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Linen Closet Organization Ideas

by - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spring might just be starting this week (finally!) but I have been in a spring cleaning mood since the beginning of the year. Have you done the same? For the first time in a long time, our house is feeling more organized, neater, and with room to breathe.

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One of my biggest problem areas was our linen closet. I'm no stranger to tackling closet organization - here's our old small front hall closet reorganization, our striped broom closet, and our daughter's envy-inducing expanded closet - but this closet is one I've been procrastinating on.

There wasn't any obvious reason why the linen closet should be such a mess.

It was a good sized closet.

It had built-in shelving and ample light.

I had lots of organization ideas to keep things neat and tidy.

I had found visual inspiration for beautifully organized linen closets.

And yet, our linen closet has looked like this for the last two years since we moved into this house:

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I'm embarrassed to even show that to you! UGH. Let's take stock of what's in here:

  • a wedding dress
  • bolster cushions from a nursery rocking chair we don't even own anymore
  • probably 20 different sheet sets for three different bed sizes
  • about 15 towels, half of which have faded or have ripped seams or are just looking tired
  • toilet paper
  • duvet covers, cushion covers, blankets, quilts
  • decorative pillows

Does this look like your linen closet too??

Here's the good news. In just a few hours, I was able to take our linen closet from an overflowing mess to an orderly spot that is pretty cute to boot. In case you've got a troublesome, disorganized space of your own to tackle, consider these linen closet organization ideas and tips.

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Tip 1: Determine what you want to store in your linen closet

The easiest way to keep a linen closet organized is to only store there what you need. What do you store in a linen closet? Typically, its just your linens like bedsheets, towels, blankets, and extra pillows. But over time, other household items start to creep in there like bathroom toiletries, household gadgets, and things you just don't have a home for, ha!

Think about where your linen closet is situated. If it's near your bedrooms and bathrooms, you'll want to keep the linens for those rooms close at hand. If you have other household linens like tablecloths, dinner napkins etc. you'll want to store those closer to the kitchen or dining room where you use them. 

In our linen closet, I narrowed the items down to bedding, pillows and covers, and blankets. Everything else got moved to a new home. By having just a few categories, it makes it easier for everyone in the household to know where to find things and where to put things away.


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Tip 2: Collect, separate, assess, then purge

Have you read Marie Kondo's book or watched her Netflix series? I've followed her methods for years now (even Chloe keeps her kid clothes uber organized) and one of her major lessons is to gather everything you own into one spot. The idea is that you can't decide which items you want to keep unless you see the whole collection together and then pick and choose those that bring you joy.

So my first step in linen closet organization was to collect all the linens from around the house: the bedsheets that needed to be put away, down in the laundry room; the hand towels mixed with the kitchen tea towels; the extra blankets sitting in the basement.

I gathered them all in one giant pile

I roughly folded them and separated them by type and by size

And then I assessed each item in each pile: keep or donate

By going through this exercise, I realized I used only half the items I owned. I realized I didn't need six bedding sets for each bed. I discovered I was ready to let go of at least some of the items I kept for sentimental reasons (Chloe's baby blankets x 3!).

I let go of many things and was left with only the items I truly needed or loved. And it felt good!

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Tip 3: Use uniform storage containers

Where possible, I think it's beneficial to use uniform storage containers in your linen closet. This will keep the closet looking visually neat. Plus, the containers likely work together and stack or fit together nicely.

I discovered the STUK line of organizers at Ikea and knew they would be perfect for my closet makeover. I used three sizes for my closet:

The STUK boxes have a plastic slot on one corner where you can insert a piece of paper and label the contents. I thought this was super helpful - have you ever been stuck trying to figure out if a fitted sheet is a double or a queen size? Now there's no more confusion with each bedding size in a separate box!

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Tip 4: Use the Konmari method of folding

One other great tool I learned from Marie Kondo was her method of folding. By folding and storing your items upright as opposed to lying flat, you're able to visually see what you have. The big benefit of this is that it prevents you from buying more unnecessary items. How many times have you bought something - shampoo, a grey t-shirt, a striped throw - only to discover that you already had something similar, but it was just tucked away sight unseen in the back of a drawer?

While it might seem onerous to fold everything this way, after three years of living with this method, I can tell you that once you set it up, it's actually very easy to maintain. Using the KonMari method for folding linens, you're only ever reaching into a bin or box and grabbing one item at time. You're not sifting through dozens of things just to find the one you need. Here, you see what you have immediately. Nothing gets messed up. Nothing is put out of order. It's grab and go.

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Tip 5: Store blankets or bulky comforters on hangers

How do you organize blankets? In the past I've folded my blankets and laid them on a shelf (like the green quilt on the photo above) or put them in a storage trunk. The problem is blankets, quilts, and  comforters are heavy and bulky and pulling them off of a shelf can be awkward. This typical method of storing blankets uses up a lot of room and your blankets never look neat and tidy.

I was lucky that this linen closet had a built in hanging rod. At the cottage, we store our blankets in the off-season on hangers hanging in our closet. Why not do the same here at home??

Storing blankets on hangers is surprisingly satisfying. The blankets look organized (dare I say chic?) and having them hanging prevents them from getting all wrinkled as well. This is a perfect way to store duvet covers, seasonal throws, and heavy blankets.

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I was surprised at how little effort it really took to get this linen closet organized. These ideas are easy, doable, and effective. Are you ready to tackle your linen closet?

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Interested in more organization ideas? Check out these posts:


Craft Room Organization

How To Organize A Small Pantry

DIY Garage Organization


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