Organizing My Utility & Linen Closets

I’ve been organizing my utility and linen closets and thought I’d show you all what I’ve accomplished. I have lots of painting to do but it’s been too cold to have the windows open (even with using low VOC paint). So I’ve been organizing and decluttering since I don’t want to move with junk!

organizing my utility closet
This is the utility closet door before. I really liked my shoe organizer. It was a great way to keep things organized and I could easily see what I had. It was also a handy place to stuff plastic bags. I do have re-usable shopping bags but often forget to bring them into the store – therefore the plastic bags!
a fabric plastic bag holder on a closet door
So now I have a couple of aprons and a cute plastic bag holder  from etsy on the door because my husband always hated that shoe organizer AND I don’t want to give the impression that there’s not enough storage in this house. People do look in closets when shopping for a home!
This closet was also pumpkin orange! Actually I don’t have one white closet. ALL my closets are painted a color on the inside. The inside of the door was yellow as you can see in the photo at the very top.
Now the inside is very light blue (sigh…because when I tested this color on a bedroom wall it was practically white but without any natural light you can see the blue – but it’s less noticeable than bright pumpkin orange). The inside of the door was painted white.
vacuum hose holder from IKEA
The vacuum cleaner hose holder is from IKEA. I have a few photos of some organizing things from IKEA at the end of the post (long post – this is what happens when you only post once in a while).

organized utility closet shelves
I have plenty of room on the shelves!

Now for my hall linen closet!
As you can see it’s not all that big! Anyway it was a mess. Below is the after!
Here’s the heartless truth. If this is all the space you have than this is what you have to work with. The only way to have it organized is to get rid of stuff you don’t use/really need. (I do have a couple of towels in the dyer but as you can see, there’s plenty of room for them.)

Things I got rid of – Christmas and Easter towels. Yes, at one time in my life I used to change my entire hall bathroom at Christmas and Easter. I had holiday shower curtains, towels, bath accessories  – you name it  I had it. It was fun when my daughter was little. I also still had a stack of the little facecloths I used for her when she was a baby! She’ll be 19 this month. Time to let go of those baby cloths I think. I got rid of ratty towels (donated them to my vet and cut some up to use as rags). I do a load of laundry every other day – I don’t need to keep a whole lot of sheets and towels. I got rid of (donated) tablecloths that don’t even fit the table I have now (why was I keeping those?).
washcloth holder for linen closet shelf from IKEA
I put the washcloths in a container (also from IKEA) and the hand towels next to it. As you can see this closet is still pumpkin orange! The wallpaper on the shelves is the one I had in my kitchen in my first house in Georgia. I papered those shelves 11 years ago!
organized linen closet shelf
Do you see that I have an entire empty shelf now that I got rid of stuff!!! I keep my daughter’s sheets in her room’s closet but I may move them out here. Also, I only have one set of guest room sheets and they’re of course on the bed. I do have some extra pillow cases for that room and I keep those in a container in that room.

Well that’s two closets done – four more to go!

For some reason I wind up in IKEA every January! Here are a few photos of some of their organizing systems.
IKEA kitchen organization system
IKEA dishrack and price
walk in pantry organization
red shelves from IKEA

I’m motivated to declutter and organize since we’re selling our house but I must say it also just feels freeing to have less stuff!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by and have a wonderful weekend!

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  1. Divine Theatre says

    How much aluminum foil does one woman need? LOL! I commend you for being able to toss things out. I have a hard time with that. Although giving old towels and blankets to animal shelters is a good incentive!

  2. Love the Decor! says

    I am so behind in my blogging I didn't know your were moving. I think moving is always a great incentive to declutter and dispose of things!! Exciting times for you!!

  3. Brenda Kula says

    I need one of those systems! I can't believe it's almost time for you to put that house on the market. Seems like it was just Christmas, doesn't it?

  4. Glenda/MidSouth says

    You are really getting things done. I am still working on my list – it is slow. I have shelf paper in some of my kitchen cabinets with ivy print on it – from mid 90's. I remember when Ivy and sun flowers were a big thing in decorating.
    Stay warm !

  5. Nadine says

    Great job with your cleaning and re-organizing!
    I need to re-do our linen closet…it was looking good for a while, but now it is back to looking messy again! :)


  6. Along A Widowed Road says

    You've given me the incentive to start in my daughters room as I have targeted the weekend of the 28th of May to be out of our cottage as we are moving 1/2hr outside San Diego County to start over. It feels good to be working towards a goal.

