How To Organize A Linen Closet
We aren’t aiming for Pinterest perfection here — just organized, functional and easy to maintain! Today we’ll dive into how to organize a linen closest together, and I’ll make sure to share helpful tips and ideas, and links to useful organizational products as we go! I’m also going to share the before and after of my own modest sized linen closet with you, and highlight how I refreshed the whole space and made-it-over for almost nothing.
Welcome to day 14 of our month-long Cleaning & Organizing Challenge. Today I’m revealing my linen closet refresh and talking about how to organize a linen closet. Following the Free Printable Checklist/Calendar, Jess Mom4Real and I will continue sharing our completed tasks & projects with you. Feel free to jump-in anytime, and work at your own pace!
Okay guys, so this was THE messiest spot in my entire house. It was bad. Working on this Cleaning And Organizing Challenge was just what I needed to get in gear and get this trouble spot checked off my to-do list! When Jess & I chatted about what projects we wanted to address and help you with, I knew how to organize a linen closet needed to be assigned to me! Because at the time, it was my cram closet.
I hope my before is super inspiring to you, because it’s super embarrassing!
When I alluded to cramming stuff in and shutting the door, I was not kidding.
OLD BEFORE & AFTER
Years ago I gave this linen closet a makeover using pink oops paint, shelf liner, ribbon and burlap. I know… I know. I made ruffled burlap accents for the shelves. I could die. That was seven years ago. It’s been long overdue for help and definitely needed my attention. The last couple years, in my head I kept saying; “I’m going to make that over soon…”, so it became more and more horrible as I crammed stuff inside and shut the doors to hide it all!
How To Organize A Linen Closet
THE PURGE: For this project, I did what I always recommend. I started from scratch, by emptying the entire linen closet out. I used my farm table to work on and went through it all. Expired medicine was all purged, first aid stuff was condensed, cleaning goods were sorted, cleaning tools were relocated. I got it down to the bare minimum.
As work refreshing the actual linen closet (with two tubes of caulk and a lot of white paint) progressed, I decided not to rehang the doors. I’ll chat about that later, right now I want to focus on the organizing aspect of the linen closet. Our linen closet is located upstairs, in a tight, dark hallway between our main living area and our full bathroom. It also gets very, very little natural light. So it’s super fun to try to take pictures of.
TO ORGANIZE: After I decided what was going to stay, I took exact measurements of the shelf space I had, and shopped for matching baskets for storage. I wanted the end result to look simple, clean and uncluttered.
We’ve been in this house going on 15 years, and I knew I wanted to keep our medicine and first aid stuff in the closet, as opposed to relocating things my husband might need to find in the future.
The top basket holds our medicine. Things like cold meds, cough drops and Tylenol. It’s in the same lucite organizer, but I camouflaged it in a pretty basket.
The next basket is holding all our first aid supplies, but because it sits lower, everything was visible. So I just popped a white towel on top and now it’s camouflaged too!
Basket three is holding all my Swiffer supplies. Which I don’t mind showing since they are pretty neutral in color, much used and easy to grab. This could easily change at a later date if desired. I’m not married to the placement.
The lower basket on the left side is holding some miscellaneous cleaning supplies. These are a few things I need to keep on hand, but don’t use often.
This was actually the last thing I did for my linen closet refresh. I had a lightbulb moment and decided to try camouflaging my cleaning products as well. I simply tucked $5 bundle of mixed greenery in the basket. I think it’s perfect! I love simple easy cheats like that, and maybe it would be a handy idea for you somewhere.
It’s been a big adjustment for me to come to the realization that we don’t need 27 sets of bath towels. It’s just my husband and I, so I’ve paired down. Again. We’ve got some towel storage in the bathroom as well, so I opted to keep my more muted sets here in the hallway closet. It’s still very functional since our linen storage is only a few steps from the bathroom.
My linen closet doesn’t require space for bed linens, so I was able to keep this very bath & cleaning centric.
