your linen closet ideas for better function? - pics posted

eldemilaJuly 14, 2010

I'm not having much luck in trying to figure out a better layout for shelving in the small hallway linen closet in this old 1960's home we recently purchased and was hoping someone could give me some ideas and tips on how to make it work better for us.

The linen closet is not big at all, but it's deep.

The measurements are:

35" deep to the inside of the door frame

29 1'2" wide

8 foot ceilings inside

29" deep shelving

24" wide doorframe

I find the shelves to be way too deep, I can't reach back there and anything that gets pushed back there will be out of sight, out of mind. True I could use it for storage, but again, I'll forget what's there after time.

Would like to find a better way to utilize the space in this small closet. Besides linens and towels, I'd probably use it to store toilet paper and probably some bathroom cleaning supplies.

Does anyone have any before/after pictures of a small linen closet such as this that you've revamped, or even a picture of one similar that's so organized, you'd be proud to show it off?

Here's what I'm working with:

Thanks in advance for any ideas!!!

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Very similar narrow & deep shelves in my 1942 bathroom. I recently wrote a post about fixing up my bathroom & you can see some pics there. Link below. I didn't go into detail about the shelf re-build in the blog entry, but you can see what it looks like.

Because of the depth, you can see in the pics I have baskets on the shelves. In the baskets I have stored:

Top: extra stored bathroom items (extra Q-tips, sunblock, razors, etc...the extras to use when I run out), the Dr. Bag, few bathroom odds & ends I need every once on a while.

Middle: My everyday go-to hair supplies: blow dryer, flat iron, brushes, hair products, etc.

Bottom: Daughter's bathroom supplies: hair stuff, her toothbrushes, getting ready in the morning essentials...she's 4...she wants beauty stuff like Mommy on her own shelf.

Here's my secret: The baskets are fairly large, but they only go halfway to the back because shelf is deep. Behind the baskets are the uglies: extra towels rolled up, makeup, heating pad, etc. You can't see the uglies unless you pull out the baskets.

And the best part...because the baskets are big, I have plenty of room to store everyday items. The shelves are always clean & look that way all the time. If I need an emergency company cleanup & have something on the sink I need to hide ASAP, I just throw in one of the baskets.

Not sure if that's helpful to you, but that's how I do the deep shelves.

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 8:08PM
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I have a less functional closet that is narrower and deeper that I store seasonal items in.
Your's looks like a perfect place for Costco purchases of toilet paper and paper towels.

Or.. Go ahead and store whatever on those deep shelves, then after a year of not using it, you can giveaway or toss without trepidation!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:07PM
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I use deep shelves in two ways:

1. For 29" deep shelves, I store items in boxes in the back of each shelf. I use the copy paper boxes because the lids just pop on. The boxes are only 12" deep if put in sideways. I label the contents of the box on the side of the lid, and this part of the lid is usually visible behind the items stored on the shelf in front of it.

You can put in tax forms/checks from years past.
Old photo albums you would rarely get to.
Anything else stored for the long term .. . and you can still see whats there by the label on the box.

2. Since I buy things in bulk, I can also use the full depth of the shelf to store one type of an item, all in a row. For example, TP, Paper towels, soaps, Dish detergents, Laundry soaps/softener, shampoos, deordorants.... If it was in the kitchen, I'd store all my vegies in one deep row, spaghetti sauces next, pastas next, ....

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:47PM
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

Gayle, I'm in awe of all you have been able to do on your own, kudos to you. My current home, my closet it just like yours, no door. The only thing I see different, other than your shelves are a lot neater than mine is we put molding on the end of the shelves, it gives it a lot nicer look.

Gardenspice & Beemer, thanks, I hadn't thought about putting items like pictures and photo albums in there, good place to stash them.

Wonder if I should leave the wood shelves that are in there, or replace with ventilated? What about removing bottom shelf and putting a short dresser, or something similar at the bottom? Any way to utilize the space on the doors?

I just hate wasted space. Especially when your moving from a larger to a smaller home, every bit of space is needed, at least in my case.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 6:22PM
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Try creating some risers to put in the back of some of the shelves (even balsa from the craft store would work)--they'll help you see what's there.

Baskets are a good idea, as are lidded plastic shoeboxes (to store, say, extra health and beauty aids or sewing supplies). And label the fronts so you can pull out the right one the first time.

Where do you keep guestroom linens or extra towels? If you fold linen sets into one of the pillowcases and roll the towels, they would be stored efficiently in that closet.

You might look into fitting some pull-out shelves or pull-out baskets into the closet, for easy access. I think that the Rockler woodworking website has stuff to make those without too much effort.

This might also be a great place to store an "emergency box" -- spare batteries (some people choose to put those in the fridge, some don't), a flashlight, a radio, etc.

After living with these or the other suggestions offered by folks, you should think if the setup is working for you or whether you need more flexibility. If the latter is the case, you should look into either Elfa shelving or the Closetmaid shelving, the types that allow you to customize the shelf heights, because you might do better with more shelves, instead of having all that space between each one.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:41AM
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My vote is for adjustable shelving. I also prefer wired shelving.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 12:39PM
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