Day 23: Linen Closet
Linen closets have a way of becoming unruly, towering piles of towels, bedsheets and a myriad collection of odds and ends. It’s one of the areas we always intend to correct, fix, organize… but sometimes those intentions have a way of staying in the future.
Today, we’ll tackle the linen closet — and it’s easier than you might think!
With a few guidelines, and tricks, and inspirational photos, you’ll be opening your linen closet door to all your guests — a closet you’ll be proud of.
Give linens their space. “Air flow is important to the safe storage of most textiles,” says Jonathan Scheer, president of J. Scheer & Co., a New York textile-preservation firm. “If they’re stuffed into the back of a closet, the fibers retain more moisture, which attracts mold and mildew, which can be permanently damaging. You should take them out and air them every three months.”
“You can chase away mustiness with an open container of baking soda, activated charcoal, or calcium carbonate,” says Cheryl Mendelson, author of Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House ($22, Scribner, amazon.com).
Real Simple magazine suggests, “To enhance the aroma of your linens, place in the back of the closet sachet bags of pine, cedar, vanilla, or fresh lavender wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with a ribbon. You can also hang a fabric-softener strip on the door or use scented drawer liners, which are sold by the Container Store ($15 for four 18-by-24-inch sheets, containerstore.com) and other places.”
The ideal linen closet would be spacious enough to house all needed items, have adjustable shelves, and be at a 12 to 15-inch rise, perfect for short stacks of laundry.
If that doesn’t describe your space, you can customize it with shelf dividers, baskets, plastic bins, and plastic-covered-wire shelving, all of which can be found at Ikea, ClosetMaid, the Container Store, and other organizing specialists. You can also adapt the closet by removing the bottom shelves and installing a counter three feet from the floor and placing beneath it rolling drawer units, pullout shelves, or laundry baskets. Be creative with the space you have and utilize every inch.
Label everything so that’s it’s easily identified.
Properly folded towels will keep your linen closet organized.
Bath towels should be folded in thirds, lengthwise, and then in half, and in half again. (See tutorial).
Did you know that Google says 27,000 people a month search for “how to fold a fitted sheet?”
Here are 3 easy steps from Women’s Day magazine.
Step 1: Tuck the corners from one side of the fitted sheet (yes, all fitted sheets have corners, despite how tricky they are to find) into the corners on the opposite side, point to point. Repeat with the other set of corners. By now, your fitted sheet should more closely resemble a flat sheet, just a little bunchier.
Step 2: Much like step 1, we’re back to tucking in corners. This time, tuck one set of corners into the opposite set of corners. Less bunchy now, right?
Step 3: Fold in the two elastic sides to create straight edges. Then, you can go ahead and fold as you would a flat sheet. And voila: that neat square you never thought was possible. It took Clinton about 60 seconds to do it in the video above, which means that with a little practice, you can do it in way less time since you won’t be explaining the process to eager students.
Or you can watch Martha to show you how!
Objective: to freshen up and reorganize the linen closet so everything is easy to find and accessible.
• Remove all items from the linen closet and sort by bedding for each bedroom, towels for each bathroom and table cloths, runners and table napkins.
• From the sorts, divide out seasonal items and special occasion items from everyday use.
• Return any items that belong in other rooms immediately.
• Wipe out the shelves, walls and doors of the linen closet.
• For bulky items, store in a plastic container, zippered bag or pillowcase to keep them dust free and locate on a top shelf.
• Next store out of season or special occasion linens also on a top shelf. If possible, store in zippered bag to keep free of dust.
• Eliminate any linens that are overly worn or are missing pieces if you have other sets in good condition (like bedsheets).
• Refold all towels and bedsheet sets that will remain.
• Locate towels and bedsheets at eye level.
• Locate occasional use items in the back or the top of the closet.
• For supplies kept in the linen closet, create functional storage to corral small, like items.
GET THE BOOK:
Linen Closet Inspirations
Clean and Tidy
Prevent mountains of towels, blankets, and sheets from piling up with a neat and organized linen closet. Adjustable shelving is the foundation for neat organization in this hall linen closet. The repositionable brackets make it easy to reconfigure shelves for optimal storage.
At the Door
Use an over-the-door towel rack to keep table linens neat and ready for entertaining at a moment’s notice. Over-the-door storage is not only convenient and accessible, but it also allows for extra space on the shelves and throughout the closet.
Label Your Linens
Keep linens organized based on where you plan to use them. Sort sheets for each bedroom in the house into their own storage bins so finding the right set is always easy. Keep towels ready to grab in a hurry by tying a complete set of towels together with a ribbon. When guests arrive, your linens will be presentation ready and quickly within reach.
Create a space to sort, fold, and mend linens with everything you need within reach. Start by attaching a deep shelf at waist height to serve as a work space. Attach a battery-power puck light underneath a higher shelf to light up the space. On a nearby shelf, use stacking boxes with tiered compartments to keep sewing tools, extra bathroom supplies, and any other knick-knacks you may need in an organized spot.
No Built-in Storage?
No problem. Repurpose old armoires (or as they used to call it, an antique linen press) with shelves.
Lined and labeled baskets keep necessities like cleaning supplies and toilet paper out of sight.
By bundling out of season or guest linens with a pretty ribbon, it keeps them together… and it looks pretty.
Keeping Stacks Separate
Upside down shelf brackets can keep stacks neat and tidy.
For extra pillows, find storage to keep them where you want them.