Today I am sharing how to organize your linen closet in less than an hour. I purchased Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” about 6 months ago and, honestly, I skimmed through it and then it rested on the book shelf for a few months. I found out about Marie Kondo’s book on organizing through a friend on the internet. I was interested in it because she had developed her own unique way of organizing everything in the house. With my “bigs” ( aka adult children) moving out of the house, there was a strong need for me to organize. They still have piles of things left behind that I guess they are leaving for us to decide where it ends up. I love her system of organizing category-by-category and keeping things that only spark joy in your life. It has made the process so much easier and faster.
My organizing technique is somewhat semi quasi Marie Kondo-style. In her book she suggests tackling things in categories not locations. For example, if you are going to organize the sheets in the linen closet make sure that you get ALL the sheets in the house, sort and organize which ones you are going to keep and then put them in one spot. I totally believe in this technique but I cheated a bit. I did organize all the sheets in the house that were in two different linen closets but when it came to nail polishes, hair ties, band-aids and toilet paper, I left that alone for now at least in our master bath.
Here are my 9 easy steps of how I accomplished organizing the linen closet in less than an hour and was still able to enjoy my Saturday. I promise, you can do this too.
Before you do anything, you need to look at the space in your linen closet. Count your shelves to determine how many bins or baskets you are going to re-purpose or purchase. Measure the depth, width and height of the shelving to make sure that if you buy a basket organizer or plastic bin that it won’t be too tall or too wide.
Step 1: Schedule it for a Saturday morning if you are a working human. If you are a stay at homer, put it on your calendar whatever day you can fit it in. Start first thing in the morning if you can. If it’s when the kids are in school, you are going to tackle this as soon as you get them off. If it is Saturday morning, have the hubs watch them for an hour and if you are a single mom or dad and saying ” I ain’t got time for this” use the playpens, baby swings, crayons, chores…. or if the kiddos are old enough to help have them fold the pillow cases or towels. You can figure this out for an hour in your day.
Step 2: Coffee. Iced Tea. Caffeine. Caffeine-Free. Favorite Tunes. Whatever is your jam, as the millennials say. Drink it and play it. Loud. Set the stage. Get yourself pumped up.
Step 3: Positive self-talk and Visualization. Not kidding on this. I am such a believer in positive self talk, inspirational quotes and encouragement for success. I know it works. Do not skip this step. Here are a few statements you can say to yourself now. “I’ve got this!”, “I’m awesome!”, I am so organized” , “I am going to do this and treat myself after” and “Empty, Sort, Organize, Label, BAM, Done!” Visualize in your mind the perfectly organized linen closet. Bins are labeled. You can find what you are looking for fast and easy. Just imagine never trying to find a Queen size sheet set again by unfolding all the sheets only to find one twin flat and a king fitted.
Step 4: Get 2 bags or boxes. Label one Giveaway and the other Throw away. There should be no explanation here.
Step 5: Set a timer to 60 minutes. I like the old fashion egg timers that are portable and you can actually keep an eye on how much time you have left. It’s like your accountability partner and truly a race against the clock. If you have any competitiveness in your blood at all, you will enjoy the satisfaction at the end of the race when you win. Ladies & gents, start your timers, GO!
Step 6: Empty. (5 minutes). Take absolutely everything out of the linen closet. I had towels, Christmas pillows, tablecloths, sheets and who knows how many random pillow cases that I held on to thinking I can make something of them or when I have little ones running around the house again we can do pillow case races. Seriously. What was I thinking?
Step 7: Sort. (20 minutes). The time is now. This is where you sort what you want to keep, throw away and give away what you don’t want to keep. Don’t think about it too long. Remember you are racing against the clock and it is a ticking away. Hurry it up.
Hold those old sheets in your hands and decide how they make you feel. They could be perfectly good sheets but maybe they are old or perhaps they have a small stain. Are they truly bringing you joy or is the feeling you get while holding them confusion. If it’s confusion and mixed feelings decide right then and there to give away or throw away. I had sheets that I think were hand me downs from my house I grew up in. They were in perfectly good shape but I didn’t care for the design at all. I wasn’t going to have my guests sleep on them and they didn’t match any of the bedroom decor so they immediately went in the give away bag. I had to do this to about three other sets of sheets and they all went to the give away. I don’t miss them at all and I truly hope they are bringing joy to someone else.
You are almost half way there! Up to this point, you should have spent about 5 minutes emptying the closet and about 20 minutes sorting. You’ve got this!
Step 8: Organize. (20 minutes) Separate everything in categories. Sheets (Twin, Queen, King). Washcloths. Hand Towels. Bath Towels. Our upstairs linen closet only holds these items but if you have more items like we do in our master bathroom such as first aid, toilet paper and personal items then by all means if you aren’t using those 32 shampoos and conditioners anymore throw them away or give to someone else or else you may classified as a hoarder.
Step 9: Label. (15 minutes). Labels to me are essential, especially when you have little ones running around at home and their toys are spread everywhere. You are teaching them to be organized at a young age by having a place for everything. Having a bin or basket for all baby shampoos, soaps and lotions will make bath time easy. The most helpful thing for me was organizing the different sheet sets. How much of my valuable time was wasted over the years trying to differentiate between our full and queen size sheets? Too much time to count, I’m sure.
A word on labels. I am obsessed with labeling as many things as I can. The labels above were super easy. I pulled out my old brother label maker that still had tape in it and typed in my labels and attached the sticky side to plain white card stock.
I picked up the label holders in a pack at Michaels. Now, for those of you old enough to remember the vintage buttoneer device you will appreciate that I held on to that gadget all these years for a reason. Not only is it great for what it is intended to be used for, attaching buttons, but I used it to attach my label holders to the material that came in my wire baskets.
There are a number of creative ways to label and some of us can be very choosy about fonts, colors and shapes. Then there are those that want the done for you labels. I have made you very simple done for you Linen closet labels that you can print out and cut to size. You can print on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock paper or you can buy the full sheet sticker sheets in white or clear. You can print directly on that then cut them out to stick on your bins or in your label holder.
Click here to download your free printable.
Once you have your bins labeled then you are ready to put all of your organized items in the matching bins. You are done, my dear. Congratulations! You did it. Now sit back and enjoy your work. Don’t you feel so much better with that one closet tackled? You are off to a great start of organizing the rest of your home.
Marie Kondo has released another book called “ Spark Joy“. I have not read it yet but the Japanese de-cluttering guru has included step-by-step illustrations for folding everything from socks and shirts plus drawer organizing.