Organizing the Linen Closet
Crisp sheets, fluffy towels, and colorful tablecloths represent gracious living and a happy home — and deserve proper storage to maintain your investment. Whether your household includes a formal linen closet, or you store linens in a cupboard or chest of drawers, these tips will keep household fabrics looking their best.
1. Store clean and dry.
Keep the linen closet fresh and preserve pretty fabrics by storing only clean, dry linens. Even if a tablecloth looks clean, any hidden stains will harden and discolor during storage. Body odors trapped in blankets can cause musty odors, while moisture encourages mildew.
2. Keep cool, dark, and dry.
The watchwords for proper linen storage: cool, dark and dry. In humid areas, packaged de-humidifying granules will help keep the linen closet free from moisture and mildew.
3. Take turns.
For best wear, ensure that you rotate linens. Place freshly washed towels at the bottom of the stack or draw clean sheets from the bottom of the pile to use all your linens in rotation.
If linens aren't in active use, refold them once or twice a year. This will prevent creases becoming fixed and avoid fiber damage along the creases.
They may seem a practical storage option, but don't store linens in cardboard boxes. Acids in the cardboard transfer to the fabric, causing yellowing and damage, while the glue between the layers is attractive to pests — and when they're finished with the cardboard, they'll often start feeding on the fabrics.
6. Store sweet and fresh.
Tuck fabric softener sheets into the linen closet or the linen storage areas — and your bedding and towels will come out smelling sweet and fresh.
7. Make bedding bundles.
If you use sheets in sets, store them that way, in a "bedding bundle." Fold both sheets, and all but one pillowcase. Tuck the folded linens inside the remaining pillowcase and fold the "case" down around the linens into a tidy packet.
8. Use the shelf system.
Sorting through different-sized bed sheets can be an exercise in frustration - just ask any parent who has had to change a sick child's bedding in the middle of the night. If space permits, store sheets on different shelves in the linen closet, or label closet shelves with sheet sizes.
9. Introduce a family color strategy.
Make it easy to get the right sheets on the right beds by designating a color, pattern, or style of sheet for each size of bed: plain white sheets for the infant crib, patterned sheets for children's beds and solid colors for the parental double bed. That way, you will know at a glance which sheet belongs to which bed.
10. Make bath bundles.
For easy storage and instant access, make bath bundles: sets each containing a bath towel, hand towel and washcloth. Place the folded hand towel and washcloth in the center of the folded bath towel, and roll the three towels together from the short end. Store the rolled bath bundles on their side in the closet, stacking them as needed.
Housework Hacks: Folding Linen
The word "shambles" must have been invented to describe linen shelves after a late-night rummage for a warmer blanket. Carelessly folded linens invite the risk of an avalanche; they tumble and fall to the floor at the slightest provocation. Keep stored linens easy to find and easy to store with proper folding techniques. Think of it this way: better to fold the linens right just once, than to refold them poorly once each time you visit the shelf for a fresh towel.
- Flat sheets. Fold in half lengthwise, quarter them, and then fold in half again. Depending on the size of the sheet, flip the remaining rectangle into halves or thirds to make a smooth fabric packet.
- Pillowcases. These look prettiest (and sleep best) when you avoid creating sharp center creases as you fold. To fold, grab the pillowcase by the top corners and shake it smooth. Fold in half lengthwise, then in half again. You'll have a long, slender strip of pillowcase; fold gently in half, then in quarters to store.
- Hand towels and washcloths. Folding in quarters makes sense for hand towels and washcloths, as they're used more often-and more quickly-throughout the day. To fold a hand towel, hold the two upper corners of the towel's short side in your hands. Bring your hands together, being sure the right side of the towel is on the outside of the fold. Tuck the folded edge between chin and chest as you grasp the towel halfway down the length. Drop the top half over the bottom. Hang the towel or washcloth, or set aside for the linen closet.