{organizing with style} Stylish & Functional Linen Closet

Thursday, February 4, 2016

This post is sponsored by IKEA, but, as always, all opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Last fall, when I decided to give the laundry closet a major makeover to make it brighter and more functional, I knew that meant the linen closet would need a makeover as well. The linen closet is adjacent to the laundry closet in our second floor hallway, and while each is accessed by its own set of doors, internally there is no division between the two spaces. But beyond just getting a new, coordinating look, this was the perfect excuse for me to finally achieve a more organized and functional linen closet! 

Today I'm sharing 7 tips to help you create a linen closet that is functional, stylish, and easy to maintain! And all on a budget, of course!

Linen Closet Organization

When we first moved in to our home, I painted the laundry and linen closet bright red, and then proceeded to buy a whole bunch of red bins for the shelves of the linen closet. Woah! Red overload!

But beyond the color, I wasn't making the best use of the space. Sure, I had a bins and labels, but don't be fooled... the space was far from organized! There were a quite a few items that I simply didn't need, and other items that would be better stored elsewhere. Meanwhile, I had lots of items floating around the house that needed to find a permanent home, and I was finally able to make room for many of them in the new linen closet.

Take the paper towels in the white basket for example. I like to buy paper towels in bulk to save money, but I could only fit six rolls in the "paper towel basket." As a result, I usually had a bunch more rolls scattered around on the floor of the linen closet. The paper towels and toilet paper have now been relocated to the cabinets in the new laundry closet, where there's plenty of room for lots of extras!

I also had two bins full of extra light bulbs in this second floor linen closet, but the ladder that we need to change most of the light bulbs is stored in the garage - so I decided it made more sense to relocate the light bulbs to the first floor, much closer to the ladder.

And ironically, contrary to its name, the red linen closet didn't have a single linen in it. I was always struggling to find a place in our bedrooms to store extra sheets, and I was trying to stuff all the extra towels below the guest room sink, where there just wasn't enough room. 


I know I sound like a broken record... I've said it before, and you can bet I'll say it again... at the start of any organizing project, it's always best to empty the space completely! This gives you a clean slate, in more way than one. 

Taking everything off of the shelves allowed me to clear the floor and the back of the shelves of the dust bunnies that had been accumulating for the past seven years.

Completely emptying the closet also forced me to look at each and every item that came off the shelves, and to make a conscious decision about what should go back in, what should be relocated, and what I should get rid of all together {for donation, recycling, or trash}.


Our linen closet had always been very dark, so once I had it completely cleared out, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to add some light. The adjacent laundry closet already had a light above the door frame, so I hired an electrician to add a second light above the linen closet door.

If you don't have easy access to electrical, or don't want to pay an electrician to hard wire a light in the linen closet, you can simply add a battery operated, motion activated closet light for under $15! You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes to have a light in the closet!

Another way that I brightened up the linen closet was by getting rid of those red walls. I had decided to use temporary wallpaper in a white brick pattern in the laundry closet, and since the two spaces are connected, that meant that the linen closet got snazzy new wallpaper as well.

Once the wallpaper was installed, I was able to put the shelves back up and I was ready to reorganize the linen closet.


To make the best use of the linen closet space, I decided to use a variety of storage containers - including open bins, lidded boxes, and baskets on the floor.

Linen Closet Organization

The open bins - which I placed on the shelf right at my eye level - are for the most frequently used items in the linen closet, including folded sheets and towels. The open baskets make it easy to reach in and quickly grab what I need.

Linen Closet Sheets & Towels

Here's a quick tip for storing sheets - fold them and store all the full set inside one of the pillow cases. This way, your matched sets will never get separated!

Folding sheets

Because our linen closet is attached to the laundry area, I used the third open bin for laundry detergents and stain removers - making it easy to reach in and grab what I need from either the laundry or linen closet side.

Linen Closet Organizing

I typically label everything, but you'll notice that there are no labels on the white bins. Since the front of the baskets are scooped, making it easy to see what's inside, I decided that no labels were necessary.

The white bins that I used in the linen closet are ones I'd had around for a long time, and unfortunately they are no longer available where I purchased them. The good news, however, is that IKEA sells a similar option - the SKUBB boxes, which are similarly sized, open on top, and have a convenient front handle. Best of all, a set of three SKUBB boxes is only $16.99.


While the open bins work great for frequently used items, I prefer lidded boxes for the items that I don't access nearly as often. On the lower shelves, the lids out the dust and make the closet look nicer. And on the upper shelves, the lids allow the smaller boxes to be stacked up to efficiently use the full height of the closet.

Linen Closet Organizing

I just love these green TJENA boxes from IKEA, but if greens not your color, they also come in white! And they are a serious bargain! The large boxes {used on the lower shelves} are only $4.99 each, and the medium sized boxes on the top shelf are only $3.99 each! The boxes are very sturdy, and they have convenient handles for pulling them on and off of the shelves. And the boxes come with their own self-adhesive label holders - an organizers dream!

I am using the boxes on the lower shelf for extra cleaning supplies {the cleaning supplies I use daily are stored under the sink in our kitchen}. One holds extra vacuum bags, belts and attachments; one holds extra dust rags and extra furniture polish; and one holds various other cleaners and extras {like Windex and soap refills}. The items in all of the boxes are on the heavier side - which is why I opted to keep them down lower.

