my linen closet needs help!

tansunnyDecember 26, 2010

I need to organize my linen closet. At the moment, it is completely empty. I do not have much storage in this house, so a lot of things end up there as I try to keep other areas clutter free.

I have sheets, towels, medicine/vitamins, candles/tarts, light bulbs, first aid, soaps/shampoos/toothbrushes, shower curtain liners, vaccuum bags, etc.

The closet used to house 2 crock-pots on the top shelf, but I think I am going to have to find a home for those in the basement (which is pretty much maxed out, but..).

Anyhow, my linen closet is 24 inches wide. Not a lot of room to work with. Its about 80 inches tall. I appreciate pictures, photos, ANYTHING, showing me how to make the most of this space. Right now its just me and DH and the dog. Once we have kids, that closet will need to fit even more stuff.

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There is only so much you can fit into a small closet and still be able to find anything. Regardless of how many people live in the house.

Let's start with getting rid of what you can store elsewhere. For example, each bed in my house has two sets of sheets. There is one on the bed and the spare for that bed is kept in that bedroom. Store the spare sheets either in the bedroom closet, bottom drawer of the dresser, inbetween the mattress and the box spring or under the bed.

Each bedroom has its own set of towels, two each bath hand washclothes (except the guest bedroom which has 4) They also are stored in the bedroom. Hooks are provided for people to hang their towel in their room until its ready to be washed.

Basically store like things together. The things you use most frequently at eye level and in the front. Things you rarely need high or really low and in the back.

Medicine and vitamins stored in small bins high enough so little hand can't easily reach them. I am usually not a bin fan but for the small things in small spaces like vitamins and meds putting them in a see through bin keeps you from knocking them over when searching behind them or through them.

PARE DOWN. Only one replacement, if that, for each needed item ie. 1 pack of light bulbs, 1 pack of vac bags, you use your shampoo and shower curtain daily so you will know when they need replacing and can add it to the grocery list. These types of things you don't need to store.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 12:16PM
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I agree that I need to pare down. We only have one bed in the house (one spare room does not have much furniture at the moment and the other one is actually an office for my husband). That bed has 4-5 sets of sheets. We just purchased a new comforter and only one set of sheets that we own matches it, so maybe I can convince DH to donate the other sets to charity and just keep 2 sets for this one.

Honestly, I think a big issue is my DH. He doesn't like to get rid of anything. We are working on elimating junk/clutter in 2011, but I admit that keeping multiple shower curtain liners, vaccum bags, batteries, light bulbs and hand soaps. We are very busy people and although we do use these items every day, we still find it easier to keep multiples of these on hand.

I like your idea of storing extra linens in the bedroom. In the master bedroom, we currently do not really have any extra closet/drawer space and our mattress is pretty heavy to be storing things underneath it. But I am going to try and get creative. The spare bedroom does not have much in the closet, but I am trying not to make a habit of using that one too much as we plan to have kids one day and that will be a babies room-I'm sure we will have plenty to store there at that time.

I really need to work both on decluttering and getting more functional furniture. For example, I want to look at storage for blankets in our living room. I'd like to find an ottoman a small ottoman with storage or something. Maybe a small one for the bedroom also. We used to have rolling organizers under our bed, but I need to find something to put underneath them due to our new hardwood floors (you can see under the bed a little bit).

Thanks for your help. I'll keep pursuing this board for more tips. We have a small home and I keep trying to remind myself and my husband only so many things will fit. One day we'll upgrade to something larger, but we'll probably be where we are at for at least 5 years.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 10:35AM
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I would have thought others would chime in with more suggestions. Hopefully they still will. Lord knows I am not the be all and end all of organization.

Unless you want to see under your bed you could add another dust ruffle to the existing one so that it hangs to the floor and then you can store things under our bed without having to look at them all the time.

You are lucky that you don't have a lot of furniture already. You can choose what furniture you do get to serve as many purposes as possible.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 4:59PM
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I only keep linens in my linen closets and I keep two sets of sheets per bed. I keep two sets of towels per person except do have more wash clothes and about 6 beach towels and for some reason kids forget to bring theirs. Each person has one blanket and only one comforter set per bed. In the bottom on the floor I have a little round laundry basket that I keep rags and old towels in.

