what do you keep in your linen closet...& how do you organize it?

brugloverZ9June 21, 2008

Yesterday when I was reading "Organizing from the inside out", I was reading the section on linen closets. It was saying something about storing sheets and pillow cases. I was jotting down notes that I thought would be helpful to me later. On my note I wrote..."novel idea to store sheets in the linen closet". My linen closet became a store room for kitchen equip I rarely use, medications, vacuum cleaner, bathroom rugs and of course towels and washclothes.

I saw some organizers that I like...what do you think of them. I do have a problem with high stacks of towels and wash clothes falling over if not wedged in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Improvements catologue

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My linen closet is tiny, and I've found that rolling towels rather than folding them works well for me. I have yet to find a good method of storing bulky flannel sheets and the extra quilt I have jammed into the high reaches of my closet in the off season. I'm thinking about another under-bed box for out of season sheets, as my closet is small and my sheet-buying addiction is large, LOL. I finally moved my kids' sheets into their closets to free up space in the linen closet.

I also have two plastic bins on the floor of the linen closet, one for extra soap and shampoo storage (I like to buy on sale) the other for toothpaste, extra tooth brushes, floss, etc., etc. As both my bathrooms are vintage 1940's and can only accommodate pedestal sinks, I just don't have bathroom storage for these kinds of items.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Instead of spending on organizers, you might consider adding more shelves so that you can go up a shelf after three or four towels?
I moved last year from a house with a two foot deep, six foot wide linen closet...what a luxury! And I stored my towels folded in thirds lengthwise, and then in fourths, so that when they came out of the closet they went right onto the towel rack. I also stored back-up grooming and medical supplies in shoe-box sized plastic boxes. Wrapping paper and a box of ribbons, the Christmas presents I bought early in the year, and extra pillows went on the top shelf. I have a weakness for old linen hand towels, and they also lived in the linen closet. On the floor, I kept a basket for things that need ironing, a small vacuum cleaner (for quick upstairs jobs), and a small basket with dusters, rags, window cleaner, and furniture polish. Any leftover shelf space went to things like remnants of slipcover fabric and out of season bedspreads. (My old-fashioned southern habit is to put plain cotton lawn or seersucker spreads on the beds in the summer.)

I did then, and still do, store my sheets and pillowcases in the rooms that their beds are in...either in the bottom drawer of a chest, in a small cedar chest at the foot of the bed, or in an under-bed box with a lid.

The rest either went out, or into under-bed storage in the House that Forgot to Have Closets...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 3:46PM
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I have two linen closets. One in the Master Bathroom and I in the hall. I store bathroom supplies like shampoo, toilet cleaner, soap, etc. along with towels in the bathroom closet. The sheets for the Master Bedroom live in the chest at the foot of the bed with our out of season blankets.

The hall closet has sheets and towels for the other two bedrooms and the hall bath along with 1 shelf of shampoo, soap and the like.

Having a linen closet in the Master bath is wonderful!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 4:37PM
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I don't actually have one. I store the linen for each bedroom in the room itself, with towels in the cupboard under the vanity unit in the bathrooms. Beach towels and old clean-up spares go in the laundry cupboard. Tablecloths and placemats etc go in the back of the kitchen island bench, facing the dining room, teatowels and hand towels in a drawer under the dishwasher.
I have a hall closet but it's full of other stuff, not linen.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 5:41PM
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Some good ideas here from you all. Thank you! Looks like I am not the only one that keeps sheets in the dresser drawer in the bedroom. I was thinking of maybe freeing that up for clothes.
I hadn't thought of finding a place in the kitchen for kitchen towels and washclothes. That would free up space in the linen closet. I have a drawer under the oven that I could make space in probably.
Even with a new bathroom I didn't have room for a linen closet in the bathroom. I did put up a hotel shelf and towel bar. I was thinking of putting more towels on it, but seem to store only one bath blanket and that is all. I guess I could make better use of that space too.
I like the idea of putting shoe boxes with extra medical supplies in the linen closet, too. I still have a file box filled with stuff from the old bathroom, even after purging much of it, and no way do I want to fill up this one with it.
Seems like while organizing it is hard to do one room at a time because they all seem to be intermingled.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 6:05PM
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My linen closet is in the hall leading to the bedrooms, so its convenient to the bathrooms and bedrooms in the house. Even so, for years I stored so many non-linens on the shelves that there was never enough space for sheets and towels! Instead board games, a huge collect of old maps, extra wool blankets (I live in Florida), spare pillows, light bulbs, camera equipment, and things that didn't fit anywhere else were crammed onto the shelves. Towels were always in stacks in a corner of my bedroom (little room in my tiny c.1962 bathrooms) and sheets were shoved into one corner of the linen closet so that I had to pull them out and hunt for their tags to see what size they were!

