Streamlining this space will make it easier to access bed sheets, bath towels, and more.
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Your linen closet is a powerhouse—it holds spare bed sheets, extra towels, and even beauty supplies we don't have room for in the bathroom or bedroom. But being a storage facility for all of these everyday items means the space can quickly become unorganized. Rather than trying to maneuver your textiles into an already bursting space, opt for a total closet clean-out instead. Start by decluttering—then find a linen closet organization system that works for you.

organized mocha brown wooden entryway
Credit: Courtesy of California Closet

Take Everything Out of Your Closet

As your linen closet fills up, it's common for stray pillowcases and hand towels to get shoved into smaller nooks and crannies. For this reason, it's helpful to take everything out before trying to organize. "I always remove everything from the closet," says Malaika Lubega, professional organizer, interior decorator, and owner of Huza Home Harmony. "This step will allow you to access and assess all of the items in the closet including what has inevitably been hiding in the back."

Downsize Your Linen Collection

Though you may still love those sheets you got during a sale five years ago, hanging onto them isn't doing you—or your linen closet—any favors. "Don't hold on to old linens that you don't use," Almester says. "Sheets should be replaced every two to three years so it's a great time to go through what you have and donate what you're not using," says Missy Almester of California Closets. The same goes for towels: If they're threadbare or you've recently upgraded to plusher options, it's time to toss the extras.

Throw Away Old Beauty Products

Linen closets are also a hub for excess beauty items, like makeup, hairspray, and bath products. In the spirit of decluttering, you should also try to part with some of these items, too. Remove all items from your closet, toss what is expired, and donate things that no longer fit into your beauty routine.

Keep Like With Like

Now that you've decluttered, it's time to put everything back into your closet. First, start by organizing your items into sections. "Keep your linen collections together so they're easy to find," Almester says. "Fold the pillow cases and store them inside your flat sheet, and then fold your fitted sheet and fold it around the flat sheet and pillow cases." Additionally, bath towels and hand towels should be kept together as their own subsection of your linen closet.

Roll Your Towels

Roll—don't fold—washcloths and hand towels and store them in a basket to keep them contained. "These stay much neater over time as items are removed and tend to not stack as stably," Lubega says. Larger towels should also be rolled to converse space, but they don't need to be placed into baskets since they have more structure than smaller linens.

Store Beauty Items in Baskets

If you keep a shelf in your linen closet open for beauty products, you know how unruly these products can become if they aren't contained. "I allow space for back-stock items—extra toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, hair, nail, and other beauty products," says Lubega. Keep these items organized by storing them in separate containers. You can keep one for makeup, one for hot tools, one for bath products, and so on.

Store Ironing Board Vertically

Tucking away an ironing board is a surprisingly tricky task, but your best bet is to think vertically. "When storing an ironing board, create a vertical storage area inside the linen closet so you can fold it up to store nicely," Almester says. "If we're in a space crunch and an ironing board is a necessity, opt for a pull-out style. It takes up 2 inches of horizontal space and does a 360-degree swivel so you can iron in any direction."

Use Labels

Your new system should be designed to limit rummaging, which will ruin your neatly organized closet. To ensure this, use labels so you know exactly where to find what you're looking for. "I will generally label all the bins, containers, and sections so that overtime, regardless of who is restocking the linen closets, items land back in the intended place based on the initial system established," Lubega says.

Comments (17)

Martha Stewart Member
February 14, 2020
Most animal shelters accept old towels, sheets and blankets, so donate your old ones for a good cause.
Martha Stewart Member
February 14, 2020
I place the folded top sheet, the folded bottom sheet and one pillow case inside the other pillow case so I know I have what I need. Because we buy new sheets every few years we own only 2 sets for each bed, one set on and one in the basket labeled Twin or Queen. The towels are rolled and look great, this includes bath, face and hand towels. To me, Martha was a breath of fresh air when she first appeared amid all the feminist chatter. She embodied both sides and made it ok to like to iron again!!!
Martha Stewart Member
January 3, 2020
I'm going to try rolling towels to save space... I seem to be the Queen of Clutter and need to get organized (I'm probably hopeless, considering how old I am, but I'm going to make an attempt!)
Martha Stewart Member
January 5, 2019
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website >>SLEEPBABY.ORG<< - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! >>SLEEPBABY.ORG<< - sorry, you can't post links here so you'll have to turn it into a normal link :) Best of luck to you and your family!
Martha Stewart Member
April 13, 2018
I will definitely try these ideas. I love them.
Martha Stewart Member
July 25, 2017
I love all of your ideas Martha
Martha Stewart Member
June 26, 2013
A really useful set of guidelines for the storage of linen and sheets. Especially for the pest prevention portion. I often find my comforters and blankets covered in tiny holes that I first thought were just worn-off holes. After a while, I have discovered tiny bugs chewing their way through the cloths! Thanks for sharing and I do agree a little organizing with boxes and drawers would help in creating more space.
Martha Stewart Member
August 30, 2012
Does anyone know where You can get the labels?
Martha Stewart Member
September 28, 2011
One of Martha's magazines had real physical dividers (plastic-hard?) to separate towels from sheets from wash cloths..........can't find where I saved it. Do you still have that information? Thank you............. :)
Martha Stewart Member
February 2, 2011
How would you suggest folding bedroom linens? I have lots of euro, boudoir, king, queen and other miscellaneous pillow cases. I'm re-doing my limited closet space and deciding how to fold everything to put in clear plastic bins. Thank you!
Martha Stewart Member
September 2, 2010
We have 8 people- 6 are kids 11 yrs and under. Queen sheets
Martha Stewart Member
September 2, 2010
We have 8 people- 6 of which are my kiddos 11 yrs and under. I have queen sheets
Martha Stewart Member
May 19, 2009
My sympathies too Jeanie.
Martha Stewart Member
May 16, 2009
I have one of these, I love it, I think I need to organize it, again. It really helps out when you need lots of space.
Martha Stewart Member
May 21, 2008
My sympathy ..... I hope that you will feel comfort doing what you both agreed to do together. May God bless you.
Martha Stewart Member
March 27, 2008
I'm sorry to hear about your husband Jeanie. I think doing this project just might make you feel good, he would definitely love to see you smile. You could have a friend or family member help you.
Martha Stewart Member
March 27, 2008
I wish my linnen closet looked like this. My husband and I were going to work on ours this summer. Unfortunatley he passed away on March 2nd. At this point I don't know if I will do this without him. I may or may not.