6 Smart Ways to Get More Usable Space Out of a Tiny Linen Closet

updated Aug 23, 2021
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linen closet with towels, blankets, duvets, ironing gear. drawers down below
Credit: Sarah Crowley

As much as I would love a world in which all of my closets are organized, Instagram-worthy perfection, I’ve come to accept that I only have enough energy to keep one of my closets — the one in my bedroom — looking pristine. I’m no Marie Kondo, but I do my best to make sure things stay neat, tidy, and streamlined. My linen closet, however, is a different story. It is the Wild West of closets.

I know I’m not the only one who has this problem, either. For most of us (even the organizing gurus among us), the linen closet is easy to forget about. It’s a not-so-exciting space that usually gets filled with balled-up sheet sets, old comforters, and a sleeping bag you’re not sure why you own.

Try not to give up hope, though. Thankfully, there are a handful of smart strategies that can help even the most chaotic linen closet look a little less cluttered.

Roll Instead of Folding 

Why not take the most famous packing hack of all time and apply it to your closet? Rolling linens can make a big difference in terms of how much surface area every individual blanket or sheet takes up, says interior designer Michelle Pulman.

“The easiest way to make more room inside a small linen closet is to roll your bulkier items instead of folding. I typically roll beach and bath towels, as well as extra quilts and blankets. You’ll be amazed at how much extra space you make just by rolling,” says Pulman.

Credit: Ashley Poskin

Never Store Pillows Flat on Shelves Again 

If you’ve been storing your extra pillows on shelves along with your other linens, it’s time to reorganize things. “Two pillows can easily take up an entire shelf,” explains Pulman. “Instead of wasting that valuable space, use two or three large woven baskets on the floor of the closet, and prop pillows upright inside.”

Look to the Vertical Space on the Back of the Door

Repeat after me: The back of the door is your friend. If you’ve previously used this space to hang shoes, necklaces, ties, or other accessories in your bedroom closet, why not apply the same logic to the linen closet door? 

“Hang a storage system (like the Elfa at The Container Store) to corral smaller items — washcloths, overflow laundry, and bathroom products,” says Pulman.

Invest in Foldable Valet Rods 

Interior designer Lindsey Hughes of LHID Studio says she swears by foldable valet rods. “This linen closet hack allows you to hang multiple bags on each valet rod,” she explains. Fill the bags with loose items, such as extra shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and towels, then fold the valet rod up along the wall to create a multi-level hanging system.

Credit: Content Agency/living4media

Remember: Labels, Labels, and More Labels 

Take a second to reflect on all the times you’ve torn apart an entire linen closet looking for one specific item. Let this memory be the motivation you need to invest in labels. Divide your linens by type, store them in whatever containers you’d like, and then label them all.

Store Sheets in Pillow Cases

If you don’t have any containers handy, consider storing sheets inside of pillow cases to automatically create division. You could even divide things up by room, bed size, season, or anything else that makes sense for your household. 

Finally Learn How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

The time has come to master the one adult task that almost everyone spends their entire life putting off: folding a fitted sheet. You really have no excuse, since it takes just 10 seconds. Plus, the payoff is huge: an instantly less cluttered, neater linen closet.