How to Organize a Small Linen Closet

Never dig through piles of sheets and towels again! Even the smallest linen closet can be organized with these space-saving tips.

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The linen closet is a difficult space to keep tidy, especially if yours is on the small side. These organizing tips will help you get rid of the piles of mismatched bedding and take control of your limited shelf space!

Empty Your Closet and Purge

For any organizing project, it’s best to start with a blank slate. Clear out everything (yes, everything!) from your linen closet and lay it all out on a table so you can sort through each item. Then it’s time to purge.

Professional organizer Rachel Winter of Happy Home Organizers says, “Only keep what you really use. Use it, or lose it! You want to make sure everything is easily visible and accessible. No digging!” Get rid of expired beauty or first aid products, as well as worn out towels and those extra sets of mismatched sheets that you never use.

A good rule of thumb is to have two to three sets of sheets per bed, and three towels per family member. That way you have enough to have one in use, one in the linen closet and possibly one in the laundry. Anything more than that can be donated to clear up precious closet space.

Arrange Items by How Often They’re Used

As you start to place things back into the empty linen closet, think about how often you use each category of items. Everyday towels and sheets should be placed on the most accessible shelves, usually towards the middle. Reserve higher shelves for off-season linens, like a down comforter that’s only used in the winter.

If you’re still overflowing, pare down further or consider storing items elsewhere. Sheets, for examples, could stay in the room with the bed they’re used on. “Items should not be stuffed into a closet either. Let your items breathe!” Winter says.

Find Your Towel-Folding Style

Neatly folded towels not only make your linen closet look nice, they’ll also save you precious shelf space. There are several methods for folding towels, and the one that’s best for you depends on your shelf width and personal preference.

Home Depot offers a few great towel-folding tutorials, including tri-fold, rolled and narrow. You can also check out the KonMari towel fold, made popular by the decluttering queen herself, Marie Kondo. (Here’s a few more of our favorite Marie Kondo organizing tips!)

Keep Sheet Sets Together

For sheets, Winter advises storing the whole set together. “That’s the best way not to lose anything,” she says. To keep things extra tidy, try folding the sheets neatly and then placing them inside a pillowcase belonging to each set. If your home has multiple sized beds, use these handy shelf labels to establish where you want each size stored. That way, you never accidentally grab the queen-size sheets while you’re making the king-size bed.

Use Baskets and Bins

Baskets and bins can help you capitalize on every inch of your small linen closet. For small items like soaps, first aid and vitamins, Winter likes to use several clear storage bins, such as these shoe box-sized tubs. “I don’t go to a job without them,” says Winter. “They offer a nice, clean look. When you put the lid on, you can stack them, which is great. You always want to go vertical to maximize your space.” For bigger items, utilize a large basket on the closet floor — it’s a great space to hold extra toilet paper.

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.