    Take care,

  7. Julie Harward says

    Organization feels so good! Love what you have done, every space looks so nice. I love everything having it's own little place. 😀

  8. shannon i olson says

    I have so many messes that need organizing. uff da. I would love a trip to IKEA but the nearest one is 4 hours away. Maybe this spring when the weather and roads get better ( the trip to IKEA, not the organizing- that can wait even longer lol)

  9. Rose H (UK) says

    Marty, you're doing an amazing job de-cluttering! I know that you have an excellent reason for doing it, and I wish I could be so organised/ruthless(?) doing my own!
    You're certainly doing all the right thingsto get that house sale when the time comes.
    Best wishes
    Rose H

  10. Shilo says

    Manuela, great work! I have been doing a similar thing as we are returning to the US next month for me to finish up some medical tests to determine if I have MS. It has been such a great feeling to purge and keep things that really mean something or are in good condition. And an added bonus is that the thrift store here actually pays me a little bit of something for my cast offs. :)
    Now when we get back to the US, I will go through all my stuff in storage and say, "What in the world did we keep this for?" copiously! :) Ha ha.
    Blessings on your weekend and your life! Shilo

  11. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    Ha! My hall linen closet looks like your "before", Manuela! I need to get on mine, too. I know there are some sheet sets I can delegate to the rag bin. I still need to re-organize my craft closet.

  12. Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks says

    Stephanie loves Ikea, I think it is her idea of Heaven on Earth, hehehe.

    When we downsized to a smaller home, it was the seasonal items that had to go first. I used to decorate for every Holiday (as in a Christmas teapot and cups, Easter kitchen towels, etc.) but I just can't do that as much, anymore.

    I still have some seasonal items but much, much less.

    I love what you are doing, your house should sell very fast.

  13. Debbie says

    As usual, I come away inspired. Loved both the field trip photos with the organizing ideas and all of your organizing and clutter busting so far. I agree with your statement that the only thing to do that REALLY makes a difference is get rid of stuff.

    Easier said than done from this hoarder, but I still agree.

  14. Paula says

    I love that not only do you organize, you make it pretty in the process. You must smile now when you open these closets!

  15. Ally's Corner says

    I got rid of so much stuff a while back why do we think we need all this stuff. I only have one set of sheets those are on the beds. Think you will not have a problem selling your house when it's time.

  16. Kim says

    I am also getting ready to put my house on the market & have found the exact same thing — I actually like my house better without all the clutter!

  17. The Country Nest says

    As a realtor, if you are moving remember you have to pack stuff at some point, so whatever you pack or get rid of will make your home feel bigger and cleaner and people can picture their own things in the home. Try to depersonalize. Good luck!

  18. Lisa ~ A Cottage to Me says

    I have been so in the mood to declutter and organize. Great post! I too seem to hold onto things for years and why? I don't know! Some illness I'm sure!

  19. julie - eab designs says

    Had to laugh about the baby washcloths. My 19 year old still prefers them over the regular sized ones for washing her face. At Christmas, she got a new supply of them in her stocking. Your house is so beautiful and organized. Wishing you a speedy sale once it is listed.

  20. Megan says

    Great job on the decluttering and reorganizing of your closets. I like the idea of pumpkin colored closets.
    The IKEA pictures have left me drooling. I live in a very small house and IKEA has some wonderful organizing gadgets. When I redo my kitchen next year I will be hitting up IKEA!

  21. Bonita says

    Would you please post photos of the other closets when you get them done? I learned so much from this post. Those shoe bags on the door are great and after reading this I thought of several places where they would come in real handy. Thanks so much!

  22. Mrs.Rabe says

    Love the reorganizing and decluttering! So great!

    I may have to check out the organizers from Ikea. Great ideas.

  23. Scrappy quilter says

    I've done the decluttering and organizing as well. It is so neat to look into our closets now and see all the room, even though they are really tiny closets. I've also finished our kitchen cupboards. Love how you've done your organizing. I hope you have a really quick sale on your home. Hugs

  24. Leann says

    I love the ides of the show bag as an organizer – but I understand about staging the house:)

    I'm home today – not feeling to froggy – wish I had the energy to declutter something:)

    Enjoy your day!

  25. Cindy says

    Everything is looking wonderful, my friend. It is important that everything looks organized and that you give the impression that there is lots of room and especially storage room. People really do look in closets and storage spaces, it's true. We have bought and sold several places and that is something that I have learned to look for myself.
    Hugs, Cindy

  26. T's Daily Treasures says

    Getting organized and simplifying is at the top of my list of must dos — it's the getting started that is so hard. You're doing a great job of purging before moving. Best wishes, Tammy

  27. Storybook Woods says

    Ugggg, my whole house needs this, did I say ugggg. Although it is a good reason to go to Ikea xoxo Clarice

  28. Gloria says

    I like the idea of the plastic shoe holder to hold various things. I may try that in my pantry. I don't believe I have one, but….now that I think of it, there may be one in my studio closet, I'll have to check. Nice post Manuela and thx for stopping by my blog. Hope all is going well with you and yours. Take care amiga.

