By Erin Huffstetler | 08/03/2016 | 4 Comments
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Having the kids home for the summer had really taken a toll on the linen closet, so I spent some time restoring it to order yesterday. Come see how we use this space in our home.
If you wondered why you didn’t see many toiletries when I showed you our stockpile, it’s because we keep most of those things in our linen closet. It’s a few steps away from our only full bath, so it just makes sense to store them there.
We installed this organizer on the back of the door many moons ago (it came from a thrift store basement sale), and we’ve been using it to corral our toiletry stockpile ever since. I like to buy ahead whenever I come across a good deal. This gives me the space to do that.
So, what toiletries do I stockpile? Well, for starters, I stockpile bar soap, bandaids, lip balm, shampoo and conditioner. We keep full-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner under the bathroom sink (they fit better there), and travel-size bottles in the linen closet.
I also stockpile deodorant and hair gel for my husband …
razors and aftershave …
toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and lotion.
I’m a visual person, so I like that I can open the closet and quickly see what needs restocking.
A good bit of what you see in my toiletry stockpile was obtained for free. I won’t pay for toothbrushes, women’s razors, hair gel or dental floss, and I rarely pay for toothpaste. Those things are easy enough to get for free at drug stores.
I have a price point that I won’t go past for everything else. Buying in bulk when I find a good deal gives me plenty of time to find my next good deal, so I never get stuck paying retail for toiletries. I’ve been doing this for so many years, so I have a good handle on my family’s usage habits. We’re rarely overstocked on anything. If there’s an expiration date or use-by date that we need to be aware of, we write it on the box in permanent marker, so everyone knows which one to use next.
Alright, now that you’ve seen my toiletry stockpile, let me show you the rest of my linen closet.
But, first, I should probably point out that having this linen closet is a BIG deal. When we bought our house 13 years ago, it didn’t have a linen closet. A former owner decided to use the linen closet to house the upstairs HVAC unit when they added air conditioning to the house.
Yay for air conditioning. Boo for no linen closet.
That meant I had to stash my linens here there and everywhere. Not ideal.
Well, I finally got my linen closet five years ago. You’ve probably heard me mention all the work we had to do to our house after our neighbor’s tree fell on it. Well, while the house was torn apart, we decided to have the upstairs duct work moved to the attic, so we could restore the hallway ceiling to its original height (it had an ugly drop ceiling). I was standing there discussing all the details with our contractor when it hit me that we could move the HVAC unit to the attic, too. Hello linen closet!
So, that’s how our cedar-lined HVAC closet become a cedar-lined linen closet once again.
And as a collector of linens (especially vintage linens) that was a very big deal.
Now, if you’re a fan of matchy-matchy linen closets, where everything is folded perfectly, you aren’t going to find that here. I love neatly folded fitted sheets as much as the next girl, but I refuse to waste a bunch of time folding them. I have more important things to do.
I just try to keep the linen closet neat enough for people to be able to find what they’re looking for. And that is, admittedly, a bit of a challenge right now. I have a lot of things that I’ve bought for the cabin that are currently housed in this linen closet because we aren’t ready for them at the cabin yet. So, it’s a bit of a squeeze, but we make it work.
I keep a separate pile of sheets for each person, so everyone knows right where to grab. The pile on the left has twin sheets for my youngest daughter’s bed. The pile in the middle has full sheets for my oldest daughter’s bed, and the pile on the right has queen sheets for our bed. I keep our summer sheets in the front and our winter (flannel) sheets in the back.
I aim to have two extra sets of summer and winter sheets for each bed, but my youngest daughter has a lot more than that. Remember when I showed you her room, and mentioned that she likes to change out her colors a lot? Here’s the proof. She’s constantly finding (and falling in love with) new bedding when we’re out yard saling and thrift storing.
I used to fold our towels, but the kids were forever making a mess of my piles, so I adapted. We now roll our towels, and that works much better.
We use brown towels throughout the house, so we don’t have to worry about getting the right towels in the right bathrooms. I used to have other colors, but I dyed them all brown last year to keep things simple. Whenever towels start to fade, I just redye them. It’s loads cheaper than replacing them.
We still need to build an outdoor shower at the cabin, but in the meantime, I’ve been stocking up on colorful vintage towels to use up there. Since we’ll be bringing things home to wash, this will make it easy to tell which towels belong where.
I find vintage linens hard to resist, so I also have a large selection of vintage tablecloths. They’re fun to use on the porch.
Who could resist all of those fun colors and patterns?
If you caught the tour of my upstairs hallway, you already know that I keep my vintage pillowcases in a dresser, rather than in the linen closet. Most of my pillowcases have pretty embroidered edges. Drawers just display them better.
The bottom section of our linen closet houses spare pillows, sleeping bags …
and a basket for back packs and overnight bags.
It also houses our Dyson Animal. Can you believe we got it at a thrift store (in working order) for $50? I had wanted one for years, but never would have shelled out $500 for a vacuum. Sometimes it really pays to be patient.
Well, that wraps up the tour of my linen closet. I’ll be back with another leg of the home tour soon. If you’ve missed any of the previous legs, you can catch up here.