Organizing the linen closet
By Nicole Anzia,
Is your linen closet filled with perfectly folded, crisp white sheets and fluffy white towels, or has it become the proverbial black hole filled with mismatched sheet sets, frayed towels and assorted medicine bottles that seem to have appeared out of nowhere?
The linen closet seems like it would be an easy space to organize, but because it is so frequently used, especially during summer when guests come to stay, it can be challenging.
August is the perfect time to get your linen closet in order. Pool season is drawing to a close, and soon all of your visitors will have come and gone.
The first step is to empty the closet. It will be far easier to inventory the contents when everything is visible.
Begin by sorting through the sheets to make sure they correspond with the beds you currently own. After you have determined that you have the proper sizes, set aside two sets of sheets for each bed.
Then sort through the towels. Put together full sets and repurpose any miscellaneous or frayed towels as rags. If you have a lot of towels you no longer need, consider donating them to a local animal shelter.
Next, categorize all of those small bottles and boxes either by type, such as hair products or cold medicines, or by the family member who uses the product. Dispose of any expired items.
Now that your empty linen closet is staring you in the face, take a close look at how much space you actually have and decide how many items will really fit inside. Many of us have linen closets that are somewhere between tiny and small. This means that you may not be able to fit all of your linens, blankets, towels and toiletries neatly inside.
If you find yourself struggling to fill the shelves efficiently, think about which items could be stored elsewhere.
For instance, if you have more bottles, bandages and beauty products than can fit on the shelves or in a bathroom cabinet or vanity, the over-the-door shoe bag is a great solution. Not only will it save important shelf space, the shoe compartments make it easy to see and access its contents.
Extra sheets can be stored in the rooms where they are used. This makes changing linens a breeze. Likewise, if you find yourself with more towels than space, think about whether some towels can be neatly stored in the bathroom vanity or on a hanging towel rack.
Beach towels can be moved out of the linen closet at the end of the month and placed in a basement storage closet. Just make sure you know where they are and can get to them when you’re packing for a midwinter trip to a warm locale.
Purists may also want to put table linens in their linen closet, but if you’re tight on space consider keeping them in a buffet in your dining room, in a pantry, or even in your kitchen, if space allows.
Once you have decided what is going to be kept in the linen closet, let the folding begin!
Sheets should be folded in sets. A nifty way to keep everything together is by enclosing your folded pillowcases inside your folded fitted sheet and then enclosing both with a folded flat sheet. This ensures everything that is needed to replace the sheets on a bed is together and easy to transport. Place a label on the end of the shelf to indicate the size of the sheets or the room they belong in.
Fold your towels to fit the depth of your shelves and arrange them by size: bath sheets, bath towels, hand towels and washcloths. If you use certain towels in particular bathrooms, arrange them by their location and again, place a label on the shelf.
If you still have room for your collection of bottles and boxes, coral them in labeled bins so you can find what you need quickly. Measure the width, depth and height of your shelves before going shopping to ensure you buy containers that will fit properly and allow for easy access to the contents.
Whether you’re preparing for out-of-town guests, looking for some allergy medicine or reaching for a warm blanket, an organized linen closet will save you time and ensure you’re prepared for both daily activities and unexpected events.