This is my linen closet.
It’s tucked away in a little room at the top of the stairs just off the master bedroom. It’s old-fashioned and vintage and cleverly designed and has been around since Theodore Roosevelt was president.
(total aside: please look at how those floors turned out. Seriously. Remember when they looked like this and we all wondered what in the world was underneath them?)
As much as I love this linen closet, it’s small.
The better to get rid of random sheet sets I had in college and my vintage collection of washcloths.
Want to organize along with me?
Here are my best linen closet organization tips.
And how my mother-in-law taught me to fold my towels.
Here’s a better look at the front of the closet.
It’s hard to tell from these pictures, but it’s actually a backward L.
There’s a whole part of the closet that extends back to the left.
The top is storage and the bottom is a dirty clothes hamper.
Here’s what it looks like when you open the door.
Does that make you as happy as it makes me?
Every time I open it, I smile.
Can we open it again?
Just one more time?
Here’s how I organized it to look like this.
Take everything out of the closet
Don’t try and tell yourself that you want to leave a few things behind.
Take out every single thing and place it on the floor. And then?
Act like you have a linen sorority.
Unfortunately, not everyone makes it in.
For now, place everything on the floor and turn your attention to the closet.
Clean and/or paint your linen closet
When was the last time your linen closet took a bath?
Clean out the cobwebs.
Wipe down the shelves.
Use a cleaner that smells really good. For some random reason, a cleaner that smells good always makes me clean longer.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can paint the inside.
I painted this closet SW Extra White in a gloss.
Purge your closet
Linen closets have an awkward way of collecting all the things we think we MIGHT need one day.
You don’t need 27 sheet sets.
You don’t need those towels from the bathroom renovation of 1999.
You don’t need enough washcloths for every day of the month.
I know it seems like you might. I know you’re thinking that you might have a run on handtowels in the near future. I know it seems like that one day, the entire winter Olympic team will show up at your house and ask for beds and you’ll regret getting rid of all those sheets.
Here’s the truth.
YOU WON’T NEED ANY OF THAT STUFF.
All those extra towels and washcloths and sheets are just DECISIONS YOU HAVE PUT OFF MAKING.
Assess your linen needs
Take stock of the people in your house and potential visitors and how many sheets and towels you think you might need.
Here’s what I decided we needed.
I kept 10 bath towels.
8 hand towels
2 twin sheet sets (folded sheet, flat sheet and 1 pillow case)
2 full sheet sets (folded sheet, flat sheet and 2 pillow cases)
1 queen sheet set (folded sheet, flat sheet and 2 pillow cases)
1 matlesse coverlet
Extra pillow shams
(total aside: I don’t keep the beach towels or comforters in here. There’s not enough room, so those are stored in another place. Also, my table linens are stored in another area.)
I do have one set of sheets that are red and white checked with a monogram.
They didn’t match the rest of the linen closet and I really like them.
So I put the set in a basket at the top of the closet.
Baskets are perfect to help organize a closet and store non-matching sheets.
Let it go
In the wise words of Elsa the Queen, let it go.
After you’ve chosen what you actually need for your linen closet you will have a pile of extra stuff sitting there.
Some you might want to donate.
Some might need to be trashed.
Some might need to be given to someone who really needs a polka-dotted sheet set with matching Laura Ashley pillowcases.
All of those linens need to go and live their best life.
They do NOT need to stick around in the hopes of making the linen sorority next year.
As I was folding towels and lining them up, I was all about them.
I’ve been folding towels this way since my mother-in-law showed my husband how to fold a towel and he showed me.
There’s nothing that makes me happier than a well-folded towel.
And here’s how I fold mine.
(total aside: you probably don’t need this because I’m sure you are a brilliant towel-folder in your own right. But just in case here’s a short photo step-by-step.)
I also fold and stack the towels before I put them into the linen closet.
That way they all line up perfectly.
It’s so much easier to line them up before they go into the linen closet and all start sticking together.
If you have been putting off organizing your linen closet and you hide your eyes every time you put a washcloth away, I hope this post inspires you.
Clutter is a real thing.
It can be scary.
And make you want to run back to bed and pull the covers over your head.
If that is you today, I just want to encourage you.
You got this friend.
There’s no one else in this entire world as amazing as you.
Now go forth and conquer.
Start accepting your sorority nominations now. 🙂