One day I decided enough was enough. I took everything out, one shelf at a time and found new homes for the games (most had not been played with for a long time and were given away) and maps (over to the storage unit for now). I bought two plastic drawers that sit on the floor and hold light bulbs and extension cords, etc. Beside these is a net-type hamper that holds used towels until they are carried to the laundry room. I devoted two shelves to towels and wash cloths, a shelf to sheets, a shelf to duvets, a shelf to pillow cases, and the two top shelves to light-weight blankets (I had to wrestle the wool blanket from DH and donate them!).

It is such a pleasure to have a neat and tidy FUNCTIONAL linen closet! So easy to care for my bed and bath linens and keep them organized. I use it daily and it makes me happy every time I look at it. This closet was always one of my house's best features and I should have put it to its proper use much sooner!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 8:15AM
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Elizabeth...You just gave me such a good idea! Empty out the closet and arrange it and put in it what I actually use! I like that...I can just imagine how it feels. I feel that everytime I use my new bathroom, especially with the divided top drawer in the vanity where I keep my toothbrush and floss and Q-tips and brush, all neatly divided.
Besides being a task, it is something that I know will give me so much pleasure as a reward!
You should pat yourself on the back for your work and thank you for posting it! Makes me feel good for you and for me just reading it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 12:05PM
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I am so glad I helped - I've gotten so many good ideas and inspiration here myself! The Home Forum my favorite morning coffee reading material :) There are a lot of clever and intelligent people posting good answers AND good questions here. I love it!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 7:50PM
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This may sound simply awful to some, but what works for me is to only own whatever linens are on my bed...no extras! They get washed regularly, & since mine are white, they get a treatment of bleach, a good disinfectant! Once these are threadbare I suppose I'll replace them, but all seems to be holding together very well, even w/ frequent washing. Save lots of space this way! Have probably a dozen bath towels that I store in my laudry room on a white shelf situated over top of my machines. They come out of the dryer, & go up on the shelf. The two baths are close to the laundry room,so I just grab a towel on my way to the bath. Stinky

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 8:12PM
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stinky...Actually although I have more than one set of sheets I mostly wash and return my sheets that I took off the bed back to the bed. That way there is no folding.
I do like having extras though in case of emergency, if one should be needed. My DH occasionally perspires over-night and who knows what else could cause me to need an extra.
I like how you save yourself time and effort by storing the towels close to the dryer and letting others pick them up. I am sure that certainly makes like easier. Excellent idea. Seems like I get things washed and folded and then they have trouble getting back to the rooms where they belong. That would certainly eliminate that.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 12:29PM
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I realy like using inside the door storage shelves. They may be slim, but will hold the extra shampoo, bars and bottles of soap, first aid supplies, cleaning supplies, rags, wash cloths,.. o my the list is endless. The shleves keep the small items in sight, easy to get to and leaves the large shelves for the larger items. You will be amazed that how much they really hold.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Idon't have a linen closet

I keep the extra sheets for each bed in an underbed storage bin under each bed.

And I roll the towels and store them in a skinny towel cabinet in the bathroom.

I have a shelf in the triangle closet (near the kitchen) that holds dish towels & cleaning rags.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 2:05PM
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citytransplant - do you have a photo or a link for these shelves? Sounds interesting!


    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 6:17PM
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citytransplant & Elizabeth...I just came here to ask the same question. I know there are the over the door plastic kinds, but I don't think that is what you/she meant.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 6:41PM
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I always have mine looking nice because a messy linen closet drives me crazy. The way I do it is I have 2 sets of sheets for each bed. I only keep 2 bath towels per person.

On the top shelf that goes pretty high I keep two extra blankets for guests and I have 6 chair covers that I use around Christmas. I also keep two extra towels up there for when my kids go to camp so they don't loose the good ones.

On the next shelf I keep 3 sets of sheets and an extra bed pad, plus an extra bed skirt.

On the next one I keep the bath towels which is usally only 3 because they have the others out, plus two high piles of wash cloths.

On the next I have about 12 pool towels, plus 6 hand towels, my microfiber clothes plus placemats because I don't have any room in the kitchen for them.

On the next one I have some misc things like curtains (that I may use again), holiday towels and 2 sheet sets for the sofa.

On the floor I keep a small laundry basket with rags and old towels to dry car, etc.

That is in the hall bathroom and I have shelving in my closet for linens and mine is set up similar.

I do have room under the vanity for toilet paper, shampoo, etc.

I don't know why I need that so neat but it makes me happy. If only the rest of the house was that organized.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Hello! I'm blessed in my new house to have lots of storage. However, the house I just sold had almost none. I utilized every square inch of space. Towels I rolled and placed in a cute basket I got at a garage sale for 10 cents. For the extra sheets and bulky quilts, etc. I invested in the space saver vacuum bags and then tucked them under the bed. I also utilized a lot of hooks and over the door items. One of my favorites is to get one of those over the door hanging items for shoes (I used men's shoe hanger -- more room). A lot of items that I needed everyday were placed in those shoe hangers. The old house also had almost no counter tops either. Hope this was inspirational!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 12:21AM
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Because I don't have adequate storage in any of my rooms I have to utilize closet space in other rooms for my towels. I've hung a plastic sweater holder (you know the kind that fits over the rod?). I roll up the towels and store them, 2 to a compartment. Not the best solution, but they are easy to grab when I need them.

