Thursday, March 14, 2013

Organized Linen Closet: Purge Project #1

Linen Closet Before

An organized linen closet is a wonderful thing!  

    Come check out my before and afters!  As I mentioned in the intro post for this series, I would do the linen closet as the first organizational item to tackle.  have started the first project in the Purge Project series where I will go and organize/ purge 4 different areas in our home and post before and after pictures.  This week's project was the linen closet.  I had organized my linen closet plenty of times but always found that it quickly got into disarray in a short time after all my efforts.

I needed a system

     My problem was that I didn't have a system to neatly store my linens and other items in any kind of consistent manner.  Most linen closets at least have shelves that the home builder installed and that is a start.  Oftentimes, they are too deep and there never seems to be enough room.  Stuff you don't use regularly gets pushed to the back and forgotten about until the next linen closet tidy-up session.  I needed to figure out how to keep the linens separated from each other and avoid the untidy stacks of towels, washcloths, and sheets.

Keep it separated

     Adding the baskets really brightened up the closet and made it easier to keep things from piling up into each other.  After deciding which items to keep and which to toss and donate, I determined what would easily fit into these baskets.  I bought mine at our local Supercenter and you can find things like this just about anywhere.  I have even seen some pretty good basket organizers at our local dollar store.  Before you buy something, check to make sure you know the dimensions of your shelves and door opening.

Linen Closet -After (Top half)
Linen Closet -After (Bottom half)

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Add some color

I chose red ribbons to affix the labels because after I sorted through the linens and towels I had, I realized that most of them were red, white, blue, or tan.  I picked the red because it is bright and cheerful and goes well with the red towels and other linen items I have.

Add some extra storage

Towel rods on door
I installed some cheap towel rods on my door.  Our house was built with hollow core doors so when installing the towel bars, put them into the solid parts of the door.  This is usually located in the middle near the handle and sometimes at the top.  I used the wall anchors included with the towel rod package and it seems pretty sturdy to me.  If it starts to get loose, I'll re-install them with molly screws.



The Process with guidelines for what to keep

The most important and beneficial part of the entire process was completely emptying the closet of everything and taking a good hard look at what I was going to keep.  I ended up getting rid of about a third of what I had.  Animal shelters can always use extra towels and blankets that are unsuitable for charitable donations.  Extra baby blankets make good donations.  There are lots of ways to recycle!

Here are the guidelines I followed when deciding what to keep:

2 sets of sheets per bed  (really no need for more)
2 towels per person + 2 for guest use (this might even be a little bit much but it made my shelves look prettier)
Plenty of washcloths so I filled the entire bin with them
1 set of guest sheets
1 blanket for each bed (to be used in Winter)
extra toiletries for guests.

Guest towels are hung on the rods on the inside of the door to keep them separated from the common-use towels.

I created a large space for storing club-pack sizes of toilet paper since we always seem to be running out
Cleaning supplies and rags are on the floor in a matching bin next to the toilet paper

Linen Closet - After
The bottom line is that a linen closet is managed much easier when you have less "stuff" in it.  I would love to hear about your linen closet adventures.  Do you have any spectacular after pictures that you are proud of?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think of my closet!

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