I expect each month that decluttering and reorganizing will become simpler. I will get the hang of it and build on past successes – but it doesn’t seem to work that way. This month I pledged to myself to tackle the linen closet. We’d all love to have a linen closet worthy of a home design magazine, but despite our best intentions, these spaces often become the junk drawer equivalents for everything bed and bath-related, not to mention the extra toiletries and medicines that I don’t know where to store. This is really aspirational for me because I go into homes listed for sale and some linen closets are beautifully arranged with crisply folded sheets and towels.
But fear not — with a little resourcefulness and creativity, we can both say goodbye to teetering stacks of towels and piles of hastily folded sheets.
Here’s how to organize the linen closet of your dreams in a few simple steps.
1. Purge your non-essential linens
I had to be honest with myself about the black and white zebra towels and the pink zigzag striped sheets. I hadn’t used them in five years and I wouldn’t use them going forward. The towels I bought for summer camp were history too. These weren’t even in the linen closet since there was so much other stuff that didn’t belong there. Still, purging the non-essential linens seemed like a good place to start. Besides, I wanted to donate those non-essential linens to the animal shelter in Montgomery County. The animal shelter uses them to create comforting spaces for animals waiting for adoption.
Chances are good that you don’t use at least half of what you store in your precious closet space. Rather than finding a spot for the hideous floral towel set you loved five years ago, donate it to GoodWill or the local animal shelter. If you want to get rid of those old sheets, comforters and towels, but don’t want to go to the shelter, call me –I will swing by to pick them up and take them to the Montgomery County animal shelter.
2. Line Your Closet Shelves
The joy of this is that you have completely emptied your closet shelves and then you get to line your shelves with pretty paper. This is the first thing that I did when I moved into our current house. It still makes me smile.
This simple preventative measure goes a long way in maintaining the quality of your linens. Certain wood and melamine shelves can cause fading or discoloring on your sheets over time, so to avoid permanently damaging them, cover your shelves with liner. You can go basic and practical or patterned and pretty — the options are endless.
There are a few ways you can do this: by type, size, or location. If you have distinct sheet sets and linens for each room in your home, separating them by space is easiest. If, however, your towel and sheet sets are more versatile and interchangeable, you may want to organize them by size, type, or color. I love the suggestion to put whole sheet sets into one pillow case so when you want to make the bed, you just grab a pre-packed set of sheets from off the shelf and get to work.
Keep everything else — beach towels, dish towels, table runners, duvet covers, quilts, and the like — organized alongside their fellow items.
Make sure to put your most frequently used items at the front and center of your linen closet for easy access, and relegate off-season or little-used items to the top shelf or back of the closet.
4. Time to Go Shopping
Get storage bins to create designated mini storage zones. You can use fabric boxes, cloth bins, or straw and wire baskets to separate your different items: bath towels in one, dish towels in another, guest bedroom sheets in another, and so forth. There had to be an opportunity to go shopping for some organizational tools – right?
If you want your linen closet to look straight out of a Martha Stewart ad, invest in coordinating boxes so everything looks clean and uniform. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can use big baggies or pretty bags from your favorite store. Your closet will be organized and you will smile to see that bag from your favorite store. Mine is Tiffany blue but I don’t have many (or any) of those hanging around! If you are really into this organization effort, you can even label the boxes! It will be easy to tell the white double sheets from the white king sheets with a few artistic labels!
5. Ready for the Sweet Final Touch?
Nothing destroys an impeccably organized linen closet faster than moths, mustiness, and mildew wrecking your beautiful bed and bath necessities.
To keep your linens fresh while they’re tucked away, use a few of these tried and true methods:
- Stick a box of baking soda on your closet floor to absorb bad odors.
- Strategically place cedar blocks along your shelves to prevent moths and bugs.
- Put a dryer sheet inside your packaged sheet sets to keep them smelling clean.
- Toss a few lavender sachet bags or scented soaps in your linen boxes so they maintain that soft, just-washed smell.
I have gotten through culling out the old linens. I have even gotten rid of several sets of towels and two old comforters. I love taking things over to the Montgomery County animal rescue center, even though it is hard not to bring a pet home with me. I bought a few boxes at the Container Store to store the extra bars of soap and toothpaste that we seem to have accumulated. I did not put a box of baking soda on my closet floor, but I am thinking of buying a bottle of lavender oils with diffuser sticks if I ever am confident that I won’t knock it over and spill oil all over my closet! I will keep you posted.
If you are inspired to get rid of old towels, sheets and comforters, give me a call. I will gladly collect your linens and take them to the rescue center for you! Happy Earth Day!