My linen closet before and after

Last week I mentioned I was going to tackle my linen closet.  It was feeling a little bit crowded to me so it was time to take some action.

Here is how it looked before:

(the bottom bag and box are thrift store donations)

Not too bad right?  But here’s the thing…I knew there were things in there that we haven’t used in the 9 months since we moved into this house.  Why was I taking up valuable storage space with items we no longer used or that we “might” use one day?  Because I had the room.  It’s as simple as that.  I could still find what I needed in there, it wasn’t too packed and it is a linen closet after all.  However just because a closet is called a “linen” closet doesn’t mean it has to be used for just linen.  Heck no!   Some of that space could be used for other things like craft storage, board games, puzzles, books, photo albums, panty overstock, etc.  I definitely knew I could use that space for something else.

It’s a matter of making a choice for the NOW rather than the ONE DAY!

I really don’t like the words “just in case”.   Just in case what?  I’d better have four sets of sheets for my bed just in case my washing machine breaks down for a month and I can no longer wash my bedding.  Seriously, a month?  In case of emergency, go to a friend’s house.  I’d better have 7 towels per person so they can change it out for a new one every day.  Umm, that’s a little much, after all we are clean when we dry ourselves off with them.  I’m just saying 🙂

If you have all the space in the world, then fly at it.  Have as many towels as your little heart desires.  BUT if you hear yourself complaining that your house is too small and you have no room for anything, take a look at not just a linen closet (as not every house has one) but any closet for that matter.  Walk yourself through this inner dialogue you have with yourself (we all do it!) and try to make some sense out of what you are justifying.  If the home you’ve got is it for awhile and upsizing just isn’t an option, then tough choices will probably need to be made.  Here’s the good news….once you feel the excitement of the purge and how creating some additional storage space frees up all sorts of frustration for you, you will be hooked.  Believe me, it’s an awesome feeling!  You’ll be absolutely itching to move on to something else!

So where was I?  (lol…got a little sidetracked there)

So I emptied my linen closet out and had a good ole purge fest.  It was FUN!!  Next I decided that I would use up the Spacemaker Storage Bags I purchased a couple of months ago to store some of my less frequently used items.   (psst: don’t miss my OpenSky deal of the week on these below!!)

I started with the special baby blankets that my kids each selected to keep.  In they went:

Now here’s where I decided to do something a little different.  Rather than stack my Spacemaker Bags one on top of the other (and have trouble accessing one without them all falling out on my head) I decided to line them straight up and down in order to make them super easy to pull out.

By this time I was getting real excited by the possibilities.  I could tell I was on to something…hahaha.

Someone asked about how to get these storage bags flat so they do stack.  Well I found the more flat they were going into the bag the more flat the bag would be with all the air sucked out.  Yet standing them up like this really eliminated the need for that to matter….yippee!

Check out how my top shelf turned out:

I used storage bags for guest pillows, out of season blankets, camping blankets and some extra curtains that I use to “create” a room for my daughter in the rec room when guests take over her room.  I was so so happy with the amount of space I saved.   Happy dance for sure!!

So if you remember here was my linen closet before:

And here it is after:

Whoot!  Two empty shelves!!   So excited about that although I’ve since added a proper donation station box to the bottom.  Everyone should have one!

A close up:

I”m still not sure how I’ll use all my new empty space but for now I’m just enjoying mulling over the possibilities 🙂

Here is my purge pile from the weekend (not just from my linen closet):

Got any questions about it, just let me know!

PS:  I love my Spacemaker Storage Bags and I’m so excited to offer them to you today as my OpenSky deal of the week.  This deal is available only for the next 24 hours (you’ll need to log in/sign up to see the deal)!!  Check it out! For more information about my OpenSky please see here.

Filed under: Before and After, Closets, Organizing Products


43 Responses to My linen closet before and after

  1. 1
    brittany says

    Your before picture is better looking than any of my closets have ever been! (And most of my house LOL) Inspiration for sure, thank you! BTW, love the fact you made a “donation station”.

