A New Life for my Linen Closet

My linen closet, much like my bathroom vanity and drawers has looked about the same for many years.  I love that a well organized space can look the same for several years, even though it is frequently used.  However, I was feeling like my linen closet was pretty drab, and there were a few things that were not making me smile when I opened the door.


I know I should be getting better at this by now, but I began organizing without taking a picture.  This is how many of my projects start… something about a space is driving me craaazzzzy so I start fixing it, which more often that not snowballs into a major project.


Here is the kinda-sorta before picture…






You can see my cleaning supplies on the floor in a little caddy, well they haven’t always been there.  They used to be tucked behind the corner where the t.p. is, in a large plastic bin that made them hard to see and REALLY hard to get to.  This was actually all intentional, because I wanted them to be really hard for a child to find, reach, and pull out.   Now that I don’t have to worry about a toddler drinking Windex, I have relocated them to a much more convenient place!


I also took our nebulizer machine and put it in a plastic bin I already owned.  We used to have tubes, cords, boxes of medicine…. in a big pile next to our medicine bins, and that kinda drove me nuts!


Other than those quick fixes, this has been the state of our linen closet for many years…




And here are some things that have worked well…


1.)  I like having our medicine in snap close containers.  The snap containers are not super easy to get open.  I have them nice and high where children can’t easily reach them, but these containers make it even a little harder for a toddler to get into medicine on their own.



2.)  Medicine is also separated into adult and children’s boxes.  When we have grandparents or a sitter in the house it is very clear what medicine is safe for little ones, and what is not intended for kids.


3. All of our extra toiletries are stored in my favorite Container Store clear bins.  I have a larger box (the sweater box) for large toiletry items like shampoo and conditioner. A smaller bin holds (men’s shoe box) items like deodorant, face wash, face lotion, sunscreen…  Having the items sorted by large and small makes it easier to find things, and take inventory before I go to the store.



4.  Eye and Oral Hygiene items are in their own box as well, again simply making it easier to find things.


5.  My last little supply box is on the bottom shelf with paper goods like cotton balls, Q-tips, mini facial tissue packs, and monthly necessities.  🙂




6.)  I sort our regular towels from our “extras”, which you can see here.  In folding towels I make sure a rounded edge will face out in my linen closet – ok don’t start saying I’ve lost my mind!!!  It really takes no extra time, it is just how I fold my towels!


For our closet (which has extra deep shelves) I fold the towel in thirds like you would for a towel rack, fold it in half, and then half it one more time – easy peasy!





For our kids’ closets that are 12″ shelves, I fold towels in thirds and then in half like our towels, but then I fold them in thirds again – which makes them smaller with a rounded edge to reveal on the shelf.




7.  I store our extra sheets in sets.  You can see two sets of white sheets right in the front.  I fold the fitted sheet and pillowcases into the flat sheet, so a whole set is stored neatly together.  When I need a set of sheets there is no question about what sheets go together and which one is flat or fitted.



Extra sheets for the kids’ beds are stored in their individual room where they are easier to access and not taking up space in our closet.  I do still store their sheets by rolling the set together as well.


For those of you that hate folding a fitted sheet, a tutorial on that is coming!  It really is quite easy once you know the tricks.  It is not hard, and does not take long to fold your sheets in a set like this.  I have seen some people even tie a cute ribbon around the bundle with a label for twin, full, queen… or a child’s name to whom they belong.  I think this is a great idea if you often find yourself hunting for the right sheets, and it would save you time.  For me, it would be an unnecessary extra step that just looked cute, so I skip it!


I know some of you now think I’ve lost my marbles with my linen folding!  In my defense, I don’t ever iron my linens!  Yes, people really do that!  I actually did one time – for our open house when we sold our first home.


But, I promise that folding linens in an intentional way is not any more difficult or time consuming than the way you fold yours now.  (I guess that is unless you don’t actually fold them – not judging, just saying!)  By taking a couple of minutes one time to figure out which folding method works best for your closet, you will create a tidy linen closet where things not only look nice – but are easily found!


Now it’s time for my slightly OCD side to show you my “New” linen closet, and yes I’m crazy excited about it.  Ever since I fancied up my pantry last year I’ve known that our linen closet had way more potential, so I finally spent a little time paying attention to the details!  I rearranged a little and “prettied it up” a bit!



I started by looking through blankets and towels to get rid of things that we have not used in the 7 years we have lived here.  I then had a little space to do some rearranging on the basis of what looked good – instead of just focusing on function.


Simply getting rid of one blanket and rearranging things makes the top shelf feel much less crowded.





Weeding out a few towels, folding a few things differently, and placing all the towels in one area also simplified the space.   This leaves the closet looking more spacious and orderly.




I also got rid of the mismatched storage bins for some of our medicine and nebulizer supplies, switching everything into Container Store bins.  Now almost all of the bins look the same.




What I really wanted to do was go buy some super cute storage bins and switch everything out!  However I couldn’t justify the expense.  New containers were about $10 each, give or take a little for a variety of sizes.  We are slowly finishing our basement and I have some projects going for the main floor of our house that will have a much better design impact on our house that cute bins in the linen closet.


Honestly, I also had a hard time finding cute bins that I thought would hold up as well in a linen closet. I have never had one of my clear storage bins break, and they are very easy to wipe clean if something tips over in them – which rarely happens with their solid flat base.  Have I said before that I LOOOOVE the Clear Storage Bins from The Container Store!


So, I decided to try a little DIY project to spruce them up a bit!  I found some pretty scrapbook paper from Michael’s. (which happens to be on sale this week – 6/$1 for 12×12 paper!)  After printing a paper label on my own printer, I used double sided tape to adhere it to the scrapbook paper.  I decided to go ahead and laminate them as well, since so many of the containers hold things that could spill or get messy.




With them laminated they stand up on their own, and I didn’t even have to attach them to the bin – bonus!  If I want to change things up at some point I can easily switch out the label!



Our linen closet functioned very well before, with the exception of a few frustrating spots.  But now I love it!  I love that with three new boxes and a few sheets of paper, (under $15 for everything) we now have a space that functions well, and makes me happy when I see it!  Here is the full before and after!






I know I’ve said things like this in the past, but I always feel the need to add it in again – especially for new readers.  I am a big advocate of an ordered home, because of the peace and simplicity it brings.  However, making things pretty is my hobby  – I enjoy doing it, it makes me happy, fills my need for some creativity in life…  If making an orderly space pretty does nothing for you, don’t think your linen closet (or any other) must look pretty!


Organization for me is about using spaces efficiently, knowing where our belongings are, taking good care of what God has blessed us with, and using my time for more important things than searching for toothpaste!  Organization for the pursuit of those things has value for us all.  Pretty paper lining plastic bins is just for fun, and I never want to promote the idea that you should want to line your bins.  If it makes you happy, (the process and the result) Go For It!  If it doesn’t make you happy – Skip It!