When you open your linen closet does it make you smile? Do neat stacks of towels and bedding waft out a pleasant scent? Or, does “augh!” pass your lips as you see the jumbled result of your family rooting through the stacks to find a towel or pillow case?
Linen closets come in all sizes, located in bathrooms and hallways, off kitchens and master bedrooms. Some are shallow, some are deep, but undoubtedly all are maxed out. Tailored Living’s® custom closet organization systems can help you get full control of your linen closets and eliminate the jumble.
To help set the mood, here’s the (unofficial) symbol of linen closets everywhere: the sachet. You can probably imagine your favorite scent just by looking at the picture! Keep this in mind as we explore the depths of the linen closet, and take a deep, invigorating breath if you feel yourself getting faint.
Central Location or Point of Use Closets
The two basic schools of thought on linen closets are:
- One central linen closet for everything textile related, be it bed, bath or dining
- Multiple linen closets or cabinets, keeping items close to where they will be used (most common and probably the most convenient)
In other words, tablecloths, napkins and placemats store in the kitchen, pantry or dining room; bed and bath items like towels and sheets in bathroom cabinets or in close proximity to the bedrooms, such as a hall closet. However your home is set up, with one big linen closet or several smaller ones, instituting some basic organizational helps will keep everything neat and save you time and stress in the long run.
Only Keep What You Need
Start by emptying every linen closet and taking inventory of what you have. Over time and with redecorating, we can end up with extras and things we no longer need. If you have more sheets, blankets and towels than you can possibly use, you may consider donating some to a homeless shelter or thrift store so they’ll get good use.
Discard faded and torn linens, colors that no longer work, or those cutesy gift towels you’ll never use. Keep or buy only what you need to maintain your family’s lifestyle. A good rule of thumb is to have two sets of sheets for each bed (one in use and a clean one in reserve). Towels may be swapped out daily or weekly at your house, so determine how many you really need to have on hand.
Seasonal items like pillows, bedspreads, table linens and rugs can overwhelm storage, but moving seasonal items to garage storage can free up linen closet space for your everyday needs. The same applies for heirlooms or sentimental pieces that you don’t use, but can’t bear to part with.
Customary contents of linen closets by type:
- Kitchen/Dining: Tablecloths, napkins, table runners, placemats, kitchen towels, potholders, aprons
- Bedding: Sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters, duvets, dust ruffles, pillow shams
- Bath: Bath towels, wash cloths, hand towels, beach towels, rugs, toilet paper, tissues and toiletries
Decide what will go into each closet (by point of use, room, or type) and plan closet storage accordingly. Remove anything that doesn’t belong in the linen closet and relocate it elsewhere in the house.
Linen Closet Custom Design
A Tailored Living designer can help you with built-in or free-standing custom storage solutions. Even an entertainment center can easily convert to a linen cabinet. Drawers and adjustable shelves can accommodate any type of linens and would make a beautiful display, especially with glass inset doors to show off pretty linens and bedding.
A chest of drawers or built-in cabinet at the end of a hallway could provide additional linen closet space.
Existing closets can have shelving installed if none exists. Floor-to-ceiling shelves in a hall closet could transform it into the perfect linen closet.
Shelf dividers will keep stacks straight and make it easy for putting things away in an orderly fashion.
Adjustable shelves allow you to alter your storage as needs change, to accommodate large and small stacks so no viable storage space is lost.
High shelves can take care of large or seldom-used items like extra pillows, blankets and seasonal items. Vacuum-sealed Space Bags that expel air and condense mass allow you to store more in your space. The bags keep your items dust-free and ready to use no matter how long they’re stored.
In the kitchen or pantry, tablecloths can be stored on pullout hanging rods to keep them wrinkle free. Drawers can organize napkins, placemats, dish towels and other articles.
Pull-out baskets and bins can hold small items and make deep shelves more accessible. No more bottles of shampoo or mouthwash getting pushed to the back and forgotten, they’ll be at your fingertips.
Install a pull-out laundry hamper in a bathroom linen closet for added convenience.
Tips and Tricks
Linen closets will get musty smelling if the contents are not rotated and washed regularly. Here are some tips for keeping your linen closets functional, fabulous and fresh smelling.
- Hang or place sachets in cabinets and drawers to lightly scent linens. Other options are linen spray, fabric softener sheets layered in the stacks, or scented candles stored with your linens. Consider your family’s preferences for scented or unscented (especially pillow cases) as well as any allergies. Stick with one scent for all your linens to avoid sensory overload.
- Place fresh laundered items on bottom of stacks, pull from the top so everything gets equal use.
- Pre-wash new items before using to soften and refresh the fabrics.
- Label shelves, bins and baskets to indicate where everything belongs to avoid mix ups.
- If different size beds cause confusion in the linen closet, color coding the sheets may help: White for king size, cream for queen, blue for full and print/character sheets for the kids’ twin beds.
- Bedding stored in complete sets makes it easy to grab what you need; fold sheets and insert them into the matching pillow case so the set stays together.
- Place folded edges facing out to give a more uniform look.
- A bundle of chalk in a mesh bag will absorb any excess moisture. Or use a commercial odor and moisture grabber like DampRid or a box of baking soda (just like in the fridge).
- Lavender, rosemary, scented geranium, lemon balm and mint can repel bugs, but one of the best deterrents is to always put things away clean.
- Line shelves, baskets and bins with acid-free tissue paper to protect linens from surfaces that may stain or cause yellowing. For fine linens, layer acid-free paper between the folds, or store in a breathable white cotton or muslin pillowcase.
- Long-term storage of linens and antique pieces is best handled in archival/museum storage boxes such as are used for bridal gowns to prevent yellowing and deterioration. Relegate to top shelf storage and attach a picture or list of the contents to the outside of the box so you don’t forget what’s stored inside.
Maintaining organized linen closets makes it easier to keep your whole house in order. With a place for everything and everything in its place, everyone in the family can be more self-sufficient. When beds need changing or bathrooms need cleaning, it’s easy to find exactly what’s needed.
Tailored Living offers creative design for linen closet organization or any other home storage solutions for closets, garage, home office, mudroom, laundry room and more. Call 866-712-3404 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation.