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Friday, January 18, 2013

When You Don’t Have a Linen Closet…

I grew up in a house that had a large linen closet in the hallway. My mother kept sheet sets in a pillow case long before Martha Stewart suggested it. In the summer my Grandma Mary stored her winter bedding in it’s original box or tied with a satin ribbon in her linen cupboard similar to this:

When I lived in Germany our home did not have any closets. The linens were stored in a linen press. Prior to the mass production of closets, this was the favored method. (Personally, I think it is a prettier option than a boring closet.)

Classic French Armoir - linen press

Linen presses come in a variety of styles.

"Anastasia Linen Press" with agean blue interior by Gary Inman and Joseph Elko for Gary Inman Home Couture

I’ll take this entire bathroom please.

Beach House Bathroom - Though they can be more expensive than store-bought bathroom cabinets, built-ins offer custom storage options. In this room, a wall of built-ins, including a linen press-style cupboard, transform the space into a charming, functional bath without taking up much floor space

Ten years ago we moved back to the states and I have had a linen closet ever since. Or shall I say I have been trying to keep my linen closet clean for the past 10 years? I always look for inspiration.

I once had a very sweet dream that I was left alone to rifle through Rachel Ashwell’s linen cupboard.

I also would pay good money just to see Martha Stewart’s linen storage. Until then this video, full of tips, has to suffice.

My dream linen closet could possibly look like this:

But then there is also Alexandra Stoddard’s linen closet! The colors are spectacular. I can’t get over the art and roses.

In a linen closet.

linen closet with colorful linens

I was a little sad and bewildered when it dawned on me that our new little house had no linen closet. So I began researching out of the box linen storage ideas.

The blog Simply Me stores all of her linens in an open bookcase.

Which got me thinking…

“Where could I do this?”

My master bedroom closet, which just happens to be right off of the bathroom, had a small wall of sweater shelves. So I put everything there.

Fast forward 6 months.

The horrid “BEFORE”.

misc 003

This system was obviously NOT working. So I studied some other linen closets.

Nice. Is this staged?

pretty linen closet

Baskets and storage boxes seem to be the key in containing clutter.

If you actually do have a door ~ I love the idea of installing a towel bar for additional storage.

So, I pulled everything off of the shelves. What was a decorative bird cage doing in the linen area anyway?

misc 006

In the meantime I shared with you that I have been going through sorting, purging and cleaning out my clothes closet.

I accepted that the size 4 jeans are just NOT going to happen anymore.

If I wasn’t wearing it, couldn’t update it (like the blazers) then it got donated.

jacket 042

Ditto with scarves, hats and purses! This purge left me with two large empty baskets that I bought at Ikea years ago.

I was just as hard on myself with the linens. I got rid of blankets I was never going to use, as well as several stained or torn towels.  Then our heavy wool army blankets and beach towels went into the baskets. Better.

But there was still not enough room for all the stuff. I know, I know. Why was I hanging on to Sweet Boy’s crib bedding set???

So I also addressed my French antique linen hoarding collecting. I selected four very large sheets to transform into slipcovers for the Man Cave solving two problems at once. Then…. it all worked.

misc 008

I feel better.  (Even though I kept the crib bedding ~placed next to the baskets.)

Now, if I can just get Sweet Boy’s closet and my craft closet to look as good.


A group of organizing bloggers are hosting a closet organizing revolution. Go visit HERE for more inspiration. Vote for your favorite beginning on Friday at 8 am ~ Eastern Standard Time. Décor To Adore is listed at # 92.


Linda said...

Okay, Laura, you keep bringing me work! Ha ha. :)

Right now, since I finally finished Sarah's bathroom, I'm in the midst of patching and priming our bathroom for painting. It's been 11 years, so it's time. Your ideas are coming in handy.

Hope you have a nice weekend.
Love, Linda

The Comfort of a Safe Place said...

I love all the linen presses...and what you've done with your linens!

I don't have a linen closet either, but with the help of an organizer in our Master Bedroom measures 11x8...I have room for Mr CSP and my clothes and shoes, even winter coats when not in use...and all of the linens!! :)

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Your do-over looks awesome!!! I loveeee those Ikea baskets!!!

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Oh my gosh, our linen closet has always been the bane of my existence! Great job, you've inspired me. While I don't still have crib bedding in there (it's stashed away somewhere else), I still have way too much STUFF. Add in a few down comforters and you've got a real mess. Wish me luck! ( thanks for the inspiring pics!)

Annie said...

Not only is this informative AND Beautiful, it made me smile. My closet would be (and is) the one with the bird cage in it LOL

Meredith said...

You have such an interesting blog! Everything from decorating, traveling, thrifting, organizing - I really like what you have to say. Great closet organizing. I'm feeling inspired... Maybe this weekend I'll tackle my closets!

Kelley Dibble said...

Ya had to go and rurin it (ya gotta talk red neck...) by adding that crack about the craft closet. *sigh* Ditto: Now if only I could get my craft closet to look/get/be as organized. ONE DAY...........

Auntie Em said...

I don't know what you are talking about! Messy closets? Who would have such a thing??? Oh, what's that? You want to see in my closets??? Well,'s not possible right this, all right. I can't open the doors with out something falling out and I am scared of how long it will take to shove the doors back closed again, not to mention the danger of things being hit by flying debris!
Here in the north we need tons of warm blankets for the winter and then we lack storage for them through the two and half months we refer to as summer. Plus I have a lot of company which means remaking beds all the time (Two queen, two bunk and a single, which are often all full at the same time) Neat linen closets are a thing of dreams! LOL BUT if you ever get a chance to tour RA's, please let me know. :)

Teresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa said...

