The $0 Secret to Creating More Room in Your Linen Closet

published Jan 24, 2024
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different colors and textures of towels, sheets, blankets, folded in linen closet
Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Anna Surbatovich

Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is a free 18-day program that’ll help you reset your home for the year ahead. Joining us today is guest cure-ator Sophie Liard, aka The Folding Lady, who’s shared her ideas and solutions for making the most of small-space living online.

The place you keep your linens, like your bedding, blankets, and such, can often be a jumbled mess, whether that’s a single shelf in your mixed-use closet or a dedicated linen closet. It’s not surprising, given how often things move in and out of here and all the things it contains, too. 

That’s why we’re going to give this space a nice refresh.

Day 16: Take stock of your linens.

For today’s assignment, head to where you store your linens and take everything out, such as towels, washcloths, sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, comforter sets, and blankets. Anything else (maybe you store other things in this area, like medicine or extra household supplies) should not be included in today’s task. 

Sort everything into three piles: things to keep, toss, and donate. You’ll want to toss anything that’s beyond repair, like moth-eaten bedding and towels, and consider donating things such as mismatched items, bedding you’ve outgrown, or themed items you no longer use (holiday/seasonal). Put the ready-to-be-donated items into the outbox and throw out the ones you need to toss. 

For items you want to keep, let’s put them back nicely. To help us figure out the best way to fold our things, we enlisted the help of Sophie Liard, aka The Folding Lady, who’s sharing her ideas and solutions for making the most of small-space living online. Folding takes practice, so be patient with yourself, stresses Liard. Below, find her methods for folding sheets, pillowcases, towels, duvet covers, and blankets.

How to fold bed sheets

Liard has a general fold that’ll work for all sizes of sheets. First, fold it in half on the longest side and then fold it in half again on the shorter side so that you end up with a square or rectangle (for single or smaller-sized bedding, you can just fold it in half once). Fold into thirds, so that you’ll end up with a longer rectangle. From there, you can fold it into thirds where on the last fold you’ll tuck the end into the pocket created by the first fold. You could also fold this smaller (increase the amount of folds) and still tuck it in at the end. Take your pillowcases, fold them into thirds twice, and tuck them into that same pocket you’ve created. 

For fitted sheets, put your hands into the corners and clap your hands together so the corners meet, then tuck one into the other. Repeat this until all four corners are in one hand, it’ll look like a rectangle. Lay it on a bed or surface. Fold it into thirds and you can tuck the last fold into the first, just like the bed linens. Or, you can fold it more to create a smaller bundle.

For smaller-sized fitted sheets, put your hands into the corners of the short side and put them into the opposite corners. You’ll end up with a square or rectangle. Fold the edges in and then fold into thirds so you end up with a smaller rectangle. Fold it as much as you need, twice or three times, so it becomes a compact rectangle.

How to fold towels

You can fold towels of all sizes in half, then in half again (on the same side). Leave a gap to keep the edges neat, and then fold it into thirds. You can also try these five other ways that Liard likes to fold towels. Make sure if you are creating piles that every towel is leveled. Not only is this a space-saver, but it’ll also prevent it from toppling over easily. Liard also likes to keep hand towels and bath towels separate, as the rates she goes through them differ.

How to fold duvet covers and blankets

For duvet covers and blankets (and really any item!), Liard loves to do the ranger fold or roll. Start by laying out your duvet and fold one side in slightly. Then, fold it into thirds with that folded side facing down. From the top, roll your duvet toward the slightly folded side. Flip that folded side so that it encompasses the entire duvet. Now, you have a neat package.

LIARD’S PRO TIP: Liard recommends using an organizing system that works for you rather than relying on only aesthetics. Perhaps you like to stack your things right on the shelf or use bins or baskets to sort them out. Liard likes baskets with labeled clips to keep things organized and suggests shelf dividers to keep stacks from falling over.

What did you declutter today? Tell us in the comments.

More ways to participate in the January Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.