Linen Closet Organization – Before & After

Before and After ProjectWhen I first moved into my home, I was amazed at how much storage there was. Several closets, built-ins, and cupboards made us feel that, as newlyweds, we’d never be able to fill all of that space. Well, as my grandma always says, never say never. In five short years, we’ve accumulated more stuff than we ever thought possible. My dear (and slightly obsessive-compulsive) friend gave me the best possible housewarming gift: she organized my stuff. She helped me unpack, find a place for everything, and make sure everything was in its place. This system worked for several years, but as the stuff kept building up, the stuff started to take over and it was time for a new organizational plan.

Linen closet beforeThis takeover was becoming especially evident in my linen closet. While it housed all of the normal things a linen closet is supposed to have, like towels, sheets, blankets, and extra pillows, it also became something of a catch-all closet. Extra candles that don’t have a home? Linen closet. Cute vase with marbles in it that doesn’t match a thing in the house? Linen closet. Small stick vacuum that hasn’t been used since college? Yep, it was living in the linen closet. It was time to dive in and decide what belonged and what didn’t, and tackle a major line closet organization project.

I started by doing something that terrified me: emptying the linen closet. Who knew what was lurking under those piles? I knew the closet was fairly clean, but it was just piled and piled with stuff and I knew I was going to have to find a home for it all. But, I knew it was time. What I discovered is that my linen closet really is pretty big. Just because I was barely able to close the door before, didn’t mean it wasn’t big enough for the things that actually belong there.

So I emptied the whole thing. I then proceeded to go through and make piles: Keep in this closet, keep but find a new home in the house, donate or sell, and toss. Once I had my piles sorted, I got to work deciding where everything was going to go once it went back in the organized linen closet.

Watch how a closet compactor worksOne of the items I got from SpaceSavers to try out for the linen closet organization project was a Closet Compactor chest (the Large size which measures 28.5″ Long x 19.5″ Wide x 7.5″ High when fully compressed.)  I used it to tackle a particular challenge in my linen closet : the blankets.  Over the years, we’ve accumulated sheet sets, comforters, blankets, and pillows that get used from time to time. They don’t need to be out all the time, but we can’t necessarily get rid of them. So they needed a home. Their previous home (the floor of the linen closet, spilling out every time the door opened) wasn’t quite working.

I was really excited to try the Closet Compactor, because I’d never used anything like it before. I was a little worried I wouldn’t use it correctly, but I was pleasantly surprised by how foolproof it was. You literally just load up the bag, zip it up and get to work.

Vacuuming the air out was a cinch too, because it has LED lights that flash until all the air is out of the bag. Then you put on the lid, slide it into your organized linen closet (or under a bed), and admire how much more organized everything is.

To re-load my shelves I started with the sheets and towels, because those are the things that actually need to be in an organized linen closet. I used shelf dividers to keep my towel stacks nice & neat, which will help with putting the laundry away in the future. I put the towels we use most on the shelf at eye level, and put the rest on the upper & lower shelves. Same with the sheets. Then, it was time to tackle the baskets. I bought these pink baskets years ago, set them on the top shelf of the closet, and have been tossing random stuff in them ever since. I used four white storage baskets to organize things like toiletries we buy in bulk, over-the-counter medications, and first aid. Once I tossed all of the stuff that was either expired or not needed anymore, everything fit nicely in the four baskets. The bottom shelf was reserved for paper products, again divided by shelf dividers.

I’m so excited about my improved linen closet, where there is a place for everything, and everything’s in its place.

Before and after linen closet reorganization

Has your linen closet gotten out of control or do you have a perfectly organized one?  Do you have any tips for keeping a linen closet organized once you do the major purge?  Share them here.

You can find more from guest blogger Noelle Wittkop at http://noellewittkop.wordpress.com.
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