How I Organized All My Linens with No Closet

I love our house. It’s charming, quirky, cozy, and so many other positive adjectives. But I’m going to be honest for a minute with you guys here. Our house virtually has no closet space. Zip. There is one regular sliding-door type closet it in my craft room, but that’s basically it. We don’t even have a proper master closet – just a couple of pipes screwed into the wall! So as you can imagine, if we don’t have a master closet, we definitely don’t have a linen closet. Which is also definitely a problem.

ikea linen closet makeover

The previous home owners left a very ugly, very odd wicker/glass/half-painted shelving unit in one of the bathrooms. That my cats liked to also use as a scratching post. Yup. So when we moved in we quickly just piled on our linens and extra toilet paper and all the junk you would expect to put in a hall linen closet onto it. Only this shelving unit was all open so all of our stuff made for a very pretty picture like this:

linen closet makeover

Not only did our guests using the toilet have to look directly at the litter box, but they also had to stare at this monstrosity? It was almost too much to ask of them. Or us! I would cringe every time I walked in. I’d try to refold stuff or make it look nicer, but it would quickly get messed up again from us pulling out pillowcases or towels or the cats getting into it and making little beds for themselves…

linen closet makeover

linen closet makeover

Blech. This is real life friends and this is what we were dealing with. I’m sure some of you can relate! So when my husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday (the 7th on Labor Day) I, without hesitation, said ‘go to Ikea!!’ I guess it truly affirms that I’m a blogger if I want to spend my birthday with a million of my closest friends at Ikea’s Labor Day sale. (And yes, we made it out alive and with our marriage still intact ๐Ÿ˜‰ Booyah.)

While we were there I picked out a gorgeous weathered-gray looking cabinet that I knew would be perfect for organizing the above mess. I threw in a couple of bins and baskets and knew that we would get it looking spiffed up in no-time! After spending my birthday evening staying up till 10:30 putting everything together, we had this pretty masterpiece:

linen closet makeover

Ahh, my soul! Organization, cleanliness and great furniture give me the warm fuzzies ๐Ÿ™‚ Now how did I get from the previous mess to this organized gem, do you ask? Here’s how I did it:

1. Edit, donate, throw awayย – When we removed all the linens and supplies from the previous shelf, I took a look at every single piece and decided if I wanted to keep it or not. I got rid of a lot of extra sheets we didn’t need (you really only need 2 sets per bed) as well as miscellaneous college linens or towels that were too ripped or stained to be of use.

2. Refold and group like items – Once I had gotten rid of everything else, I divided what was left into categories (washcloths, hand towels, big towels, sheets, fitted sheets, pillowcases, etc.), folded everything nicely, and stacked the piles.

3. Utilize bins and basketsย – Bins and baskets are seriously your best friends! I put my least used items (tablecloths, seasonal linens, extra curtains, etc.) into some soft-sided bins and put them in the bottom of the cupboard part of the shelf so they were out of the way. For slightly more used but still not frequently-used items, like pillowcases and sheets, I put in the gray bins on the bottom of the shelf – that way they are still accessible, but I don’t have to look at them everyday. And for items used frequently (like washcloths and hand towels) I made sure to either put them in a basket I could easily pull from, or on a shelf in the cupboard where they are easy to grab.

ikea linen closet makeover

ikea linen closet makeover

ikea linen closet makeover

It’s seriously SO much easier to find what I need now. No more digging through piles of junk! It’s classy, sophisticated, and is the perfect storage space for all of our linens even if we don’t have a traditional linen or hall closet. Plus it just completes this bathroom space so well.

ikea linen closet makeover

So, see, it really IS possible to organize all of your linens without a closet! This piece will definitely serve us well until we move into a house with more closet space (which will definitely be on my must-have list next time around)!

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ikea linen closet makeover

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  • Kristi says:

    SO awesome Erica! And you couldn’t ask for a more perfect fit!

  • Jean says:

    This looks great. I’m a big fan of IKEA units and storage baskets. You can hide a lot in one of those. Jean

  • Tiffany says:

    American living in Germany right now. They don’t do actual closets here. I had to take a fun trip to ikea as well to buy a couple armoires. I got the ones that have the shelved area separated from the hanging side. Perfect linen closet.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Oh I didn’t know they didn’t have actual closets in Germany either! How interesting! I guess I’m just practicing for living abroad in my house with no closets ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOVE those armoires from Ikea. Thanks so much for stopping by, Tiffany!

  • Rebecca says:

    Love. Love. Love everything abt this! Do you happen to remember which IKEA shelf that was? I haven’t seen that one before but would love to pick one up the next time I’m near an ikea.

  • I love this idea, your writing style, and blog! Very well organized, really easy to read. I have been blogging for less than a year and I just started really searching out other bloggers that I really connect with and I think you are one of them! We are downsizing to a 125 year old, one room church, to be our home. It has been an adventure to say the least but I love purging all the unneeded stuff and having only the things I need or love in our new home. I will be following you and learning from you, thank you for the inspiration.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Aw, thank you SO much Teri! You just made me blush with all of your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚ And that’s amazing! I love churches that have been converted into homes and yours sounds lovely! Heading over now to follow you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rose says:

    Just found you through Pinterest! Great post – super cute ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wanted to share one of my FAV linen organization tips (learned it from Martha years ago): Keep your sheet sets together by putting them in the matching pillow case. That way they are all bundled together and you don’t have to go hunting for each piece of the set (put flat, fitted, and extra pillow case in the other pillow case).

