How to Organize a Linen Closet

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How to Organize a Linen Closet

Do you need help organizing a linen closet in your house or apartment?

Are you looking for some step-by-step tips to make the process go smoothly?

A well-organized linen closet makes it easy to locate fresh bed sheets and bath linens.

After all, who wants to spend an entire weekend afternoon wrestling with sheets, towels, and blankets, when you just want to locate a single pillowcase?

Organizing a linen closet also has some surprising side benefits.

For starters, it’s good for your wallet.

It’s no surprise bath and bedroom linens are costly.

All the more reason to avoid buying duplicates of items you already own and ensure you’re making full use of the linens sitting in your closet.

You might say it’s a true win-win linen situation!

In this post, I offer eight tips on how to organize a linen closet.

These practical tips will work for any size linen closet, be it a small pocket closet, or a giant, multi-sectioned closet.


Declutter your linen closet.

Before you get started organizing your linen closet, it’s a good idea to hold a thorough linen decluttering session.

There’s so sense in having items take up valuable space in your closet when they are stained beyond recognition or hopelessly riddled with rips and tears.

Besides which, you’d probably not want to cuddle up with a blanket full of holes in your bedroom, or use a thread-bare bath towel in the bath.

Now’s your chance to literally build your linen closet from the ground up!

You’ll certainly want to remove the following items from your regular linen rotation:

  • Moth-eaten or insect-eaten linens
  • Worn or threadbare linens
  • Heavily stained, ripped, torn, shredded, or unravelled linens
  • Linens with a funky/stinky/musty/offensive odor that still haven’t come out after several cycles in the washing machine or trips to the dry cleaner’s

Once you’ve removed offending linens from your closet, you can give them a second life in your home in the form of rags, dust cloths, and paint drop cloths.

If linens are completely unusable or unsalvageable for use at home, check with your local municipality’s website for how to properly recycle or dispose of used linens.

Locate long-forgotten linens.

Remember that giant haul of bath towels you purchased earlier in the year from your favorite department store?

How about those multiple bedding sets and comforters you received as a gift last season?

Or what about those pretty sets of tablecloths you bought on sale and tucked away in the closet of your spare room?

Now’s a great time to locate any long-forgotten linens and put them into regular rotation in your home.

Try checking any and all bedroom closets, including guest rooms, hall closets, laundry room, dead space storage areas, or any other suspect areas in your home.

Once you’ve rounded everything up, remove all items from their original packaging and/or remove affixed sale tags. Take care to properly launder and air dry items so they’re ready for household use in a pinch.

Organize like items with like.

The next step in organizing your linen closet is to organize like items with like. You’ll need a large, flat space in which to do your sorting.

A freshly made bed, dining room table, or other large flat surface, like a large countertop or dresser, are all great places to hold your sorting session.

Gather all of your linens and bring them over to your sorting area. Depending on the size of your linen collection, you may have to make more than one trip from your linen closet to your sorting area.

Once you have everything assembled, you’ll want to go through each item, one by one, and place it in the appropriate pile.

At this point in time, you’ll want to simply sort linens, quickly, and efficiently. Pausing to arrange or fold linens will slow down the process.

Just pick up an item, appropriately sort it, and then move on the next item until you’ve finished your sorting. You’ll have plenty of time to fold items later.

Here’s a list of suggested items to include in your linen closet (again, this will depend on the size of your linen closet and number of linens in your collection):

Bed Linens

  • Mattress protectors
  • Fitted sheets
  • Unfitted bed sheets
  • Blankets
  • Comforters
  • Duvets
  • Duvet cover
  • Pillow cases
  • Spare pillows
Bath Linens

  • Bath towels
  • Beach towels
  • Hand towels
  • Face towels
  • Wash cloths
Dining Linens

  • Tablecloths
  • Table runners
  • Placemats
  • Napkins
  • Dish towels
  • Dish cloths
  • Kitchen hand towels

Carefully fold and stack items.

After you’ve organized like linen items with like, you’ll want to get started on folding and stacking items neatly.

You may not believe it, but this step is an important one.

It doesn’t matter if you’ll be placing linens in storage containers or open shelving in your closet; having neatly folded linens will make it easier to store and locate items in future.

Besides, a linen closet stocked with neatly folded linens is quite visually appealing!

Take your time to fold each and every one of your linens. Carefully stack similar items with similar items so they’re easy to locate.

