On the domestic front, there are few things more disconcerting than harboring chaos and disorder behind closed doors, no matter how neat and orderly your home appears to guests. Lawlessness in your closets can create a level of anxiety that makes it difficult to enjoy your home, regardless of how neat and beautiful the public spaces are. Providing order and discipline to those private, only-seen-by-the-family spaces like closets, pantries and storage areas (or as the great designer Bunny Williams calls them, the “underneath” of the house) will give you a peace of mind that allows you to be more creative and freewheeling elsewhere. And, while we are currently spending more time than ever at home, organization is especially worthwhile and a key ingredient to creating a calm and balanced environment.
You’ll get the biggest bang for your organizational buck by starting with the linen closet. Putting your towels, sheets, and drugstore necessities (everything from toothpaste to batteries) in order is an easy step towards saving time and energy when it comes to keeping your bedrooms and bathrooms running smoothly.
Here are some ideas for getting started:
1. Organize and prioritize
Identify the items that you use the most, like towels and bed sheets for the family, and place them towards the front of the closet at eye level so they are easy to access. Store seasonal or occasional items, such as heavy winter blankets and spare sheets for the guestroom, in the back or the top of the closet. For bulky items like comforters and pillows, buy soft plastic bags with zip closures that keep out dust and moths, and label the bags with their contents.
2. Streamline beautifully
Choose one style of towel that you will use throughout the house. Choose one color for each room, or, to keep things even simpler, go for white throughout (it’s crisp, easy to clean, and will never fade). Then give away or make cleaning rags out of all of the old, discolored and frayed ones.
Neatly fold or roll towels so that all of the edges face the same way, making sure to group towels of the same size together. Stack sheets in sets, so you won’t have to go tearing through them when you need to find a particular size - there’s nothing like unfolding and refolding countless fitted sheets on a fruitless hunt for one that fits your sofa bed.
4. Accessorize with the essentials
There are certain little things that are great to have on hand, like a generous supply of washcloths—they're perfect for the kids at bathtime and for the adults to wash their face. Keep a stash of good throws to pull from and an extra blanket for each bed. Devote one shelf to toiletries, light bulbs, tissue paper, and other basics for the bedroom and bathroom.
A neatly organized, thoughtfully appointed linen closet can give you great pleasure—even more so if you pile on the special details. Place sachets of your favorite scent, like lavender or verbena, on the shelves so the smell wafts towards you when you open the closet doors. Paint the inside of your linen closet a beautiful color that makes you smile. Put an oversize seashell on top of your towels if that makes you happy. There is beauty to be found everywhere, and the closet is no exception.