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Rose! So glad you’re here ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve heard of that tip and it really makes sense – I will have to try it! Just have to get the hang of folding that darn fitted sheet first ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Nancy McManus says:

    I love what you did, but am I the only one who loved the other piece that was left behind? I hope you were able to repurpose it!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      It really was a nice wicker piece, Nancy! We found a lovely woman to give it to who is redoing her bedroom in all wicker furniture – she was just thrilled to have it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Toni says:

    What a huge improvement. We have a dedicated linen closet but it is narrow and deep so things get lost and it’s hard to keep organized. And, why do I need every old pair of sheets we’ve ever owned? I finally tore some into cleaning rags for the garage but I still have a ways to go before it doesn’t make me want to cringe.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thanks so much, Toni! It’s funny that they make linen closets so narrow – it would be so much more helpful if they were wider! That’s a really good idea to tear old sheets into cleaning rags – I’ll definitely have to do that!

  • Awesome! Loved the before & after pics, want to have mine exactly like yours!

  • Barbm1712 says:

    You really made a difference in your bathroom and, though I hesitate to admit it, I’d much rather spend my birthday at Ikea too, though not during the Labor Day sale madness. We have adequate storage space in our hallway linen closet, but the bathroom has NO storage. The previous owners installed pedestal sinks in both bathrooms, eh! love the look, hate no counter space or storage. They also used every inch of wall space in the bathroom so I can’t get any cabinetry in despite a very generous master bathroom unless we remove the pedestal sink and install a vanity style, which is our next project. I really love what you’ve done and it’s so nice to walk into a well organized and attractive room!

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Ikea really is one of the best birthday spots ๐Ÿ™‚ And that sounds like quite the bathroom problem to have to work around! Pedestal sinks really are pretty, but are a killer on storage space. I hope you can come up with a solution that works for you soon! Thank you SO much for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Clearissa says:

    Just found you on Pinterest and I repinned this post. Lots of people do not have a lot of closet space and this piece is perfect. I am currently purging my linen closet. I have so many sheet sets that I no longer use now that I’ve learn to count threads. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Linda says:

    It looks wonderful Erica. It’s so hard to keep sheets and towels neat and you did a great job. We’re getting an Ikea here later this year. I’m so excited.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thank you so much, Linda! I’m so excited that you are getting an Ikea!! The closest one to me is about an hour away, but it’s totally worth it to make the trip for all the fun stuff they have ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pat says:

    I love your idea for a linen closet of sorts. I do not have a linen closet. I have sheets in lidded containers under the beds they go on. For the bath towels I installed wire shelves over the toilet and above the door. These also hold baskets for each household member for their grooming items, toilet paper, and jars containing cotton balls and swabs. In the kitchen, just outside the bathroom, (we have an old farmhouse that didn’t have a bathroom and former owners tacked one on the back of the kitchen,) we have a small oak cabinet that holds extra items. For the guest sofa bed, I put the sheets and blanket between the mattress folds, turned the comforter inside out to a plain beige backing and laid it across the sofa and covered it all with a pet style sofa cover to keep dust out of the sofa.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Pat! You listed some amazing ideas! Love the trick of using containers under beds and using clever ideas for storing guest sheets! Thank you so much for sharing and I hope to see you back here at Dwell Beautiful again soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Chris Taylor says:

    If you can, donate old towels and linens to animal shelters. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gillian Arant says:

    I have a small home we have no closet space either so I had to get creative with portable wardrobes and plastic fruit baskets sounds pretty grim I know but really it is not looks great I am happy with the results and it is easy to see what I want to wear every day and it keeps you tidy instead of just throwing it all in together I think it is a good way to live sometimes I feel we all have to much stuff.

  • Patty Eyler says:

    I like the looks you created but would also like to be able to shop for items u use. When I click on the icons you created it appears you created to do that it only directs it to be pinned and then once the pin is clicked it takes you right back to the page it was pinned from. A bit of a round robin. The same happens for the icon created I thought to look at the renovations but no, it’s just a pin that leads directly back to same page.

    • Erica Sooter says:

      Hi Patty – I’m so sorry you’re having trouble with the images! They can definitely be a little hard to work around. I’ll see if I can find a better solution, but for now, you can get to the pages to purchase the items from by hovering over the item and clicking but making sure you don’t click on the gold pin it button. Simply click anywhere else on the image and it should bring you to the proper online store where you can purchase said items. Please let me know if you have any more trouble! I’d also be able to email you direct links to products you are interested in if that’s easier! Have a great day! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Michelle says:

    I have very little space for extra linen and have been toying with the idea of storing extra bedding (only 1 set) under the mattress of the bed it belongs to, obviously folded to be pretty flat… I’m sure there must be some hygienic reason we don’t already do this but it would be really convenient to have the bedding right there when you strip the sheets…

    • Erica Sooter says:

      I think that’s such a brilliant idea, Michelle, and so convenient!! I suppose you could always fold the sheets to fit in a gallon-sized ziploc bag or two – that would help keep them safe from anything that could leech through the mattress! Great tip!

  • Christina Thomas says:

    Love this! What did you do with the litter box?

  • Janie Wigley says:

    What a beautiful solution to a problem with which most of us deal. Like you, I have no linen closet. Weโ€™ve 3 bedrooms & 3 small bathrooms. Iโ€™m going to measure my spaces & copy your idea. Thanks so much.

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