If you’ve got large-sized linens in your collection, you may want to get assistance from others in your household to help fold queen and king sized bed sheets, comforters, duvets, and blankets.

Update the interior of your linen closet.

Before you return items to the linen closet, why not make the most out of that empty space?

This is the perfect time to perform any necessary closet upkeep or maintenance and put things in ship-shape order before your next linen closet organization session.

You’ve probably got a few must-do maintenance ideas floating around in the back of your mind. Jot down your thoughts and to-dos on a piece of paper so you can evaluate what needs to be done.

Here are some practical linen closet upkeep ideas for you:

  • Vacuum shelving, ceiling, and floors
  • Dust and/or wipe down shelving, doors, and any other flat surfaces
  • Replace cedar mothballs or other insect repellent materials
  • Replace or install door hooks or other wall storage hardware
  • Replace or install door hinges, knobs, and locks
  • Update closet light fixtures, such as changing closet lightbulbs or adding battery-operated light discs
  • Replace or install closet shelving
  • Repaint interior of closet

Identify smart storage solutions.

Okay, so you’ve decluttered, located, organized, and folded linens, and finally updated your closet’s interior.

This next step is where you get to be creative! You’re now going to come up with some smart storage solutions for all of your linens. Before you store a single linen in the closet, it helps to start to with a plan…

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch the interior of your linen closet, making sure to include all existing shelving, hooks, and compartments. You’re now going to create a storage map for all of your linens.

In general, frequently used items should be stored towards the bottom of the closet, while less frequently used items should be stored towards the top.

For example, items like wash cloths and bath towels should be stored towards the base of the closet, while items like comforters, blankets, duvets, and pillows, should be stored towards the top.

Go ahead and write down where you’re going to place each type of linen inside of your closet. Now that you’ve created your map, you’re going to find some smart storage solutions.

You can certainly purchase linen storage containers and accessories if you’d like, but you can certainly use or repurpose containers already found in your home. Search high and low in your house or apartment for clean, cloth-lined baskets and plastic containers and boxes in which to store linens.

What if you’re on a tight budget and cannot afford storage containers or locate extra containers in your home? Don’t worry, this is where your top-notch linen folding, stacking, and storing skills will come into play. You can neatly arrange linens on shelving without using containers or accessories.

Store linens with care.

It’s now time to replace all of your linens in your closet. To keep everything neat and organized, you may want to create labels for each shelf or area of your closet.

You can make your own shelving labels with store-bought labels and a printer or label machine. In a pinch, you can also use a roll of masking tape and a black permanent marker to create labels, too.

As you replace items in your linen closet, you may find there’s not enough room in for everything. If this should happen to you, you’ll want to identify another closet or area in your home that can be used as a type of linen closet overflow.

Some linen closet overflow storage ideas include guest bedroom, spare room, or hallway closets, laundry room closet, under-the-bed storage, and empty dresser drawers.

Make a date to reorganize your linen closet.

Closets can become disorganized over time with constant use. So, make a point to check in on your linen closet in a few months’ time by adding a reminder to your calendar or planner.

You’ll also want to take an objective look at your closet every several months thereafter, on a regular basis.

Reorganizing your linen closet will all depend on the current state of your closet and how carefully you keep to your closet maintenance schedule.

In some cases, you may need to only tidy up a few small items, while in other cases, you may have to reorganize a larger chunk of linens, or reorganize the entire closet itself.

If you’d rather not spend hours upon hours sorting through everything, you’ll definitely want to consider a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly maintenance of your closet. You only need five to ten minutes to tidy things up and rearrange items as necessary.

If you don’t mind spending several hours at a time, or an entire afternoon organizing or reorganizing your closet, you might want to set your maintenance schedule to every couple of months, or every quarter. This way, you can take your time combing through everything.

Here’s several things you can attend to when checking up on your linen closet:

  • Declutter or remove linens as they show wear and tear and age
  • Carefully refold and store items
  • Move items so like items are stored with like
  • Rotate seasonal linens as necessary
  • Update the interior of your linen closet (see above section for specific tips)

How about you? What items need to be organized in your linen closet? Which of these tips did you find the most helpful, and why? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Do you want help getting organized? I offer professional organizing services and organizing mindset coaching. Click here to learn more.

Want to get organized the easy-peasy way? My eBook, 31 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New Year is filled with quick tips to help you bring more order to your space. Click here to learn more.

How to Organize Linen Closet
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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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