Taming the Beast: Storing (and Purging) Linens & Towels

If you are short on space, linens and towel storage can be a drag. For those of us who don't have cavernous linen closets, here are clever ways to harness the glut of linens and towels and helpful tricks for storing these bulky items.
Where to store extra linens:
• under the bed
• at the end of the bed in a storage ottoman, trunk or bench
• in closet on hangers next to your clothes
• in a freestanding armoire or cabinet (could be in the hallway or anywhere)
• in suitcases (which are bulky and usually empty anyway)
• between the matress and the box spring.
• Beach towels can be stored separately with your bathing suits and sarongs if your linen closet space is limited.
• Blankets can be folded and spread across the end of the bed. It looks pretty and takes up less storage space.

Organizing your linen closet
• Divide up your shelves with labels according to bed size (twin or queen or whatever) or by room. That way you don't have to pull out and unfold 10 sheets just to find your King size set.
• Keep the linens tidy and compact by stashing them inside their matching pillow case.

Taming the glut of linens
As with any organizing process, it's not all about how and where you store things. It isn't all about the labels and the cool containers and organization systems. The first step has to be carefully assessing what you have and doing a big purge. And while you do this, spend some time thinking about your spending and hoarding habits!

• Embrace duvet covers. You keep a single insert and mix up the covers. Much less bulky than having multiple colored or patterned comforters.
• If you are short on space (or even if you aren't), step back and asses your stash of sheets and towels. Consider limiting yourself to 1 or 2 sets of sheets per bed. Wash and reuse and put right back on.
• If you do have more than one extra set, make sure that after you wash your sheets you slip them at the bottom of the pile.
•Every time you buy a new set of sheets or towels, get rid of an old one. You probably know a college student or housekeeper who would be happy to take some off your hands. No need to hoard. It's like having 4 pairs of black pants but only wearing one pair because it is the most flattering. Time to give the other three away. I never understood why people have so many sets of extra towels and sheets! This is a country where linens come pretty cheap. Those sales won't suddenly stop and render you destitute and towel-less. Resist the urge to stock up on linens next time you see a big sale. The sale will come back again!
• Keep a set of towels in each bathroom. If you still have leftover towels, be honest with yourself: If you haven't used the towels in months or years, it may be time to rethink your buying habits! Buy what you use. Not what you think you need or what you can't resist because of a sale. (This applies even to those who have the money and the space for McMansion size walk-in linen closets. Just because you have the space doesn't mean you have to be a wasteful consumer. Honestly, I think this is the problem with this culture of abundance and excess. No matter how big our space, we buy to cram it full. Living simply is better for you and for the environment!)

(Image: Matt's Eclectic Luxury)

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