Simplify Your Linens

It seems that nearly every client I work with is struggling with where and how to store their linens. Many New York City apartments don’t come with a linen closet. Even if there is a linen closet, it is often required to store other items, or else it has challenges that make accessing one’s linens challenging. Sometimes there are just too many linens, and decisions have to be made.

Here are some of the solutions I’ve offered my clients which may be helpful to you, no matter where you live.

Reduce your linens

If too many linens is your issue, then consider this:

  • Have one set of sheets and pillowcases on each bed, and one extra set put away. Rotate them each time you launder them to ensure that the ones in storage don’t get dusty.
  • Have one set of towels in each bathroom, and one extra set put away.
  • If you have sleeping space for guests, keep only as many extra sheet sets, blankets, and towels are needed for the maximum number of guests that can stay over.
  • Review your tablecloths and make sure you are keeping only those that fit the table you have now. If you rarely entertain, reduce your collection of table linens to better match your frequency of use.
  • If you do end up reducing your linens, consider donating the sheets, blankets, and towels to a dog shelter. Other textiles can be recycled — look for fabric recycling options in your area.

Store your linens where you use them

Towel Shelf

If you have no linen closet, then consider this:

  • Store your extra bed linens in the bedroom where they will be used.
  • Store your extra towels in the bathroom like they do in hotels. You can mount a shelf on the wall like this one on
  • Store tablecloths, napkins, and other table linens in the dining area.

Make it easier to identify your linens

Many people (not me!) like white linens. But it is difficult to distinguish the full size sheets from the queen size when they all look alike. If this is your issue, consider purchasing sheets with  a subtle print or stripe to make it easier to see which linens go in which room.

Separate the sentimental from the useful

Some of my clients have tablecloths and napkins that have been in the family for generations. This often results in an overabundance of table linens which they are loathe to part with. If this sounds like you, consider honoring the family legacy by turning these linens into a keepsake quilt. You can see more about this in my recent organizing tip Turning Old Clothes into Memories.

Do you have a linens issue that I have neglected to address here? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to provide a solution!


  1. Dorothy F Mcneill on August 31, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Sharon, I love your tips, especially about storing linens in the actual rooms that they will be used. I’d like to add, tweaking could be part of the process. I put a wooden shelf in my bathroom, for example, over the door, and it was too awkward, dense, so I sighed, took it down, and replaced it with a light, white wire metal shelf, like what’s used in a kitchen; now I can see from below, what’s up there. See you at next NAPO meeting! Dorothy

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