Your linen closet is one of the most used storage spaces in your home, and its proximity to the bathroom and bedroom makes it an ultra-convenient place to store your most personal items. When organized and utilized properly, your linen closet can be extremely functional. But, when it’s messy and overflowing with stuff, it can be a door you dread opening.
One of the most important things you can do in preparation for listing your house is to declutter. Not only will purging unnecessary items make your move easier when the home sells, but it allows your home to look its best without any messy distractions. This is especially true when it comes to closets and other storage areas, which home buyers will want to see as a spacious place where they can easily organize their own things. A good rule of thumb is that closets should be pared down to 30-percent capacity when it comes time to put your home on the market. With that in mind, here are a few items in your linen closet that we suggest discarding, donating or relocating.
1. Old Towels
It’s likely that underneath your favorite fluffy towels, you’ve got a selection of older towels that you just never touch. They may be thin, a little frayed, the wrong color, or just not as nice as the ones you use daily. Towels that you haven’t used in a year should be immediately removed from your linen closet. Anything in good condition can be donated, while any that are stained, torn, or otherwise damaged should be thrown out or given to a local animal shelter. You may want to keep a few imperfect towels for things like dyeing your hair, washing the car or giving your dog a bath, but there’s no need for them to occupy the prime real estate in your linen closet. Consider relocating them to the garage or where you store your cleaning supplies.
Pillows take up a lot of space, something you may not have a lot of in your linen closet. We don’t normally need more pillows than we regularly use on our bed, but if you have excess, the linen closet isn’t the place for them. Putting pillows in larger closets, ideally in space-saving vacuum bags, is typically the best option. Pillows tend to be items that people don’t dispose of or replace as much as they should. Those that have permanent stains, lumps in the filling, no longer offer proper support or cause sneezing from dust mites should all be disposed of. In general, pillows should be replaced every two to four years, depending on the materials.
3. Outgrown/Mismatched Bedding
We all have that one random top sheet without a fitted mate, a set of pillowcases that don’t match any of the other bedding, or a comforter that no longer goes with the room’s aesthetic. Now is the time to finally part with them by donating anything in good condition. Go through all your bedding and group it by full set so that you can easily see what you have; keep it together by storing each complete set in its corresponding pillowcase. If you have any bedding from cribs or mattress sizes you no longer have, scratchy blankets no one likes, or sheets that you just never reach for, it’s time to let them go.
4. Off-Season Items
Not everything in your linen closet is something you use year-round. Flannel sheets, down comforters and holiday towels sit idle for several months. Light blankets and cooling sheets likely go untouched during cold weather. To avoid an overflowing closet, keep only current seasonal items close at hand and store the rest away safely in labeled boxes or bins in a guest room or basement.
5. Expired/Unused Toiletries
A linen closet can be a great place to keep the toiletries used in your daily routine. However, many people have a habit of holding onto some toiletries “just in case,” which can result in products collecting dust that are past their shelf life or simply never used. When cleaning out the linen closet, check the expiration dates on all products, and dispose of anything that is past its prime. Unopened toiletries that you no longer think you will use can be donated to homeless shelters or given to friends or family who can make better use of them. For any remaining toiletries, consider placing them in an attractive basket or bin to keep them together and camouflage the mix of colors and sizes.
Once you have eliminated unwanted items from your linen closet, consider lining your shelves, which can provide you with a more even surface, while also protecting your linens from discoloration or fading, which some wood and melamine shelves can cause. You may also want to add cedar blocks or a lavender sachet to prevent moths and keep everything smelling fresh. Finally, adding labels or grouping categories of items by basket can be the finishing touch to a perfectly organized storage space.