The past 14 days have been quite a whirlwind in the Sheridan household! After celebrating three birthdays, a high school graduation, Juneteenth, and Father’s Day...all within a two week period...I’m ready to stop eating and finally fall into my bed...a nice, crisp, freshly-made bed, please!
Which brings us to this week’s topic: organizing your bed and bath linens.
Linen closets are high on the list of problem areas for many of the clients I visit. Whether it’s having too many linens, missing set components, not easily identifying sizes, or not knowing how to neatly fold fitted sheets...the struggle is real! Not to worry. With these easy tips, your neatly-ordered sheets and towels will evoke only feelings of soothing comfort and luxury instead of frustration.
How many is too many?
Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room. The biggest issue for most people is they just plain have way more sheets and towels than they really need. Why is it that everyone feels obliged to keep enough sheets and towels to open a hotel? Think about it: you can only use one set of sheets on a bed at a time, so two sets per bed is plenty...one on the bed, one in the wash. Include one set (two max) for each air mattress or sofa bed you use when guests visit. Your guest sheets can also serve as “backup” sheets if you ever need them during non-guest times. You really should not require any more than that. It is better to replace your sheets more often than to keep more sheets than you can comfortably store. So the formula is # of beds/sofabeds/air mattresses x 2. Period.
When it comes to towels, decide how many towels each person in your home uses between laundry days to determine how many you really need, then add just four more for guests unless you routinely have lots of guests visiting at once. Most guests won’t stay long enough to require more than two towels, and if they do, you can always do laundry. Any inconvenience of suddenly needing to wash a load of sheets or towels in the midst of their visit is far outweighed by the everyday inconvenience of wrestling with too many linens. Also remember, that if you really need to, you can always borrow extra sheets or towels for your visitors from someone who has too many. Trust me, there is no shortage of such potential lenders out there.
I know, I know….nobody wants to hear those two little words because almost nobody knows how to properly fold sheets and towels. However, taking the time to learn will save you hours of frustration in the end. Trust me, if I can learn how to fold a king-size fitted sheet, anyone can. It just takes some patience and practice. (Long arms are helpful but not required.) Check out this tutorial to learn more. The point is that when you take the time to fold everything neatly to the size of your space, you’ll not only fit more in, you’ll be better able to find what you need and keep it neat. You will be amazed at how much more you can fit when everything is folded correctly. I have organized many a linen closet that was too full to fit everything in beforehand and had room to spare afterwards...simply by folding everything correctly.
Take a little time to figure out what size to fold each item so that it makes the best use of the space where you are storing it. It will be different for each situation, but once you know how to fold items that go in a specific location, always fold those things the same way and store them in the same spot to ensure an optimal fit. If you place items so that the folded edge faces out (or up if it is in a basket), it will be easier to grab without upsetting the entire pile.
One size does not fit all
Don’t you just hate digging through all the sheets just to find the size you need? One way around this is to differentiate by color or pattern. For example, solids for twin, stripes and plaids for queen, and patterns for king. Even better, store your sheets in the closet of the room where they are to be used instead of in a central spot like a linen closet. That way, you’re not only guaranteed to get the right size, you will also have your extra sheets handy and won’t wake up the entire household if you need to do an emergency sheet change in the middle of the night (which any parent of young kids should appreciate).
Keep it together!
Stop wasting time searching for the flat sheet that matches your fitted sheet and vice versa! Keep sheet sets together either by inserting the folded fitted sheet and pillow case into the folded flat sheet to form one neat and tidy bundle, or by placing the flat and fitted sheets inside the pillow case. No more digging through your closet to locate the right pillow case!
Use your vacuum
Most people don’t think of their vacuum cleaner as an organizing tool, but when it comes to eeking out storage space for extra pillows and bulky comforters, it can be a lifesaver. Using vacuum bags for storing these items when not in use is a great space saver and keeps them well-protected from dampness, dirt and pests, even when stored under your bed or in the back of your closet or basement storage area.
Think outside the box
Just because it’s called a “linen closet” doesn’t mean you have to store your linens there. As I mentioned above, storing bed linens in bedroom closets offers convenience, as well as saving space for other things in the hall closet. Here are a few other alternative storage options:
What did I miss? Get more ideas and see photos of some of these by following my Organizing Outside the Box board on Pinterest. Share your ideas with us in the comments!
Have you taken the June 1-Day EasyPeasy Challenge yet?
In case you missed it: Each month I issue a simple challenge that can be completed in one day (usually in well under an hour) that will put you one step closer to more orderly living. Once you complete the challenge, you can enter a monthly prize drawing just by adding a comment, photo or GIF to the 1-Day Challenge post that is pinned to the top of my Facebook page. The June challenge is to eliminate from your bed/bathroom any makeup or toiletries that have expired or which you no longer use. Clear those half-used bottles of shampoo and conditioner out of your shower and toss the expired makeup from your makeup bag to make the products you do use more accessible. That’s it!
May’s winner received an Amazon gift card. Will you be next? Remember...you gotta play to win!
Valerie Sheridan is a professional organizer, wife, mother of two, and Founder/Owner of EasyPeasy Living.