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Linen Closet

According to my organizational to-do list (check out that post…its one of my best) the Fall was the time to face my linen closet. A year earlier I'd organized it with the Rubbermaid Configurations Closet line which gave me the flexibility to use the space differently in the Summer versus the Winter.

The problem was that since our wedding, my wife and I continued to stuff it with every piece of linen we had. Even though we started out with a system (towels here, dish clothes there) it never seemed to last the week. The result was a jumbled mess that was never organized and always frustrating.

October 012

 The problem was simple. Too much stuff. Our desire to keep everything at our fingertips was actually sentencing us to perpetual clutter.

So we started over.

We figured out what we used most often and what quantity we needed. For example, we decided to keep two sets of bath towels in the closet and not the seven that we owned. We decided to keep four dishtowels handy instead of the twelve we'd accumulated.

This process clearly exposed the areas where we had too many duplicates and allowed us to confidently banish excess to the "Good Will" pile. In addition we set up guest totes with complete sets of towels and sheets. This way when people were coming, we could easily pull up a tote and get what we needed as opposed to having to search through various boxes. At the same time, these items didn't clog up our closet the 95% of the time we were guest-free.

The result was dramatic.

October 014

The lesson here is simple. Resist the tendency to keep as much stuff as possible in your high traffic living areas. Think intelligently about what you use and how often you use it.

Space is precious….protect it.

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8 Responses to Linen Closet

  1. Brian Miller March 8, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!
    The two weapons I have against “over gathering” are:
    1) Now that I’m concious of “over gathering” I try to ask myself if I really need stuff BEFORE I bring it home
    But as you said…human nature pushes us in the other direction so I rely on
    2) regular scheduled mini-declutters that force me to face the problem before it grows into an all out organizational disaster.
    These two tips aren’t foolproof…but they work for me.

  2. Shelving Galore March 8, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    Now the challenge after tossing out all the clutter is to try and refrain from gathering more…unfortunately human nature is such that we’re hoarders and gatherers, and while getting rid of the excess is relatively easy, keeping it lean is the challenge!

  3. Brian Miller January 18, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Thanks Zeta….its strange to think that I’m “inspiring” anyone on the organization front… If you get around to it…let us know how it went.

  4. Zeta January 16, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    great job at organizing!
    you just inspired me..lol

  5. Brian Miller January 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Thanks.
    I’ve learned that I need to keep the “system” (in this case a tote full of linens for guests) as simple as possible.
    That way my wife and I can hopefully stick to it.
    Brian

  6. goalielowen@yahoo.com January 4, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I love the idea about the guest tote.

  7. Brian Miller December 3, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    Thanks.
    That “habit” of yours is just what I’m trying to manufacture….. It defintitely doesn’t come naturally to me…. or my wife.
    What do you think of my “to-do list” strategy?
    http://blog.rubbermaid.com/home/2009/08/the-to-do-list.html

  8. Home Organization Tools December 2, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Nice job tackling your linen closet. And very well said about keeping too much stuff. I’ve made it a habit to go through my things yearly now to get rid of the excess “stuff.”

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