...because home doesn't happen overnight.

This is the fifth post in a series I’m devoting to all things closet at my house. (Snoop around in more of my closets here, here, here and here.) Today I’m giving you a peek at our linen closet. It’s not much but it works!

linen closet 1

We have one linen closet in our house. It’s located at the end of the hall leading to the bedrooms and bathrooms. As far as linen closets go, it’s actually a decent size. It’s about 36″ wide and 26″ deep and it’s more than enough room for our needs.

linen closet 2

The closet came to us with wood shelving already in place. We simply painted everything white and added organization.

linen closet 4

This closet is where I keep the boys’ laundry hamper. Their shared room is off to the right so it’s a convenient spot for them to dump their dirty clothes. (Mabrey has a laundry basket in her room. Steve and I have an organization system in our closet which includes two pull-out hampers.) Up until a month ago, I had a plain ol’ plastic laundry basket sitting on the floor of the closet to corral the boys’ clothes. But it couldn’t contain a week’s worth of dirty clothes and laundry was always spilling over.

I ordered this double hamper and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s the perfect size for our closet and has two deep partitions which keep clothes from erupting out onto the floor. The idea is to use one side for lights and the other for darks but, so far, my boys haven’t caught on. Honestly, I’m happy if their dirty clothes just make it into the hamper – separated or not. On laundry day, I carry the entire thing to the laundry nook. Easy.

The shelf above the hamper holds paper towels, toilet paper, bath mats, hand towels and washcloths. One of Everett’s chores is to keep the kitchen stocked with paper towels and the bathroom stocked with toilet paper. This shelf is easy for him to reach both the paper towels and toilet paper.

linen closet 5

The two uppermost shelves hold towels, toiletries and medicine. We don’t own a bunch of bath linens but we have enough for us plus guests. Not having a huge supply keeps me on top of laundry. When I switch out dirty towels for clean ones in the bathroom, I automatically throw the dirties in the wash. Eventually, I’d like to replace all of our traditional terrycloth towels with peshtemal towels. We made the switch last year but still have a few regular towels hanging around. The peshtemals take up less space and are more absorbent so they’re great for small spaces.

I try to keep stuff I don’t want the kids to have easy access to up high: medicine, razor blade replacements, fingernail polish, harsh cleaners, etc. On the top shelf, the basket on the left holds medicine. (The pharmacist in me wants to remind you NOT to keep your medicine in the bathroom!) On the right, an organizer with drawers holds health and beauty items, kids’ tattoos, hair accessories, first aid supplies, etc. There’s a small container devoted specifically to travel-size toiletries.

They aren’t visible but I keep a humidifier and hair trimmer kit on the top shelf behind the plastic bins. We don’t use them that often so they don’t get prime real estate.

linen closet 7

Everything is labeled so we can quickly find what we’re looking for. (I got cheeky with my label maker. Organization is FUN.) We also hang a pole in this closet for reaching the attic door and ladder. The attic access is located near the closet (as seen in the first two images of this post) so it made sense to keep the pole here. We always know where to find it. You can read more about our attic here if you’re curious.

linen closet 6

We optimized space on the back of the door with a hanging wire rack that I picked up at Home Depot. We hung it out of reach of little hands and it’s where I keep more things I don’t necessarily want the kids playing with: cleaners, fingernail polish remover, soap, sunscreen, shaving cream, etc. The toiletry bag is Steve’s. The hair dryer is mine. I rarely blow-dry my hair so the dryer goes in the closet versus the bathroom.

linen closet 3

There you have it – our one and only linen closet! I think once the kid / guest bathroom is finished I’ll spring for some new peshtemals but, for the most part, this is really all we need.

What about you? Where do you keep your supply of toilet paper and paper towels? Do your kids separate their laundry? Have you tried peshtemal towels? Do you keep your medicine in the bathroom? (The pharmacist in me is giving you the wagging no-no finger…in a non-judgmental sorta way, of course.) 

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

64 Comments

I like the cheeky labels! I’ll remember that!

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10.March.2014

Hi Dana,

Maybe you have covered this before and I missed it, but where do you keep all your extra bed linens?

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10.March.2014

Wow, your closet looks great. We have the same house lay out and I need to organize our hall closet in the worst way. What are the dimensions of your shelves? And does the door hanger shelf get in the way when you close the door? Thanks so much…oh and another question, what kind of wood conditioner did you use on your footstool before you stained it? Thanks so much for your time. I love your blog and all the hard work you put into it. Kristy

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Each shelf is actually two boards laid next to each other (one board in the back, one board in the front). The shelves are 23″ deep total and spaced 16″ apart. The door hanger is only 5″ deep and it doesn’t interfere with the shelves at all. I made sure to take a measurement of the space between the back of the door when closed and the edge of the shelves before buying the back-of-door organizer.

