When you open your linen closet is it tough to tell a fitted sheet from a pillow case? Are numerous bath towels, some faded and worn, taking over? Baskets, fabric crates and other containers can assist you in keeping your linens neat and orderly. Straighten up an unruly linen closet with the below simple steps.
Sort it Out
Spending a little effort to organize your linens can save you frustration and time. First, remove all linens and sort them by type. For example: all towels together, all flat sheets together, all pillow cases together etc. Sorting will be even easier if you assign one linen color to each room. Blue for the guest bath; green for the master bedroom etc. Continuing, a large flat surface such as a bed or dining room table is a good work space.
Examine each linen looking for stains, holes, or worn, thin areas. Worn linens can be cut up for cleaning rags or thrown away. If you’ve also accumulated too many towels over the years give extras to friends or donate to charity. For bulkier items, such as comforters, consider storing them in another room.
Set Some Limits
Limit your bed sheet sets to three per bed. Keep three bath sets (bath sheet, hand towel, washcloth) per family member.
- One set on a bed
- One set in the hamper
- Store one set in the linen closet, ready to go.
Keep more than three bath sets if you wash towels daily. Finally, for regular overnight guests keep two guest bath sets.
Divide and Conquer
Divide linens into groups according to room- bedding for each bedroom, towels for each bath, tablecloths and napkins for the kitchen. It is also a good idea to keep special occasion linens together. Lastly, organize groups according to size and color.
After you’ve decided what to keep, clean the empty shelving with water and a damp sponge. Let the surface dry. Optional: Line the shelves with scented acid-free tissue paper. It helps prevent fabric yellowing.
If you have adjustable shelves raise or lower them-
- 10″ vertical space for sheets and table linens
- 12″ to 16″ vertical space for bath towels, and
- 18″+ for top shelf, bulky items like blankets, quilts or comforters
No adjustable shelves? Customize the available space with closet accessories-
- Plastic lidded bins
- Canvas crates
If funds permit, purchase closet extras such as under-mount wire baskets or shelf dividers at home improvement or container stores.
Frequently used linens should be stored at eye level so they can be reached easily. Place out of season linens on the top or lower shelves, or in the back. Next, stack beach towels behind bath towels. Lastly, place bulky items like quilts, pillows and comforters on the top shelf, stored in zippered storage bags.
Antique and Cherished Linens
Precious family linens like lace tablecloths or fancy napkins should be hung on a non-wire hanger or fold and stack them on a shelf lined with acid-free tissue paper.
Hints and Tips
- Place infrequently used guest room linens toward the back of the shelf.
- Store table linens (table cloths, napkins, runners) in labeled, lidded boxes.
- Leave some space between stacks, boxes or baskets to allow air to circulate since an overstuffed linen closet can lead to mildew and funny smells.
- Keep linens smelling fresh with a box of baking soda or activated charcoal.
- Tuck in small sachets of French lavender, cedar chips or vanilla to impart a pleasant aroma.
- Utilize the space behind the closet door by hanging small baskets to store soap, bath toys or personal items.
- To keep bed linens neat and tidy, slip folded sheets into matching pillowcases.
- Finally, make sure linens are evenly used by placing new laundered items on top of the stack. To use, pull from the bottom.
Labeling is a good idea to identify sections of a particular linen type. When linens are sorted, stacked and in order label the front of the shelves. In addition, metal label holders, available at hardware stores, can be attached to the shelf front with two small nails. You can also use printed or handwritten adhesive labels taped to the shelf front.
Quick Towel Folding Tutorial
Folding towels using this method makes them easy hang on the towel bar and easier to store too.
Fold the towel in thirds, lengthwise.
Next, fold the towel again, width wise. Then fold again to make a rectangle.
Since linen closets are rather small, consider rolling your towels to save space.