Organizing a Linen Closet

Depending on your house, a linen closet may be an actual closet with shelves, a cupboard, an armoire, or a large chest. Whatever solution is available and works in your space, grouping and organizing linens can make certain aspects of household care easier.

What Goes in a Linen Closet?

A general linen closet, shared by the entire household, may hold the following:

  • everyday bedding such as sheet sets, blankets, mattress covers, pillow shams, bed skirts and pillows
  • out of season comforters, bedspreads, blankets, quilts, and duvets
  • out of season couch covers, slip clovers, pillow shams, and bed skirts
  • towels for each member of the family, including bath towels, washcloths, hair towels
  • towels for each bathroom or powder room, including hand towels, guest towels, bath mats, extra shower curtains and curtain holders
  • table linens, including tablecloths, napkins, and runners
  • kitchen linens, including hand towels, dish towels, and dishcloths
  • guest linens, including sheet sets—top sheet, bottom sheet, pillow case(s); towel sets—hand and face towels and washcloth; and other bedding such as blankets, bedspreads, etc.
  • out of season curtains or draperies

In a home that has multiple storage spaces, each set of linens can be stored in a linen closet close to its point of use:

  • towels in or near the bathroom they belong in
  • bed linens in or near the appropriate bedrooms
  • guest linens in or near the guest room(s)
  • kitchen linens in the kitchen or pantry

Some people keep worn out linens for rags, and it may be worth keeping a old top sheet as the basis for an impromptu Halloween costume (a Roman toga, perhaps), but the rag linens, at least, are likely to be best stored elsewhere, most likely in the places where they may be used.

home institute 1 Organization

The main principles usually used in organizing a linen closet are to group items by room and size and owner. So towels can either be kept in per/person sets or there can be separate stacks of bath sheets, bath towels, hair towels, hand towels, etc.; sheets can either be kept in per/bed sets or there can be separate stacks of fitted sheets, flat sheets, and pillow cases.

Store woolen blankets and out of season linens in protective bags to protect from pests and dust. It is important to make sure there is room for air to circulate around the linen stacks, and this means that the shelves for the bulkier items (like comforters and large blankets) will require wide separation.

Determining what to place on each shelf can also take account of the user. You might wish to place children’s towels and bedding within their reach, so they can collect their linens and replace them themselves.

One approach to tablecloths is to roll rather than fold them, using for example a cardboard tube of proper length as the core, as this allows them to be stored unwrinkled and without needing ironing between closet and table.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Closet Organizer Buying Guide
  • Introduction to Mattress Toppers
  • Introduction to Table Linens
  • Introduction to Blankets
  • Introduction to Throw Blankets