How to Organize a Small Linen Closet

Learn how to organize a small linen closet with these easy tips and tricks that will have your sheets and towels looking neat and tidy in no time!

How to Organize a Small Linen Closet, Linen Closet Organization

I recently did a poll in my Instagram stories asking how many of my followers had a small linen closet. I am definitely a member of the small linen closet club, and I figured that there had to be others out there. But I was shocked to learn that 84% (!!!) of my followers said they had a small linen closet as well!

Excuse me, all of you home builders out there? We would like roomier linen closets, please!!!

Well, until they get around to that, it seems like the large majority of us are going to have to learn to work with our tiny linen closets, so today I wanted to share a few tricks that have helped us make our small space really work for our family.

Organized pantry with decanted baking items, pasta, and spices

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7 Small Linen Closet Organization Ideas that Are Beautiful and Brilliant

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

This is what our linen closet had looked like since we moved in nearly four years ago…

Small Linen Closet Before Photo

It wasn’t terrible, but since it is in the laundry room and we were giving that space a facelift anyway, I decided to do a little linen closet overhaul at the same time.

Here are the most important rules I tried to abide by as I worked toward small linen closet organization:

1- Do not overstuff the linen closet.

When we have a lot of stuff to fit into a not-so-huge space, it is tempting to fill up every nook and cranny that we have available. In my experience, though, overstuffing a space is just asking for disaster.

Small Linen Closet Organization

Clutter tends to breed more clutter, while an organized space tends to incentivize us to keep it organized. If we’re always dealing with an overly full linen closet where it’s hard to fit our items and everything is smushed and difficult to access, we will continually be frustrated and the linen closet will just get messier and messier.

So what do we do when we have more “stuff” than will fit comfortably in our space?

2- Prioritize what is stored in the linen closet.

If we’re working with a small space, we might have to get a little creative with how we store our items. When we moved into this house, I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to store everything in the linen closet that I had in our last house. So I chose the items that were most important to me to keep in there– towels, in our case– and looked for smart ways to relocate other items.

Where to Relocate Other Items

The other category besides towels that was taking up a lot of space in the linen closet was our sheets. So rather than try to stuff them all in (see rule #1!), I grabbed a couple of wire bins and used them to store an extra set of sheets in each bedroom closet. This not only freed up space in my linen closet, but it also kept the sheets closer to where we actually use them, making them easier to access.

Wire Bin Holding Sheets in Organized Primary Bedroom Closet

You can see our spare set of sheets in the wire bin on the bottom right shelf in this photo.

Many of us often store cleaning supplies in the linen closet as well. Since our tiny linen closet didn’t have space for them, I created a cleaning caddy for our upstairs level and keep it under the sink in our guest bathroom.

Cleaning Caddy in Organized Bathroom Vanity

I also keep a cleaning caddy for our downstairs level under the sink in the kitchen. Again, this freed up space in the linen closet and kept it from getting over cluttered.

I relocated spare toiletries to under our bathroom sinks as well.

Depending on your home’s layout and how you use your items, your priorities for what to keep in the linen closet might be different, and that’s okay! The key is to relocate excess items to an area that is not overly full, putting them closer to where they’re actually used if possible.

3- Do not store/buy more linen closet items than necessary.

Until I decided to reorganize our linen closet, we were still using towels that we had gotten for our wedding nearly 14 years ago. We even had some towels that we had used in college before that! It was definitely time for an upgrade, as our items had become significantly worn out in that time.

Rather than purchasing the same number of towels, washcloths, and hand towels that we were getting rid of, I paid close attention to how many of those items we actually used on a regular basis. I then purchased only the number of towels that I knew we would use, eliminating the excess that we had before.

Folded Towels in Organized Linen Closet

This helped us to save some valuable space while still having enough towels to meet our needs.

4- Fold sheets and towels in a neat and uniform way for ultimate linen closet organization.

Okay, so I may be a smidge obsessed with folding. But I truly believe that having towels and sheets folded in a neat, uniform way helps to keep the rest of the linen closet looking tidy as well.

Organized Small Linen Closet with Folded Towels

There are many different ways to fold towels, so feel free to choose the method that works best for your linen closet. I just always try to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Fold all towels the same way.
  • Keep the folded edge of the towel facing out. (as opposed to the open edges)
  • Fold the towels small enough so that they don’t hang out over the edge of the shelf.

(The same guidelines would apply to sheets. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet here.)

