Sorting out your towels and linens…


& FILED IN Home Organising, Household Chores 

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Most of us have too many items in our linen cupboards.

Towels that stay there in case we have lots of guests, or in case we need extras for the beach, or spare for swimming – Linens and bedding that have been relegated to the back of the cupboard because you redecorated last year and it doesn’t match anymore – but it’s too good to throw away – and of course those towels that you wouldn’t use anymore because they are so old and battered, but can’t quite face throwing out….

Sound familiar?!

Now is the time to get things sorted once and for all!

Sorting the linens and towels - step by step method from

As always, its easiest if you follow my A.D.O.R.E method for organising spaces, and I’ve tackled my linen cupboard as an example which I hope helps a bit!

So lets get started…

Let me introduce you to my linen cupboard! – Its a small cupboard made in an alcove which sits at the top of the stairs on the landing.

I chose this as the best place for storing linens and towels as its accessible to everyone quickly and easily. It is in the centre of the house so you can grab bedding in the night if there has been an accident (these things happen with little children especially!) and not wake anyone else up in the process. You can also grab a towel on the way to the bathroom if needed as well.

So – this is what my linen cupboard looked like when I opened the doors this morning:-

linen cupboard before being sorted outThere are only two shelves, but ideally this means that I have to be strict about what I keep, and how much I keep in there…. As you can see – things have slowly been stuffed into there over the past few months, and there’s not enough room for anything else (even though there are at least 5 towels currently being washed as well….). It’s time for a declutter!

A = Assess

The only way to see what you have, and work out what you need – is to get everything out where its being stored at the moment. That way you can see the space you have available, and work out a plan of action before you really start to get to work.

379. empty linen cupboardIt’s now that you should ask yourself whether this is the best place for your linens. As said before, I have them on my landing – and this tends to make sense for most people – but other options are to have bedding in the right room, and towels in the bathroom cupboard, or everything in the utility, or have a blanket box in a guest bedroom filled with everything.

Whatever works for you and your family is perfect! – but determine now what and where that is.

Now is also the time to ask yourself what you actually need in an ideal world for your family. My rule of thumb is to have 2-3 towels per person, 2 sets of bedding per bed, 2 hand towels for each toilet in the house, and spare towels for guests (have 1-2 per person for the average amount of guests you have at any one time).

The reason to have more than one set of bedding, and more than one towel of each kind is so that you have one in the wash and one in use. As such you actual only need space to store 1 of each type of thing really – so you can see how little storage you can get away with if you are really strict with what you need to store!

With all this in mind, its time to look at the actual stuff you have…


D = Declutter and Clean

Once you have decided on where you will store your linens, and how many you actually need – its time to declutter (either bin if its beyond use, or give to charity if someone else can get use out of it) any items that you won’t use and/or don’t need any longer.

This could be any of the following:-

  • Bedding that is old/worn or stained
  • Bedding that no longer works with the decor in a room
  • Bedding that doesn’t fit any beds in the house
  • Bedding that doesn’t fit properly
  • Uncomfortable bedding that you wouldn’t want to sleep in
  • Towels that are old/worn or stained
  • Towels that you don’t use at all

379. linens outI like to get everything out and in piles – so I can really see whats what when I am sorting – this makes it easy to see whether you have too much or too little of anything, anything that you really don’t need anymore, etc….

You can pick the best items, and declutter the rest.

Once you have got rid of what you don’t want, you will be able to more easily see what needs organising – but that’s not until you have given the inside of the cupboard a good clean!

I simply wiped down the inside of the cupboard with a damp cloth – let it dry, and then added in a fresh drawer liner. This is a great idea for a linen cupboard as it gently scents everything and you are left with a lovely smell when you pull something out to use.

One of my favourites is from The White Company – their Perfect Linen Drawer Liners ** are gorgeous and smell really fresh – they also sell a revitaliser spray so you can keep the scent fresh for a long time which is quite cost effective too! (I also like them as they are a really plain pattern – more of a texture only – so they go with my style and decor too – always a bonus! – I love white for organising projects as its so clean and fresh).

perfect linen drawer liners

O = Organise

Next thing to do is to get organised!

Work out how you are going to put everything back into the cupboard or space that you have available.

You want to make sure that everything is easy to grab, easy to find, and easy to put away when washed. If you don’t, then you are more likely to end up with a mess in a few weeks/months as you won’t be as inclined to keep things tidy if it’s too hard.

decluttered and sorted linen cupboard

I decided to have all towels on the bottom shelf – with guest towels on one side and our family towels easy to grab in the middle. On the right of this shelf are hand towels, and behind them (as they are not regularly used) are beach towels for when we are on holiday.

On the top shelf are all our linens. I like to store then in piles of the same genre – so from left to right are all pillowcases, all duvet covers and all sheets. Its pretty easy to find what we need as our daughters linens are pink (!) and all other beds are king size and all bedding is pretty neutral. You could store by room, by colour, or any other way that makes sense for you.

TIP – You can store bedding sets within one of the pillow cases to make it really easy to grab what you need as well.

TIP – fold all items so that they fit the space you have available


R = Real Life

Then its time to live with what you have created – working out whether you have allocated enough to each person, whether its still too much etc… can only happen when you have been using your newly organised space for a while.


E = Evaluate

Once you have lived with things for a while, you can then decide whether changes need to be made to make it work even better for you.

You may decide that you need towels in a different place, or that you are not using all sets of bedding – whatever it is, you can change to suit you and your needs more.

TIP – using white bedding on all beds makes for easy washing and easy bed making – you can add color in cushions and throws if you like. This gives a really nice boutique hotel feel really easily.


Linens – sorted!

So – are you ready to tackle your linen cupboard now? I hope these tricks have helped you and given you some ideas of how to go about organising your linens and towels.

The real key here is to work out how much you need to store – I actually got rid of 6 towels that we hadn’t used for ages, as they were older and we have nicer towels to use. I realised that it took longer to put towels away after washing because we had to find room and squash them in each time – whereas just decluttering has made life so much easier!

Why make life harder when we try and store too much in too small a space, and why keep things we don’t use?



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