On the very top shelf I have all my cloth napkins and placemats.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 8:30PM
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I find that plastic containers help keep things separated and in their place. If you need candles just pull out the container. Same with medicines, first aid supplies, etc.

I do have to agree with snoogie though, decluttering is the only way to go. You will still only be able to fit so many containers in the closet before it's packed. As far as extra sheets, have you considered the "space bags"? Sucking the air out of those items will give you a lot more room.

I have also found it to be very convenient to keep a list of things I need on my phone. It has a notepad feature, so when I notice I only have one or two vacuum bags left I put it on the notepad. Since I always have my phone, I just take a look when I'm shopping and see what I need. This way I don't have to worry about keeping multiples of everything so I don't run out of something.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 3:27PM
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I would go ahead and use that closet in the spare room. I mean, if you're not pregnant or in the process of adopting now, it's probably going to be at least a year before you have kids and meanwhile, you need that space.

(Also, even when you have a baby, it takes awhile for their stuff to fill a space. We have a four+ month old and all of her clothes currently fit in two drawers in our bedroom.)

So my first thought would be, put stuff like the crockpots, lightbulbs and candles in the spare room and make the linen closet just a place for "bathroom stuff" (I assume it's near the bathroom?). And try to use up some of the extra stuff without replacing it so quickly and declutter some other stuff (two crockpots? how often do you use two crockpots?).

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 4:04PM
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I agree, I need to de-clutter.

The spare bedroom previously housed my husband's clothes. Our bedroom closets are not very large. Only about 60 inches wide and they had some crazy organizer in it (which I think just took up a bunch of space). My dad recently put a high and a low bar all the way across. All of our clothes are not put away yet, but between 2 dressers, a nightstand, and the closet, by goal is to have all of our clothes in the master bedroom. Its not an easy task though. 2 people can accumulate a lot of clothes.

My two crock-pots are two different sizes. It depends on what I am making which one I use. I will admit, one of them has a timer feature, and I do find myself not using the old one as often. I may have go give that to Purple Heart next time around.

I am still not convinced not to have things like vaccuum bags and lightbulbs on hand at all times. Well, its more my husband. If he finds a good deal on something, he buys it. Same with toilet paper and paper towel. We are always pretty well stocked. But its not like we're going to stop using those things, so may as well keep them on hand and save myself time at the grocery store. When I am at the store for groceries, I don't have time to be hunting out the exact size lightbulb or going to different stores to find the one I need.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 7:35PM
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Just to clarify, I'm definitely a fan of having stuff like lightbulbs and extra paper products on hand, just not a lot.

Right now, I consider us to be pretty well stocked. In our linen closet, I think we have about three extra rolls of paper towels, maybe five extra rolls of toilet paper, and a tiny plastic drawer with lightbulbs. Vaccum cleaner bags are a small box that lives under the sink. All of this together doesn't take up a lot of room and for two adults plus a baby, we really don't need more.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 8:55PM
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Terms of advice I'd say utilize the space to its fullest as long it's still organized and you can easily get to everything. I mean, I wouldn't put a damp mop in the same closet as bed linen but paper towels, light bulbs, dry shower liners and candles seem totally reasonable. It might be a linen closet but can also be the place for those items.

I figure there comes a point when not buying a gross of vacuum bags is a better decision than taking the "good deal" depending on how many you already have.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 5:28PM
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We had a closet the same size that my four older children (2 girls to boot) shared with room to spare, so it sounds like you and your DH need to get a handle on what is in there.

Ask ourself some questions. There is a reason why you acquired 4-5 sets of bedsheets. Did you get tired of the old ones? wanted something fresh? worn out? That should help you decide which ones to donate. Personally, I got down to only had one set per child...I would strip the bed, wash, dry and put it on immediately. No storing needed what so ever.

