How To Organize a Linen Closet With Smart Storage Solutions

Rose Morrison

Jan 22, 2024

a linen closet open in a hallway. There are both neatly folded linens and messy bundles.

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Your mother-in-law has just confirmed her visit and you need to prepare the spare room for her and make the bed. You open the linen closet begrudgingly, knowing you might get hit with a stray pillow and a flood of sheets. How does it get so messy? 

Maybe you need new tips on keeping your closet organized or storing seasonal items. Whether you’re using a vintage chest of drawers or a built-in linen cupboard, here’s how to organize a line closet to achieve a neat and functional storage area.  


The easiest way to keep your linen closet organized is to have a strategy. This means a complete overhaul of your current system and a linen audit to see how you can neatly fit everything into the closet. 

Assess your closet

Remove every item from the closet and lay it in an open space. This is a great time to freshen up your closet shelves. Clean with a cloth and wood-friendly cleaning spray. You can also spray essential oil and water to keep the area smelling fresh. Or line the shelves with scented liners. It’s one of the tricks people use to keep their homes smelling nice. 

Sort Items 

Categorize all items. Use three piles— keep, donate and move. Sort the linen items you’ll keep into their relevant categories, so all towels, bedding and toiletries in separate piles. Put items to donate on the side. Maybe you bought a pink beach towel you only used once, then you found a better one with a stylish monogram design that you use more often. Other items that found their way to the linen closet but should be in bedrooms should be on the move pile.

Draw Up a Storage Plan

Now that you know what needs to go back in the linen closet, you need a storage plan. Maybe you want to add storage bins or one or two shelves to keep things from getting entangled when you re-organize your linen closet. Below you’ll see different storage solutions, but for now make a rough note of how you want to organize. 

If you’re a visual person, draw the linen closet on a sheet of paper and fill in the items to get an idea of what you want the closet to look like. Decide what each shelf should hold. Divide into categories, shelves for sheets, shelves for towels and others for cleaning supplies or toiletries. 

Maximizing Efficiency 

stacked pillows with a neutral background

Tips for creating an efficient storage system for your linen closet. 

Arrange Items by Use

A great way to keep things organized is to place items you use frequently on eye level. So you can have your towels and sheets in the middle for easy access. Store seasonal items higher up or lower down. Bedding like thick quilts or comforters that come out once a year can go on the top shelf. This is where you can also place seasonal items like festive cushion covers or accent pillows. 

Use vertical shelves 

You might need a drill and extra wood for this one, but it’s worth the effort to keep your linen closet organized. Install vertical dividers to create a storage system that requires less work to maintain. You can use this to divide towels or sheets, so they don’t touch. It’ll be much easier to pull out one stack than to try and pull out a towel then everything comes tumbling down. 

Leave Room to Breathe

If you have additional space or gaps in your closet, leave them open. This makes it easier to pull out items without disrupting your carefully folded bedsheets, and  negative space can be aesthetically pleasing in busy areas like the linen closet. 

Using Smart Storage

gray stacked towels on a white table

The best way to keep things organized is to use your space wisely and fold linen strategically. Here are some smart storage solutions to keep your closet organized. 

Folding Towels 

You can either roll your towels up to save space or use the Konmari method. People love the KonMari folding style because it’s easy, keeps items in packages that are easy to move around and ensures you can see what you’re looking for in seconds. 

For the KonMari method, you fold the towel into three lengthwise, bringing each side towards the center, then fold in half widthwise, leaving a gap at the edge. Fold again into thirds and your towel should be able to stand upright. If you prefer to roll, use the KonMari first step then roll the towel. 

Bed In a Bag

Keep all your bedding sets together by making a bed in a bag. You fold one bedding set with its sheets, duvet covers or quilt and put it all into one pillowcase. When it’s time to use the set, all you need to do is pull out the bag. With bulkier items like winter bedding, use a vacuum seal. It makes the package smaller and a vacuum seal protects your linen from pests like moths. 

Color Coding 

For smaller closet, it might help to use colored bins to identify different items. For example, you may have a green canvas drawer basket for everyday towels and a green one for guest towels. This ensures no one gets confused and knows where to look when they need a fresh towel. 

Clear Containers and Lazy Susans

Use clear containers for bath essentials like laundry cotton balls, soap and clothes pegs. Clear containers are aesthetically pleasing but also convenient since you can see what’s inside at a glance. 

Or you can use a lazy Susan to store round items like toilet paper, bottles of detergent or toiletries. You can grab things at the back easier since all you have to do is turn the table and you get what you need. 

Keep Your Linen Closet Organized 

Once you’ve done the work, draw up a maintenance schedule to keep things organized. Aim for decluttering and reorganizing every six months or after each season if you change towels and bedding seasonally. 

With these tips, the next time you open your linen closet, the mother-in-law prep scenario will look a little different. 

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