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How to Clean Out Your Linen Closet

Ready to get organized? Start with the linen closet! Domestic CEO has 3 tips to get you started, plus great advice on how to repurpose old linens.

By
Amanda Thomas,
January 15, 2014
Episode #093

Page 2 of 2

Step #2: Sort the Sheets

There’s nothing like organizing your sheet sets and folding them up neatly to make you feel like a household guru.  To get started, pull out all the sheets for all the beds from every location in the house, wherever they might be stashed.

Look for incomplete sets. You know it happens. Sometimes a pillowcase gets lost or ruined or the flat sheet tore but the fitted sheet is still there. Put complete sets together and put the singles in a separate pile. Fold up your good sets into lovely little packages that fit perfectly in the closet. Stumped on how to do that?  This link has the perfect tutorial for folding sheets.

Next, check out all the sheets. How is the elastic on the fitted sheet? Is it worn or stretched beyond use? There’s nothing more annoying than a fitted sheet that keeps coming loose in the middle of the night.  Put those sheets in the repurpose pile.

Check for stains. Just like with your towels, decide if a stain can be pre-treated and laundered or if it’s beyond hope. If it’s a no-fixer, put it in the repurpose file.

Is there threadbare fabric? Well, that’s a no-brainer. Those need to go in the repurpose pile before they become a shredded, ripped mess on your bed.

Once you have a pile of sheets that no longer belong in your linen closet, here are a few ideas for repurposing them:

  1. Use them as a drop cloth when painting in the house or for any spray paint project you may tackle.

  2. Use old sheets to cover tender plants when a freeze warning is in effect (in warmer climates, of course).

  3. Use as a back seat protector in the car when hauling the dog to the vet or groomer. Better yet, put it under car seats (even under older kids) in the back seat of the car to protect the seats from spills and other gunky messes.

  4. Old pillowcases make great ceiling fan cleaners. Simply insert the fan blade into the pillow case and then wipe all the dust and dirt into it using the pillow case itself as the cleaning rag. Empty the mess into a trash bag or shake it out in the backyard. Check out my article on How to Clean Dusty Ceiling Fans for more tips.

Step #3: Clean Out the Covers

Checking blankets and comforters is next on the list. Again, you’re looking for some of the same problems. Any stains? Check if the blanket or comforter is machine washable. If it is, pre-treat the stain and give it a good wash. If your blanket or comforter is not washer-friendly, check with your local dry cleaner to see if they can tackle that tough stain for you. You’d be surprised what they can get out of fabrics.

Next, check for frayed edges or small holes. Again, if you’re handy with a needle and thread or a sewing machine, this might be an easy fix for you.  If it’s too worn, toss it in the repurpose pile. Is that favorite blanket or quilt so worn it doesn’t qualify as a real blanket anymore? Don’t worry. That can be repurposed as well!

Here are some awesome “second life” ideas for old comforters, quilts, bedspreads, and blankets:

  1. Donate them to a homeless shelter or to your local animal shelter or pound.

  2. Turn that old bedding into a picnic or beach blanket.  Take the blanket and sew a plastic, flannel-backed tablecloth to it – around the edges. Set the plastic portion face down on the sand or grass and the blanket/quilt portion face up for everyone to sit on. Sand, leaves, and grass won’t stick to the plastic side. Voila! Easy clean up after a fun day at the park or beach.

  3. Make a dog bed out of old quilts or comforters.  Use old pillowcases for the form. Stuff a portion of an old blanket or comforter into the pillowcase and sew up the edge.

  4. Just can’t part with Grandma’s old quilt even though it’s tattered and torn in spots? If you sew, try taking a portion of it and making a throw pillow. If you don’t sew, there are seamstresses out there who would love to do that project for you. There are even companies that will make a keepsake teddy bear out of that old, memory-filled quilt.

If nothing else, old linens and towels still in usable condition can always be donated to your nearby thrift store.

Now, it’s time to replace the old and worn with the new and beautiful. White sales are huge in department stores during January. Start looking, shopping, ordering online, and replace that old stuff with new, clean bedding and towels. 

As you put things back in the linen closet, keep like items together and do take the time to fold all same items in one uniform manner. Stack everything neatly back on the shelves. Now, step back and relish in the beauty of your lovely, organized linen closet. You’ll feel like your New Year truly is a fresh start!

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Towels, linens, and woman with bedding images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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