Stop making the same organizing mistakes over and over again. Find out the smart way to purge your linen closet once and for all.
In the last 9 days our family: 1. Flew to Denver, 2. Took the baby to the ER for croup, 3. drove on the outside edge of one the most dangerous roads in the United States, 4. Attended a wedding at a ski resort in southwest Colorado, 5. Missed our initial flight home by minutes, and 6. Were lucky enough to grab the last 5 seats on the next direct flight leaving immediately.
With all of that going on, it would be reasonable to skip doing anything for the One Room Challenge this week.
You might be surprised how much can get done with the right amount of determination.
Monday was officially purge day, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on clearing out the jumbled mess that has accumulated in there. But as excited as I am to get to the beautiful linen closet of my dreams, I didn’t let my excitement get the better of me.
Usually, I purge erratically. I get sick of seeing the mess around me and just start throwing things out. But since I never started before with a clear vision for a design plan, I would just purge the old and useless stuff and then put everything else back without much rhyme or reason.
But this time, I do have a clear design vision, and that’s made a huge difference for how I purge and re-organize.
The Smart Way to Purge Your Linen Closet
I can’t stress this enough. Don’t even start the next step until this first step is done because every other decision you make will be dependent upon your design plan. Skipping this step will almost guarantee that you will end up less satisfied with the end result.Do you purge your #home with a plan or spur-of-the-moment? #organization Click To Tweet
2. Take everything out.
A good clean-out means you have to take everything out. And I mean EVERYTHING. I know it’s a lot. My entire dining table, sofa, and kitchen island were covered with junk after pulling it all out. Emptying the closet helps you see it as a clean slate, and prevents distractions from the vision you created before.
3. Throw out expired or useless items.
Grab a couple bags and start filling them with items that you no longer use and can’t be donated. It might surprise you to find out how much junk is just sitting in your closet wasting space. Note: Be sure to keep medications separate and to dispose of them properly.
4. Separate items to donate.
Even with five people in our family, we don’t need as many towels as we had. We kept two sets of towels per person, and an extra two sets for guests. We even had a set of bed linens that don’t fit any bed in our house. Anything that we didn’t keep got donated. Tip: Be wary of holding on to a lot of towels and linens for repurposing. They often have a way of adding clutter to other areas of the home or even the original closet after a while.
5. Identify items that need to be moved elsewhere.
There are always a few items that end up in a closet that could be stored somewhere else. For example, we decided to keep bath towels in the bathroom and bed linens in the bedroom. This keeps those items where they are actually needed and keeps them out of our (very small) linen closet. We also decided to move all the beach towels to a different storage closet. Since they only get used during the summer, there’s no need to keep them in a closet we use regularly.
6. Sort remaining items according to your family needs.
Some categories are simple like towels and sheets. But other items need to be organized according to how your family is living. We keep more medicines and first aid in the linen closet than anything else, and they ended up being a huge source of clutter. Here are the categories I ended up with:
- Holiday towels
- Guest Towels
- Spare soaps & large bottles
- Nail Care
- Cleaning Supplies
- Outdoor Skin care: Sunscreen, bug spray, aloe
- Allergy medications
- Skin Care: Band aids, neosporin, skin powders, benadryl cream
- Stomach care: Tums, Pepto Bismol, heartburn medications
- Pain medication: Ibuprofin, Aleve, Acetaminophen
- Cough & Cold: Vicks Rubs, cold medicine
- Athletic Care: Heating pads, sports tape, Ben Gay, Ace Bandages
The categories for your family might be different. It all depends on your lifestyle, if you have kids, and so on.
7. Place categorized items in temporary storage and put together an organization plan.
If you’re impatient like me, this is the hardest part of the whole process. When I start a project, I want to get it done NOW. But trust me on this. Don’t start planning your organizational system until you’ve finished purging and organizing what you have. If you do, you will either forget to plan for something, or you will plan to store something you don’t really need. For now, all of my items are separated into gallon-size ziploc bags and in boxes, waiting for their new home. (Come back next week to find out more about how to organize to avoid clutter in the future!)#Tips: Don't plan your #organization system until you purge everything. #home Click To Tweet
8. Optional: Spruce up your closet with paint or decor
Since everything is out of your closet, you might as well clean it up a bit, right? I spent all day Tuesday and into the night repainting the interior and trim of the closet. Here’s a look at how far this closet has come since last week:
After Purging the Linen Closet
You can see in the images below that our linen closet looked pretty terrible. The shelves were covered with stained contact paper from the 80s and the walls were yellowed and stained from years of use. The previous homeowners put decent looking baseboard in the bottom, but never completely attached it or finished it off. Much of the trim and drywall on the interior of the closet was unfinished, and there were staples poking out of the interior trim as well.
Now that the clutter and excess are gone, the linen closet is bright, white and ready for a fresh start. There’s still a lot of work ahead getting things stored in a way that is functional and safe for everyone in the family. Thank goodness we won’t be hopping any more planes out west for the rest of this 6-week challenge!
Do you purge with a plan or sporadically?
What color would you paint your linen closet?
See More One Room Challenge Projects: