Ah, the linen closet. The junk drawer of the closet world. The gateway to a lesser Narnia. What should be a place for organized towels and blankets can so easily become pure chaos! If you're the type who wads up their sheets and shuts the door, you're not alone! Fortunately, linen closet organization can be achieved with just a little change in routine and some prep work. Read on to learn how to make the best use of the space in your home, and tame that linen or bathroom closet once and for all.
What is a linen closet used for?
A linen closet is a useful thing to have in your home, as it holds items that aren't currently being used in the bathroom and bedrooms. Consider it a “stock room” for these spaces (if you're particularly limited on storage, that might include the kitchen, too). Just like a stock room in a retail store, it's important that a linen closet is well organized. As a result, when you need to replenish something in the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen, you know right where it is.
What should I put in my linen closet?
The linen closet ideally should contain what isn't currently being used in the bedroom and bathroom. This means towels, washcloths, bulk toilet paper, and unopened toiletries from the bathroom, and sheets, blankets, and pillows for bedrooms. Keep in mind, you should not try and shove more into your linen closet than what will fit! A functioning linen closet is not filled to the brim. Above all, it's arranged so every item is easy to access when it is needed.
Linen closet organization
A well-organized linen closet is a thing of beauty, and should focus on function over fashion. This means towels are folded and stacked, sheet sets are kept together, and toiletries are grouped. Linen closet organization also makes smart use of space. When deciding what items should go on what shelves, consider these guidelines:
- Stack frequently-used items like towels or sheets on the middle shelves for easiest and fastest access
- Keep large bins on the bottom shelves, housing things like toilet paper or paper towels
- Store infrequently used items (like linens for the guest room, or extra pillows) on the highest shelves
The power of labeling
Don't underestimate the power a well-placed label! I'm going to reference my stock room metaphor again, because it feel it's very applicable to good linen closet organization. Like a stock room at a retail store, back stock items have specific places where they exist, and those spaces are labeled clearly. That way, if a team member is looking for a specific item, they can quickly locate it, even if they weren't the ones to initially fill that back stock.
If you assign a spot to everything in your linen closet, you'll know where items go in the future – and so will others in your household. Good linen closet organization works best when everything has a spot to go.
That does mean that sometimes spots are going to be empty! If all your towels are dirty because you're behind on laundry, the spot where your towels are normally stacked will be vacant. Resist the urge to “temporarily” use that shelf to house other things. Stick to your organization layout, and you'll be able to keep your linen or bathroom closet tidy.
Baskets and bins
Linens, towels, blankets and pillows can be stacked directly on your linen closet shelves. But what about loose items? A few baskets or bins can do wonders for linen closet organization. If your bins aren't see-through, make sure to label them so you can find things quickly and with ease.
When selecting boxes, baskets, or bins for your linen closet organization, consider what you need their function to be. Organizing lots of small items? Pick smaller bins, potentially with more compartments. Storing rolled-up towels? That opens up the possibility of using round or cylindrical-shaped baskets. I'm particularly fond of the BULLIG boxes from IKEA (pictured above/left), since they're low enough that items would be easy to locate without digging, plus their unique look would brighten up any closet. A wire basket is a classic option for linen closet organization since you can see everything inside the basket without moving it from the shelf. Also, a gold basket like this one (pictured above/right) can add a bit of flair to an otherwise boring closet shelf.
Making the best use of space
Chances are your linen closet has a lot of multi-tasking to do. Wouldn't it be nice if we all just needed to store a few organic cotton towels in some artisanal wire baskets? If you're a normal human like me, however, you have a lot of stuff you need to fit in your bathroom closet or linen closet. Aside from the shelves, make sure you're making use of the floor, and the inside of the closet door.
The inside of the door is most useful for storing hanging or thin objects. Add a few hooks to the inside of your closet door to store brooms or mops. Hang some narrow baskets to store smaller items. Or, simply use the space to store an ironing board.
How to fold linens
When you look at pretty pictures of of linen closet organization, they all have a similar thing in common: neatly folded linens! If you're not a fan of folding, you can always store your linens inside of closed-weave baskets, but pairing sheet sets will always be easier when they're folded up nice and neat.
How to fold a fitted sheet
Let's start with the largest hurdle in the world of folding: the fitted sheet. As a sheet-folding convert, trust me when I say that once you get the hang of it, folding a fitted sheet is a piece of cake. I know it can seem like an impossible magic trick, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second-nature. Plus, learning how to fold a fitted sheet will save you space in your linen closet.
Step 1: Find the corners on one side of the sheet, and turn one corner inside-out.
Step 2: Tuck the inside-out corner into the right-side out corner.
Step 3: Repeat for the other end of the sheet.
Step 4: Turn one of the corner pairings inside-out, tuck the inside-out pairing into the right-side out pairing.
Step 5: Lay the sheet flat, and fold into thirds.
Step 6: Fold into thirds again.
How to fold a sheet set
In order to organize your linen closet, you'll need to group like-items together. Towels stacked in piles, toilet paper all on one shelf, and sheet sets together. Here's how to turn your sheet sets into a cute little bedding package.
Step 1: Lay matching pillowcases on top of one another, and fold in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Stack folded fitted and flat sheet in the middle of the pillowcases.
Step 3: Wrap pillowcases around linens, and tuck the closed end of the pillowcases into the open end.
Step 4: Flip the sheet set over.
How to fold towels
The linen closet is the best place for extra towels to live, but due to their bulky nature, they can look messy or take up extra space. To save room when folding your towels, try rolling them up and storing them in a round container. Or, do the folding in thirds method, like this:
Step 1: Fold towel in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Fold in half again.
Step 3: Fold one third of towel over.
Step 4: Fold over the other thirds.
How to store blankets
Bulky blankets can be tricky to stow away until needed. If you're wondering how to store blankets, there's no one right way to do so! You can simply fold and stack them on a shelf – preferably a top shelf, since ideally you'll only need access to them during the cold months. You can roll your blankets up and tie them with a bow. You can store them in a basket or hamper. However you choose to store excess blankets, make sure you're only holding on to what you need. Get rid of any itchy, scratchy, worn-out, or stained bedding, and only keep what you regularly use. And finally, keep mold and mildew at bay by making sure your blankets aren't folded too tightly. Proper airflow is essential to keeping blankets dry, aerated, and fresh.