how to organize a linen closet

Angie's How To Create an Organized Linen Closet

Date Published: Sept. 11, 2014

Time: 60 Minutes

Featured author: Carrie Waller is a writer, designer, stylist and blogger for Dream Green DIY living in Lynchburg, Virginia with her husband, John. With a background in studio art & art history, Carrie is always eager to soak up the newest home design trends. 

I’d wager a guess that I’m not alone when I say that our linen closet situation has traditionally been a bit harried. Shelves packed with sheets that fit anywhere from a twin mattress to a king sized one (please note that the only bed we currently own is a queen size), neon pink towels from my days as a freshman in college and more mismatched pillow cases than I’d care to admit. 

The point is, we were more than ready for an overhaul. And if you also are in need of a closet refresh, rest assured that you, too, can complete it in a speedy afternoon with just a few key tools and supplies.


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Tools & Materials Needed 
Storage baskets (multiple sizes to fit sheets, towels, miscellaneous bathroom paper products, etc.)
Peel-and-stick chalkboard labels
White chalk pen
Patterned scrapbook paper
3M adhesive squares
Metal file box
Drill, drill bit
Screws, drywall anchors
towel linen organization
1Keep, Donate, Trash

As with any reorganization project, the first thing you’ll need to do is sort through your existing collection. I took this opportunity to remove everything from our linen closet and spread every last towel and blanket out on the floor. That way, I could see at a glance what we had, what we didn’t need anymore and what could go straight to the trash (or to the scrap pile in the garage for car washing). Next, I sorted the keepers by type—sheets with sheets, towels with towels and so on. The items in my “give away” pile were then folded nicely and slipped into a cardboard box destined for our local charity donation bin.

organized bath towels in buckets
2Stow Away Larger Items First

With everything sorted, it was time to put everything back in place. I started with my largest items—things like matching sheet sets and large bath towels—and folded each piece before putting it into one of two matching rubber baskets picked up for less than $10 from Target. To keep it all straight since these particular boxes were headed for the upper shelves and I wouldn’t be able to peek into the contents from up high, I added peel-and-stick chalkboard labels to the front of each basket. Then, I carefully wrote on the label using a white chalk marker, first “BED” to denote our sheets and then “BATH” to hint at our bath towels.

organize small items in revamped hat boxes
3Stow Away The Smallest Items

Not wanting to spend a small fortune on our linen closet, which only really gets enjoyed by my husband and me, I challenged myself to get creatively cheap with storage boxes. And so one of my favorite things to come of this challenge was the incorporation of two vintage hatboxes. These two printed beauties cost less than $2 apiece from our local estate shop and are a personality-packed way to stow away our small hand towels. Form, function and frugality—my favorite combination!

open basket storage for towels
4Leave Open Storage For Guests

Our pint-sized townhouse sadly means that we don’t often have houseguests. So when we do, we tend to go all out on their behalf. To make things easier for visitors, I made sure to incorporate a spot for open storage. By having an open towel-filled basket within eyesight, our guests know exactly where to look and can grab what they need when they need it. For this, I bought an inexpensive woven basket and affixed another label to the front to denote its contents. This time I went one step further than the plain chalkboard label by first applying it to a piece of scrapbook paper with tape and then cut out the shape a little larger than the black label so that the pattern showed from behind. The little added color is a welcome addition to the bland, largely utilitarian closet.

back of the door storage for toilet paper
5Don’t Forget To Store Those Paper Necessities

Another can’t-forget part of a linen closet overhaul is the paper—that is, those bathroom paper products that always seem to end up tumbling around under the bathroom sink or taking up precious real estate in the garage. To keep our collection of bath tissue and paper towels up and out of the way in our linen closet, I added a metal file box right to the inside of the closet door. To do so at your house, predrill two holes in the door using a drill, a bit and a level. Then add drywall anchors to the door and twist screws through the open weave of the metal box (mine is from Target) and into the two anchors. For continuity, I also added another paper and chalkboard label to the front of the box using 3M adhesive squares, and wrote a succinct “PAPER” across the front with my white chalk pen.

organized linen closet storage
6Everything In Its Place

Now not only is our linen closet freshly sorted and stocked, it sports a simple system of labels to guarantee that we will maintain the nice new look. Whether you’re a daily resident (here’s looking at you hubby!) or a just-for-the-night guest, our reorganized linen closet is ready to keep our house in good functioning order. Now, onto the master closet!