  29. Theresa says

    I have been working at decluttering and cleaning too! Your areas look great that you cleaned and cleared:) Have a blessed day and a wonderful weekend! HUGS!

  30. Laura says

    You did a wonderful job! Every so often, we have to go through our things and get rid of the excess.
    It's amazing how much we accumulate over the years, isn't it?
    I really love the organizing ideas from Ikea! I've never been there before if you can believe that. :)


  31. Diana says

    I've been decluttering also (inspired by reading Organized Simplicity and also Walden). I don't even know how all this stuff gets into these closets! 3 years ago I cleaned out zillions of towels after our older daughter moved out — we had over 80 (5 people here at the time). I've been working on the linen closet — there's around 40 bath towels, and I haven't bought any! I think the kids hoard them in their rooms for months and then they reappear in the laundry.

  32. Gayla says

    My mom and I laughed and laughed about the 19 year old baby washcloths. She still has a few of those kinds of things from ME, and I am 56… haha… If we don't throw things away they mess around and become vintage and then what must we do? haha… THROW THAT AWAY!!!!! I love your newly organized closet… Go, girl!

  33. thefirstlady says

    Great job, Manuela! I just discovered those space saver wire racks you can use to stack dishes in cabinets. Anything to do with organizing I love. Keep up the good work.

  34. Vee says

    Thank you for sharing your space solutions. I realize that you're not using your shoe storage right now, but that is an excellent one. Anything to take a lot of stuff from the shelves and to see it easily. Oh how could you part with your daughter's little face cloths? 😀

  35. Cheryl says



    I have a GREAT pic on my blog of my aprons and it reminded me of your GORGEOUS aprons! = )

    I am always so energized by the BEAUTY of your blog…and WOW! Over 1400 followers…you're in the big league now!

    Much love ~

  36. Heather says

    It's amazing what we hold on to isn't it? That's the blessing of frequent moves! I always tend to purge rather than move – yet we always fill the truck to capacity!
    Like you, I enjoy getting organized – and IKEA does have great ideas, but the store is so far from us – I rarely get there and when I do I'm overwhelmed and don't buy anything! I need to go with a specific organizing challenge in mind and find the system to suit!

  37. Sue says

    Doesn't it feel good knowing you've purged all the unnecessary stuff? I worked on my linen closets last month, as well as both my pantries. I think I could STILL get rid of more!
    How DO we continue to accumulate all this stuff, anyway???
    ~ Sue

  38. Shan says

    Dearest Manuela,

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I too have the organizing bug…I even changed the look of my little blog to a "clean" theme, complete with little bubbles!

    Do you know that I have NEVER been to an IKEA? They are building one here in Colorado and I will have to go as soon as it is finished. I just adore organizing…ooohhh, I may be in trouble in that store!

    Yours kindredly,
    Honey Hill Farm

  39. Stacey says

    You always, always inspire me! Decluttering is kind of easy for me. In my way of thinking, if you are having to buy multiple boxes and containers then there's just too much stuff.

  40. Leslie says

    SO SO glad I found your blog–love your de-cluttering tips! I am now one of your followers–keep up the good work!

  41. Blessedmom's Simple Home says

    It looks great Manuela. I'd never thought of giving old towels to the vet, that's a wonderful idea.

    I just went to Ikea for the first time last month. I'll be going back though, I loved it!

  42. Anonymous says

    If you are squeezed for space the extra set of sheets or a blanket can be stored under the matress between it and the box springs on the bed it is intended to be used on. By doing this I gained a shelf for pantry storage needs. Thanks for the Ikea helpers! Love the place! :) Sarah

  43. diXymiss says

    Wow, you've been a busy bee! Of course, now I feel strongly compelled to plan a road trip to IKEA. I spent the weekend sorting and purging books and homeschool supplies. It's very difficult to part with books (they feel like old friends), but I'm making a valiant effort. ThanX for the inspiration, as always.

  44. bonnna says

    What a great organizational makeover. Thanks for reminding me that organizing products are important to homemakers. I'll be sure to include that in the gift guide I'm writing for homemakers. Thank you!

    Brianna Olds Social Media Marketing Manager

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