by Jennifer Jones
The linen closet in any home is often a horrifying labyrinth of junk. Clutter fills every crevice, mismatched items pile up on top of one another, and if your lucky, somewhere in all the mess may lie a few clean towels for your morning shower. In many homes, the “linen” closet is a term that refers to any small closet anywhere in the house- rarely does it actually contain linens. When you have finally had enough, choosing to completely overhaul the small storage spaces can be a refreshing challenge.
Photo courtesy of ClosetMaid
First things first- dump it all out! How can you ever organize a small, often inconvenient space if you do not even know what there is to organize? This is usually the hardest part. Take everything out of the closet and start sorting it out. What can be thrown out, donated, or recycled? Look at bottles and jars for expiration dates. Makeups, lotions, and other such items are not meant to be kept forever. If it’s something you will never use but is still good, set it aside to be donated or given to someone who will use it. If it’s old or junky- toss it out.
Photo courtesy of ClosetMaid
Next, separate what’s left into similar piles. All the clean towels and sheets go into separate piles. Toiletries and medications should be set aside. House goods like bulk toilet paper, tissue boxes, and light bulbs in another pile. Now really look at the empty space. Where is this closet located and what is the more important thing for it to house? Closets by bathrooms and bedrooms should hold towels and sheets. Place these items on middle shelves that are easy to reach by all family members.
Once all the items that need to be stored in this particular closet are arranged, look at what space is left and determine what else can be stored. Items like toilet paper and tissues usually need to be grabbed at random, so may be best stored on bottom shelves or the floor. (Keep light bulbs and other breakable items on shelving.) Cleaning supplies and toiletries can be organized into buckets and kept on top shelves to be brought down when needed. While it may be more accessible to keep cleaning supplies on a lower shelf for regular use, it can also be dangerous in reach of young ones. Do what works best with your family’s safety in mind.
It may be that once the linens are stored, there is no more room in that closet for anything else. If so, another place will be better suited. After culling out of date or half used items, little should be left in the way of storage. Some items may better belong under the bathroom sink or even in a bedroom closet. Random items that could be stored anywhere can still be stored in the linen closet if space allows. However, place such items where they do not inhibit the functionality of the closet.
When you have finished sorting and restoring your closet spaces, keep in mind what items were oddballs in each situation. For example, perhaps you found each small closet in your home had items that were purchased as future gifts. Such a repetitive finding showcases the need for one storage spot for such items. Take the time to pull all those items out and find them a home where they won’t be the random “stuff.” This may mean more shifting of other items and a bit more work. But in the end, having a home for everything will keep your household and your mind a little more peaceful.
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