Linen Closet Organizing Ideas You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

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If you need more space in your linen closet for all those sheets, towels, blankets, and more, follow these simple organizing techniques.

If your linen closet is stuffed and overflowing, it might be tempting to believe it’s just too small to fulfill its purpose. We get it. It’s challenging to store bulky items including towels, sheets, extra blankets, irons, ironing boards, and toiletries on a mere handful of shelves. Luckily, you can expand the available space in almost any linen closet by learning how to organize a closet—specifically by following a few simple linen closet organization tricks. In fact, if you do nothing else, learning how to fold towels and how to fold fitted sheets will save an abundance of shelf space alone. Add in a few inexpensive items like these best closet organizers that include baskets, bins, closet systems, door racks, and more, and you won’t have to dig through heaps of linens the next time you need your flannel sheets. Read on for our best tips on linen closet organization.

How to maximize linen closet shelving

The average linen closet doesn’t have room for more shelves. The trick to creating more space is to simply utilize the existing shelves as efficiently as possible. These baskets, bins, door storage systems, and repurposed office items will keep your shelves organized.

Woman organizing clothes in wardrobe, putting shirts in boxes, baskets into shelves. Clothes neatly folded after laundry. Concept of minimalist lifestyleDamian Lugowski/Getty Images

Baskets and bins

Baskets and bins are a lifesaver when it comes to organizing overflowing linen closets. For the best results, use something like this set of Amazon Basics wire storage baskets. They make it easy to survey the contents of your linen closet and find what you need at a glance. They’re great for towels, rags, sheets, pillowcases, cleaning essentials, and more. Be sure to store similar items (beach towels, extra pillowcases, guest room linens) in the same basket. This will help you zero in on the right basket when you’re planning a day at the beach or your sister announces she’s in town for an impromptu visit. Pro tip: If your linen closet has deep shelves, you can place a short basket in front of a tall basket. This will help you maximize the space in your linen closet while ensuring you can still see the contents of both bins. If your linen closet tends to attract moisture, wire storage bins will also help your linen stay fresh since they’ll allow air to circulate into your linens. Baskets and bins are a smart kid’s closet idea, too.

Dividers

Even the most neatly stacked sheets and towels can look sloppy and tumble off ordinary closet shelves. These acrylic shelf dividers will keep towels and other linens in place and allow you to stack them as high as you like. They slip right onto the shelf without any tools which makes them easy to adjust if necessary.

Linen Closet Door Storage Organizervia amazon.com

Door storage

When it comes to organizing a small linen closet, the space behind your door is valuable real estate—these over-the-door organizers will help you put it to good use. This particular system has five rigid pockets with clear windows for washcloths, pillowcases, extra rolls of toilet paper, etc. It hangs easily over your door without tools or hardware so it’s easy to install or move into a different room should your needs change in the future. Here are more small closet ideas.

Flat lay of Marie Kondo's storage boxes, containers and baskets with different sizes and shapesKostikova/Getty Images

DIY storage ideas

Sometimes the best linen closet organizers weren’t made for linen closets at all. You can easily repurpose items like these Leven Desk Organizers in your linen closet. They’re the perfect size to stack rolled washcloths, hand towels, rags, and pillowcases, and the separate compartments help you keep them clean and organized. On the other hand, here are 12 home improvement projects you should never, ever DIY.

Iron and ironing board storage

Irons and ironing boards are heavy and bulky and unless your linen closet is unusually large, chances are there isn’t even room for your ironing board on the shelves. You can prop it against the wall, but then you’ll have to worry about it toppling over every time you open the door. Or, you can install this Simple Houseware Over The Door/Wall Mount Ironing Board Holder. This clever system can be hung over the back of a door, or, mounted against the wall. It has hooks to hang your ironing board and a shelf on top for your iron and spray bottles. It’s an inexpensive way to instantly organize a small linen closet.

