Tips for Organizing a Small Linen Closet


Sharing one of my favorite organizing posts again with you today…

Dear Mom,

 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.

 Love, Me.



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.

Closet before

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.

Linen-Closet-Organization-Ideas copy

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.

Trick-for-Organizing-your-Linen-Closet copy

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.


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35 thoughts on “Tips for Organizing a Small Linen Closet”


  1. It looks great Laura. It is probably the only place in your house that didn’t get touched in the remodel… it has the old oak molding still in there. 🙂 Can you believe we really don’t have a linen closet in this house?! We had thought about adding one in the upstairs hall (taking from our master walk in closet), but it would of been too many doors up there. There isn’t much wall space up there as it is.

  2. The chalkboard contact paper is also available at Walmart. It’s about 3.97 a roll, right with all the other contact paper in the Home section. I’ve been lining the inside of my kitchen cupboards with it!

  3. Our linen closet is the same size as yours! I have always been perplexed about how to handle such a narrow space. So over the years it’s been full of art supplies, batteries, random “don’t know where else to put this” things — anything but linens. Thanks so much for your inspiring ideas — can’t wait to get started!

  4. Laura….this post came at the right time! I have been in the process of organizing, cleaning out and purging our upstairs linen closet. Several years ago, my husband put a closet system in our downstairs master walk-in closet. I cant tell you how wonderful it turned out. We saved thousands by ordering it through a online closet system company and doing the measuring, designing and assembling ourselves rather than going through local closet system companies in our area.

  5. Great job! My house is in transition – one daughter off in college, one BACK, but planning to leave again. Someday, I’m going to claim one of those closets for linens! 🙂 Love the chalkboard contact paper – I can think of so many uses for that!

    My next cleaning-out project HAS to be my “catch-all” kitchen cabinet under the microwave. It’s deep, and I don’t know WHY I didn’t have it done in drawers instead of a regular cabinet. Right now it’s just ridiculous, baking pans falling out every time I open it!

  6. Laura,
    Looks great. You made a small space work for you. I am so pleased to hear the animal shelter is getting something they can use. When my wife and I bought new towels we purged the old ones. The kids bathroom had towels that were bleached and stained from face and hair products. Ugly towels no one would want but still very much needed at the animal shelter for baths and to lay on.

  7. Laura – this is Fabulous!!! So inspiring that I think I’m going to head right out and look for some of those bins. One thing I thought of to save even more space….get one of those vaccum space bags for the pillows and you will probably be able to get both on the top shelf and they won’t get dusty. Just a thought. Love your site!

  8. Laura,
    This is an amazing idea for a linen closet! Mine is very similar to yours and we too have so much that we never use. I think there’s a sleeping bed for a toddler and my son is now 6″ tall!
    I love the idea of bins and drawers. Now why didn’t I think of that?!
    I’m inspired and I’m pinning.
    Have a great weekend.

  9. Oh! I thought I was the only household that had a linen closet my size and now it is your size also! I have sorted and I still need what I have. I think I will try the basket idea on one shelf to see how it works out before I buy more. Thanks for the idea. Lady with a lovely 52 yr. old rambler with one bathrm., washer and dryer in the kitchen and a pantry . Three bedrms., formal lv. rm., dn rm. and rec. rm. 1100 sq. feet and loving my home:) We remodeled the one and only bathrm. and kitchen, the home looks so nice and more modern now.

    1. I looked over my tiny linen closet and duah!!! I forgot I do not have a closet for towels in my one and only bathrm. So I looked at this tiny space and decided baskets though I use them and love them for decorating and storage will not work. I barely have rm. for the towels, sheets, and kitchen towels. So she will stay the same……tiny and full.

  10. Truly INSPIRING! I too have a linen closet that is out of control! You literally have to push the door as hard as you can and make sure you hear it “latch” or it will swing right back open ~ swiftly. My oldest daughter is afraid to open it…it opens with such force! This is now on my “things to take care of” this week! Look for a post on my blog soon…as soon as I get finished with my bed. UGH! Life to the full! Melissa

  11. Nice job Laura! I have two suggestions: Old sheets (if they aren’t the wrinkled type) make good backs for quilts. The other thought (when I had kids at home I really needed more room) the clean second set of sheets were stuffed into pillow shams on their beds.
    Glad I found you; hope I can get back here again. Thanks!

  12. This is a good start for my idea binder. You see we have no linen closet, which is odd because our house is not really small. I can’t decide if I want to add a tall piece upstairs or a small buffet but we need something!

    thank you,


  13. Wonderful ideas! I need that brown (?) ticking stripe pillow desperately for my bedroom re-do. Can you tell me where you purchased it?

  14. Wonderful ideas. Please share how you store your Christmas decorations!! My linen closet is a combo holiday closet, so this will help for 1 side!

  15. That looks like our linen closet 🙁 I did somewhat of what you did. I have a few bins but not as many you. What I make sure is that everything is folded neatly and stacked in order. It makes a difference other than stuffing. Your closet looks very nice.

  16. Eureka! Bins! This post is truly inspirational. I am totally going to copy this idea. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes it’s just the small things…

  17. Thank you so much for this post. It is very timely for me because my linen closet is exactly the same size as yours and it need cleaning out so badly. I love the bin ideas. I do have to keep towels in mine, but you have given me some very good ideas.

  18. I love all of your tips here! I’m getting ready to working on our linen closet – we’re renovating so I’ll be starting fresh instead of trying to dismantle a packed closet, which is a plus. I’ll definitely use your tip to keep the sheets in bins. So organized and pretty! Thanks for sharing.

  19. In your Before pics you had a fire extinguisher in back of closet.In After photo it’s not there.I had a horrible house fire 7-18-13 & it still haunts me.I would ask you to place it in front of closet or like me a fire exting.on each floor,& esp. In kitchen Visible.a fire blanket( folded up aluminum like) within reach,& know how to use it ,different exting. for different types fires.No need to hide it either esp cool if it sparks a conversation..mburke

  20. I think we’re on the same quest! I don’t know who designed those linen closets but I’ve got one too. I just did rolls everythng up in the dollar-store plastic basket – flats in one, fitted in another, cases in another. Looks great. You’re right about purging though. My entire top shelf was a cr*p-ton of rags. Why? I don’t know. They’re gone to Freecycle now. I also pulled everything out of my reach-in closet this week AND took the doors off. Matching skinny hangers and storage cubes from the dollar store make me happy. Now I just have to sort, purge, and put everything away.

  21. u can tuck sheet sets into their matching pillows case and save room, plus they will be together no searching……