Looking for simple linen closet organization tips? Here are a few of my favorite ideas to organize your linen closet and easy ideas for folding towels, too.

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.

No worries.

The better to get rid of random sheet sets I had in college and my vintage collection of washcloths.

Want to organize along with my, myself and my friend Leslie?

Oh, good. This is the next room in our organization series.

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.

Sigh.

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?

Simple tips for linen closet organization

Take everything out of the closet

Everything.

Yep.

Don’t start your linen closet organization off on a bad foot.

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.

linen closet organization

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.

linen closet organization

how many linens do you need in a linen closet?

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

10 washcloths

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

Extra pillowcases

(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.)

Use baskets for linen closet organization

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. You can even design your own with this project here.

linen closet organization

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. Our local animal shelters are always looking for extra linens or towels. It’s a great place where a little donation can make a big difference.

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.

linen closet organization

In the middle of all the linen closet organization, 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 overwhelming.

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.

Truly.

There’s no one else in this entire world as amazing as you.

Now go forth and conquer.

Start accepting your sorority nominations now. 🙂

PS And now? Here are a few more linen closet organizing tips from my amazing friend Leslie.

linen closet organization

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Comments

  1. Image for patricia patricia

    I always fold my towels so I can directly hang them on the towel rack without refolding. Drives me a little crazy to have to refold. So I fold them lengthwise, not crosswise. But we all have our quirks.

    1. Image for Debra Cisneros, HHP Debra Cisneros, HHP

      I'm with you on that, Patricia. "Efficiency" is what helps me "do" what I'd rather not. 😋💖🙌🙌🙌😺

  2. Image for Barbara Barbara

    This was so funny! I worked in a “Towel Shop” as a teenager and this was exactly how we folded towels for display! I absolutely CANNOT fold them any other way! And I fight the urge to RE-fold when I see them folded differently at a friends house!! Thanks for a walk back in time! Barbara

  3. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    I fold my towels like that too but line them up with the crease in front so it doesn't show any layers. I agree with the linens organization - and purging. I did that a few years ago and it was so liberating! One of my favorite things to do with all the stuff - drop off excess to women's shelters, or homeless shelters...and if you aren't comfortable doing so, call a local church to orchestrate a drop off to them to donate to the needy. I love those old homes with their unique ways to store things. Yours is so very charming.

  4. Image for Colleen Colleen

    KariAnne..I did have to laugh reading about your "vintage collection of washcloths"..lol..I have a stack of old washcloths that had been my moms and they have seen much better days! I also have a "vintage" collection of bath towels, that had also been my moms. And a stack of "vintage"pillow cases..haha! I have never had the heart to get rid of them. I’ve never used any of them and she died in 2007. (Sounds strange saying that now.) I don’t even know why I’m saving them. They just sit hidden away in the linen closet taking up space. They don’t bring me pleasure really. I guess I need to purge..😕 I also fold my towels like you do occasionally, but find they take up more room in the closet doing it like that. Hmm..maybe if I got rid of my "vintage" collections, I would!

  5. Image for Rachel Harper Rachel Harper

    KariAnne, I love your tutorial on folding towels and I think linen closets are the hardest. I would like to share this post on my weekends - Off the Dirt Road Adventures. I hope that's ok.

  6. Image for Jane Jane

    Looks so beautiful and so organized! Question-how do you keep your towels and bath cloths white? I have wasted a lot of money on laundry detergent that didn’t do as promised.

  7. Image for Victoria L White Victoria L White

    Giving me permission to keep only the amount of towels that I will actually need and use is so powerful . I can't wait to implement your great ideas in my tiny linen closet this weekend .

  8. Image for Ava Ava

    A great tip i learned. When getting a towel out, always take from the bottom. That way you use all your towels, not just the top ones..

  9. Image for Toni Johnson Toni Johnson

    As a helpful note, if you are storing your linens with your towels I like to fold top and bottom sheet and 1 pillow case. Neatly stack and place inside of the other pillow case and neatly fold over. No need to match up sheets with pillowcases. They are neat, can stack nicely and match. Been doing it for years and I never have a linen closet issue.

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