First, you'll need to empty the whole closet!
If you're like me, there's a door in your house you ignore whenever possible. When necessary, you yank it open, try not to look too carefully at what's inside, grab what you need and close the door before you get any ideas. Better to face facts: it's time to do another linen closet clean-up.
It doesn't have to be a horrible or haphazard experience. With a few steps, you'll get it out of the way and free up time to watch that game with the family (or play one, for that matter).
First, empty out the entire closet.
Don't try to organize it shelf-by-shelf, because you can't actually see what you've got until it's all displayed in front of you. Volunteer the dining room table for this duty so you've got a nice big area to spread it all out.
Sort it out.
Grab a box and load it up with anything that's faded, torn or in any other way not entirely usable. Cut it into rags or fold it and set it aside for donations. No matter how worn, old blankets and towels will be eagerly accepted at your local animal shelter or pet hospital.
Be brutally honest: it's easy to justify keeping that cute teddy bear comforter that fit his toddler bed, but how likely will your son really want to use it now he's in middle school? If it's super-special, keep it, but safely and somewhere else.
Take a holiday.
Instead of shelving holiday or seasonally-themed linens together with items that see regular use, store them in color-coded or transparent bins with the rest of your seasonal decorations. Don't store them in cardboard boxes, because they won't keep moisture and creepy-crawlies away from your favorite tablecloths.
Keep heirloom pieces safely inside, however. Your grandmother's crochet work deserves a place of honor in your linen closet - or with those good dishes.
Do the sniff test.
Linens can become musty when they sit. If you get a whiff of less-than-fresh fabric, wash it. Tip: a bit of vinegar in the wash cycle removes stale odors from most linens and won't damage them, but check the care label just to make sure. If your linen closet happens to also be located in a humid spot like a bathroom, run the fan when you're in the shower and vent the steamy air to keep your clean, folded towels from smelling funky.
Wipe down the shelf with a fabric-safe disinfectant spray.
Before you put anything back, wipe down each shelf with a paper towel and spray. Pick something that smells good and let the aromatherapy encourage you to tackle your kid's closet next week.
Think "department store."
Don't just replace linens in the closet randomly. Fold and shelve them in sets, by color, room, and function (or a combination of those). It looks pretty, but it makes the space more useful, too. This way, when you pull out your lavender bathroom towels, you don't dig to the bottom of the pile for half of the set, messing up your pretty stack.
Rotate your linens.
In other words, don't keep grabbing whatever's on top because it's handiest. If the bottom items get little use because they just don't work with your décor, donate them to a charitable organization. Rotating keeps items laundered regularly and prevents your linen closet from becoming a black hole where things disappear and are never seen again. Bonus: you get to enjoy the fantastic towels you forgot you owned and that gorgeous quilt that hardly ever sees the light of day.
Check "linen closet cleanout" off your to-do list.
You're done!Content by Kimberly Morgan.