  2. 2
    Jill says

    Fantastic! I have been trying to figure out how to store all of our quilts and winter blankets and I think these space saver bags will be a big help. I think I’ll need to do a before and after linen closet post, as well. 🙂

  3. 3
    Jaimie says

    My toddler feels the need to become best friends with every stuffed animal family members bring into our home for him, so it’s hard to get rid of any without guilt. So, I used a Spacemaker bag and filled it with at least 20 stuffed animals! The room it saved is amazing, and my son loves that he can still pull one out whenever he wants.

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Love that!

  4. 4
    Julie says

    My only concern with those space saver bags is I know of someone who used them, and the thing popped open somehow (bad bag? overpacked maybe?) in her closet and actually damaged the sheetrock. How do you make sure they don’t or aren’t going to pop open?

    • 4.1
      Laura says

      Hmmm that’s a good question Julie. I’ve never had that happen to me but I think with them standing up like that they wouldn’t be able to do any damage.

  5. 5
    Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds says

    I love the Donation Station idea! Recently, I’ve been keeping of box of things I want to sell at a yard sale, but I love the idea of keeping a permanent box for this in the linen closet. The linen closet is a great place for it.

  6. 6
    Kim @ Homesteader's Heart says

    Oh I already got two sets of those and I believe I might have told you I loved you because of it! LOL! Can’t wait to shove some things in there and suck em’ flat. LOL!
    Thank you Laura!

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      My daughter kept rolling her eyes at me at how excited I got about sucking the life right out of my stuff LOL

  7. 7
    Melissa says

    Love this post! We are moving next month and the house is definitely an upgrade in space. It would be so easy to fill the space just because we have it. As I’ve been packing I’ve really purged a lot. I’ll have to remember to purge even more as I unpack. 🙂


  8. 8
    Oksana says

    Laura, I think as you show it is important to edit and purge regularly. My opinions of things change as I evolve. There might have been something I wanted to save last spring, but this spring it ended in the give-away, donation, or consignment pile.

    And the empty space you created!!! Amazing.

    Oksana from

  9. 9
    Sarah says

    I’ve used another brand of vacuumed out bags, and at the locations where they were folded in their original packaging they tended to develop holes (first or second use), which makes them useless….. have you had any problems like that with yours? I did manage to seal some of the holes with packaging tape, but they kept developing more holes and at the moment some of the bags hold stuff, but none of them are vacuumed out.

  10. 10
    Whitney says

    Love the idea of these bags, but we don’t have a vacuum with a hose. Think a shop vac would work?

    • 10.1
      Laura says

      I think as long as the hose part is the same size as a vacuum hose head then it should totally work.

  11. 11
    Randi says

    Looks great, can’t wait to see what you’ll do with the extra space! I really wish we had a linen closet for storage upstairs. I don’t have that many linens, just an extra sheet set for our bed, so that lives on a bookcase in our room. We utilize a “linen dresser” in my kids’ room….full of crib/toddler bed sheets, pads, etc.

  12. 12
    Jenna says

    Looks great! You make a wonderful point that we should still evaluate what we’re keeping even if it appears that we have the space to keep it in.

  13. 14
    Sherrie says

    Every space maker bag I have ever used has developed a hole in it and re-expanded. It’s frustrating. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, because it would work so wonderfully for stuff like this. But I just keep feeling like I’m just buying fancy “trash” bags in the long run and just can’t waste the money.

    • 14.1
      Susan C says

      Yep… found the same thing. Sucked the air out but not long (couple of weeks) they would just re-expand. It didn’t matter how I stored them. So I gave thinking that if I needed a space saver bag I had too much stuff anyway.

    • 14.2
      Laura says

      I found that it’s very important to stay below the specified stop line. As long as I keep my stuff below that line I haven’t had any trouble.

  14. 15
    julie says

    I’ll tell you what takes up a lot of room in a linen closet–mattress pads. I will try the vacume pack method–thanks for the inspiration.

