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Fresh start: how to organize your linen closet

I've always loved the idea behind "spring cleaning." Opening the windows for a welcome breeze of fresh air, reflecting on what you have accumulated over the past year (and deciding what is worth parting with), and being left with a refreshed and invigorating new space. But who says spring cleaning needs to wait until spring?

And what about those spaces behind closed doors? What about a makeover for the parts of your home that aren't always seen, but that serve a purpose in helping you feel prepared and ready to take on the day (whether that day includes a 9 to 5 at the office, or a day at home in yoga pants chasing after your busy toddler)? Here's how I'm taking on that design challenge, one closet at a time, beginning with my linen closet.

Linen closet, the before: Overstuffed. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff.

I used to think that being prepared for more of life's situations meant having more things, and keeping those things "accessible." Looking back at the photo above, it's no wonder I wasn't always able to find what I was looking for, or why I would buy a new hair product only to find another one nestled at the bottom of a basket months later. It wasn't until I read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that it all clicked for me.

Being organized was more than just creating a system to be able to find what you need. It meant also cleansing of things you don't need, will never use (honestly), or things that don't spark joy in your life. Essentially, a return to minimalism. With that in mind, I set out to completely refresh my linen closet...and here's how it turned out:

Fresh paint: it's amazing what a few coats of semi-gloss white paint can do! It instantly provides a bright, clean look and a blank canvas. I used Behr's Premium Plus Ultra Pure White.

I also lined the shelves with Con-Tact's Non-Adhesive Shelf Liner in Talisman Gray to keep the paint from chipping and avoid any scratches from storage crates and baskets. It also gives an added pop of color:

Keeping Marie's philosophy in mind, I intentionally took stock of what items we had stored in the closet, and what would realistically be used or needed. Do I really need five extra throw blankets, and enough sheet sets for our guest bedroom to rival a bed and breakfast? Anything that wasn't essential was put in storage, or tossed. It definitely was not an easy exercise, but so worth it, and such a freeing feeling!

Next was deciding how to store and organize items, so I would actually be able to find what I was looking for. One of my best discoveries for this: Ziploc bags! Using both the quart and gallon size freezer bags for everything from travel size toothpaste tubes, to nail polish and sunscreen, allows me to easily locate an item without anything being lost in the bottom of a basket.

Speaking of baskets, I picked up a few extra wooden crate and jute-style baskets from Marshall's. And I even found a use for these chalkboard tags and twine leftover from our wedding decorations: home made labels to clearly display the contents of each basket for easier organization and access.

It was such a relief to have this project done! I loved how it turned out, so much that I ended up keeping the closet door open for the next few days. I feel like I can breathe a little easier in the mornings, knowing that I've set myself up to be more prepared for the day. It's all about the little wins, right?

*This post contains affiliate links to some products used in this post.