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Oh! And the wood conditioner is Minwax.

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10.March.2014

Um… wow. My own linen closet is a similar size, but horrifying in the extreme next to yours! But you’ve inspired me to tackle it as part of my spring reorganization/cleaning frenzy. Thanks! :)

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replied on March 10th, 2014

You can do it! It’s so worth it to have an organized closet.

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10.March.2014

This is such a timely post for me as we only have one closet and a small bathroom. This looks like the perfect set up and I don’t know why I didn’t think to put the laundry hamper in there too! Maybe because the floor is covered in piles of unorganized stuff at the moment…

We bought peshtamels when we were in Turkey last year and I’m not sure we’re entirely sold on them. They don’t seem as absorbent as our normal bath towels, though I love them for their color, the size and the space saving aspect and they are great in the summer. I actually keep one in our diaper bag for a picnic blanket on the go and also use them for beach towels and bathing suit cover ups. So I’ve found lots of other uses even if we’re not using them primarily for bath towels all year.

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Do you use fabric softener on the towels? That can decrease their absorbency. You’re right, they come in handy outside the bathroom as well.

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replied on March 10th, 2014

I don’t use fabric softener at all, but I’ve also heard that the more they are washed the more absorbent they become! They are my towel of choice in the warmer months but I have yet to convince the husband :)

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10.March.2014

So I think this is def a weird thing of mine, but I’m so curious to see your pantry! Like when yhl posted a pic of theirs recently – I got really excited. Super weird & I dunno what my deal is!?

Our linen closet is deep so we try to keep things corralled in those plastic caddy things with labels as well.

Nicole B.

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replied on March 10th, 2014

You’re in luck! Pantry post is coming TOMORROW. Stay tuned…

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10.March.2014

Now you have me wondering… why are we not supposed to keep medicine in a bathroom?

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replied on March 10th, 2014

I’m wondering, too! Humidity, maybe?

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replied on March 10th, 2014

also curious!! ps—we just moved into our own underdog and these small space posts are very inspiring! keep up the great work!!

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Yes, moisture, humidity, high temps (or very low temps) and light are bad for medicine stability. There, off my pharmacist soapbox. ;)

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Who knew?! Like even regular non prescription Tylenol and the sort? Even sealed in bottles? What about keeping them in drawers or cabinets in the bathroom?

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Yep, steamy showers + pill bottles (sealed or not) aren’t ideal. It won’t hurt you but you might be sacrificing the stability and efficacy of the medicine. If you can, it’s best to store them in a cool, dry, dark place outside of the bathroom. (steps down from pharmacist soapbox)

10.March.2014

This is a huge inspiration for me to clean out my linen closet. Thank you! In case I missed it, where do you keep your bed linens?

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replied on March 10th, 2014

The only extra bed linens we own are an extra crib sheet for Mabrey and a white sheet set for the master bed. I keep the crib sheet in Mabrey’s closet. The extra sheets for the master bed are currently in the attic in a storage tote with extra pillows. (I usually switch back to them in the summer for crisp, white sheets. We have patterned sheets on the bed right now.) I don’t have extra sheets for the boys’ bunk. It forces me to wash and remake their beds in one day. They do have a summer comforter and winter comforter each. Whichever ones aren’t in use, are up in the attic in a storage tote until they’re back in season. Hope that helps!

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replied on March 10th, 2014

Love organization posts. :)

What do you do if the boys get sick on their sheets in the night? I like to keep a minimum of linens as well, but I also like to have something to switch out if there is a midnight problem.

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replied on March 10th, 2014

I’m probably going to jinx myself here but…my boys are rarely sick (knocks on wood). Layne is 9 and has gotten sick (vomited) once. And it wasn’t even at our house. Everett is 6 and has never vomited. In all my years as a mom, I’ve experienced one bed-wetting accident. (I do realize how lucky I am. But please don’t think we’re perfect over here. I do struggle with other issues with my kids.) I have protective mattress pads under the sheets so if one of the boys were to get sick / have an accident the mattress wouldn’t be affected. I do have extra bedding for the trundle under their bunk so I could use that as a last resort if I needed to.

10.March.2014

My linen closet is actually a couple of TRONES shoe cabinets from IKEA, as my bathroom is a tiny, tiny former linen closet itself. It works out quite well, as I can fit 5 rolled up towels into one, and toothpaste, hairdryer, two rolls of toilet paper and various other bathroom-related things in the other.

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10.March.2014

So would you, recommend the peshtemal towels for the pool? Pool bags seem to get so HEAVY!
And would you order from the same site again?

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replied on March 10th, 2014

I haven’t tried them at the pool / beach yet but I’ve heard they’re great for those types of outings. I’m happy with the towels we have but I may try a different source next time. Not because of quality or service but if I find a look or price I like better, I’ll buy from almost anywhere.

