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Organized Linen Closet

I don’t really do New Year resolutions, words, or phrases. It’s just not my thing.

But one thing I’ve promised myself that I would do this year is purge. And there’s only one reason why I need to purge.

We have too much crap unused stuff in our house.

This past weekend I decided to take on the linen closet in our master bedroom because I haven’t touched it, organizationally-speaking, since we moved into this house over 6 years ago.

Here’s what the closet looked like Saturday morning. I’m surprised nothing fell out when I opened the door.

linen closet before

For starters, we had way too much stuff we hadn’t used in years– bed linens, throw pillows, regular pillows, blankets, baskets.

See the white sheets with light pink flowers? I’ve had those since I was in eighth grade. They were the sheets I used on my first queen size bed, and I loved them.

linen closet before 3

Please tell me I’m not the only whose closet looks looked like this.

linen closet before 2

I started by clearing everything out. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

And then I vacuumed the carpet inside the closet and sucking the cobwebs out of the corners with the vacuum.

Now, I will say that for a 1,600 square foot house, there’s a lot of storage space. We have a small coat closet in our entryway, a small linen closet in our hallway, a large walk-in pantry, ample storage in our laundry room/utility room (especially after we updated it last year), and this large linen closet in our master bedroom.

The linen closet in our bedroom is roughly 65 inches wide, so the opening may be small but it’s quite large in there, which is difficult to capture in photos.

linen closet during

After deciding what things would be donated or given to family members, I started putting things back into the closet.

Let’s start with the upper right.

I put two decorative Christmas pillows and a vintage comforter on the upper right top shelf.

linen organization

Here’s a better look at the comforter. My dad got it when he was serving in the Vietnam War. He gave it to my grandmother when he came back and told her his eldest daughter should get it one day. It’s so pretty but I’m terrified to put it out and risk something happening to it.


I put some more decorative pillows on the upper left side of the shelf.


The second shelf from the top is for our linens, and the third shelf from the top is for guest linens. I’m weird, and I like having separate linens. Plus, our bed is a king and the guest bed is queen, and I would always get the sheets mixed up so I’d have to unfold them to read the tags to determine the size. Now I won’t be mixing anything up with my new system.

You may notice the abundance of pillow cases on our shelf. It’s because I have this thing where I never use the same pillow case every night– I think it keeps my skinner clearer to not reuse a pillowcase. I talk about it in detail in this podcast with Liz Marie from Liz Marie Blog. I know it sounds weird but I swear by it.

linen closet after 1

I love using white towels because I can bleach them. Seriously, I haven’t bought a new white towel in probably 5 years because the ones we have still look like new.

In case you’re wondering, I tell the difference between our towels and the guest towels by cutting the tags off of our towels and washcloths and leaving the tags on all the guest towels.

The pink and purple hand towels are what I use after I wash my face. My makeup tends to stain white towels, even with bleaching, so I use the colored towels, which don’t show the stains.

linen closet towel organization

Owen’s hooded towels are to the right of our towels.

linen closet towels

And our six beach towels are to the right of the guest towels.


The bottom shelf is used to store a heating pad (not pictured), the red towels we use to dry off Jack (kind of pictured), and some blankets.

linen closet 2

I had so much room available when I was done purging that I was able to move my weekender bag and carry-on suitcase (similar), which were residing in our walk-in closet, into the closet.

I also store my vintage ceramic Christmas trees in the closet (one is in the box behind the suitcase). There’s also a small storage bin and our garment bag behind the red suitcase.

linen closet luggage storage

The other ceramic Christmas tree is in the old box.

I couldn’t bring myself to part with the duvet cover set I used throughout college because I freaking love it so I put it in a space saver bag and slid it beside the box.

linen closet storage

And here’s the final product!

When I was done it actually looked like I needed to put more stuff back in it. But I didn’t because I’m sure some random things will make their way into the closet, so I think it’s best to leave some empty space.

linen closet organization

Are you purging this year too?

Organized linen closet! Helpful tips and tricks!

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  1. Sherry VF says:

    Nice job! Closets can be a great source of guilt. I have a couple that need tending to also. They only need to be cleaned every few years. So, kudos to you.