I was very undecided if I wanted to paint or stain the raw pine shelves… and I still am, so I opted to leave them raw for now. They are butter smooth and pose no risk of snagging my towels.
I was so tickled that my two vintage locker baskets were a perfect fit! If you can’t find vintage, these are a great substitute. The left is filled with hand towels and wash clothes. The right, is filled with the assorted scents of my Mrs. Meyers cleaners.
This massive 8 Gallon crock is a real workhorse, holding our back-stock TP.
STORAGE OPTIONS: I shopped my house for all but the first three oblong baskets. I had the round basket, metal locker baskets and the vintage crock on-hand. I also had the runner tucked away in my home decor storage room. It’s the same pattern I’ve got layered over my sisal rug in the living room. Sadly, the runner size is no longer available.
I’m really happy with my imperfect after. It only cost me the price of three baskets. I had the primer, paint, caulking and supplies on hand. And removing the doors was free. The hallways feels lighter, brighter (without the dark trim and doors) and it is most definitely better organized!!
Future Hallway Project Wish List:
TRIM FLOOR GAP IN FRONT OF CLOSET
MAKE CUSTOM CLOEST DOORS (maybe)
BOARD AND BATTEN WALL TREATMENT
BATHROOM DOOR MAKEOVER (or new)
TRANSOM WINDOW OVER THE BATHROOM DOOR
I’ve included convenient clickable shopping links below for you. Some may be affiliate links. Click here for full disclosure.
My Woven Baskets [click here]. Mine are size Large. Also available in Medium, Small & Extra Small.
I like these Wire Baskets [click here] as a locker basket substitute.
Updated Weekly — I’ve gathered & up loads of organizing goods in my Amazon store for you, link below.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A LINEN CLOSET
As with most home projects, our needs and the space we’ve got to work with are most likely going to look different, and that’s okay! Below you’ll find some basic organizing guideless to help you work through how to organize a linen closet.
PURGE: I’m a big fan of starting from scratch, and I do it myself. Go through every item you have in the space — get a bag/bin/tray/tote/basket (whatever works) and separate everything into piles. You can make one for keeps, for donations, one for trash, even one for items that don’t belong in the space or can be re-homed.
My experience — I always encourage you to empty a space and start from the ground up if you are reworking the whole thing. It gives you fresh eyes on the whole space and allows you to deeply clean, see new possibilities, and possibly re-configure.
LOCATION: Try to relocate as many items as possible that don’t absolutely need to living in your linen closet.
My experience — For me that was my long handle cleaning tools like my broom, a mop I donated, and our skylight opening pole. I got everything else that was able to be donated gathered together to pass on.
CLEAN: Clean your storage space — vacuum, clean, wipe down, dry, and consider installing a pretty or protective layer if needed.
My experience — shelf liner or even a durable peel and stick tile can be a great finisher. You can also install liners over wire shelves to make them more functional.
ACCESS: Look at what you’ve got left after purging and relocating, to see what you want to keep where, so you can plan for exactly what type of organizer will work best.
My experience — A simple switch can make a world of difference when you are organizing. Making things flow and function better. I flipped my towel storage to the right side and that allowed larger storage baskets to fit on the left. I also rehomed my long handle cleaning tools to the back door in my decor storage room, allowing me to remove the linen closet doors.
MEASURE: Measure the height, width and depth of all your shelf space. You’ll want to consult those measurements when you are shopping for organizing options to make sure they will fit properly.
My experience — This step will save you time and frustration. I took me a few days of scouring sites to find an oblong size basket with the right measurements that was available for shipping, in-stock and also in my budget! But my diligence paid off.
PLAN: Plan your layout to ensure your organizers will fit in the spaces you are ordering them for. And that your items will fit inside the new organizers.
SUPPLIES: This will vary greatly depending on what you exact items you need to store, and the shape and size of your linen closest space. Use what works for you to best organize, and for your particular storage needs.
Our homes needs are ever changing, try to leave a little wiggle room in case you need to shift or add something to your linen closet. If you can spare the room, don’t fill your space 100%. This will allow for more versatile future flexibility.