Crowded Linen Cupboards & how to sort them

Linen cupboards can become hopelessly messy and some of the reasons for this are that they are often quite small spaces, sometimes awkward to organise, and contain often non-related objects which could potentially be stored elsewhere.

My linen cupboard is in the tiny and awkward category and has to contain not only everyday linen but also out of season blankets. And it’s awkward because it’s above my vanity unit so I have to get on a chair and actually lean into the cupboard to reach items such as sheets and duvet covers. So trust me, I totally empathise for those of you with problem linen cupboards.

Whether you have a nice roomy closet to store linen, or baskets in the spare room wardrobe, the following tips might be helpful in rendering the space more organised and less annoying. I passed on some of these to a good friend and she immediately went home and implemented them and was delighted with the result.

– When I am working with a client on their linen cupboard the first thing we do is take everything out and then work out what needs to go back in and what needs to be stored elsewhere.

I’ve found all sorts of items stored in linen cupboards and these have included sports gear, suitcases and bags, and out of season clothes. So leave out everything that is not linen, and relocate the other gear. Suitcases might fit on top of a wardrobe, under the bed, in the attic if you have one, or up against a garage wall. Sports gear could be stored in a spare wardrobe, or a large plastic container which can be stored in the garage.

– The next step of course is to decide whether you really need all of that linen, and also whether some is thin or worn and could be better used elsewhere as rags/cleaning cloths. If there are orphans such an unmatched sheets or pillow cases, it might be time to let them go too.

– Now you need to organise what needs to be readily accessible and what doesn’t. Given we’re practically into Winter I would suggest storing beach towels on the very top shelf. If you have put the flannelette sheets on the beds then the cotton ones could also go on the top shelf.

– Now you can categorise the shelves and decide which will be used for towels and face cloths, which for sheets and pillow cases, tea towels etc. As sheets are usually bulky you want to put them on a shelf that is easy to get to – if you put them on a high shelf you risk pulling them down on top of you.

Matching sheets and finding the right flat sheet to match its fitted sheet can be downright frustrating. Here’s what I do: fold the flat sheet first then fold the fitted sheet and wrap it inside the folds of the flat sheet – this way you’ll always have the pair together. You can also include the pillow cases inside the folds with the fitted sheet. Another method of keeping sheets together is to fold and store them inside the matching pillow case.

Sorting sheets into sizes can be a mission and there are a few ways you can do this. You can use a waterproof marker pen and write the size on the hem of the sheet; you could also put something in the middle of the shelf to act as a divider so the kids’ sheets go on one side and the adults’ sheets on the other. The divider could be something as simple as a piece of firm cardboard or a slender piece of board.

Separating kids’ linen from adults: a shelf could be dedicated to sheets for the kids’ beds and their towels, and a separate shelf for the adults’ linen and towels. This may depend upon the size of the shelves and whether or not you have separate towels for the children.

Folding towels will make them much easier to organise and you can stack them alongside each other, by type, colour, or size. Stacking them with the folded side facing outwards makes it easier to grab and slide them out of the pile.

The bottom of the linen cupboard could be used for camping related linen, sleeping bags and inner sheets and the like. If the bottom is large enough these items could be stored in a plastic bin so they’re kept off the floor.

Another idea for separating the linen for each bed could be storing them in the actual bedroom, especially if the beds have drawers underneath. This is ideal as storing the sheets that match the beds in the bed’s storage drawers is logical and frees up the linen cupboard.

Organising your linen cupboard may seem like a chore but believe me it will save a lot of time and make life much easier when it’s time to change the beds.

As always I hope these ideas are helpful. I wish you a month of joy, and fun with your decluttering and organising goals.

In Joy!

Angella Gilbert

P: 09 410 4166
M: 027 224 8937
E: angella@gioia.net.nz
W: www.gioia.net.nz

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