  2. Yes, my word for 2016 is “Downsize”. So I’m right there with you. I will be tackling a closet here and there for the next few months.

  3. I feel the same way this year – PURGE!

    I did this to our guest room closet which is our linen closet/storage area. It felt so good I kept showing it to people when they came over!

    I hear you on pillowcases, while I do not switch mine every night, we each have four on our bed and I rotate them each night – I wash our sheets every three days because I LOVE a clean bed and feel I sleep much better!

    Can’t wait to see more purging!

    1. Yay, purging! And yes, I totally agree– clean sheets and pillowcase are the way to go. I was attempting to explain to Brad the other night how nice it is to get into a bed with clean sheets and freshly shaved legs. He just looked at me like I was a freak. But I’d like to think that other ladies know what I’m talking about. Haha!

  4. That’s a great improvement! Since we are anticipating a move, I am trying to use up is and ends of things like body wash or lotion that was a gift. I’m also going room by room making sure that everything has an exact place. If something doesn’t, I find it one or decide that maybe it needs a new home and I donate it. So satisfying!

  5. I purged our linen closet a few weeks ago and it felt great! The space was overcrowded and so I donated most of the items to our local Goodwill. I love your idea for cutting the tags off of your towels and leaving them on for the guests – great idea!

    1. Yes, it feels awesome! It makes you wonder why we keep all this extra stuff around when we usually feel so much better after it’s gone and out of our homes.

  6. Alison S. from Iowa says:

    I love this post! It seems so silly for us to see how you clean and organize your linen closet but I love it and now want to clean my linen closet. Thanks for sharing Chelsea!

    1. Glad you like it! I mean, I don’t know if I’d ever show you guys my unmentionables drawer but I’m cool with you checking out my sheets and towels. Haha! Happy cleaning!

  7. I definitely need to clean through our linen closet and when we buy new towels I will be buying white. We have colored ones and they end up splotchy for whatever reason?! I dunno. Anyways, white seems to be the way to go — at least bleach can fix them up easy.

    I usually have to push my body up against our linen closet to close it so you were doing better than I was!!

    1. Yeah, white is the way to go. With colored towels you’re going to get fading over time and you obviously won’t get that with white. And to keep ours extra white, I always soak them in the washer (we have a top loader) in detergent and bleach for an hour or so before starting the cycle.

      Don’t feel bad– I usually had to use my foot to push stuff back in before I shut the door. Hah!

  8. Ahh that after picture just makes me feel so good inside! All nice and organized. I love how when you clean something sometimes you find a ton of unknown space! So awesome.

  9. I need to purge my two living space closets and the pantry! it looks like a bomb went off in all the them!

  10. Wow! It looks awesome! I organized our downstairs bathroom closet and our Christmas decorations last week. The closet is probably the one that gets the most random stuff tossed in, so it was quite the job! I decided we could finally part with lots of things, and was so happy I took time to do it!

    1. That’s awesome! It’s so easy just to shove stuff into closets and shut the door. But then things start to get out of control.

  11. Beth Ingle says:

    I so want your closet! Mine is half the size, but I do have the same problem with not purging “old” stuff! You have just motivated me to organize my linen closet! Thanks so much!!!:)

    1. Awesome! Yeah, we really lucked out with the closets and storage space in this house. It’ll be a good selling point one day! Happy organizing!

  12. Sarah Kressaty says:

    Great job!! We have similar closets but mine is smaller than yours!!! I have to tackle that soon, and yes, mine looks like your before!!!

      1. Sarah Kressaty says:

        Planning on that like next week! Have to finish another project first!! Can’t wait!! Owen is so adorable!! s

  13. Mariela Iten says:

    Wow! Thank You for sharing!!
    This got me thinking of I should Clean and organize mine!!!
    Also I’ll get White color towels.
    Awesome Job!!!!

    1. You gave such great advice!!! Im going to go and get some white towels soon, theres something special about white towels that smell so fresh!!!

  14. Your dad’s gift (quilt) is gorgeous. I’d wrap it in acid-free BLUE tissue paper, then add some cedar chips.

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