Lovely Linens

Closets, Closets, Closets

Closets come in all different shapes, sizes and are in a variety of locations.  When it comes to storage and organizing them, they aren’t always the easiest to manage. 

One of my pet peeves is the dreaded linen closet. It’s at the end of my hallway that supports three bedrooms and one bathroom.  It’s the only main closet on the second floor.  It contains a ton of household goods including linens, towels, bathroom supplies, medical supplies and a lot of other stuff.

It’s been a catch-all for years and is on my small spaces list to organize this year.  Simply put, it holds too much and needs organizing. Even my family can’t find things.  And if I’m dropping what I’m doing, to help find stuff, maybe it’s time for a new system to be put in place that works for everyone. 

If you want to tackle a closet this year, I have a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Take Everything Out

Take everything out and start your sorting process.  Create categories for things you KEEP and for everything else designate piles for DONATE, RECYCLE, TRASH, and STORE elsewhere.  Get rid of non-essentials and things you don't use anymore. For some items, move them out and find another place in your home to store them. To cut down on towels and sheets, ask yourself how many do you and your family really use?  Make old towels into rags.  Or consider giving them to a Pet Adoption Agency.

Tip: Create a list from your categories as you sort to make labels for later.

Map Out Your Shelves

Map out your closet shelves based on the frequency of use.  See below for tips.

 Shelf Tips:

(a)    Top: Bulky items like blankets & pillows.  Things you don’t use often.

(b)    Middle:  Items you use on a regular basis like towels, washcloths, medical & extra bathrooms supplies

(c)    Bottom Floor Space: Larger items, bulky goods, extra duffel bags or large amounts of bathroom supplies like toilet paper

Make the Most of Your Storage

There are so many options out there for storage these days. Do you want to see everything being stored or do you like things hidden?  Clear Bins allow you to see inside.  Drawer storage allows for easy access. Add a decorative element with a fabric pattern bin.  Consider functionality with different storage options: (1) stackable bins, (2) lidded clear bins, (3) bins with open tops and (4) drawer configurations. 

Fold Efficiently

To keep things neat and tidy while maximizing your storage space, fold efficiently.  Fold or roll towels, washcloths, sheets, and blankets.  Fold or roll and stack vertically. Or try another method gaining popularity which is using the KonMari folding method (think thirds).  Choose the one that works best but one you can keep up with when doing laundry.

Tip:  Keep all sheets & pillowcases in the same size together.  If you fold the fitted sheet, the top sheets, and pillowcases together, the set will “live” together in one place.  Use a pillowcase or use the flat sheet to fold over the other pieces to keep the set together.

Label Everything

If this is a shared space used by multiple family members and occasionally guests.  It’s extremely important to label everything so anyone can find what they need and put it back in place.

Tip:  Pretty Labels. If you want to add another decorative element but make it easy to categories look for free labels via Pinterest or take a look at Etsy for fairly low-cost ones.  Or if you’re like me, consider DYI-ing them. 

DYI Labels

If you are crafty like me, make your own. I used a font I liked, embossed the edges with a scrapbook punch and used these cool mini notecards from Walmart that were pre-punched.

To keep them in place, I used a couple of options.  For some, I used cord and for others I used clear packing tape. Another trick I learned was using paper fasteners.  They fit through holes already molded in the plastic or they also punch through fabric. 

A Happy Ending with Clutter Cures

The new system I implemented works!  Everything looks neat and organized.  The monochromatic gray color scheme is soothing and pops against my dark stained shelves.  I am happy to report, with a few weeks in, the closet is still organized and no one is asking me – Where is “x”? Every time I open my closet, I like what I see. 

Here are some solutions, I used to get my closet clutter under control.

Solution #1:  Cut Down Excess Stuff

Over the years the closet has collected more than it can possibly store on any given day.  Priority one was to empty everything, sort, and purge. I got rid of things we don’t use, doubles of stuff and relocated a number of items.

Solution #2:  Reaching Hidden Storage

It’s a pretty large closet and has extra deep shelves.  And to one side, there are 18" inches hidden behind a wall.  This makes reaching anything a challenge.

In order to cut down on frustration in trying to reach things, I used sturdy bins with handles. The family can pull bins out, reach for things they need and easily put bins back.  Keeping things “binned” will keep the stuff neat & tidy.  The handles make bins easy to grab.

Solution #3: Beautiful Baskets, Clear Bins & Other Functional Storage

I was inspired by a number of Pinterest linen closet articles that stored linens and household goods in beautiful baskets.  I used a variety of both decorative, clear and other functional storage options within the same color palette. 

Trick: Keeping to one color palette will help your eye “rest” and cut down on perceived clutter. 

And that’s another happy ending to keeping clutter at bay and under control.  I hope these tips help you get your next closet project organized.

Ann Faber