A well organized linen closet is a beautiful thing! It can make life both more efficient and more enjoyable if opening your linen closet makes you smile instead of causing you dread at the potential avalanche of linens or toiletries. What you store in your linen closet is totally up to you - hey, if that’s where you want to keep the liquor, more power to you! But for the purposes of this post we’ll assume that you are storing bed and bath linens (thus the name ‘linen closet’), and spare toiletries and things like toilet paper, cotton balls, Q-tips and first aid supplies.
There are several ingredients and considerations when organizing your linen closet…
Wooden shelves are classic but beware of putting bottles that may leak or are wet on painted or stained wood as they will discolor it. In this case, shelf paper is your friend and provides an opportunity to add scented or pretty patterned paper to make your closet a happy place.
Melamine or laminate shelves are cleanable and a fairly hardy choice if white (or black) works for the shelves…just don’t do them in a fake woodgrain – most of those are a horrible imitation.
I loathe those wire shelves that builders are always sticking in closets because they are cheap. The shelves are a pain – small things don’t sit flat and really small things fall through altogether. If you are stuck with these, use containers for EVERYTHING (pretty baskets or boxes).
The inside of the linen closet door is another useful space for storage - especially of small things that might get lost in the recesses of the closet, or of things that need to be instantly accessible, or things that can hang.
Clear containers let you see what is inside, and while practical, aren’t very pretty and are especially not pretty if you are displaying a bunch of not so pretty stuff in random shapes, colors and sizes. You need to know WHERE you put the thermometer when you need it, but you don’t have to look at it every time you open the closet…this can be accomplished with the kindergarten method of organization where items are grouped together by category in a container and labeled. In kindergarten they often use picture labels. Having attained literacy by the time you own a linen closet, you can probably manage with words. Attach attractive tags - cardstock tied with ribbons works, but there are SO many label options! And with a handy label maker, you can label the shelves with linen sizes as well - label tape is available in all kinds of colors and even with a clear background.
Nothing is prettier than neat stacks of beautifully folded bed and bath linens!
HOWEVER, if you’ve ever tried to wrestle a fitted sheet into submission, that’s not as easy to achieve as it should be! I learned the secret to folding fitted sheets years ago via Martha Stewart, but HERE are easy step by step instructions along with a video from one of my favorite linen lines, Peacock Alley.
To organize you sheets, you can store them in sets by folding each piece and stacking them inside the matching pillowcase. OR, if you have an abundance of time on your hands or live-in domestic help, you can tie each set together with a length of pretty grosgrain ribbon like a lovely package…probably not realistic. OR you can label each shelf with the sheet size that goes on it and hope for the best - I started with this method and even though I am probably the only person in the household who has ever opened the door of that closet, I still managed to mix them up eventually.
OR Buy different colored bedding for each bed in your home so it is easy to identify. This is my latest choice of organization!. Since you can only use one set of sheets at a time, I find two sets per bed is about perfect. And I’d rather have a few sets of beautiful quality sheets than a bunch of mediocre quality sets - so much nicer to sleep on, and a better value in the long run since they will hold up for many, many years.
THIS post has more on the factors that create high quality bedding and what matters and what doesn’t. Spoiler alert: thread count is NOT the most important consideration!
Folding towels in thirds lengthwise first before folding the other direction means they are ready to go right on the towel bar when they come out of the linen closet. OR you can KonMari them into fat little packets that will stand up so you can file them in baskets or drawers vertically. THIS video from (Along with the Youngs) shows that folding method. And, while I like a lot of the principles and storage methods of Marie Kondo, I love the look of folded stacks of towels ready to hang, so I’ll stick with my first option.
NOTE: Towels and sheets will look neater if stacked with the folded edges facing out.
I find white fluffy towels look freshest and most luxurious. I occasionally add color with embellished hand towels or monogramming. I inexplicably adore monogramming (maybe my slightly Southern roots??)
Create a nice little surprise in this totally utilitarian location by painting or papering the interior of the closet a fun color or pattern! If it’s pretty enough and organized enough, you might even forgo the door!
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