Have you been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix?
Us too. Sure, we were devotees of the Konmari method back when the Japanese tidying guru first published her tips on organisation in book form, but there’s something about seeing it on the big screen that drives her message home. An organised cupboard is an organised life, and once you free yourself from mess you will be so much happier.
One of the biggest, trickiest categories to organise according to Kondo is the miscellaneous grouping of stuff usually found in the kitchen and the laundry. That’s right, we’re talking about the linen cupboard. If you’re anything like us, you’re linen cupboard can — at times — feel like a bit of a dumping ground. It’s the kind of place where things that don’t have a home can end up, which means that the overall effect is one of disorganisation.
Not any more! Bolstered by Kondo and, let’s face it, a desire to give our Bed Threads flax linen sheets the beautiful home that they deserve, we’re going to spend this month organising our linen cupboards. And these are our tips.
First, the purge
According to Kondo, the best way to tidy is to first get rid of everything you don’t need. By that we mean raggedy sheets from bygone eras, threadbare towels and anything that has seen better days.
Sure, sure, you were keeping those sheets for when someone comes to stay and you need a spare set. They were your sheets for a rainy day! We get it. But the fact of the matter is that you’ll probably never need them, and they’re taking up space that you might not have. Bid them farewell, in order to use the space you do have prioritising the beautiful, complete sets of sheets that you already have and use every day. (Plus, if you really want to replace them, now is the perfect opportunity to pick up a new set. Our current favourite is the terracotta-coloured flax linen set.)
To be safe, we recommend three or four complete sets of sheets, augmented by one or two light blankets and throws for when you can’t bear to use your duvet.
Second, the organisation
In order to keep your linen cupboard in tidy, tip-top shape, you need to put organisation first. By that, we mean come up with some form of categorisation and stick to it. Maybe you want to keep all like for like sheets together — the fitted sheets with the fitted sheets, the duvet covers with the duvet covers, and so on — or in complete groupings (pillow slips, fitted sheet, duvet cover all in the same colour or pattern together) for ease of access.
Keep beach towels separate from bath towels, and both of these should be separate from smaller face towels and bath mats. If you keep your kitchen tea towels in the linen cupboard, then we recommend keeping these separate from the other towels as well. Towels are the trickiest category, mostly because of the sheer number of subsets within it, but as long as you find a system that works for you, that’s all that matters.
The point is to come up with a system that you use and stick to it. That way, you can impose some order over the chaos that is the linen cupboard. And always make sure to label each category of linens and towels, so that you can keep track of your system and what you’re storing where.
Third, the little touches
Once you’ve got your categorisation complete, you’re going to want to add a little something extra. You can store your grouped together sheets in a receptacle, such as hand-woven baskets or wire baskets from somewhere like MUJI or IKEA, or you can leave them folded and on display on the shelves.
Maybe you want to line your shelves with a bit of scented paper, or place a sachet of lavender at the back of the cupboard to give off fragrance. If you have the space for it, the top shelf of a linen cupboard — the hardest to reach, and therefore the shelf you’re least likely to place stuff on — is the perfect spot for decoration. Why not store vases or glassware up there, or groupings of shells from your latest beach vacation? Let your creativity go wild.
Fourth, the extras
What about everything that’s not a towel or a sheet? Extra cleaning products, beach paraphernalia, the remnants of that cider-making kit you never got around to throwing out… We understand that a linen cupboard is rarely ever just for linen.
Approach these extras as you would everything else. First, purge. Do you really need that old snorkelling kit? Get rid of it if the answer is no. For everything you want or need to keep, organise them by category and store them in a matching tub or container as the rest of the cupboard. Again, you’re going to want to label these boxes or baskets so that you know exactly where you’ve put all the extra laundry detergent.
Fifth, the maintenance
Don’t over-stuff your shelves or tubs. (This is where the purge comes in.) The more things you have in your linen cupboard, the more difficult it will be to find everything. The idea is that you should be able to see everything easily, or if you have things hidden away in tubs, then you should be able to see their labels easily.
Once this is done the only thing left is to maintain your organisation. That’s the hard bit! But if you’ve laid the groundwork with organisation, it should just be a matter of sticking to your plan. Good luck, and happy organising.