Now that the kids are grown, my DH and I recently downsized to a 2 bedroom. Even though we tried to keep things to a minimum before, it's hard to not fill the space if you have it (not overfill). When we moved, we took careful aim at the toiletries and took out what each of us needed daily and put that in our main bath cabinets. The rest went into one drawer as surplus. When we are out of the daily, we reach into the supply. Being that we had an oversupply it took many months before we had only one additional. I hate to shop, but even I have to admit I end up at the local discount store at least once a week, so if I forget something on my list, I usually have enough to get me till the next shopping visit, even if the items is completely missing in the surplus drawer.

Same thing for light bulbs, pretty much everything in there. Use up what you have and quit buying, it will eventually get better. If you can't emotionally wait that long, just acccept the finacial loss (however much or little it is) and get the emotional freedom....Considering the average shrink probably charges at least $100, your getting a bargain for emotional tranquility, not to mention the marital bliss.

Borrow from the library (you don't want to have to store the book after you're done) and read the 1st chapter of "The Happiness Project". My sister and I were laughing hysterically at the classifications on clutter. We both found ourselves in these classifications at some time in our lives. Your young so it's great that you recognize the tail tail signs before it gets even more overwelming. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 12:58AM
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Could you store things in the room you use them in? For instance, the towels, extra toothpaste, etc., would belong in the bathroom because that is where you use them. The candles and tarts could be stored in a drawer in the living room or where ever you use them. If you didn't have enough room for the towels, would you have enough room for a wooden diamond wine rack? See link below a little over halfway down the page. You could roll your towels instead of fold them and they would be pretty enough to be in plain sight.

I store my medicines and supplies in baskets in my linen closets. I've sometimes found that the shelf spacing doesn't work. There is too much wasted space over the baskets. I've seen people add extra shelves so there is another place to add more baskets. You can label the selves or baskets to keep it more organized.

You also mentioned your basement. I'm assuming it holds a lot of things you don't really need. I'd clean out a spot in it and build a storage area with shelves. I'd use it to store larger items like packages of paper towels, toilet paper and big boxes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wine rack

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 12:18PM
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Tansunny, I agree with the others. I have been in your shoes, and it took years for me to learn that I didn't need a lot of sheets, etc. Now that we have a larger bed, I have one set of flannel sheets for winter and one set of cotton sheets for summer. (Both sets are the same color.) I gave the rest away. One coverlet. We gave my SIL one down comforter and kept a quilt. Three sets of towels. Yes, my DH bought too many light bulbs - they are stored in the cupboard in the basement bath.

My SIL was famous for getting rid of stuff as soon as she didn't need it any more. I always wanted to be more like her, but not buy as much in the first place. Some people have a rule - if you buy something, you need to get rid of something else. Can you talk with your DH? Show him how nice the closet would look without all the extra sheets, etc. that you don't use? There is a value to feeling that your home is tidy and organized instead of overflowing.

You and your DH may need to go through your clothes, too. It isn't fun to pull out a shirt or a blouse and have it be wrinkled from being squished in the closet.

I still have too much stuff, but now I know to ask myself if it worth losing the space to add something new.

Good luck. Sounds like a recent move. Hope you can make it a happy home. That is what counts in the end.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:47PM
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I think w/ the "it was on sale" staples like vacuum cleaner bags, etc., you might consider "bulk storage" and "just one extra" storage. And put the bulk storage in the basement or garage.

Under the bed / extra sheets: Put 3-4 sets of sheets in the basement, and put the one spare set in a plastic bin under the bed. (If you're worried that sliding it out will scratch your wood floor, put some stick-on felt furniture pads on the bottom of it.)

If you have a lot of extra towels, put 4 in the bathroom, and the rest in the basement in "deep storage."

And yes, if all your clothes aren't stored in your bedroom already, that probably means you have too many of them. Time to pare down.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:53PM
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Well that was rude. Spammer should at least pretend to hide that they are spammers. Jeez.

I use this idea of "only own what fits into the space." I have no dresser (takes up space!) but a well organized closet with shelves and rods and all my clothes and shoes MUST fit into it. No special boxes for other seasons, no exceptions other than outer wear. Same with books. I have shelves and only keep what fits onto them. I don't have many linens either but like the ideas here about minimizing further, keeping actual need in mind. Two sets per bed max is a great rule. Keeping the spares under the mattress - love it!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:51PM
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