Bathroom towel storage

Fluffy bath towels are a soft, absorbent, dream. Unfortunately, they also take up a lot of shelf space in your linen closet. If you fold or roll your towels compactly, you can store them in baskets or separate them with shelf dividers as suggested above. Although there are many ways to accomplish this, here’s how to make it easy:

Folding a towel for the linen closetCatherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

How to fold bathroom towels

There are a lot of fancy ways to fold bathroom towels, but luckily, one of the best methods is also the easiest, it’s called the tri-fold method.

  1. Lay the towel flat so it’s positioned vertically (beds or the top of washing machines are perfect for this).

  2. Take one edge of the towel and fold it 2/3s of the way towards the other side.

  3. Grab the other side of the towel and fold it over until it meets the other edge. Your towel should now look like a skinny, folded strip.

  4. Fold the towel in half from the bottom to the top.

  5. Fold the towel in half from bottom to top again.

  6. Your towel is now ready for storage.

Closeup of rolled towelsKevin Trimmer/Getty Images

How to roll bathroom towels

Rolled bathroom towels save space, and they’re also a beautiful way to dress up a bathroom or linen closet. They look impressive but fortunately, it’s easier to roll them than you might think.

  1. Lay the towel flat.

  2. Grab the top right corner and fold it although down to meet the bottom. The end of the towel should now form a point.

  3. Fold the base of the towel in half, leaving the pointed end untouched.

  4. Turn the towel over and roll it from the bottom, working your way up. When you reach the end, tuck the pointed end into the roll to keep it in place.

  5. You now have a beautiful rolled towel.

Stacks of towels, sheets, bedding, clothes, blanket and pillow on a white shelf.Olga Nikiforova/Getty Images

Blanket storage

Like all the other items you store in your linen closet, it’s best to group your blankets together with other blankets when you store them in the linen closet. Depending on how many you own, there are two ways to do this most effectively. The first blanket storage idea is to group them by function and season. The Isbasa Large Capacity Storage Bag 4 Pack is perfect for this. You can use one cube for winter blankets, one for summer blankets, one for the shoulder season, and one for throws and miscellaneous blankets. The bags will keep your blankets organized and the clear front panels let you know exactly what’s inside. The storage bags work equally well if you have dedicated blankets for different rooms in your house and prefer the second method of grouping them that way instead.

Comforter storage

Comforters are comforting because they’re thick and cozy; that’s great if you’re trying to stay warm at night but not so great when you need room in your linen closet. These Clear Vinyl Zippered Storage Bags by Antique Kitchen are the perfect place to store comforters and large blankets. They’ll keep them clean, compact, and organized in the warmer months and since they’re clear, you won’t have any trouble finding your favorite comforter when the weather turns cold again.

Fitted sheet storage

If your fitted sheets are part of an ensemble with a top sheet, pillowcase, etc., it’s best to store the entire set as a group so you can easily find them in one place on laundry day. Neaterize Storage Baskets For Shelves are a great solution for sheet sets. The sloped cut enables you to stack them either vertically or horizontally, depending on how much space you need to save. Also, with either method, the open shape makes it easy to find the right set of sheets. If you’ve got a walk-in closet, be sure to check out these walk-in closet organization ideas.

guest room essentials sitting on bedPhoto by Alex Tihonov/Getty Images

Guest room essentials

If you’re lucky enough to have a guest room, it’s usually best to group the items together so you can grab them when you’re anticipating company. Place bedding, guest towels, and toiletries into Bino Woven Plastic Storage Bins to keep them organized and easy to find. If you’re on the other side of the coin, this is what you need to know to be a good house guest.

How to label items

A key part of linen closet organization is grouping similar items, like pillowcases, together. If you’ve stored them in transparent containers, it’s easy to see all of your linens at a glance, but some storage bins make it trickier to see what’s inside. These Mantah Chalkboard Label Stickers make it easy to find extra blankets or anything else you’re looking for. The best part is that you can wipe off your lettering with a wet towel and re-designate them for something else should you shuffle things around in the future.

Next, learn the top tips for pantry organizing that you’ll want to use ASAP.

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Tamara Gane
Tamara Gane is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest covering travel, lifestyle, history, and culture. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, NPR, Al Jazeera, Wine Enthusiast, Lonely Planet, HuffPost Food, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @TamaraGane