This is not your standard closet makeover, that starts with a trip to the Container Store, or at least a dollar store. My budget for this project was $0.00, and I stuck to it. My linen closet was always an issue for me, because it has a hanger bar and no shelves. How to organize linens in such a setup without spending money? The other thing holding me back was that I hate our linens. They are awful. I have one set of sheets that I love, which are either on the bed or in the washing machine; and I have a set of ugly but very warm flannel sheets that I put on the bed when we can’t stand to freeze anymore. But the rest of our sheets? Hideous. They are all handmedowns from my mother in law, who judges a sheet’s attractiveness on the number of contrasting colors and its ability to stand out in a crowd. They are also all king size, and our bed is a queen.
Our towel situation is no better. All our towels are handmedowns as well, mostly shades of beige, except for one garish set of bright turquoise towels that don’t play well with our white-gray-purple decor. And of course they don’t match each other. Whenever I think about redoing my linen closet, I think about those hideous sheets and towels, and I lose heart. At some point, I had the brilliant idea to buy a hanging sweater organizer (purple and gray!) to provide a little shelf space in there, and I’m thrilled with that idea, but clearly it wasn’t enough, and I wasn’t really using it very much.
This week, I realized that I was running out of storage space in the pantry, and the linen closet was the most underutilized storage we have. So my ugly sheets and ratty old towels had to be faced. If we didn’t have frequent overnight guests, almost all of those sheets would be designated “project fabric.”
So, first step is to face reality. Here’s the Before… keeping it real for you…
Got to have a plan! The plan: store linens, towels, toiletries stockpile, and paper goods stockpile. Getting the bathroomy stuff in here would clear out space in the pantry for food storage, something I really need.
First step was to get the clothes out of the linen closet. I had been storing our out of season clothes on the bottom shelf. I moved those to the upper level of the bedroom closet. The clothes that were hanging on the hanger bar went either to the coat closet or the bedroom closet. That cleared out a great deal of space.
Having no budget means making do with what I have on hand. I collected a bunch of white plastic baskets and lavendar edged bamboo baskets that I already had.
The large blue box doesn’t match the color scheme and I am painfully aware of this – can you tell it’s in hiding back there? Anyway, it has toilet paper and extra tampons in it. In front, tissues, swiffer cloths, paper towels, and disposable gloves. On top of the box, left to right: dental care, skin care, and hair care.
On the bottom, I have a row of white plastic baskets in the back row: soaps; shampoo; shower gels; tampons; and baby wipes. In the bamboo baskets in the front: cosmetics; shaving supplies; bath sponges; deodorant; and cotton swabs.
(You have to do a special course to fold towels and neatly ironed sheets like that, I’m telling you, it’s a talent… Oh, whom am I kidding… I don’t waste too much energy on the hateful things!) Hanging sheets on hangers is the only solution I could come up with since there’s a hanger bar but no shelves, but I’m okay with it for now. I think that for $0.00, this is a solution that I can live with. It freed up one whole pantry shelf, two craft-closet drawers, and bits of other storage here and there. It’s also so organized that my husband can find things without having to ask. (He is always asking me where things are, because I’m always moving them around. When I showed him the finished result, he gave me the raised eyebrow. He knows that it’s quite likely I’ll redo the whole thing in a few
days weeks months.)
As for labels… I wanted to stick to the linen closet theme, and I had an old orphan lavendar pillowcase, so I took it apart and used the border to make mini pillows, with the label written on them. Then I attached them to the baskets with a bright purple bow. I only used about a tenth of the pillowcase fabric, so that leaves more fabric for other projects, and it didn’t cost anything. And, to make them even more fun, there is actual lavendar inside the pillows, to keep everything smelling nice!
That’s my no-money linen closet organization makeover!
I’ll do an update on this if I ever get new towels and sheets!
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