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10.March.2014

Great work! We just moved in to our new place and I’m ashamed to say the linen closet got the short end of the stick in terms of how much and what exactly was thrown in to it *_*. After seeing your organized space I’m feeling motivated to tackle my linen closet now! Thanks for the inspiration :)

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10.March.2014

We have a very similar end of the hall linen closet like yours. Its a less deep but we manage to keep all the basic cleaning supplies for the bathroom, extra towels (we have too many!), tp, and extra make up and travel toiletries there. I painted the whole thing last summer so it’s clean and crisp. We keep it mostly organized although not quite as bare as yours! No kids yet so we keep the cleaning products on the floor – I’d worry about them leaking and spilling down (if they were on the top shelf) on our stuff.

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10.March.2014

Linen closets are my favorite to organize because they are narrow and have lots of shelves. I think it’s fairly easy to make and keep them functional.

Six months ago I switched to using the textured cotton towels from LL Bean. They are the best towels! They dry fast, fold up small and are super absorbent like the peshtamels, but feel more like a traditional terry cloth towel. Unfortunately they don’t come in all the fun colors the peshtamels do!

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10.March.2014

This is very inspiring, Dana. Now I can’t wait to get started on my linen closet! Although, right now, it’s more of a junk/linen closet. Where is that amazing runner from? Also, I’d love to see your pantry and what you keep under your kitchen sink. Is that a weird thing to want to know?? I feel like we’re all friends here.

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Your closet posts are so inspirational. Thanks for the kick in the rear! ;)

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replied on March 11th, 2014

They’re a good kick in my rear, too ;)

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10.March.2014

What about keeping meds in a drawer in the powder room? Is that acceptable? (No shower/humidity/temperature changes there.)

We’ve never had a linen closet in any of our homes. We just keep bath towels under the sink and our sheets go in a dresser in the bedroom they belong in.

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replied on March 11th, 2014

A powder room or half bath that doesn’t get hot / steamy from a shower or tub should be fine. Gosh, I didn’t realize how many questions the “no meds in the bathroom” would stir up! So funny.

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We keep our toilet paper downstairs in our trunk coffee table. Kind of weird now that I think about it but it works for us [we buy that stuff in bulk]!

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10.March.2014

Thanks for this post! I needed to see something like this to remind me that I do have space – it just needs to be used wisely!

Ok – maybe you have talked about this before somewhere – but you rarely use a hair dyer? Tell me more!

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I love this post, Dana! We have the exact same layout (one linen closet at the end of a hallway) and it’s easy to think that everyone else has more storage than we do but it’s not always the case. Your closet is a reminder of simplicity. And I have a peshtemal hand towel and have been itching to upgrade our bath towels. We’ve had the same terry ones for years and it’s time for a refresh! Thank you for the inspiration : ]

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10.March.2014

Hmmmm…… I need new towels, just off to check out Etsy. thanks for the heads up

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Tracey
replied on March 21st, 2014

I bought my Turkish towels (peshtemals) from the following Etsy shop and very happy with the choice and quality;

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheAnatolian?ref=si_shop

Cheers,
Tracey

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10.March.2014

Oh, the linen closet. Now, I’m not scoffing at the under-ness off the underdog here, but man! A linen closet seems like a huge luxury! Little houses like mine that were built in the 30’s didn’t really have closets, so we’re working with what we DON’T have, over here. ;)

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10.March.2014

I’m so jealous of your linen closet. I don’t have one. :( I’m RELIEVED to read you keep your extra bedding in the attic at least. I have two sets of sheets for each bed in my house. (well- I have 3 sets for my bed. 2 flannels and one set of the softest Egyptian cotton sheets that were ever made in the history of the world.) But I’m sort of surprised you don’t have flannel sheets for winter. My house is concrete too. Although you guys insulated and my walls are not insulated. Just plaster right over adobe block. It’s so cold!

p.s. I totally do not keep my medicine in the bathroom. Well, sometimes I leave my nose spray in there, if I forget to grab it before bed. But it doesn’t live in there. :)

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10.March.2014

I bought the peshtemal towels after reading about them here. I bought mine off ebay at a much better price. I can wait until I have a lot more laundry before washing and conserve water with these new towels. You sure are a minimalist. Have you always been this way or just since moving to a smaller house?

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replied on March 11th, 2014

I’ve kinda always gotten a high from purging household items that I don’t need / use / want. (I think I get it from my dad.) I like organizing and having things organized. I go crazy if I know I have something but can’t remember where I put it. I work and feel better when I have an uncluttered environment surrounding me. My mom likes to tell stories about me as a child…frequently, for fun, I would take all the clothes out of my dresser, organize them, refold them and then put them back. I was such a weirdo! I don’t do it anymore but I gotta admit, it doesn’t sound like the most horrible way to pass some time.

