It may not surprise you that many linen closets are used for everything but linen. These storage places can hold very surprising things, including murdered bodies, according to some authors. Spare wrapping paper, boots, sports gear – the list is endless as to what can be found in there. A linen closet can also be like an oven – stuff all the dirty dishes or junk in there when unexpected visitors arrive and your house is tidy miraculously! Just hope the latch holds.


This can be a silly waste of space. Maybe it is time you did an overhaul of what is in your linen closet and got rid of all the stuff in there that is no longer necessary to make life comfortable. Sometimes, if you can engage enough cooperation and energy, you can make up enough to have a garage sale and gain some extra finance. Older versions of a linen closet were huge and had everything apart from the kitchen sink in them, although the kitchen sink was probably next door! These closets somehow graduated to being junk cupboards and have stayed pretty much as such since that time.

If you do overhaul your linen closet

Quite often you will be amazed at what has gathered in there. This is also the perfect time to inspect sheets, pillow cases, dooners and quilts for damage, holes, thinness, and ferret out any not really useful bits of linen that have been acquired over the time. Put them in one pile and give them away as rags if they are made of linen or flannelette as these make very good cleaning cloths. Donate good pieces to a charity. Get the kids to rip them into pieces perhaps 12 inches by 12, as this is also a good size.

If you end with a few leftover pillowcases which have no matches in your sheets, use them to hold pillowcases, sheets and maybe a light doona together and you have a set all ready for the bed, saving you a lot of time finding matches. This works very well for children’s cots and single bed sheets. Or put a doona cover and one pillow slip in a matching pillow slip. You can also save matches for your bathroom linen this way.

Ideally, your linen closet should hold three sets of linen. One to be used when another is on the line, and one for special occasions. Otherwise you end up with some that are used frequently and some that are rarely used. If you are really financially stretched, buy the best quality you can afford in a material that can double for winter or summer, so you only have to remove some covers or add them. Linen or cotton is wonderful for this purpose.

Cleaning out your closet can also be a cathartic experience. You do not have to rush it, but work slowly and steadily until the job is done. Find a new home for all the bits and pieces that you find which do not belong there or throw them in the bin. You will also get rid of stuff that no longer has a place in your life.

When you have finished, place some potpourri or some sachets holding your favorite scent on the shelves. or perhaps drip a few drops of an unused perfume onto cotton balls and place them in there. This will get rid of the musty smell that closets develop if they are not opened very often.

Who knows? You will not only end with more space for linen instead of slipping it into any spare space, but you may even be encouraged to tackle another of your cupboards! And you will be able to put your hand on whatever linen you need immediately. If you need any linen renewed, this would be a fine time to visit and see what is available.

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