When the amount of sunlight decreases it can be harder to stay focused and upbeat. Coupled with having to spend more time indoors, many people experience seasonal mood changes. One way to counteract this affect is to keep living spaces organized and free of clutter.
The linen closet is a space that’s easy to ignore. You stuff things in there, close the door and forget about them. That is, until the day you try to tug a towel out of that jumbled mess and end up buried in an avalanche of linens! If you’re nodding your head right now, then it might be time to re-organize your linen closet.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated closet space just for linens and towels. If so, then you’re good to go. But, what if you don’t have a linen closet? Have no fear, there are alternatives out there. One of my favorite solutions to this problem is a free standing piece of furniture – an armoire. There are countless ways to use this versatile piece of furniture and they come in many sizes, shapes and colors and fit just about any budget.
Another option is to store linens and towels in under-bed bins or drawers (or in dresser drawers if you have the space). This way you can keep the linens for each room right in that room, so there is no confusion as to which sheets go with which bed. If it’s a guest room, your guests will have easy access to towels.
No matter where you store your linens and towels, organizing them is a relatively quick task that will help you feel calm and in control. Here are a few tips to help you whip the linen “closet” into shape and keep it that way.
Start by sorting
Go through the closet, pull everything out and group like-items together. Twin sheets with twin sheets, bath towels with bath towels, etc. Now is the time to get rid of any old, torn, stained or tired items. Donate them to a local animal shelter, or take them to a place that recycles textiles. If you use your linen closet to store toiletries, sort and purge anything that has expired, or anything that you know you’re not going to use again.
Keep it simple
Before you start putting things away, do a second assessment. Do you still have too much? If it still won’t fit, you might need to edit even more. Keep no more than two or three sets of sheets per bed. The same goes with towels; limit it to 2-3 towels per person, plus a few for guests. You can assign a specific color linens and towels to each room or person to make it easy to figure out where everything belongs. This trick helps if you have kids who grab a new towel every bath, leaving you with loads of unnecessary laundry – tell them the allotment must last a week.
Use the door
Don’t overlook the storage capacity found on the back of the door to your linen closet. Hang an over-the door shoe bag with clear pockets to store (and see items) that you want to easily grab, such as cleaning supplies and frequently used toiletries – even your hair dryer. Or, attach narrow bins to the door for easy grab and go items such as paper towels or washcloths. You can even attach towel rods or hooks to the back of the door for easy access to towels. If your closet is in the bathroom, attach hooks or rods to the front, too!
Wrap ‘em up
Store sheet sets in their matching pillow cases. It keeps them neat and tidy and you won’t have to hunt around for a matching top and bottom sheet.
Define the shelves
Designate specific shelves for towels, sheets and toiletries – separate them by size and type, beach towels vs. bath towels, twin sheets vs. queen sheets, etc. Be sure label them! It’ll be faster to store and find items each week and easier to keep this area organized over time.
Use baskets to corral larger items like towels or sheet sets. Even large items benefit from being contained. To get the most out of your vertical shelf space, choose a tall basket.
Roll ‘em up
Roll your towels, instead of folding them. Use shelf dividers to keep them from rolling away.
Clear it up
For storing smaller items like toiletries; choose clear containers, so you can easily see what’s inside. I love shoebox size clear containers. You can stack them and they fit on just about any size shelf. I like to take it a step further and label them, too. Yes, even if they are clear.
Embrace the Lazy Susan
A Lazy Susan is a great solution for the toiletries or cleaning supplies you need most often. Lazy Susans are also handy if you have a closet with deep shelves or deep corners.
Keep it fresh
Linens can become stale when they aren’t frequently used. To keep your linens smelling fresh, place a box of baking soda or a lavender sachet on a shelf. It’s also a good idea to rotate linens, so they all get used and laundered on a regular basis.
Whatever type of space you have for your linen closet, the key to success is to set it up so that it works for you. Make sure everything in there is easy to identify, take out and put back. After all, you’re the one who has to put things away at the end of the day.
Visual chaos can contribute to depression or lack of concentration. But a clear environment aids and supports a clear mind. Take time this fall to organize those areas of your home that may have been neglected when the weather was too nice to be indoors. You’ll enjoy the rewards all winter long.
If you’re on an organizing roll, you might want to check out these articles too:
For more information on organizing your home, visit OrganizingU.com.