  15. 16
    Kris Van Allen says

    I love your site, and your ideas. The Spacemaker bags are great, but I’d not thought of them for baby items. Right now the blankets are stored in plastic tubs in the attic. I think this weekend they are coming down, and will be moved into the Spacebags for longterm storage. Thanks for sharing your linen closet!

  16. 17
    Susanne says

    LOL. My first thought was your before linen closet already looks like it’s been purged. I’ve had that exact dialogue about the number of sheets we need and I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten tough with myself and made myself get rid of a whole whack of them especially for the guest room where seriously how often do I need to change those out.

  17. 18
    Missy says

    You already had an organized closet and now it’s perfected! Amazing how well the space bags work! The donation station is a great touch -purging is essential for an organized space!

    Great post Laura!


  18. 20
    Vicki V says

    Um, hello, why haven’t I ever thought about putting my space bags vertically?! Great idea, because mine tend to slide off the (infrequently used) shelf. I need to order some more of those puppies so that I can replicate your look!

  19. 21
    Jo says

    I have the same problem as the others with the space bags – every brand I have used have re-inflated after a while – even when not filled to capacity.

    The linen closet looks great, though.

  20. 22
    Joslin says

    I have my space bags stored just like that! We have 2 boys that are 4 years apart, both summer babies so we are able to reuse the clothes…I originally saved the clothes in big plastic tubs and soon filled a closet with them! Now 4 years of clothes waiting for little brother fits in just a little more than the same space as just 1 of the big plastic tubs!!! They are separated by size and season and I try to make sure they are packed evenly and not too full.

  21. 23
    chris says

    My best organizational tip is wooden combo hangers with clips for skirts/pants and rubber grippers for tops and jackets. There is practically nothing you can’t hang on them and your closet will look beautiful with all matching hangers. Also, to save space and beautify the closet even more…make sure every top has a bottom and every bottom has a top.

  22. 24
    Amanda Thomas says

    ive always wanted to use those space saver bags, but always wondered if any of the clothing or anything you put in there lost its volume, shape, fluffiness etc? do they?

    • 24.1
      Laura says

      I haven’t experienced any problems.

  23. 25
    chilajem says

    I tried those space saver bags before. It worked well in the first use. But when I reused it (opened the bag, took out stuff, put in stuff, vacuumed out air), somehow air got in. Not sure if it developed holes but I did notice that the zip lock kept on opening up after a while. On another note, I keep my towels in the bathroom for easy access. I have a metal shelf over the toilet where I pile the towels. However, I’m noticing that it’s not smelling good by the time I need to use them. I want to use covered bins on the shelf instead to keep out the smell from the towels. Do you have any recommended covered bins?

    • 25.1
      Laura says

      Hi there, I’m sorry they didn’t work for you. I’ve not had any problems myself so far. As for covered bins I know that Walmart carries so nice clear ones in a variety of sizes that might work for you.

      Laura 🙂

  24. 26
    Kate says

    Looks great, hope the SpaceBags work for you! I ordered a bunch for my winter bed linens and quilts, they didn’t last long at ALL! After packing/unpacking the bags twice, they were no good- and they weren’t overpacked and were carefully handled! I was really disappointed with them 🙁

  25. 27
    Donna says

    Okay… a linen closet… where are the towels, washcloths, and sheets/pillow cases?

    • 27.1
      Laura says

      It’s all explained in my post…if you have any additional questions please let me know. Thanks!

  26. 28
    Kelly B says

    my only concern would be homemade quilts, I would not recommend space saver bags for quilts as they are more likely to deteriorate in plastic storage bags.

  27. 29
    L.L. says

    how wide are ur shelves? I think mine all really small. After I make the measurements, is there a way to search online for stores that have the right dimensions on stuff?

    • 29.1
      Laura says

      My shelves are 17″ deep and 47″ wide. Yes most websites will give you dimensions.


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