Your greatest dreams have come true.
After fourteen years, I finally figure out how to approach organizing our small linen closet. You no longer need to be overwhelmed when you see it.
When I shared with you my organizing plans recently, several of you asked me to share my progress along the way – and this, is my first success story!
This closet and I have never gotten along. I have never been able to get past how narrow it is or how only two of the shelves are full depth.
But now, I feel a bit of love.
And I am not the only one.
Hubby just opened it now and said, “wow, it looks really good in here. Did you take all your pictures because I want to use that blanket?”
But the best part is, he could find the blanket.
That would not have happened yesterday.
I am not going to show you all the junk that was stuffed, I mean literally stuffed so the door barely closed, in here. I am sparing you.
But this is what the closet looked like all clear. And in case you are wondering, the inside is the paint color – builder beige – that my whole house used to be.
So, my main goal was to not have pull the shelves out and do all the crazy wall repairs – those babies are seriously bolted in here.
But I did learn a few lessons along the way that I thought I would share with you on how I got here.
Tip 1: PURGE!!!
Okay, I can’t express this enough. This closet was packed full with so much stuff we did not use or need that was making it difficult to find what we need. But even worse, it make putting stuff away ridiculous – which lead to all the said “stuffing”.
This closet does not hold towels at this time – but with some tweaking – it probably could. But for now, it is all of our bed linens. Here is the thing – there are three bed upstairs plus two trundles (the bedding for the guest bedroom is kept downstairs). Each bed can only have one set of sheets on a bed at a time. Even with one going through the laundry – we did not need all those sheets.
So, if I didn’t love them, if they weren’t soft, if they were just stupid wrinkled or if they were stretched out and didn’t stay on the bed – out they went.
Where did they go?
Some were able to be donated to Goodwill. I made sure to keep the sets together and they are already in the back of my car to be delivered. However, honestly, most of them were past the point of donation for humans – so those are in a big bag for the animal shelter.
When I started digging through I even found my daughter’s crib sheet from her baby set and her first duvet cover. They were so sweet and special, we decided to put them aside with her baby linens which are packed in a protected bin in the attic. They are out of the closet of our everyday space and no longer at risk of being ruined.
Seriously – be tough here. You need to make it so the things you love and use with be able to be found and then easily put away.
Tip 2: Use High Sided Bins or Pull Out Drawers
I never had thought about using bins in this closet until now. Before, everything was always falling over if it wasn’t folded perfectly. Let’s face it – we have all watched those videos on how to fold a fitted sheet like Martha, but I still can’t do it.
In bins, they don’t have to be folded perfectly and they are not all falling to the ground.
It just works better!
For the smaller items, I used pull out drawers that are stackable. This is an easy way to just pull out and grab what you need and put it away easily.
I had the stackable drawers and the bins are from The Christmas Tree Shops, but similar ones can easily be found.
Tip 3: Group Everything by Category
We were always digging through the mess to find what we needed and what sheets fit what bed. And, oh yeah, where the heck are the pillow cases. Many times, I just gave up.
Now I have the bins grouped by twin bedding, queen bedding, king bedding and flannel bedding. No, I don’t have my king bed yet, but I have some shams and pillow cases I am saving for our new bed. And now, when we do have sheets, they have a place to go. The throw pillows are also being saved for that purpose (the gold polka dot pillow is from Homegoods).
I also have the sheet sets matched up with the pillow cases wrapping around the bed sheets. Nothing is perfectly folded, but it is neat, can easily be found and easily put away.
Tip 4: Label Everything Clearly
Not to be overly obvious, but label all of your bins. I used chalkboard contact paper (affiliate link) cut with a punch and ties with twine on the bins. I used the same contact paper cut to the size of the front of the drawers.
I used an exacto knife to cut out the handle area. Not only does it label the drawer, but it is neater to have it all uniform and not see through.
Tip 5: Put Large Items at the top
Our top shelf is pretty ridiculous. It is so close to the top of the opening of the closet, it is hard to get anything in there. But since I really didn’t want to deal with the wall damage of removing the shelf, I used that space for pillows that can easily be “shoved” up there and stacked. I guess we are still doing so “shoving”.
Obviously, don’t put heavy items up top that could fall and hurt someone.
Tip 6: Consider Other Spaces
If your family is larger than ours and just can’t fit all the bedding in your linen closet easily, there are other options. I put my sewing basket on the floor, but that space could easily be used to add another set of bins or large pull out drawers.
The goal is to make it so it easily fits. When it is tight to start with, chances are it is not going to stay organized. Leave yourself room to put things away easily. Consider under bed storage or the top of closets in your bedrooms as an alternative to a central closet.
Oh, and this not the only space I have organized. I went through all of my bathroom drawers and under the sink. There was so much stuff in there – again – I will never use. From sample sizes to hair products I didn’t like – I accepted the loss – and threw them away.
I filled a large garbage bag with stuff I wasn’t using, was expired or old.
That is a bit humbling – and really has me thinking about my purchases more. Another added bonus of getting organized I guess.
You can find all of my posts on organizing here or you can follow my Pinterest board…
Wishing you a great week and thanks so much for reading.