Today, I’m sharing step-by-step how to organize a linen + laundry closet! Organizing is something that always makes me feel better, and it’s never been more true now that we’re in the midst of a shelter in place order. In fact, just even saying the word “shelter” makes me want to tidy-up and nest like a madwoman. Are you with me?
This week, I tackled my linen + laundry closet, and I’m dishing all about it:
My closet before: Yikes!
As you can see, calling this a “linen” closet is generous. Because what’s in there is ran-dom. Oh look, there’s an old metal letter from a drive-in movie theatre my husband and I used to go to in Bellingham 18 years ago. (Remember when there were still drive-ins? Who knows? They might make a comeback with this whole social distancing thing!)
Anyway, having an unorganized closet like this makes me queasy, so I avoid it, and then it gets worse. Has that ever happened to you? I have a theory that neglected closets seem grow in their chaos. Their randomness multiplies. Pretty soon, I might have six bottles of Aloe Vera gel in there, for example.
But what bugged me the most is that this closet had some serious potential, and I wasn’t letting it shine. I was relegating it to basement status, or what my husband refers to as his “apartment.”
Let’s praise all it’s positives, shall we? Closets need praise too. It’s A) It’s right in my laundry room B) It’s near our guest bedroom/den C) It’s pretty big compared to all the other painfully small 1940’s closets in my upstairs. D) It has shelves. Hey, that’s something!
With clients, I would definitely see this as a major opportunity. I’m sorry to say it took a PANDEMIC for me to finally confront it and give it the makeover it deserves.
My linen + laundry closet after:
Ahhh, isn’t that better? I could probably quarantine myself in there if needed, with my nail polish and my fluffy towels. In fact, it might be a nice break from homeschooling my children. Just kidding!
Here’s what I did to organize this closet step by step, without buying anything:
Define the purpose of the closet:
I decided this closet would contain the following types of things: Guest linens, guest towels, cleaning tools and cloths, containers to sort dirty laundry, and a little nail painting kit (because I like to do my nails when I watch movies in the den.) It will not contain random cleaning supplies, artwork, or giant letters!
I went through the closet and sorted everything like with like.
“Donate” and “Belongs Elsewhere”
I went through each sorted group and eliminated everything that didn’t belong in the closet, and everything I didn’t want anymore. You will discover some interesting things about your buying habits. I found six nearly full bottles of Aloe Vera gel. That made me laugh a little considering we live in Seattle and not, say, in Palm Springs. We’re nothing if not optimistic! I just wish I’d over purchased toilet paper instead.
A word on shifting the sh–t
During this process, you might find that you are just moving things from one place to another storage location. My neighbor refers to this practice as shifting chairs on the Titanic. I say, if you really love the items, but you don’t use them often, I think moving them to another storage location is okay as long as you keep them all together in one place. There are some storage locations that may even make more sense for your things.
For example, I moved the artwork into a safe space in the garage. Since I don’t need to access it unless I want to change up our decor, it makes sense not to be in a main closet in our home.
I like to zone closets by putting groups of like items together. It makes my brain happy, and it also helps my family to know where things are and where they go.
Here’s how I choose my zones:
I look at my beautifully empty closet, and ask myself the following: Do I really need to put anything back in at all? Which things belong in here? Which things should be most accessible? Who needs to reach certain items? Which items should be out of reach of certain people?
This is one of my favorite parts! I love deciding which bins of mine to put to use in new ways. The braided bin used to hold laundry things on top of my washer, but I moved those things to another location that made more sense. The hampers used to be out next to my washer and dryer, but I like them tucked into the closet better. Why air my dirty laundry?
When containing, I ask myself these questions:
1) Does it really need a lid? 2) Does it need a container? 3) Which containers look best together? 4) Which bins fit the collection of items the best? See, the divided bin below is just perfect for my nail polish items. It’s way better than the plastic drawer I had been using where everything was just tossed in helter-skelter.
The final step is figuring out how to keep it organized going forward. This is where you label if needed, and talk to your family about where things go, and how you will use the closet.
I’m so glad I finally tackled this closet! It’s made my laundry room feel more purposeful, and seeing it all organized lifts my spirits.
What do you want to organize during this time? Leave me a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
Hang in there,
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