Small Linen Closet Organization
Not many of us are blessed with a large linen closet including yours truly. However, there are several things you can do to maximize this little space.
In this post, I’ll go over the kinds of items you can actually store in your linen closet as well as recommendations for how many linens you should actually own. Next, you’ll find steps for decluttering your closet along with DIY tips for optimizing this space. And finally, check out all kinds of organizers you could use to keep it tidy and functional.
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Evaluating Your Linen Closet
The first thing you need to do is evaluate your linen closet space. You want to take measurements in case you plan on doing any DIY like adding a
With that, please wait on purchasing any bins, baskets, or other organizers until you have evaluated your closet and its contents fully. You may find that you didn’t need so many organizers after you’ve decluttered. For now, use items around your home temporarily.
Empty and Measure
The first step in evaluating your linen closet is to empty it completely. As you do this, try to keep like items together, that is, bed linens with bed linens, towels with towels, etc. This will just make it easy to sort through later.
Next, take some measurements of your linen closet. You’ll want to measure the actual closet size up to the ceiling so you can maximize every inch of your closet. You should also measure the distance between each
If you have a framed door, you’ll want to take the measurement of the door opening. For example, my closet width is 37 inches wide. However, I lose three inches on each side due to the door frame making my door opening only 31 inches.
You’ll also want to check the space between the door and the shelves when you close the door. If you plan on adding an over-the-door organizer, you’re going to need space for items you may keep in it.
Now, if you plan on doing any DIY, put together a plan or click here to get our Project Planner where you can enter your measurements and design the look you want.
Evaluating Your Linen Closet Contents
So, What Really Goes into a Linen Closet?
A linen closet, depending on the size, can house a number of things. First and foremost, bed linens and towels, are expected to be kept there although if you have a tiny closet, you can relocate bed linens to bedroom closets.
Other items include shower curtains and liners, washable bath rugs, toiletries like lotion and toothpaste, paper products like toilet paper and facial tissue, as well as medications and/or a first aid kit. You can also keep appliances like a vacuum cleaner or an iron with an
Personally, I keep 4 brand new pillows in my tiny closet just for guests. [I’ll show you how you can do this without losing good space in your closet later.]
Decide What Goes and What Stays
Looking at your sorted piles, begin removing items you do not want to return to the closet. This could be medications, toiletries, cleaners, etc. If you think that after a good decluttering you can still keep these items in this closet, then, by all means, keep them there.
However, If you believe that your closet will never be big enough to accommodate what you have, you may want to store bed linens in each bedroom closet instead.
Also, here are my recommendations for the number of bedding sets and towels one household should keep:
- 2 bedding sets per bed
- 3 bath towels per person
- 7 hand towels per bathroom
- 7 washcloths per person
- 2 spare blankets
- 1 spare comforter
If you launder your towels more than once a week, then you may be able to do with fewer hand towels and washcloths.
As for having enough for guests, remember that you have 2 linen sets per bed which means if you have 3 beds, you should have 6 bedding sets. As for towels, just step up the laundry until your company leaves.
And don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a towel or blanket. What you don’t want to do is purchase and keep extra bedding sets, blankets, and towels for company that may only visit once in a while.
Declutter & Sort Through Your Closet Contents
Get three boxes/bags ready. One for trash, one for repurposing, and the other for donations. Begin going through items that fit these categories.
As soon as your trash bag/box is full, go ahead and dump these immediately. This is just to keep you from changing your mind about items and bringing them back into the home.
Don’t forget to check any items that have expired. These include medications, certain toiletries, and makeup. Click here to learn when your makeup expires.
Consider repurposing old, worn towels. I usually keep these in our garage and use them to dry our dog when we bathe her or if she gets wet in the rain. You can also turn them into rags for cleaning.
Bed linens are great for all sorts of projects because of the amount of fabric involved. One repurposing use for bed linens is to use them for small toy parts. If you have kids that play with items like Legos, place a bedsheet on the floor and let them play on top of it. When toy time is over, simply gather the sheet and pour the items into a bin, or better yet, tie the sheet up leaving the toys inside until the next playtime.
When it comes to repurposing, only take on projects you know you will get to within a month. If after a month, you have not repurposed an item, trash it, or donate it.
