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How To Organize Your Linen Closet

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I have to be honest with you. I hated my linen closet. No matter how many times I tried to organize it, it was always temporary. Like one kid tug a towel away from complete disaster again. It drove me crazy! It wasn’t until I decluttered and re-evaluated what needed to be in there that I finally got a handle on how to organize your linen closet.

What’s in your linen closet?

I have towels, including beach and guest towels, plus sheets, extra pillows, duvets and throws in my linen closet. It is fairly small so I don’t have a lot of room for much more. You may keep toiletries and toilet paper as well in yours. But if yours is small too and over-stuffed like mine was, it is vital that you decide what goes in your linen closet and what does not. If things keep getting dumped in there that don’t belong, make sure those items have a designated spot elsewhere in your home. 

Declutter your linens.

The real surprise I found when I decluttered my linen closet is the number of pillow cases I had in there. I had 31. From every, long thrown out, bedding set I had ever owned since I moved out. Some of the patterns! What was I thinking and seriously why did I keep these when I had no intention of ever using them again?

The easy linens to get rid of should be any that are thread bare or stained. Throw them out or cut them up to use as rags. Other linens you can purge are designs/colours you no longer like or sizes that you no longer need. (eg. if you have upsized your bed and no longer have a double, you don’t need the sheets anymore.)

And don’t forget the one in, one out rule when you buy new linen so that your linen closet doesn’t get cluttered again.

How much linen do you really need?

The key to neatness is knowing how many duplicates you need and how to store them so that they don’t get messed up as soon as someone pulls one item out.

  • Bed Sheets: Two sets for every bed.
  • Duvets/Covers: One spring/summer and one fall/winter set per bed if required.
  • Throws: One to two max.
  • Pillows: Two for guests.
  • Bath Towels: How many you launder once per week, double it. You may choose to have an extra bath towel per person just in case.
  • Beach Towels: Depends on how often you use them. One per person if occasionally need. Two per person if you have a pool.
  • Guest Sheets & Towels: Two complete sets of sheets and towels.

Tips To Create An Upscale Looking Linen Closet:

  • Colour coordinate all of your linen. I personally have all white for several reasons. One, they are super easy to wash and care for. Two, if one item gets damaged/stained, I still have matching sets. Three, white goes with everything. If I redecorate, I don’t have to buy everything new again. And four, if I do need to replace some, I don’t have to worry about trying to find the exact same pattern or colour. White is easy to find.
  • Label everything. When you label shelves, baskets and areas in your linen closet, it is easy for not only you but for everyone else in your house to know where to find things and where to put things back.
  • Learn how to fold/roll properly. And teach everyone else in the house how to as well.


Linen closet organizing often gets pushed back to the end of the chore list simply because it isn’t as urgent as organizing the clothes closet. However, it is an important aspect of housekeeping and reduces the headache involved in searching for fresh bath, bed or table linen. Having clean, ready to use linen makes it easier to welcome house guests and maintain a well-kept home.

Here are steps on how to organize the linen closet:

1. Empty out your linen closet.

The first step is to empty out the linen closet completely.

  • Remove the shelf liners and wipe them clean.
  • Line them with fresh, acid-free paper.
  • Place sachets of lavender or potpourri to keep linen smelling fresh.
  • Check to see that the closet is not too humid since it would cause mold and mildew to attack linen.

2. Sort linen into categories.

I suggest you use your bed as a sorting station.

  • First sort by use, like towels or pillowcases then by kind and type of linen.
  • Classify into everyday, guest and seasonal.
  • Fancy towels and bed sheets of the finest Egyptian cotton should be reserved for guests while regular cotton and linen bed sheets can be kept for everyday use.
  • Blankets and quilts would be in the seasonal section.

3. Fold, Roll and Stack Linen

Sill using your bed as your work station, neatly fold, roll and/or stack each linen category. The purpose of this is to see how much room you will need in your linen closet for each category.

  • Bed sheets should be folded neatly and placed along with their pillowcases. To ensure sets stay together, you can slip the bed sheets inside a pillow case and fold over the access to make a neat little package.
  • Towels can be folded or rolled up neatly and stacked one on top of the other. Do ensure that stacks are not too high since that would cause them to topple over or cram up the shelves.
  • Seasonal items, duvets and extra pillows are best stored in vacuum packed bags. This greatly reduces the space they take up.

3. Prioritize your stacks by use.

The items, like bath towels, that get accessed the most are top priority. While a winter duvet cover or guest sheets, are only used occasionally, so they will have a lower priority. Prioritizing is important because it will help you to decide where to put things back in your linen closet. You want the things you need the most to be eye level and easy to get at while seasonal stuff can either be kept in a basket on the floor in the linen closet or on the highest shelf.

4. Arrange the Linen Closet

The final step would be to return all the linens to the linen closet. But just before you do, take a good look at your stacks and see if any shelves in your linen closet need to be adjusted to accommodate for bigger stacks.

  • Arrange the neatly folded stacks starting with your top priority items first on the middle shelves.
  • Next arrange the lowest priority items on the top shelf or in a container on the floor.
  • Fill in the other shelves, working from the highest priority to the lowest. Arrange them on the shelves closest to the middle and going up or down from there.
  • Label all shelves and areas.

5. Use baskets and boxes to keep your linens in place.

Now that you can see how much stuff you have and how much space each category takes up, you can fancy up your linen closet with baskets to help keep similar linens together. If you have something around the house that may work, awesome. But if want to go out to buy containers, make sure you know the exact measurements you will need.

These simple and easy steps will leave your linen closet looking well-organized, neat and tidy. Get in the habit of stacking and sorting linen as soon as it gets laundered. Encourage everyone to do the same. And if by chance your linen closet gets cluttered again, revisit decluttering and arranging till you find what works for you.

Check out these linen closets for organization inspiration and ideas:

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