Organising: Decluttering our linen closet

I can't believe I didn't take a before-picture of our linen closet! Can I just assure that it was a dump. Like everything falling out of everywhere. Every now and then, I'd go on a rampage of re-folding all the sheets, duvet covers, towels etc, but it NEVER lasted because the moment you pull a pillowcase from the bottom of a pile, everything on top slides off.... as you will know if you are a human that uses a linen closet.

So here's how to do it!

1. Remove everything. Everything. EVERYTHING. It will look like a mountain of doom piled on your bed, which is good because you need to deal to that before you go to bed!

2. Everything stained, ripped, etc.... make a ruthless decision about it's usefulness. We culled about 5 towels that were not needed and had permanent stains, and moved them to a box in our garage shelves that literally just contains old towels. So useful when you have kids or pets. We are always needing old towels for terrible messes, or carsick kids on long journeys.

3. Keeping that duvet cover you bought when you were first married and didn't know what your taste was, even though you hate it now, but you feel you should keep it because it cost $200 and it's technically still in good condition? MOVE IT ALONG.

4. Sort through your purged items into different boxes/baskets/bags according to where you will donate it or move it to.

5. Aim to purge 50%. This always sounds ridicuous but we have only been married 7 years and already had enough linen that we could get rid of 50% without noticing it. How is that? I kept our favourites, and asked the question "is this something I want to bring into our future?" for everything. I kept only my favourite pillowcases and now when I look at the basket of them all together, they literally make me happy with their fresh, clean colours!

This was our linen closet after purging, but before I had figured out containers. IT ALL FIT. I was amazed. It's like 1.5 feet wide and I always thought waaay to small for a family. But it all fits. 
In the end I decided nothing was going to stay neat if stacked like this, because I often pull something out from the bottom. So....

6. Store items except for towels folded upright in bins/baskets.

We got more of these Nouveau containers that you might recognise from the bottom of our pantry and I folded everything into them, in the way you see below. 

After using this system for several weeks/months I can honestly say it makes all the difference. When I pull out one pillowcase, the rest stay put. When I tug out a set of huge sheets, the rest stay neat. I can't recommend folding linen upright in containers like this more strongly! My linen closet, like my pantry, is still exactly as neat as when I first organised it - and that has never happened before.

Towels we use daily and they are easier to reach-and-grab without a container. It's not a problem since you just grab whatever towel is on top of the stack. But everything else has a box/basket now.

7. Label the bins/baskets.
I just wrote on bits of card and tied them to the bins - it makes it so much easier when I'm looking for, say, single fitted sheets for a guest. I don't need to guess what's what. It's awesome.

In the picture below you can see our mostly-finished closet. I have since got 2 more containers for the top shelf for those stacks you see there (hand towels and face-cloths). You can see how our towels are not in baskets, but everything else is.

8. Quickly do the same with your tea towels, aprons, random cloths etc.

This is our drawer in the kitchen with tea towels, aprons and bibs.

9. Sit back and enjoy the cleanliness and function :)

More decluttering and organising posts:

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