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Organizing the Linen Closet

If you are lucky enough to have a linen closet, how do you use it?

Besides holding your extra towels and sheets do you also have extra pillows and blankets in this space? Do you store first aid supplies and over the counter medications? Is this your space to store extra toilet paper? Maybe you even have a box to hold donation items.

Linen closets are often jammed full and overflowing with little organization.

As always, the first step in organizing any space is to eliminate what is not needed.

Think about your current lifestyle. Do you have frequent guests and how many at a time? Do you have small children or someone who is ill that requires you to change out linens often? Do you go on picnics or to the beach and need extra towels and blankets for these activities?

Look at how many linen and towel sets you have now. How many are you using on a regular basis? Decide on a number of sets that you feel you need to keep and pull out the rest. Let go of that set of towels you had two houses ago that don’t really go with your décor now. Do all of the bed linens fit on beds you currently use?

 The next step is to take what sets are left and sort them by category. There are several ways you can do this.

You can sort by type like bed linens queen or towels for bathrooms or towels for the beach or pool. You can put all the bottom sheets in one stack, top sheets in another and all pillowcases in still another stack.

You can sort by sets like flowered fitted sheet, top sheet, and pillowcases for a queen bed or green bath towel, hand towel, wash cloth. These sets can be bundled together and pulled out when needed. I think this works well for guest sets.

For small linen closets you can sort some linens by location and store those sets in the room where they are used.

Keep related items stored alongside fellow items like duvet covers, quilts, or extra blankets near the sheet sets.

Next find the best placement for each category stored in the linen closet. Most frequently used items are front and center. Off-season or more rarely used guest items can be stored at the back or on higher shelves.

Since I have a larger linen closet, I store a plunger, extra rolls of toilet paper, and a donation box on the floor of my closet.

I have a shelf for extra cosmetics, lotions, and oils. As I reorganize these each year, I get rid of the expired and excess. I have a basket of batteries and a basket of extension cords. My heating pad also fits there.

I also have a shelf for all medicines and first aid materials. I have them stored in containers by type. One container holds outdoor items like sunscreen, bug spray, or Benadryl. Another container holds pain medicine and cold/allergy medicine. Still another holds first aid supplies. Each year when I clean and reorganize my linen closet, I dispose of items that have expired or that I no longer need.

This is an area that I work on in small bits of time. Each shelf takes less than 10 minutes to sort and clear. I then wash down the shelf and return the items when the shelf is dry. Another time I work on another shelf. By the end of the week the closet is finished, and I will not worry about it for another year.


Are you struggling to find time to organize your space? Check out our Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time deck of cards. Break down your organizing projects into small, manageable tasks. Just set your timer and follow the steps on the card that you have chosen to work on.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.



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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Jun 24

Linen closets can be spacious or insufficient. Either way, it's important to evaluate and organize them every so often. It makes such a difference when you group like with like and eliminate items you no longer want.

Our linen closet is tall, narrow, and deep. The shelves are not adjustable. One of the best things I did was find long, narrow bins that are almost as deep as the shelves. Instead of having loose products on the shelf, the bins categorize things and making it easier to find what I need.

Jun 24
Replying to

I love the idea of the long, narrow bins. I'll have to look for those. My shelves are not adjustable either.

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