One area in your home that almost always gives you trouble is the linen closet. Often your house is busy, your laundry is in constant transition, beach towels are picked up at water parks, bulky comforters are bunched up and flung to the back corner, the kids are pulling towels out for themselves after each bath time and before long it looks something like this:
That my own friends is (and please make sure you’re sitting down for this shocking announcement): my family’s own linen closet just last week! It wasn’t two weeks into my career as a professional organizer that my wife introduced me to the old saying “The cobbler’s son has no shoes.”
That being said we just moved to a new place in March and I knew that our linen closet could look like it had at our old house:
In fact, it could look and more importantly WORK even better and there were three clear steps to get there. These will work for you too, follow along:
1) Categorize, relocate and purge: Just as I advised you on organizing your garage, you’ll want to start by taking everything out of the space and putting it on a large, clean, and open surface. (A made bed will work great.) Then you’re doing “the like with like” game again — you can see in the first picture above that hand towels are stacked with table clothes, bath mats with towels — face it, it’s basically “dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.” Once I pulled everything out though, I started to see what belongs together and what doesn’t belong in there at all — you can see fabric samples of a cowboy pattern that my wife used to make the boy’s curtains in the same picture — cute stuff, but used on a daily or weekly basis? No way, get it out of here, transfer it to the closet with the sewing machine. Old towels with holes can be repurposed for cleaning rags or donated.
2) Learn some folding techniques and share the love: Oh man this is so key, so many times I look at your closet and it’s the main thing throwing it off — either you have a different folding technique than the other people in your home or nobody has any technique at all and it’s just let’s cringle this up and hope for the best. However, this is one of those times when we call all hold hands and say, “God Bless the internet.” Spending just a few minutes on Youtube you can learn some kick-ass folding techniques.
Caution: the idea is not PERFECTION. The idea is not to be ready for Martha to walk into your home and be so thrilled with your linen closet that she backs a dump truck full her money in your backyard (although let’s face it that would be A-MAZING), no the idea is that we have consistency and make the most of the space so these linens can serve their purpose in your life. So your nostalgic Star Wars sheets are not lost and balled up at the back of the closet.
Here are some of my favorites, feel free to use them or find ones that you like. Then teach them to other folks in your household, so everyone can bring this sweetlove to the LC.
For folding towels:
Also from Alejandra, towels and hand towels:
Folding a fitted sheet from Justin Klosky (this is the EASIEST way to fold one of these bastards that I’ve ever seen. So much easier than the more traditional techniques.)
Folding a flat sheet (Note: this video has a great technique, but it’s edited oddly and I haven’t been able to find a director’s cut. If you see something better, please comment below! It seems to partly own Urban Dictionary’s definition of Expert Village.)
3) Label those shelves: Last time we talked, I listed all the advantages of using labels to mark categories in small spaces. The linen closet is an ideal example:
One of the great things about starting a project like this is that it’s going to be an afternoon, a few hours, and after you’re going to have this organized little kingdom in your house. It’s going to inspire other organizing projects and you’ll have the stuff you need, in the places where you can find it, and things are going to be EASIER. But you gotta start, start today with relearning how to fold the towels and go from there: one step at a time.
What’s your best tip about the organizing Bermuda Triangle: the linen closet? What’s your greatest current frustration with it? Let me know in the comments below, thanks!
PS: For more help on closet organization, check out the links on my Pinterest board!