Featured in April 2020 issue of O, The oprah magazine

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January 07, 2020 3 min read

By Catherine Risling

 

Before the clock reached midnight earlier this month, I promised myself I’d clean up my act. I was tired of our linen closet and the mess it had become. Sheets were balled up, tablecloths falling off the shelves and I could never find what I was looking for.

 

After seven years, it was a challenge I was finally ready to accept.

 

I decided I wanted functional yet pretty, organized yet practical. So I came up with a color palette, ordered a few rolls of shelf paper and was on my way.

 

First I emptied the contents of the closet and filled two trash bags with sheets that were either frayed or missing its counterpart. I also got rid of anything I hadn’t used in two years, including throw pillows in outdated fabric.

 

To freshen up the space, I painted the drab cream-colored shelves and molding a bright white. I lined the shelves and the wall behind them with blue-and-white shelf paper in a Moroccan faux tile print.

 

Then it was time to get organized.

 

 

Basket Case

For as long as I’ve owned a home, I’ve used baskets to tidy small spaces. They conceal mismatched items and allow me to focus on a cohesive look rather than a circus of colors. Baskets also group lone items in one place, saving room for stackable elements.

 

Wicker is my go-to. The texture is rich and natural. But for this project wicker on every shelf would have been too much brown, so I opted for wire baskets and assembled like items.

 

Wash & Fold

When my sisters and I were quite young, we were tasked with ironing. Not just shirts and pants, mind you; ironing just about every piece of fabric in our home. That included sheets, T-shirts and even underwear, so I was no stranger to the iron.

 

Inspired by the crisp feel of clean sheets, I ironed all of our bed linens (luckily I had tossed a few sets so it wasn’t as daunting). This way, I was able to efficiently stack the sheets and matching pillowcases. I also kept sizes together, which will come in handy when its time to change the beds.

 

Pretty it Up

The stacking kept things organized but grouping similar colors made it pretty. My daughter’s twin sheets in pinks and purples didn’t mesh with the whites and blues of my son’s sheets so I stacked his linens on the shelf and put hers in one of the baskets.

 

A couple of glass vases serve double duty as containers and accents on the shelves. They’re a perfect finishing touch to a closet that’s just as beautiful as it is neat and organized.

 

SIDEBAR
Folding Fitted Sheets

In order to stack sheets efficiently, it’s best to fold them end to end without overlap. Top (flat) sheets and pillowcases are easy, just be consistent in the direction you fold each item. Fitted sheets with elastic corners, however, can be more of a challenge. To achieve a cohesive look:

  1. Fresh out of the dryer, lay out the fitted sheet on your bed.
  2. Fold the fitted sheet in half vertically, flipping the right corner over the left to create a pocket. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Fold all edges a few inches until the elastic is hidden and you’ve created straight edges.
  4. Continue to fold in thirds until the sheet is the size you want.

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