Linen Closet Organizing

On the shelf above the white bins, these lidded baskets hold lighter weight items - like all of my fabric napkins and paper plates - making them easier for me to lift down. 

Linen Closet Organizing

On the top shelf, I used the medium size boxes and stacked them two high. Thanks to the built-in handles, I can get all of these boxes on and off the top shelf without the need of a step ladder despite being very short.

It seems like each time we host a party, I wind up with extra paper goods - like matching plates, cups, and napkins. I hate to waste these items, but previously, I didn't have a good way to store them. Now I have all of these paper goods, and other misc party supplies, sorted by color/season, each in their own box. This will make it easy for me to shop my what I already own before buying anything new the next time we host a gathering!

Linen Closet Organizing


Previously, the floor of the linen closet was just a place for junk to pile up. When planning the linen closet makeover, I wanted to make good use of this space, so I made a list of items around the house that were giving me trouble. 

Each member of the family has their own clothing hamper in their room, but sheets and towels always seemed to be piling up. I don't like putting them in our bedroom hampers because they take up all the space and cause them to overflow too quickly. So instead - they'd become piles of their own. 

To solve this problem, I bought some cute striped laundry baskets {affiliate link} for the floor of the linen closet. We now use one for towel and one for sheets. It's working out great to corral all of the dirty sheets and towels in one place so that I have to run from room to room collecting them when I'm ready to do laundry.

Linen Closet Organizing

The third laundry basket solves another problem we had around the house by giving us a place to collect items that we are ready to donate. Now we can toss clothes that don't fit or items we no longer need into this one basket, and when it's full, I can just toss the basket in the car and drop off all the items at our local donation center. 

Linen Closet Organizing


I always like to take advantage of every available space for organizing, and these means never overlooking the potential on the back of the doors. I originally wanted to install towel bars on the backs of the doors, but the doors are very narrow and I couldn't find any towel bars to would fit. 

IKEA to the rescue! I have used their GRUNDTAL rails for organizing projects around the house {like our bathtub toy storage}, but I only recently realized that these rails also come in a much shorter length. The 15" GRUNDTAL rail were the perfect size for our small doors. 

Linen Closet Organizing

I am using these rails to store extra blankets and all of our table clothes and table runners {which previously were always wrinkled from being shoved into a too-full kitchen cabinet}.

Linen Closet Organizing

You can also get a GRUNDTAL towel rail in the same narrow width, but with two bars instead of one. Because our doors only open 90 degrees, I was worried that the towel rails would sit out too far from the door, making access to the closet feel tight. But if you have the space, they would work perfectly, and would allow you to store even more on the doors! 


I've heard a lot of talk lately about "organizing for real life" and the gist seems to be that a pretty organized space is somehow less functional. A linen closet has to be a hard working space...but function can still be beautiful! And making it pretty can be very easy and very low cost! It's as simple as choosing inexpensive, matching boxes.

Linen Closet Organizing

But why bother to make it match? When I take the time to make my organizing a bit prettier, I am much more likely to keep things in order so that it will remain pretty. If you've had trouble in the past keeping up with your organizing systems, I highly recommend spending a few extra minutes to dress things up a bit and you might just be surprised at how it motivates you to put things back where they belong so that you can continue to admire the beauty of your organized space.

Of course, making it pretty doesn't require matching baskets or bins. Even a mix and match variety of containers can easily be given a cohesive look with matching labels!

One other super easy way to add some style to a closet is by using washi tape to add a quick detail to each of the shelves. {Be sure to read my washi tape shelf detail tutorial, because there's a trick to stop it from peeling off!}

Linen Closet Organizing

Adding washi tape to all of the linen closet shelves only took me about 5 minutes, but it's those little details that give the space a bit of style and help to motivate me to keep it organized so that it remains beautiful!


So, could you linen closet need a little reorganization? I hope these tips will help you find an organizing system that works just right for you! 

And if you love the style of my linen closet, here's a list of super affordable products from IKEA to help you get the look!  
IKEA Linen Closet - get the look

Large Green Lidded Boxes:
TJENA from IKEA, $4.99/each
Medium Green Lidded Boxes: TJENA from IKEA, $3.99/each
Narrow Door Rail: GRUNDTAL Rail from IKEA, $6.99/each
White Open Top Bins: SKUBB from IKEA $16.99/3 pack
Large Striped Basket: MAFFENS from IKEA, $18.99/each

You'll find all of the other projects in this laundry and linen closet space, including lots of organizing and DIY tips, in these posts:

Linked up at Remodelaholic


  1. This is brilliant! Love how you have stored everything! Never thought to use the IKEA green boxes that way!

  2. Yikes--mine looks a whole lot like your "before." I think having a coordinated color scheme makes such a difference. I saw those green boxes at Ikea recently, but didn't think I had a use for them. Now I do!

  3. Can you come organize my closets?! Love the wallpaper and the use of washi tape. Great job!

  4. I wish I was this organized! Pinning for sure!

    -Erin Spain

  5. This looks so incredibly awesome! I love a good label and I know a few of my closets could use a few new bins & boxes for storing things [and just so I can label something!]. Love it.

  6. Just gorgeous, Angela! I super love the idea of a hamper for donations! So smart!


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