Organize Your Linen Closet
An Organized and Beautified Linen Closet
An armful of fresh, sweet-smelling linens is one of life's simple pleasures. Make that trip to the linen closet even more enjoyable with a quick spring-cleaning project. This cedar closet already had plenty of shelving, but we added a few touches to make it even more inviting: inexpensive paper-lace trim lines the shelves' edges; baskets and bandboxes house sundries; ribbons bundle up off-season linen sets. After sorting sheets and towels, we labeled the shelves so that anyone in the family would be able to put away fresh laundry and still keep things neat. Paper labels slide in and out of metal brackets with ease — just in case we get the urge to rearrange things next spring.
A Quick Closet Makeover
1. If you are refurbishing an old cedar closet like this one, begin by sanding down the wood lightly to revive its fragrance. If the scent has greatly diminished, apply cedar oil.
2. For easy cleaning later on, cover the tops of shelves with self-adhesive vinyl contact paper, available at craft and housewares stores.
3. Measure out enough paper lace to trim the edges of the shelves. Apply double-sided tape to the side of each shelf. Then align the edge of the lace with the top of each shelf and press firmly to secure it.
Organize Your Linens
4. Organize your linens by categories: towels, double fitted sheets, single flat sheets, quilts, antiques, and so on. Baskets or bandboxes help contain assorted fabrics and pillow covers.
5. Tack metal label brackets (pictured) to the side of the shelves at intervals. Insert paper labels marked with the appropriate category for future reference.
6. Be sure the closet door closes snugly — this lets the cedar work its magic.
Beautiful Bed Linens
Linen was commonly used for bed sheets and pillow shams up until the 19th century, and the trousseaux of the European aristocracy often contained dozens, and sometimes in excess of a hundred, linen sheets. But it also merits our consideration today. Linen gets softer with age. Once linen bedding has been well washed and worn, connoisseurs say, there is nothing finer to sleep on.
Try Vintage Linens
The wondrous durability of linen means that pieces, when properly cared for, can last several lifetimes or more. Vintage linens are widely available and adaptable — from heavy French convent sheets, prized for use as upholstery or slipcovers, to fine batiste handkerchiefs with lace or embroidered detail, which can be repurposed, perhaps as a throw pillow or a cover for a sachet.
Caring for Linens
Machine-wash linens on "warm." For white linen, use an oxygen-based bleach rather than chlorine, which can cause yellowing.
Remove linen items from the dryer while they are still damp, then finish drying on clothesline; overdrying can cause linen to become brittle.
Iron linen while it's still damp. Or, store damp items in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to prevent mildew and make pressing easier.