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Organize Your Home Storage and Simplify Your Life!

Aug 4, 2008
Be delighted with yourself -- committing to organize your home is the first step in actually doing it! The Linen Closet will need attending to eventually so lets go there now.

If you have excess laundry to deal with, you probably have a linen closet that is less than user-friendly. Once you have clean towels, rags, and other linens to put away, you won't do it if thier destination is less-than-appealing.

So let's organize it! This is the first place where you'll have to be brutally honest with yourself about what you keep and what you get rid of. When I say, "get rid of," I don't necessarily mean it ends up in the trash--if it's towels, bedding, etc., that are in bad condition, your local animal shelter would be grateful for your donation. They always need things for the dogs and cats to lay on in their runs and crates, and your cast-offs in this area will be eagerly accepted.

Take stock of what you have for shelves. Do you have wooden or wire shelves? Do you have problems with things "falling through" if you have wire shelves? If so, you don't have to worry and go buy scrap wood to line the shelves with--a simple piece of shelf-lining (you know, that bumpy green stuff that comes in rolls) will lie nicely and prevent small things from falling through. If necessary, put some of that down.

Now take a look and see what you've got in terms of extra bedding.

How many beds in your home? You should have a minimum of 1 extra bedding-set for each bed, a maximum of 2. Think about it before you start to write me and tell me why you need 6 sets of bedding for each bed--if you have small children who have nighttime accidents (or get the stomach flu in the middle of the night), you might have to change sheets in the morning (or the middle of the night if it's barf!), and you'll have some clean ones to put on. You'll put the dirty ones in the washer and get the machine started on that task. Then you'll swap things to the dryer. You'll still have clean sheets on the bed and if you've got 2 extra sets, another clean one in the linen closet.

So now with that argument won, go through your bedding. Do you have mis-matched pieces? If so, put them in the donation pile. Do you have twin pieces mixed in with king pieces? If so, separate them in two piles. Make sure everything is folded (I'll give you a pass on the fitted sheets--those are impossible to fold neatly!). Now set aside one or two shelves for your bedding. Make sure that the bedding for the queen bed is not piled up with the stuff for the crib or twin bed. You can fold the stuff in squares or fold it in to long rectangles and then roll it. Either way is acceptable--it just depends on how much space you've got.

Now we move on to towels and other things in your linen closet...

3. Take stock of your towels, washcloths, and other terrycloth things. Do you have towels that are holey or bleach-stained? Do you have towels that aren't very absorbent from using too much fabric softener? Do you have towels that don't match your current bathroom décor? Donate them. Keep only that which matches your décor (unless you turn it in to a rag), and only that which wouldn't embarrass you to put out for guests when they visit. That should pare down your towel collection to a more manageable number.

I can't tell you an exact number that is appropriate here--that depends on how many members are in your family. What I can suggest is 2 towels per person--one that's currently hanging in the bathroom and one clean one that can be conscripted into service when the current one is in the wash. Do you have washcloths? One for every-other day of the week would be appropriate--many people don't use them anymore, in this age of scrubbies, poufs, and other facial cleansing methods.

Do you have a rag-pile (or kitchen-towel pile) in your linen closet? If so, fold those and put them on a shelf that's easy to access. You'll use those most frequently, so make them easy to reach and use. Again, sort through and see what's in reasonable condition and put the rest in the pile for the animal shelter.

What other things are in your linen closet? Do you have table linens there? If so, do you know what's there? Are they neat enough that when you need them you don't have to go digging and put the iron on "fry it silly" to get the wrinkles out? If any of the above is true, pull them out, wash, sort, keep only the best, and fold (or press) them quickly and put them away.

Finally, if you have other miscellaneous things (doilies, candlesticks, etc.) in your linen closet, set a shelf aside for those things. If you don't have a full shelf to ascribe to them, use a shelf that's only half-full of other items. Again, sort through and keep only what you're in love with--anything else can be donated to a charity-resale shop, given to siblings, or sold on eBay.

Don't keep things "just in case" great-aunt Mildred comes by--she won't, and if she does, she probably won't remember what it was. Remember, you're organizing your home so that it's not just a house of stuff for your family. That's much more important than not offending a distant relative!

Congratulations--you've won the battle with your linen closet. Isn't it such a nice feeling to open up a closet and not be in danger of the falling towel zone?
About the Author
Andrew Porter: Is a home improvement consultant and frequent contributor to ClosetOrganizer4U.com

For closet organizers, accessories, and design plans visit: http://www.closetorganizer4u.com
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