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Organizing linensIs your linen closet a mess? It can be hard to keep everything in order, especially if you have limited storage space. Not being able to find what you need – or having linens that are crumpled or wrinkled – is frustrating.

With that in mind, here are some ideas to help you organize your linens and make your closet both functional and attractive.

Evaluate Your Shelf Space

The first step is to look at your closet and decide if you have enough shelf space. A lot of homes have small linen closets, but there are a couple of simple options if you want to extend your shelf space. For example, you might make a trip to the hardware store and get some wire baskets that hang under your bottom shelf. Alternatively, you could buy some pretty storage baskets or containers, and put them on the floor beneath your bottom shelf to provide you with extra storage.

Make Labels

If you feel that each time you put things away in their place someone comes along and messes up the closet, consider making labels to indicate where things go. You can buy simple label holders at the hardware store and attach them to the edges of your shelves using nails. Then you can hand-write or print labels to indicate where you want your hand towels to go, and so on. Labels are also useful for baskets and plastic storage containers.

Organize by Size

Instead of just piling your sheets together, consider separating them by bed size to make them easier to find. Twin, Queen, and King sheets can be stacked separately so that when it’s time to make the beds, you’re not stuck rooting through a huge pile of sheets hoping to find the right one. The same goes for towels and even tablecloths. If you lack the space to have unique piles for each size, consider putting your linens in individual bags that you label so you can tell the difference between a large tablecloth and a small one.

Consolidate Small Items

People who entertain a lot often have multiple sets of small items, such as cloth napkins and linen guest towels. One nice way to consolidate those items is to wrap them around a cardboard tube. When they are all on the tube, wrap a piece of sturdy plastic around the outside, leaving the ends open so air can get in. Seal it with clear tape and label so that you know how many napkins are in the roll. The rolls can then be stacked on a shelf, taking up far less space than they would if you folded and stacked them individually.

Hang Large Items

If you have delicate linens or many large pieces, such as linen tablecloths and extra quilts for the beds, consider getting some extra-large hangers from your dry cleaner and using them to hang your linens instead of folding them. If you use this option, iron your linens first. Put a piece of acid-free tissue paper over the hanger, drape the linen over it, and then cover it with another piece of tissue paper. Acid-free tissue paper is available in many hardware stores, and can help protect all of your fine linens and antiques.

Separate Non-Linen Items

With limited storage space, you may be asking your linen closet to do double duty as a place to keep medicines and other items. If that is the case, it’s important to protect your linens in case of spillage. To corral your first aid supplies and extra toothpaste, label some small baskets and put items into them to keep them neat and organized, and to eliminate the chance that a bottle of cough syrup will spill and ruin your grandmother’s table cloth.

Pack and Store Seasonal Items

Do you switch from cotton to flannel sheets during the winter months? If so, you might have an overwhelming number of sheets to store. One way to cope is to buy zippered linen storage bags. They typically have a bottom made of linen, which allows air to get in, and a top made of clear plastic so you can see the items inside. Protected in this way, off-season sheets can be stored at the bottom of the closet, in an overhead space, or even under a bed or in the attic.

The bottom line is that your linens don’t have to be disorganized. With a little care, planning, and attention, you can have a perfectly organized linen closet that is both beautiful and functional.

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