Take Back the Linen Closet in 7 Simple Steps

Too often I see linen closets that more closely resemble sloppily over-stuffed suitcases than a well-tended supply of sheets. Shelves hold masses of cloth so tightly bunched together that reaching for a single towel causes a fabric avalanche. Ladies and Gents, it’s time to take back the linen closet.

Step 1: Empty the closet’s contents.

Step 2: Sort through the soft mound. Get rid of all towels with fringes hanging off their edges, and linens that feel like wilted lettuce (stretched out, threadbare, or mysteriously stained). Decide whether items in the reject pile can be salvaged as rags or donation items. If they’re too high on the icky scale, then don’t hesitate to trash them. Ew.

Step 3: Fittingly enough, the number three should guide your next move; keep three sets of sheets for each bed, and three sets of towels for each person. Doing so ensures you’re covered in all phases of the rotation: one in use, one in the wash, one in the closet.

Now, I feel obliged to tell you that the domestic queen, Miss Martha, advises keeping your linen sets inside of a corresponding pillow case. That way the whole set of sheets, pillow cases, and duvet cover stays together. Makes sense, right?

(Between you’s and me, as long as your sheets are folded and neat, ensuring you use them in their rightful set isn’t quite crucial. Unless House and Garden is coming to photograph your bedroom, I don’t think your anyone will mind if your sheets are white and your pillow cases are lavender.)

Step 4: Decide how you want to organize on the shelves. If you’re intent on keeping the sets intact, then you’ll probably want to stack accordingly. Alternately, you can sort by family member, allocating a shelf for each person’s respective sheets and towels. Or you can sort by type, putting flat sheets with other flats, fitted with other fits, pillow cases with other cases, towels with… other towels. Be conscious about placement and retrieval: clean textiles get placed on the tops of stacks, while linens to be used should be pulled from the bottoms of piles. That way every sheet gets its fair share.

Step 5: Restock. Bedding and towels used regularly get priority placement via the most accessible shelves. Beach towels and the like should probably go way down low, while extra pillows and blankets get put way up high. The latter should be stored in the zippered bags they came in to protect from dust, dirt, and moisture. If those bags have long since disappeared, give Ziploc XXL bags a whirl.

Step 6. The finishing touches. Make sure you customize to your liking, and in a way that will make utilizing the closet easiest for you. If you’re stowing other items in the closet such as extra cleaning supplies or cosmetics, use baskets or bins to keep things decidedly sorted. You can also add labels for easy identification. I recommend throwing a lovely scented something in there somewhere so that your clean, fresh linens actually do smell fresh when you use them.


Step 7: Finally, and this is a must for all, make sure your fabric things are spaced out enough to allow for good air flow. No one enjoys suffocating, not even your bedding.

Image Credits: Martha Stewartx4, FamilyCircle.com, Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, unknown


  1. amazing. love these tips and can’t wait to try!

  2. towel-fly.

  3. jane klein says:

    brilliant ideas! I love the idea of three. Especially because I am not a household of four people!

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