Let’s talk linen closet organization, shall we? This has been a project I’ve been wanting to do (and avoiding) ever since we moved into this apartment. I was super excited about having such a huge linen closet, and all the possibilities for organizational goodness that came with it. After years of drooling over other amazing Pinterest linen closets, I finally had one of my own to add to the mix.
But here we are, 8 months after moving in, and my linen closet was still untouched. Things were just thrown in as we moved in and unpacked boxes. There was no real system, things were just put wherever they fit. Rrgular use items were placed out of reach, and things we rarely needed to access were placed front and center. It was pretty much linen closet chaos. Here’s how things were looking:
Not quite a disaster zone, but also not at all ideal, especially for this organization loving gal! So why did it take me this long to dive in and get things organized? Well the same reason I wanted to get it organized… Pinterest. With all the beautiful magazine-worthy Pinterest linen closets in the universe, I set expectations for my little reorganization too high. And since my budget for this project was exactly zero dollars, I found myself thinking “why bother” if I can’t buy brand new matching bins for the entire closet, or paint the walls a fun color. I was afraid my humble little linen closet would never measure up.
So I did the worst thing, I did nothing. My linen closet remained disorganized. Things continued to get tossed in wherever they would fit. It would sometimes take 5 minutes to dig through all the junk being stored to find the one thing I needed.
Then I finally had enough. I decided not to let Pinterest discourage me from starting on the path to a stunning ‘after’ linen closet. After all, Pinterest was meant to inspire, not intimidate. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I hope to eventually complete right away, but I could darn well get the ball rolling! So that’s exactly what I did over the weekend.
The first thing I needed to do was pull every single thing out of my linen closet. This is my favorite part of every organization project. It allows you to start with a blank slate, and truly lets you see what space you have to work with. Emptying the contents of the linen closet also allowed me to take inventory of what was being stored in there.
While everything was out of the closet, I took this opportunity to sort through it all. If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you probably know I am a bit of a hoarder. So there were some things I was holding onto stored in the linen closet, that I really had no need for. So with everything from my linen closet blanketing my bathroom floor, I went through every single item one by one.
I had a ton of old chemical cleaners that were just taking up space since we made the switch to less toxic Method products. I had products I hadn’t touched in years, and had no plans of using in the future (Nair anyone?). I even had some lotions and toiletries that I have held onto since middle school! If I hadn’t used it in all this time, why was I taking up valuable space in my linen closet storing it?
After sorting through and purging all of my existing linen closet contents, I was left with a nice condensed pile of products that we use, and earned the right to be put back in my linen closet! But before I could load everything back into the closet, I had a little more sorting to do.
The basis for most of my organizational systems involves placing like items together. So before putting anything back on shelves, I put all my products into categorized piles. For example, a few of my piles included hair products, lotions, medicine and travel toiletries. After every item had been placed into a category, it was finally time to load things back onto my linen closet shelves! And project linen closet organization project phase one was complete!
After separating things into more specific categories, I also combined specific categories under general categories. For example, my lotions, hair products, face washes etc. got combined into a beauty category, and were all placed on the same shelf. When all was said and done, I ended up with four main categories, filling up three shelves.
The beauty category definitely had the most “stuff”, so it completely filled up an entire shelf. This shelf included non-make-up beauty essentials, as well as excess stock of shower supplies (I like to buy in bulk to save some money).
Below my new beauty shelf is now my cleaning shelf. This includes all my cleaning products and supplies. The way back of that shelf also holds a few other “homeless” items, that needed to be stored in the linen closet, but didn’t really belong to any specific category.
Finally, the bottom shelf holds my DIY and hygiene categories. The DIY half of the shelf stores our tools, as well as the bucket that holds all our screws, nails and such (that is majorly screaming for an organization session itself). This stuff was stored more towards the back, since it doesn’t need to be accessed as frequently.
In the front of the bottom shelf, I now store all of our hygiene and medical supplies. This includes any medicine we have (to save space in the medicine cabinet), extra dental products and a few other necessities.
While placing all my ‘stuff’ back in the closet in it’s appropriate area, I also made sure to coral like items together in bins and baskets. Most importantly, this keeps similar items stored together nice and neat. It also will help keep
us me, from hoarding stuff we don’t need. For example, I am only allowed to keep as many lotions as will fit in the lotion basket. This will help keep clutter down in the long run. Finally, storing all my different bottles and products in baskets is super helpful with the wire shelving that came in our closet. The baskets keep things from falling through, or tipping over since there’s no solid ‘ground’ on the shelves.
What I am most pleased about this linen closet organization project is how much extra space I was left with. I was expecting the shelves to feel a little roomier, but I was not expected to have cleared up as much space as I did. When all was said and done, I have almost two full empty shelves left at the top of my closet. I also have the whole floor clear except for my towels and sheets drawers. I’m planning to use the floor space to store bulk paper towels and toilet paper.
The shelves will hopefully remain empty until we find a real need for them. For now, they hold a couple other ‘homeless’ items, and boxes holding out of season decor.
And that finishes up the tour of my linen closet organization! It may not be Pinterest worthy in appearance yet, but it perfectly organizes the contents for easy storage and access, which is a win in my book! I must say, I am pretty pleased with how phase one turned out, and I am definitely excited to start planning for phase two! To sum up, here’s what I took away from phase one:
Tips for Linen Closet Organization
- Start by completely emptying out your linen closet
- Purge any items you’ve been storing that you don’t actually need to keep
- Sort your remaining items into categories of similar products
- Contain groups of like items in bins and baskets
- Leave yourself some room to grow
Have you been tackling any linen closet organization recently? Any favorite tips you want to share? Or have any of you ever put off a project for fear of not being able to make it Pinterest perfect? I’ll definitely be trying to keep myself from that way of thinking in the future. Because if you don’t start somewhere, it will never get done!