A Second Evaluation of your Linen Closet
Next, you’ll want to take a second evaluation of your closet with your items neatly stored in it.
First, begin folding your linens and place them in your closet. If you’d like to learn the best way to fold fitted sheets, check out the video below.
For towels, I first used the Konmari technique which requires folding items into rectangles and then standing them on end. This method did help me see my items better and saved me a lot of space.
Later, I used G.U.S bins to keep my linens sorted. What I liked was that the front flap opened up allowing me to reach anything on the bottom of the stack easier.
Another thing I do is keep bedding sets together by folding and inserting them into one of their pillowcases. This makes it easy to remove everything one needs at once. This is especially useful for kids who make their own beds.
Once you have finished folding your linens and returned any other items you plan on keeping in your closet, take a second look at it and check to see if your arrangement of items is to your satisfaction.
Now, take any notes if you plan on doing any DIY. Now that your closet is decluttered, you can get an idea of what you’d like to see in your linen closet in terms of extra shelving or organizers like bins and baskets and even a lazy Susan for toiletries.
Linen Closet DIY and Adjustments
When you have your DIY supplies ready, go ahead and empty the closet again keeping everything neat and folded.
Some DIY suggestions include:
- Painting or wallpapering the back wall – give your closet a pop by creating an accent wall.
- Adding extra shelving – if there is a large space between shelves, consider adding another shelf or attaching an under-the-
shelfbasket extension for small items.
- Readjusting the current
shelfheights – it’s possible that you just need to adjust some of your shelves. Since I am short, I placed items that I do not use very often on a higher shelf. After evaluating my space, I realized that those items did not require so much space, height-wise. So I shrunk the space here by adjusting my shelves.
- Attaching hooks to the door – don’t forget that you could use your door to keep items. Hooks are great for holding an
ironing boardor other appliances.
- Removing the door completely/adding a draped entrance – when you have finished your linen closet project, and it is spectacular, consider removing the door. You don’t have to but some closets look too gorgeous not to. And it will force you to keep it decluttered and looking nice.
- Adding lighting – this is optional but if you have a closet that gets absolutely no sunlight like mine, lighting can make a big difference.
If you want to add shelving but skip the DIY, try this tension rod
If you prefer not to drill holes into your door for hooks, try 3M hooks. For heavy items like an
Want lighting but not the expense and trouble of having it installed? I got you. Try this magnetic light bar. The lighting is great and works through motion detection.
It’s also simple to install. Just place the provided magnetic strip where you’d like to place your bar (I placed mine on the top of the door frame.) And don’t worry about buying batteries. It comes with a USB cord. So if the lighting gets dim, just remove the bar, charge it, and voila, you have light.
Tips You Can Use in Your Linen Closet
If you have a small linen closet, one way to maximize space is to go vertical. The top
Consider using an over-the-door organizer. This could be a shoe organizer that can store lots of items from cleaners to toiletries and even some paper products. Just be sure items will fit with the door closed.
If you have lots of blankets and comforters, consider using space-saver bags to shrink down their bulky size.
Want to keep your linens smelling fresh? Use dryer sheets between towels or try this spray.
Organizers You Could Use
Below are a couple of organizers you could use in your own linen closet.
Baskets & Bins
Here are some bin and basket options. Just remember to use your notes and measurements to see which baskets are better suited for your things as well as how many you will need.
- MDesign Wire Baskets
- Decomomo Foldable Storage Bins
- Large Woven Basket
- Clear Acrylic Bins
- G.U.S. Storage Bins
Here are some of my G.U.S. storage bins. They come in other colors and patterns. Just remember to measure out your keep piles so you know which size to buy.
Other Useful Organizers
Below are more useful closet organizers:
Other closet organizers include
Final Thoughts on Organizing Your Linen Closet
When it comes to maximizing space in a linen closet, the best thing you can do is to declutter it of too many linens. Really assess this space and follow the recommended number of allowable linens per person.
For more space, take advantage of the top space of the closet and the door. And if you plan on purchasing organizers, make sure to organize your items first to get an idea of the kind of organizer you need as well as how many you need.
Other Closet Organization Posts You Can Use
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