I don't have a linen closet. In fact not even the Country Home I grew up in had a linen closet. Linens, blankets, coverlets etc were stored in trunks or in huge chests of drawers.

When I had my own home I never thought of having one and after going through your pictures I see I can't because I have nowhere to use as... my home is small and has with very little free space for "adventures" ahahahah.

But I've been dreaming in adapting a bookcase I have into a open storage of linens and necessities for the Bathroom. Now I'm craving it, in fact.

Thank you for sharing!

I wonder in the daily rush if linen closets don't tend to get messier than the trunks and drawers... they look lovelier indeed but I can see it quickly reaching that "before" point in my home - hubby pulling this, daughter putting that yiikes ;)

Have a Nice Weekend!

Curtains in My Tree said...

That makes me feel like a slob, just thinking about what my closets look like. ( I am working on it)

your closet looks as good as Rachel Ashwell or Martha's

I think I would much rather go through Rachel's closet,s what a dream

I loved seeing all the closet armoires

Sue said...

My hallway closet is next on my agenda to get done. I have been putting it off mainly because it is a place for so many things and I just didn't know how to organize it better. I love the idea using the baskets. And I have a few that I had other things in that I could use. So thanks for the idea.

Don't feel a bit guilty about saving your sons baby bedding. I have saved different pieces of bedding from my children and have been able to give it to them when they have their first child. My oldest daughter is due any day now and I am so looking forward to give her the items I have saved from when she was a baby. She was my last child to have a child of her own so now the saving of things will be up to them to pass along.

Christine said...

You get an A+!
You saw, you acted and it came out looking great.

Amy Jo said...

Great job! I love the history you shared... I would love my linen closet to look like those. Mine well...I would be embarassed to show it.

Amy Jo

Mrs. Santos said...

Thank you for the link. Can't wait to check out closet ideas. I have neither a linen closet nor an armoire. What to do? I would also take that lovely bathroom you like!

Chubby Chieque said...

That's really a good start of the year. Start to lessen the clutter.

I myself had started my fridge. And a week later, it is still in the best shape §;.)

Honestly, speaking, I been digging in and out in my linnen closet/room. Ahhh... too many crap. Towels, bathroom carpets, linens, curtains etc etc...

If you say you have a little house? Wait and see how little I have. The more I throw, the more I buy. A hoarder or just a plate addict?

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I love the whole ideas and the inspirations. I surely roam to your bloggie friends to gather some tips. Spring is coming, remember.

Have a great w/end Laura.

Greetings from a FREEZING Stockholm.
/CC girl

GSGreatEscaper said...

Auntie Em already wrote my post. It was 12 degrees F when I woke up this morning.

Designs By Pinky said...

In this new house we have a TEENY, TINY linen closet that is not at all adequate. I have ALOT of tablecloths, napkins, pacemats etc. for tablescaping so have had to get creative in how to store them. As far as sheets and towels go I am buying a chest of drawers to store them below our TV in the master bedroom. XO, pinky

jeanetteann said...

Loved this post,and your linen cupboard looks so nice too.
I wouldn't mind the stuff in Rachel Ashwells cupboard (drool) :)

Myna Kay said...

I just wished I had pretty linens! lol

Diane | An Extraordinary Day said...

Every home needs a linen closet. Isn't it great that you have such a nice clothing closet with the room. I love having my linens organized and folded nicely, too.
We have a small linen closet outside our tiny bath, in the hallway...that is filled with towels and related essentials. But, years ago I made a cherry blanket chest...and yes that holds all my bed linens....except for blankets...those are in another closet. Wouldn't it be nice to have everything all together?

Pieced Pastimes said...

That mirrored linen press is just beautiful! Your newly organized linens look great. I would not have parted with the crib bedding either. Some things are meant to be saved.

openid said...

Dear Laura,
Living in an old house, I am (unfortunately) all too familiar with lack of closets. Your solution is functional and organized; a place for everything and everything in its place.
Your Friend,

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

I have a linen closet to tackle!
Your post just gave me the kick start that I needed! It's on my list for February!

Laura Turner said...

Okay, okay... I'm convicted and inspired! My poor hoard of vintage French and English linens and antique quilts are being stored in plastic tubs in a very unattractive linen closet. I see my next project/rennovation on the horizon! :-)

Lindsay said...

I think my favorite is the armoire in the bathroom that has the blue inside! Love it!

Vel Criste said...

you are not alone on this at all Laura - mine looks pretty scary too! I wish I had a storage room just for linens, but oh well, we can't be all like Martha steeart, so we deal with what we have. And you deal with what you have always beautifully!

Privet and Holly said...

Laura, I have the closet
bug at the moment, as
well, so I'm just going
with it! Since we've never
lived in a house this long,
it's been a one way street
INTO the closets, with no
two-way due to a move.

It feels so great to purge
and neaten things up. I
feel a physical lifting up
of my spirits!

Thanks for the inspiration
to continue forging on : )

Happy Sunday,
xo Suzanne

PS: Loved your post on
the camera class. I took
one two years ago and that
teacher had a bit of attitude,
as well. What's up with that?

Dortesjs said...

awww stunning love this