Here’s a quick GIF showing the standard way I fold our towels:

Small Linen Closet Organization- How to Fold a Towel

Basically, I fold the towel into thirds widthwise. Then I fold it in half lengthwise. And then I fold it into thirds lengthwise.

If I’m working with a bath sheet or have especially shallow shelves, I will try to fold the towel even smaller:

How to Fold a Towel for an Organized Linen Closet

I start the same way, by folding the towel into thirds widthwise. I then fold the towel in half lengthwise. But then to make it smaller, I fold each end in toward the middle and then fold the towel in half again. (So the final step folds the towel into fourths rather than thirds, as in the previous GIF example.)

(We have the IKEA FLODALEN bath sheets, hand towels, and washcloths.)

5- Corral smaller linen closet items when possible.

Little items can easily get messy or toppled, so if I can provide some extra stability with containment, I will!

In our linen closet, I used the IKEA LANKMOJ boxes to keep the mesh bags we use for washing delicate items neat and tidy…

Mesh Laundry Bags Corralled in Box for Linen Closet Organization

…and also to corral our washcloths, which I file folded.

Washcloths Stored in a Small Box in a Small, Organized Linen Closet

Bins, baskets, and even jars are great for keeping smaller items organized in the linen closet too.

6- Create a solid surface in the linen closet if needed.

This isn’t absolutely necessary. Wire shelving can totally work well in some households, so if it’s working for you, roll with it!

But if you are having trouble with items falling over or slipping through the cracks (or you just don’t love the look of wire shelving), a solid surface option might work better for you.

We recently made these simple wooden shelf covers to hide our wire shelves.

Placing a Wooden Shelf Cover Over Wire Shelving for Small Linen Closet Organization

And we have also completely replaced a lot of the closet shelving in our house to get rid of the wire type. IKEA’s BOAXEL system and the Elfa System from The Container Store are both great options.

7- Keep a stool close by for reaching high items in the linen closet.

Our family is not the most vertically gifted family around. 😉 So I keep stools all around our house so that we can reach high items more easily.

If I can reach the items on the top shelves, I’m more likely to put things back neatly rather than just trying to stuff the items wherever I can reach!

Neatly Folded Towels in a Small Organized Linen Closet

I was a little perplexed about how I was going to fit a stool into our linen closet with it being so small. But then I found this little folding stool (similar) at Dollar General for just a few bucks. It ended up being the perfect solution!

Folding Stool for Small Linen Closet Organization

I just fold it up and tuck it behind our collapsible laundry baskets at the bottom of the linen closet when I’m finished using it.

Collapsible Laundry Baskets in a Small Organized Linen Closet

So those were the top tips I used when I wanted to organize our small linen closet! Here’s a little before and after just for fun:

Small Linen Closet Organization Before and After

Linen Closet Organization Sources

Planning to organize a small linen closet? Be sure to pin the image below so you can find this post later!

7 Rules for Organizing a Small Linen Closet

Thanks so much for following along! Have a great day!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

12 Comments

  1. Tere Linde says:

    My home only has one small linen closet and I use many of the tips you shared here. 🙂 Also, I’m happy to see I’m not the only person who’s obsessed with folding neatly!!! It may be easier to just fold towels in half, but when you fold in thirds they look so much nicer – both in the linen closet and on the bath towel rod. Thank you!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Yes to the folding in thirds… game changer! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week, Tere!

      ~Abby =)

  2. These are such awesome tips Abby! Thank you for sharing. I also have a very small linen closet and will definitely incorporate these 7 rules to organize mine! I love how you covered the wire shelves as well. This is so creative. I don’t like wire shelves either because, as you mentioned, everything keeps tipping over! Love your home!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Aw, thanks so much Nadine! So glad the tips were helpful for you. Hope you’re having a great week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  3. Great ideas and info! Where did you purchase the paper towel and toilet paper connected bins?

  4. These are such great tips and I will definitely use them when I organize my linen closet! Where did you get the bins that your toilet paper is in? I love the idea of stacking them up as it saves so much space!

  5. Hi, I would love to know the paint name & brand of your gray door and aqua internal walls. Looks beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration:)

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Thanks so much, Celia! The gray door is Behr Chain Reaction, and the walls are Sherwin Williams Rainwashed mixed at half strength. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

  6. Thanks for the ideas. I live in a 1940s home with one double linen cabinet in our hallway. Your advice is just the inspiration I wanted to pare down that ‘closet’.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Michelle! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

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