Kay Morrison

Sorting out your linen closets


January is traditionally a time for organizing and white sales. Put the two together and you get the opportune time for creating a linen closet or organizing an existing one. Professional organizer Kay Morrison of the Occasional Wife gave us the rundown on how to keep linens easy to access and eye-catching.

First, Morrison advises creating a designated place for linens. If building or renovating, take time to plan one. If working with what you have, get creative.

“In a city like New Orleans where we often have limited closet space, if you find yourself with no linen closet, you can create one by using a linen press or armoire and taking advantage of empty wall space,” she said. 

If that’s not an option, or if the real estate inside the designated place is tight, Morrison suggests putting individual sheets in the closet of the room where they are used. 

Once, you’ve determined where to store your linens, Morrison recommends making an inventory of items – duvets, covers, sheets, pillowcases, comforters, pillows, towels, beach towels, tablecloths, quilts etc., deciding how you like things organized, and purging the non-essentials, as well as things that are worn out and no-longer necessary (if you no longer have twin beds, it’s time to let go of the twin sheets). Often, Morrison recommends placing sheet sets inside of pillowcases, so that everything is neatly stored together. As a collector of vintage linens, in her own home, she prefers arranging things in categories – pillowcases, bottom sheets, top sheets and so on, so that she can mix and match them. You can also organize by size – all queen sheets together, or by specific bedroom. 

The interior of your linen closet is important. A light paint color and good lighting will make things easy to see. And making the most of the room inside is key. Matching bins or baskets (Morrison likes wicker baskets in gray or tan) maximize shelf and drawer space, a hanging bar on the back of the door inside a closet with adequate depth provides a place to keep tablecloths wrinkle-free and visible, and clear zip bags are a way to take advantage of available floor space. Folding goes a long way toward keeping a closet appealing and efficient. Rolling or triple folding towels can minimize the room they require and sticking to one type of folding looks tidiest.

“Uniformity always makes things look better,” Morrison said. 

The same is true of thoughtful touches such as labeling, scented sachets and tying sets or like items with ribbon. 

Because the Martha Stewarts and Marie Condos among us are few and far between, Morrison suggests a seasonal cleaning to keep things in tip top shape. Moving, redecorating and becoming empty nesters are also good times to re-organize and keep your linen closet at its best.

  1. If you’re designing a house, think about a linen closet. The Container Store’s DIY Elfa system is relatively inexpensive, high quality and adjustable.
  2. A chest of drawers from a second-hand shop is a low-cost alternative.
  3. Uniformity of presentation makes a linen closet neat without a lot of products. 

About the Designer

After years as a busy corporate executive, native New Orleanian Kay Morrison started The Occasional Wife to fill a need for organizing services and help other busy women. Occasional Wife offers organizing and moving services and has two resale locations specializing in estate sale furnishings, decorative wares and clothing.

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