in-law has developed an obsession with towels.

I’ve been observing her growing abundance of towels for some years now. But it was only on a recent visit to the in-law’s house that the full scale of her towel-hoarding frenzy was revealed.

As I plonked my weekend bag down in the spare room, the mother-in-law said, ‘I’ve left some towels out for you… but if you need any more, there’s plenty in the spare bathroom.’


This comment in itself was slightly concerning. There were already four towels on the bed – beautifully matched to the decor. Just how many towels did she think we’d get through in two nights?

In the en-suite, there was another pile of colour-coordinated towels neatly stacked.


Out of curiosity, I headed to the main bathroom to see the state of play. I flung the large cupboard doors open to reveal…


… many, many more spare towels – in every possible colour you can imagine.

It was a petsetaphobic’s worst nightmare (that’s someone with a deep-seated fear of towels btw).

Glancing around, I spotted even more towels, nestling in neat piles.


In total, there were 37 spare towels at my disposal.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my mother-in-law collects towels like one might collect stamps or thimbles.

But I’m not sure how you would wean yourself off a fixation with towels. Cut down on the trips to Dunelm Mill? Steer clear of the towel aisle in old Johnny Lewis? Wean oneself off gradually with say the purchase of a large bath sheet, rather than a whole ‘nest’ (incidentally, who ever really wants a ‘nest’ of towels? There’s always at least two towels in there of an indeterminable size – too small to dry one’s body and too big to pass off as a hand towel.)

As far as addictions go, I think my mother-in-law’s love of towels (petsetaphilia?) is pretty harmless.

At my parents’ house, you’re lucky if you get handed a bobbly old towel, which is usually the size of a postage stamp and as stiff as cardboard (owing to the fact that they don’t believe in costly tumble dryers).

So who I am to turn down a fluffy towel or two – or even 37?