My new home will have lots of storage and oh how I yern for the day I don't have to store kitchen appliances in a bedroom closet. LOL

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 12:30PM
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I fold a spare sheet lengthwise so they are fairly flat and store them - along with about four folded pillowcases - BETWEEN the mattress and box springs of each bed in the house. When I take the top sheet/cases off to wash, the stored one goes ON the mattress.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 11:57PM
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Well, brutuses and redcurls, I think those are both brilliant solutions.

Now I have to go rethink all my storage, of which I don't have enough. Anywhere. But you all help me to think outside the etcetera...and to break loose from functional fixity (isn't that a great term?).

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:00AM
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Ditto for me on those 2 wonderful ideas! With redcurls suggestions for under the mattress storage, you got me wondering what else I could put under the mattress! Never thought of that for a storage place. Thank you for expanding my available space! You guys are clever!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:43AM
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messymo...I like your idea about the vacuum sealing bags. I have a feather comforter that my DH decided was too heavy for him. I don't exactly want to get rid of it, so that would be an excellent idea for it for now. The back of the door storage also adds alot of space. Thank you for your suggestions!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:58AM
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messymo...what size vacuum storage bags would you get to fit a queen size comforter? A down one...pretty bulky.

Would the one in the link be large enough?

Here is a link that might be useful: space bags

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:05PM
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Some people say that vacuum bags aren't good for down...that it never regains its loft if you vacuum it all the way flat.
And others say that the bags lose their seal and reinflate after a matter of months.
Try searching the forums for "vacuum bags" and read the threads...I decided against them after reading those, although some people do like them.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:35PM
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Thanks for the heads up bronwynsmom! I will check it out in a search.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:44PM
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redcurls, I love that suggestion. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 10:34PM
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I read this thread the other day and then happened upon an article in Family Circle while in the waiting area of the hairdresser. Thought I'd share the link, I LOVE that they hung towel bars on the doors for the decorative/guest towels...such a nifty idea! We have a few old towel bars sitting around because we just updated all of our bathroom fixtures. I didn't want to toss them so I'm glad I found another use for them.

They had a bunch of other ideas, some of which were already mentioned here. I thought I'd pass the article along though.

Here is a link that might be useful: family circle linen closet organization

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 8:15AM
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Chris...What a wonderful article...looks like just what I was looking for, not only with the towel racks but also the shelf arrangement for easy access. I printed it out for myself and now I have a basic plan that I can follow.
Thank you for leading us to it!
I have a few bars that I can use for towels, that were for my new bathroom. They may not fit in the linen closet but they will for sure fit on the back of the guest room door or even on a wall in the guestroom. Guests can have their own towels handy to take with them to the bath.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:55AM
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While I'm not the best linen closet organizer person, I think I have a couple ideas to share.

First, I had my very talented and handy hubby make me ribbon storage on the door of my linen closet. We painted it to match the door and it has been awesome. We're moving into our new house in a month, and I'm really going to miss it. I'm thinking of a place to have one installed there.....

Second, in the new house I'm having the bottom shelf of my linen closet removed and having a closet rod installed under the next shelf up. On this rod I will hang.....linens! Table cloths, table runners, maybe even sheets if needed. I usually have my nice cloths pressed at the cleaners and they hang them on a hangar. I'll just hang em up when I get home and they'll be ready to use!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 3:04PM
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I really like the hanger idea.

Would you fold them a bit and then hang them over the hanger?

On my bottom shelf in the linen closet I store my tablecloths, seasonal curtains (right now winter curtains are in there) and a few other odd and ends. I think hanging them up is a great idea, plus I bet I could get more in there with a less cluttered look.

Thanks for sharing that idea!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 4:10PM
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You could actually do a couple different things.

You could have one rod and use hangers. You would have to fold them a bit to fit on the hanger and not drag on the floor, but that's usually how they come from the cleaners. For heavy cloths, use two hangers together for added strength.

You could also hang multiple rods at slightly different heights and depths. If you have a walk in closet this works great, but will still work with a reach in. Hang the highest rod the farthest back, then one a bit lower and closer and even a third lower and closer than the second. Then you can hang the cloths right on the rod instead of on a hanger. I like the rod because of it's larger diameter it doesn't leave creases in the cloths. You can also overlap them on these rods. For optimum use of space, you'd need to use multiple rods and overlap.

Is that totally confusing?!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:19PM
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I took some ideas from what you all have said and some from the Family Circle article...I still want to hang rods from the door or behind the guest room door for towels.

Here is my start...

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 9:01PM
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