3 Steps to an Organized Linen Closet

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a collage of 3 images of different types of linen, folded and standing up in a cupboard with title text reading File Don't Stack Linens
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Do you have a linen closet?  Do you have piles of sheets and towels?  Do you have gremlins that come at night and tumble everything around in the closet  family members that don’t keep the closet as neat as you would like?
3 simple tips will keep your linen closet nice and tidy even when those gremlins get in there.

Keep Sets Together

I used to neatly pile my towels sets together from largest to smallest, so the bath towels were on the bottom and the wash cloths on top.  I’d do the same with sheet sets, with the sheets on the bottom and the pillow cases on top  This looked nice when I’d folded the linens before going in the closet.  Once they were neatly stacked in the closet with the door closed, those gremlins got to work pushing those neat stacks all around.  It used to drive me crazy every time I opened the door and the piles were leaning or toppled over. 
Now I fold my sheet sets and place them inside the pillow case.  This keeps the entire set contained together and they don’t topple over as easily. 
sheet and towel sets on a wire shelf in a cabinet with title text reading Keep Sets Together

I do the same with towels sets.  I place towels together by sets with a bath towel, then the hand towels and wash cloths, and then a bath towel on top.  This order helps keep the set pieces together.  It’s like a sandwich; the towels are the bread slices that keep the smaller pieces together.

File Don’t Stack

I’m a fanatic about rotating my towels and sheets. I used to put the clean ones on the bottom of the pile and take the new ones from the top. Gotta rotate that inventory. FIFO (first in first out) all the way.
When I used to stack my towels and sheets, there was a whole process to putting the clean linens into the closet on laundry day. First, I’d have to move the entire pile out of the linen closet. Then I’d have to stack the clean linens on the shelf. Then, and here’s the tricky part, I had to slip the pile I’d taken out of the closet back in and neatly on top of the clean linens I’d just put in. Most of the time something would get caught on something so my nice neat piles weren’t any more. I’d have to take extra time to fiddle with the pile to make it neat.  That was frustrating and a time waster.
sheets and towels filed on a wire shelf with title text labelled Filing Sheet & Towels
I finally figured out to file the towels and sheets like file folders. It so much easier to simply slide the linens that are in the closet to the right so that I can put the newly washed linens in on the left. Remember gotta rotate that inventory.  I can even slide the linens over with one hand while holding the newly washed ones with my other. Easy, quick and with nice neat results.
When it’s time to get something from the closet, it’s also much easier to slide the item you need out. Filing helps the gremlins your family keep your linen closet neat.

Accommodate Single Items

I gave up on keeping towels sets for my 3 children a long time ago.   I have found it easier to buy brightly colored bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths and then just mix and match.   I’m the one that buys that one lonely unmatched towel on clearance at Target or Home Goods. This way I don’t have to replace an entire towel set because one piece was damaged, stained, lost, eaten,  stolen or abducted by aliens. I still can’t figure out what was happening to those towels and wash cloths.
This means that the beautiful stacking method I use for the master bath towels won’t work.  I simply file each towel by size rather than set.  I use a basket to neatly contain the wash cloths and another basket for the hand towels. 
towels filed in containers and on a wire shelf in a cupboard with title text reading Keep Single Items Together
We have lots of beach towels.  We use them for many purposes besides just the beach and pool.  Build forts.  Have picnics.  Lay out under the tree and read a book.  Cover and protect the couch when a sick child is home from school.  Cover the floor by the bed when a sick child is in bed.  Sit on at siblings’ sports events.  You get the idea. 
towels rolled and stacked up  on a wire shelf with title text reading Rolling Towels
I fold the beach towels and then roll them up.  It’s much easier to store them and there are no piles for gremlins to tip over.  Plus, it’s amazing how many more beach towels you can store when they’re rolled up.
towels and sheets organized on wire shelved


These 3 easy steps are mom approved and will keep those gremlins away from your linen closet so you’ll have a neat and functional linen closet.  Yea!

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  1. I love the idea of filing your linens vertically! It makes so much sense. Piles always end up getting messed up. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hilda, it took me too many years of messy piles before I figured this one out, but it’s made my linen closet much happier!

  2. I think your gremlins came to my house. My towels are always a mess. I love this idea, so I’m going to try it and see if it makes my gremlins go away. I found you via 733 blog and I would be thrilled if you visited my blog Angela Says Have a fabulous day, Angela

    1. Angela, let me know if it helps shoo the gremlins away. Love the cleaning ideas on your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Susan,I am going to have to start storing my sheet sets in the pillow cases – it will keep all the pieces together nicely. Great idea.I like to roll seasonal clothes when storing and when packing a suitcase because it tends to wrinkle less. I really like the idea of rolled towels in the linen closet.Thanks so much for sharing.Bye for now, Darlene

  4. I never thought about ‘filing’ towels. It would save so much space and look neat and tidy. I came across your blog on the Happy Go Lucky blog party and a new follower.

  5. Great ideas! I recently started rolling my towels, and oh boy are they easier to get in and out and keep tidy.Judi in the UK

  6. What a great idea with the pillow cases. It makes so much sense. Thank you. I just stopped by from the “Inspiration Spotlight LinkUp” to spread some love. I’m glad I did. Following everywhere. 🙂

  7. Honestly, I need you in my house! I mean to live here, because as soon as you organized I would mess it up again!

    I am always happy to see what you bring to the In and Out of the Kitchen link party! You are an inspiration!


  8. Love these tips – am with you on towel rolling but hadn’t tried filing rather than stacking. Think you are on to something!

    Would love for you to link up at Empty Your Archive. We have a special focus this week on decluttering and organisation, Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

  9. This is beautifully organized Susan . Unfortunately I do not have a linen closet. Instead I have a drawer under my bed which I will share soon. Good job for your linen closet. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Love these linen cupboard ideas. I already put my sheets in the pillowcase. But the towel ideas I’m really excited to try. Plus I like the filing idea of standing them up. Thanks for a great post

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