If you live in an apartment, a condo, or even a relatively small house, chances are you only have one main linen closet storage area for bedding, towels, and other household odds and ends. Because these areas are often the go-to place to store things that don’t necessarily have a designated place anywhere else in your home, they can quickly become the “junk drawer” equivalent for the entire house. Soon enough, you’ll find that its utility goes beyond just storing bed and bath items to housing wrapping paper, electronics, craft supplies, and more.
With so much to squeeze into what’s likely a very small space, it’s no wonder that linen closets can be overwhelming to open, let alone completely reorganize. But let’s face it: The longer you let things pile up, the harder it gets to find what you need, take inventory of what you have, and create some sort of system to keep you and your family organized all year long. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide of the best linen closet storage and organization hacks to remake this space into a user-friendly part of your home. After all, according to HGTV, “spending a little bit of time creating an orderly linen closet can actually save you time and stress in the long run.”
Must-Try Linen Closet Storage Hacks
Wondering how to maximize the small linen closet space in your home? Take a look at some of these top storage tips for inspiration on how to store towels, bedding, blankets, and everything in between.
1. Limit what your linen closet stores.
This might seem like an obvious place to start, but if you’re particularly short on space in your linen closet, try to be pickier about what you store there. Ask yourself: How many [insert item(s) here] do I really need? If you live alone or with a significant other, your answer will be very different from a family of five or someone living in a house full of roommates. For example, a family with multiple children living under one roof will probably need a few more extra sets of sheets than the average individual living alone would.
As you’re decluttering your linen closet and choosing what to keep, sell, or donate, don’t be afraid to retire old blankets, pillowcases, sets of linens, or other items. (Especially if you’ve recently bought new ones!) Sure, having a spare or two is helpful when you’re in a pinch, but resist the temptation to hoard extras for emergencies, and remember that whatever you keep will take up precious extra storage space!
2. Install adjustable linen closet shelving
In many standard apartments and houses of all sizes, linen closets often come outfitted with built-in shelving. But if your current shelves are old or impractical, you might want to consider pulling them out and starting over. This can be as simple as ordering and installing some DIY shelves or as intricate as teaming up with a local contractor to design the linen closet organization system of your dreams.
HGTV specifically recommends ClosetMaid adjustable wire and laminate shelving. Specifically, a height of about 10 inches between shelves is ideal for storing sheets, while 12 to 16 inches works well for towels. If you plan on storing blankets in the closet, you may need 18 inches or more.
If you already have shelves for your linen closet that you like, HGTV recommends under-mount wire baskets or shelf dividers to keep things tidy and use up all available space. The Container Store is a great place to get these items.
3. Save space by rolling up towels
Have you ever tried rolling your clothes to save space in your suitcase when packing for a move or a vacation? The same method can be applied to your linen closet, too! Towels of all sizes specifically lend themselves very well to rolling methods. Plus, this makes them easy to stack and super accessible to grab when needed.
Since towels are an item that’s used on a daily basis, it’s best to keep them “front and center” when choosing where in your linen closet they should be stored. That way, your family isn’t pillaging the rest of the closet whenever they need a new towel.
Ready to give the towel-rolling method a try? Check out this great article from House Digest for a bunch of smart tips.
4. Put spare sheets inside of pillowcases
One of the simplest ways to make sure your bedding sets always stay together? Store them inside their matching pillowcases! This is a quick and inexpensive way to organize multiple sheet sets in your linen closet. (And never lose another pillow case, while you’re at it!) Simply fold your sheets as desired, insert them into a matching pillow case, and store the bundle on a shelf in your linen closet. Not only does this keep all of your sets’ pieces together, but it keeps your closet’s appearance neat and tidy, too. Bundles of same-sized sheets are way easier to stack upright than items of varying sizes.
5. Make use of blankets and bins
If you’ve got a tiny linen closet, you may be hesitant about introducing baskets, bins, and other organizational corrals into the mix. It’s true that by adding decorative baskets to your closet, you run the risk of overcrowding your already cramped shelves. However, if you’re smart about things like size, placement, and color, these tools can help group like items together and conceal unsightly items like cleaning supplies and extra toilet paper.
Here are a few tips on how to use baskets and storage bins to organize your linen closet:
- Measure your shelves before buying anything new. That way, you have a better idea of what you’ll need before you get too carried away at the store.
- Choose baskets in colors like whites, pastels, and even translucent shades to help keep your small closet from feeling cramped. Dark colors like black and gray can look sleek if that’s the look you’re going for— but they also darken the space quite a bit.
- Use bins with handles to transport toiletries easily from the closet to the bathroom.
6. Place sachets around the closet
Mustiness can quickly overtake a linen closet or cabinet that doesn’t get much airflow. And is there anything worse than a musty-smelling blanket or sheet set? Luckily, there’s an easy way to enhance the aroma of your linens to keep them smelling fresh and clean no matter when you need them. Simply place sachet bags of pine, cedar, vanilla, or fresh lavender wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with a ribbon in the back of the closet. You’d be surprised how something this simple can refresh your space!
We also recommend 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 for quick and easy access
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. If your linen closet is a central hub for the whole house, try labeling each container by room (ex: “kids’ room”), by season (ex: “summer blankets”), or by usage (ex: king fitted). Don’t be afraid to add some color to your labels for fun yet functional flair!
8. Add a free-standing wardrobe or armoire
Do you lack sufficient built-in storage but can’t add any linen closet shelving? If your space allows, you can always try buying (or thrifting!) a free-standing cabinet to give you the needed space. This could be something as simple as a few plastic storage cubes or a leftover dresser, wardrobe, or armoire you’re not currently using. Whether you need some drawer space for hand towels and extra beauty products or hooks to hang cleaning tools, you can completely cater this idea to your exact needs.
Looking to save some money? You can always purchase a used dresser or storage container from a yard sale. Upgrade it with a new coat of paint, shelf liner paper, storage bins and hooks, and you’re good to go!
9. Consider storing items in their designated rooms
Let’s say you’ve completely organized your linen closet— we’re talking new organizational baskets and color-coded labels. But at the end of the day, there’s still insufficient space to fit everything on your small shelves. It may be time to think outside the box. (Or the closet, if you will!) Can you move any items to the rooms where they’ll be used most often? For example, napkins and tablecloths may be stored in an extra drawer in the kitchen. Extra bed sheets for the guest room might be able to live inside a dresser drawer or even inside the nightstand until new visitors arrive. Small changes like these can lead to a lot of space freed up inside your linen closet that can be used for other things that can’t be moved.
What Are Your Best Linen Closet Organization Hacks?
Getting control of your linen closet or cabinet is a quick and relatively simple way to feel more organized at home. And if nothing else, you’ll be grateful you took the time to tidy up your storage space the next time you successfully retrieve a towel without a massive tower of linens toppling over in the process!
How do you store things in your linen closet? Do you have any space-saving tricks you swear by in your single-closet home? Feel free to share your experience with us on social media!
Read These Organization Articles Next:
- 4 Cheap and Easy DIY Closet Organization Ideas You’ll Love
- 6 Ingenious Small Apartment Ideas to Maximize Space
- Reclaim Your Closets: 17 Brilliant Hall Closet Organization Ideas
This post originally appeared on the Life Storage blog on 7/28/16 and was revised on 4/7/23 to provide new information.