Narrow linen closet storage is great but can be a challenge to organize. You can see everything at a glance, and nothing is hidden, but when you try to look for storage options in the stores, you need to have exact measurements to make sure the item fits properly. It's a hassle to deal with this detailed step, but it can be done. Here is how I found items for my narrow linen closet.
Tips on how to organize a narrow linen closet
First, I measured the depth of the shelf. My shelves were 9 inches deep. Since the shelves fit and the doors closed properly, this was a good measurement.
Then, I measured the width of the shelf to see how many bins I could use on the shelf. I took this number with me so if I found a bin that worked, I could read the label at the store and find out how many I could fit on my shelf.
Lastly, I measured the height of the opening. I did this in case I found a deep bin that would restrict me from removing the content easily. I didn't want to take out the bin every time I needed to get an item.
I went to the store with my measurements and tape measure in hand. These are the items I found.
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What to use to organize small items in the narrow linen closet?
First, I found a Sterilite ClearView 3 Storage Drawer Organizer (affiliate): This would hold my extra toothbrushes, toothbrush tips, toothpaste, Q-tips, Cotton Swabs, 500 Count (1 Pack) (affiliate), and sunblock. This storage drawer organizer fits either way, but I preferred that it was easier to use, so I did it this way.
What size bins should I use for a narrow linen closet shelf?
Secondly, there were rectangle wicker bins. They look pretty, and they fit the items better. I tend to buy supplies at a wholesale place, so I have a lot of extra supplies that need to be stored. I picked a rectangle bin with no rounded edges because it doesn't allow maximum storage of items.
Here are some additional problems I needed to find solutions for in my narrow linen closet.
How to fold towels for a narrow shelf?
I'm glad you asked. With a narrow closet, I needed to fold the towels in threes. Fold the towel in half longways, then fold it again short ways. You should have a narrow 18 inches by 24 inches shape. Then, trifold it. This will get you to the size of about 9 inches. See the image below for the size.
Where to put these items on the shelves?
The top shelf was for cleaning supplies. I wanted to keep these items away from the kiddos when they were little, so I placed them on top.
The second shelf was for extra cleaning supplies and the toothbrush storage bin. Since the drawers pulled out onto the shelf, I needed a cleared shelf.
The third shelf was for the extra supplies storage. I have a bin for dog shampoo and other misc. supplies, a bin for extra beauty supplies, and a bin for my jewelry cleaner.
And the lowest shelf was for beach towels, an extra robe, and hand towels. If you want to know where I placed my bath towels, check out my post on wasted storage spaces.
Check out the picture below to see the entire linen closet organization.
And, of course, my laundry baskets are stored on the narrow linen closet floor. If you want to revisit that post, here is a link.
That's it. I hope this inspires you to tackle your more difficult spaces.
Let's continue the conversation; what area of your home is difficult to organize? Please share the area and how you managed to organize it. I would love to hear from you.
Visit our other recent bathroom posts for more inspiration!
Recently I had to update a few of these bins in the linen closet. I picked them up at Target. These brown-black colored bins are 9 inches deep and fit perfectly in my narrow linen closet. These bins have linens, which help give an extra layer to the bin. And if anything spills, I can toss them into the wash and clean them up! Yay!
I bought five bins to hold the misc stuff I had in the narrow closet. They are more shallow than the other wicker ones. But that is OK. It makes it a little easier to take stuff out because the items do not hit the wire shelf bar.
I still have a gap between each bin. Did you see my shelf liner paper? I wrapped them to cover a foam core board and cut them narrow enough to fit on the shelf. Pretty, right?
It also holds all my cleaning supplies - nice and neat. The labels are the same labels from before. I used Chalkboard tape and wrote on it with a white chalkboard marker. When it dries, it does not come off unless you wet it.
Great use of the space, Sabrina! I especially like the new bins you found at Target. I have the opposite problem in my linen closet. It has a narrow opening (not very wide,) but the shelves are very deep from front to back.
Folding the sheets and towels smaller helps, along with having double rows. The less used items go in the back.
I found clear bins (kitchen bins) that are quite narrow and long which are great for organizing groups together (hair products, soaps, etc...) It works!
My office closet was a challenge because it's actually a bedroom closet. I maximized the use of storage space by inserting an inexpensive rack of shelves which fits sideways at one side of the closet. I can fit one Banker's box along with a few small items on each shelf. It makes it much easier to access the boxes when I don't have to dig out the one I need.
You were really organized! Good job in solving the problem and giving so many options.
Love your suggestions and ideas. I am neat freak - my husband is not. No matter how I try and what I do to make it work for him (and me), he is a wad and toss so everything becomes a heap in a week or so. Big Sigh!
I love using little storage baskets to keep things more organized. I faced that problem in the place I lived at in North Carolina and the use of baskets made all the difference because I could lift out the basket when I needed it and then return to the inconveniently located closet when done.
I think my problem is not organizing. I can put things in order as you describe, it is just 5 minutes latter it looks like the wreck of the Hesperus. I need help in maintaining the organization.
While I have suspected this for some time, reading this post clearly shows my lack of household organization. I have a nice big, wide linen closet. And I have no idea what's in there. If a set of sheets or towels aren't on the top of the pile, they likely never get used. I'm going to have to sort this out someday.
Rose M Griffith
This is the first house I've lived in with a nice roomy linen closet! It's such a simple pleasure. I went to the Dollar Tree and got a bunch of square and rectangular baskets, which are working out well for the lower shelves. The top shelves hold Sterlite containers with our extra blankets and pillows.
I hadn't thought about a container with drawers, though. Nifty idea for some of those thing...I'm off to see if I can change anything "from the way I've always done it."
Very clever for a narrow closet. Why is it that we all seem to have that pesky narrow closet? LOL I do love the idea of the baskets. They can really neaten things up so nicely. And as to the towels...I've always folded mine with 4 folds! Uh Oh! But they fit and look very very neat!
I love the way you've organized the linen closet. I had to laugh when I came to folding towels part. I read that after just reading Marquita's 'why do we do things this way'. I do fold my towels into three folds, even though they don't fit best that way. After I finish reading this morning, I am going back to refold them all.
The final closet looks lovely.
Sabrina, I can remember my wife and I arguing for years over how to fold the towels in order to have them fit on the narrow shelving. Good times, good times.
Great tips! Narrow can be a challenge, as can super deep. Using containers as "drawers" works well!
Love this article Sabrina! I have a closet just like this and my mind is reeling with ideas now thanks to your tips! I can hardly wait to reorganize it this week. Thank you!
In order to save on clothing space, I rotate my clothing at the start of the new season. Old seasonal items are placed in the loft.
It looks like you've provided some great options for folks. We did a similar re-organizing of our closets and storage space when we moved to our current home. We had the kitchen cabinetry completely redone to facilitate ease of access to everything (with pull-out drawers and a pantry) instead of the useless lower cupboards we had in our former home that were impossible to navigate. Life is so much easier now!
Smart way of organising a narrow linen closet. The way you have done it looks like IKEA. They are very fond of using small sites the way you do and have lots of bins and baskets and so forth that can be used like in your photographs.