Before and After: A Jumbled Linen Closet Becomes a Functional Space for $500

published May 4, 2023
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Linen closet before organizing: linens, sheets, pillows, towels, etc all shoved into a closet

Spaces that you can shut the door on, such as linen closets, are often the last to benefit from any of your cleaning and organizing energy. However, even though these spaces aren’t visible by default, seeing them when you do open the door can go one of two ways: You experience frustration from encountering a chaotic situation, or you enjoy a surge of gratitude and ease by seeing a space that’s aesthetically calm and also functional. 

Megan Ludvinsky of About Space Organizing took her client’s linen closet from a neglected, jumbled mess to a serene space that serves the family. The “before” of this particular closet is a great example of what a professional organizer sees on a daily basis, shares Megan. “A busy young family who prioritizes family time over decluttering/organizing (bravo!). Between work/school/activities, they just don’t have the time to go through and get rid of older linens/stuff they no longer need. That’s where a professional organizer comes in and does his/her/their magic.” 

In total, the project cost about $500 (including the organizing service and products) and took a total of four hours. The goal was simple: “Provide easy access to linens the family really needs and uses.”

Here’s how she got it organized.

  • Take everything out. Megan began by removing all the linens from the closet. She separated everything by category, lining up along the wall and labeling each category with a sticky note on the wall above each pile. “That way the client can see everything at once — this is very important in the decluttering process,” explains Megan. The client was able to see old crib sheets that were no longer needed, as well as several queen sheet sets that needed to go.
  • Purge. The next step involves deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. “Once everything is laid out, I ask the homeowner to decide what needs to go and what will still serve her. Then I bag up the unneeded items so they are out of sight and won’t get picked over in a moment of last-minute indecisiveness,” says Megan.
  • Decide on storage accessories. “Now that I know what I need to keep in the closet, I can determine what type of storage is necessary,” says Megan. She selected these extra tall clear shoe boxes with lids from Walmart (eight in total). “This client prefers clear products and I am happy to accommodate,” says Megan. “I love when clients know what they want!”
  • Fold and put away. Once the storage containers are ready, Megan re-folds everything that was kept, by category, to make them uniform. Then, “everything goes back according to how often they are accessed (least accessed items go further up or behind).”
  • Label every bin. In the interest of maintaining the organization long-term, each bin is labeled. This way the client knows where to find things and where to put them away. Megan uses a Brother P-touch Cube.
  • Do a walk-through. This step is a review of the entire system, making sure the client knows where everything “lives.” 
  • Make donations. Megan finishes by taking all discarded linens to the local animal shelter. “It’s a win-win for all. We get rid of items no longer needed, the client gets organized, and we help animals,” she explains. 

Megan says the hardest part of such projects is helping the client decide what she needs, but then specifies that it’s only hard for the client; she loves “helping people figure out what they really need.” Her favorite part of this project was “the ease of being able to see everything at once and also being able to access the items easily.”

When it comes to others who would love to bring order into their linen closets, Megan offers this advice, which could be applied to any organizing project: “Be kind to yourself and take ‘happy breaks’ if you start to feel overwhelmed, meaning, pair a fun thing, like five minutes of scrolling social media or listening to your favorite music, with the chore.”

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