How to Organize a Linen Closet: 16 Tidy Tips

Gemma Johnstone
Written by Gemma Johnstone
Updated November 7, 2022
A tidy linen closet
Photo: kostikovanata / Adobe Stock

Conquer closet organization to avoid combing through piles of linens

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When you’re fresh out of the shower, the last thing you want to do is spend five freezing-cold minutes rummaging through a messy, overflowing linen closet, searching for a clean towel. The good news is it’s easy to avoid this situation by keeping it clutter-free and tidy. Use these 15 tips to learn how to organize a linen closet like a pro.

1. Clear Out and Tidy Up

Decluttering is a top time-saving organization tip for any area of your home, so clear out before you start cleaning up. Lift everything out of the closet, dust the shelves, and vacuum the floor. Start fresh with a blank canvas that allows you to take stock of what you have. You might be surprised by what you find lurking at the back of the shelves. 

2. Take Inventory

Get ready to purge! Over the years, you’ve probably collected sheets and towels that no longer fit your bed or match your decor. After you have emptied your linen closet, take a good look at what’s there. Separate into piles of sheet sets, towels, and pillows, and then decide which linens to keep and which ones to donate or recycle.

3. Let Go of Worn Linens

When it comes to linen closet organization, the key is to keep only items you love and use. Purge stained and threadbare items or ones you haven’t used in over a year. You can rip up these linens to use for cleaning rags, donate them to a local charity organization, or drop them off at a textile recycling service.

4. Replace or Restock the Gaps

Closet with bed sheets and towels
Photo: kostikovanata / Adobe Stock

If you haven’t organized your linen closet in a while and tossed a lot of ratty towels and shabby sheets, you might need to stock up on your textiles. Ideally, you should have at least two sets of towels for each family member and a couple of guests and two sets of bedsheets for each bed in the home. 

Keeping up a one-in-one-out policy in the future means you won’t have to go on a mad shopping spree. Doing an annual linen closet blitz means you can take advantage of the opportunity to replace and restock.

5. Divide the Shelves

Ready to restock the shelves? Consider slotting in sectional shelf dividers. These handy tools turn your linen closet into a cubby system—a storage solution that makes for more streamlined and functional use of the space. 

Stop raking for hand towels mixed in with pillowcases and bath sheets. Store similar items in each cubby to make them easy to find. You can purchase closet shelf dividers at any home goods store or make your own.

6. Use Baskets and Bins

Smaller items, like washcloths, toiletries, and laundry supplies, don’t fit nicely into piles. One of the best closet organization ideas is to place them in bins or baskets instead. This method allows you to pull down the box when looking for a specific item rather than rummaging through the entire storage cabinet, disturbing everything else. 

Opt for oversized bins on the floor of the linen closet. They’re ideal for large items or those you buy in bulk (like coverlets or toilet rolls). Whether you opt for wicker, wire, or plastic, picking matching storage boxes helps keep the space more uniform and tidy. 

7. Fold Like a Pro

Ironing and folding your linens before you put them away makes it easier to find what you need and keeps your closet looking spotless. 

If you can’t get rid of the wrinkles, try steaming the linens before folding them. Even the experts have their preferences for folding techniques, but the trick is to stay consistent with whatever method you choose. If they lie differently, it can make things look untidy, and sheets will be less stable and more likely to topple from the shelves.

8. Roll Your Towels

If you’re not a folding fan, why not try tightly rolling your towels? This storage technique helps keep them plump and wrinkle-free, and it’s a sleek, spa-like space-saving solution. You can even roll smaller towels and then slot them into baskets.

9. Sort Into Stacks

Now that your linens are fresh, folded, and ready to return to the linen closet, sort them into suitable piles to make things easy to find and access on the shelves. 

There isn’t a one size fits all approach here—go with whatever you think is most practical and logical for your linen closet layout and your family. Organizing towels by size or sets works well. It's better to stack sheets by sets. You can even go a step further and sort by room and divide the linens for the kids’ rooms, guest rooms, and primary bedroom in separate cubby holes.

You don’t want your stacks to slump, so put the bulkier items at the bottom of the piles.

10. Stuff Sheets Into Pillowcases

Are you always searching for a stray pillowcase? To keep bedding sets together and neatly stacked, you can try tucking the sheets inside one of the pillowcases. When it’s time to change the sheets, all you need to do is grab a pillowcase. 

11. Label Your Linen Slots

If you’re diving into a linen closet organization project, grab your handy label maker and get to work. Label all bins and baskets with what’s inside them. For further organization, slap a label on the inside of each shelf to decipher what goes where. This step makes it easy for anyone, including kids and out-of-town guests, to find what they need and tidy things away without spoiling your system.

12. Make the Most Important Items Easy to Reach

Keep those everyday items on the easiest-to-reach, eye-level shelves, like primary bedroom linens and towels. You can tuck spare guest room bedsheets and winter-only comforters into the back of lower shelves. If you’re trying to maximize storage space in your closet, consider placing less-used items on high shelves and keeping a step stool in the closet for easy access.

13. Add Over-the-Door Storage

Filled all the shelves and baskets and still have a pile of linens left to stack? If you’re struggling to find ideas for linen closet organization, why not add an over-the-door organizer to hold toilet rolls or other small items? Hooks inside the door are ideal for hanging bath robes or even a couple of big bath sheets.

14. Don’t Let Surplus Spill Over

If you struggle to fit all your towels and bedsheets in your linen closet after a clearout, don’t try to stuff them all in. Overcrowded shelves look untidy and it's tricky to get what you need, making it difficult to keep your system orderly.

You could store bulky blankets or spare sets in under-bed storage bags or use space in a spare room closet instead.

15. Reconfigure Your Shelving

If, even after paring back on towels and bed sheets, you still can’t make your linen closet serviceable, consider whether the space needs some adaptations. Could you add more shelves or could they be wider? Maybe you should install a closet organizer. Adding shelving is a DIY task within most homeowners' reach, but if you don’t have the time or inclination, you could hire a local closet designer to give the space a makeover.

16. Hire Professional Help

You may not have time to stop everything to reorganize your linen closet, or maybe you want help to determine an organization system that works. Consider hiring a professional organizer near you to implement the right linen closet organization system for you and your household.

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