Updated on 7/27/16 from an article originally published on 12/16/14.
Many homes only have one main linen cabinet or closet, making it the “junk drawer” for the entire house. Its utility goes beyond just storing bed and bath items to also housing wrapping paper, electronics, craft supplies, and more. Unfortunately, this makes the space overwhelming, and it quickly becomes hard to find what you need. “But spending a little bit of time creating an orderly linen closet can actually save you time and stress in the long run,” explains HGTV.
If your cabinet or closet has become unmanageable, it might be time to employ these storage and organizing hacks to remake this space into a user-friendly part of your home.
1. Limit what your linen closet stores.
If you are short on space in your cabinet, you’ll need to be more choosey about what you store there. “Try to limit yourself to three sets of sheets per bed and as few as three sets of bath sheets or towels, hand towels, and washcloths per person,” suggests Michele Meyer of Real Simple.
You’ll also need to retire old sets of linens, especially if you’ve recently bought new ones. Meyer says, “Resist the temptation to hoard extras for emergencies.”
To free up even more space, move items to the rooms where they’ll be used most often, like napkins and tablecloths in the kitchen and sheets in the guest room.
2. Install adjustable shelves.
If your current shelving is old or impractical, you might want to consider pulling it out and starting over. HGTV recommends ClosetMaid adjustable wire and laminate shelving. Meyer suggests a height of about 10 inches for sheets and 12 to 16 inches for towels. Blankets may need 18 inches or more.
If you already have shelves you like, HGTV recommends under-mount wire baskets or shelf dividers. The Container Store is a great place to get these items.
3. Roll up towels.
A simple way to store towels is to roll them up. This makes them easy to stack neatly and grab when needed—and it saves space, too. Rolling your towels also gives your cabinet or closet a tidy and organized appearance. Since towels are used often, it’s best to keep them “front and center,” says HGTV. Keeping frequently used items easily accessible means your family isn’t pillaging the rest of the closet to find what they need.
4. Put spare sheet sets inside pillow cases.
Consider storing extra sheet sets by storing them inside a pillow case so the set stays together. This is a quick and inexpensive way to organize multiple sheet sets and never lose another pillow case. Simply fold, insert into a matching pillow case and store on a shelf in your linen closet.
5. Make use of baskets and bins.
Baskets can help you group like items together and “lined bins conceal cleaning supplies and toilet paper,” says Badal. Use bins with handles to easily transport toiletries from the closet to the bathroom. Baskets also make it easy to move bulky, heavy linens in the front of the closet out of the way, allowing you to retrieve items toward the back.
6. Place sachets around the closet.
Mustiness can easily overtake a linen closet or cabinet that doesn’t get much airflow. “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,” suggests Meyer. HGTV recommends laundering infrequently used items every six months or so to keep them fresh. Keepsake items made of older fabrics such as silk and wool should be stored in vacuum-sealed bags to prevent damage and decay.
7. Label cabinet contents.
Once your linen cabinet or closet is organized, you’ll want it to stay that way. A good method to help you maintain your new space involves using adhesive labels to remind you and other family members where items go. Meyer recommends labeling by room—“Master Bathroom”—by season—“Summer Blankets”—or by usage—“King Fitted.”
8. Add a freestanding wardrobe or armoire.
If you lack sufficient built-in storage, Badal recommends buying a freestanding cabinet to give you the space you need. To save money, select a used one from a yard sale and upgrade it with a new coat of paint, shelf liner paper, and storage bins and hooks.
Getting control of your linen closet or cabinet is a good way to feel more organized at home. The next time you go to retrieve a towel and don’t have a tower of linens topple down and bury you, you’ll be grateful you took the time to tidy up your storage space.