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replied on March 11th, 2014

I am trying, it does feel good to be able to go right to something and not have to look for it. I imagine if you were a hoarder the new house never would have worked for you. Less is more! We live in a society were bigger is better, except us… my house is 700 sq. feet!

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10.March.2014

Our house is a 1920 New Englander with barely a closet, & definitely no linen closet. I’ve tried different iterations of baskets for towel storage & an antique trunk for bed linens but recently found a really sweet mahogany antique music cabinet the perfect size for the top of the stairs which I bartered down to $60 at a local antique mall. It holds extra toiletries/soaps/etc along with some spare towels & a stash of toilet paper nicely. It’s just outside the bathroom, so it’s convenient & offers an extra fun surface to style & play with.

As for peshtamel towels, I bought some after reading your post a while back about how great they are! Mine took a while to soften, but now are quite nice. I love how absorbent, quick drying, & colorful they are. I’m not sure how high the quality is but I got them for under $20 at Amazon. I have a friend in Istanbul who I’m thinking of enlisting for a shopping trip!

I LOVE your blog. I don’t usually comment on things I read, but I thought “why not?” Thanks for sharing your home & great design ideas!!

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10.March.2014

I was just trying to think of ways to add a little color and character to our tiny bathroom and BAM! Peshtamel towels! Looks like the perfect balance of form and function! I’m so glad I read your blog, Dana! Thank you! :)

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Simple, but perfect. Our only linen closet right now is kinda a mess. It houses linens, pet meds, the golf equipment, the down comforter my husband thinks we need for Florida winters, and much more. It has cheap wire shelves that were given to us for free so it works for now. We will only have that space and eventually a small cabinet in our master bath for linens. Ours is a similar size with the hardwoods running into it. I hope it looks like this sooner rather than later. No need to go crazy – simple and functional is all we need, right?
PS – We keep our meds in our master bedroom ;) I know better than to keep them in a hot bathroom!

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10.March.2014

thanks for clearing up the medicine question. i had no idea… i’ve been keeping my medicine in the bathroom for years!!!

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Perfect small space storage solution!

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I didn’t know until this moment that a linen closet could be beautiful. Eek! I have to get working on mine.

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11.March.2014

I’m now inspired! My linen closet is a complete mess full of everything and it’s far from organized.

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11.March.2014

More Dana envy. Your hair is that gorgeous without a blow dryer??? Mine is rather wild if I let it airdry. (Married to a Pharmacist, so our meds/vitamins are on a plastic 2 tier lazy susan in an upper kitchen cabinet. Away from the heat of the stove and too high for kids to reach.)

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replied on March 11th, 2014

Yay for R.Ph.’s!

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12.March.2014

Can I just take a second to veer off topic and say…you don’t blow dry your hair!?! Your hair is gorgeous!!

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13.March.2014

Love that beautiful linen closet! I’m more of a ‘keeper’ personality so can you talk me through how you made the decisions on what to keep !?! I see your home and I’m drawn to living like this !!

If you ever have a tough decision to make about whether or not to keep an item will you post about the decision making process ! It would be so very helpful to ‘keepers’ who are in process to becoming more minimalistic !!

Ali

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replied on March 13th, 2014

That’s sounds like a great post idea! Writing it down…

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I love the hanging idea. So easy but so functional.

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13.March.2014

Where did you get your runner from? Sorry if this a repeat question I looked to see if anyone asked. Thank you.

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replied on March 13th, 2014

Overstock!

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13.March.2014

I want to learn to live small. Yet, it is hard to let go of “stuff”. Did you face this dilemma? If so, how did you decide what to keep and what to let go of?

-Ali

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13.March.2014

I have naturally fairly poker straight hair so I don’t do much in the way of styling but I still have to have my dryer! Your hair always looks so great. How do you manage that without blow drying?

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17.March.2014

i loved this post because we recently moved in to a large 3 bedroom apartment to be closer to the city my husband works in. We have four kids and moving in to a smaller place from a house is a HUGE deal. Its been over 6 months and I see we have a long way to go (although its been a steady downsizing) to be completely moved in and settled. I see your downsizing and intentional minimalism and its so refreshing to see that it can be done. I know that family clean up will be so much easier for our kids and for us when we have less to wade through. Its a process but if you can do it, I can do it!!

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18.March.2014

[…] you recall the double hamper from last week’s linen closet post? Well, when I originally placed my order for the hamper, it was on backorder. No problem. I could […]

19.September.2014

[…] may recall a rolling cart used to live next to the dryer. I moved it to a linen closet to make room for the litter box. NBD. (I also stash the catnip, lint rollers, Frontline and cat […]

21.October.2014

This is a great way to keep everything organized. I also love the catchy phrases. Thanks for sharing.

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