Lovely linens are a temptation we can't resist. There's something about a set of crisp new sheets or a beautifully fluffy towel that make us want to take them home with us when we see them in the shops. Trouble is, they all take up space. We've finally reached the point where our linen cupboard was creaking under the weight of all that stuff. Inspired by Marie's Kondo's tidying living book 'Spark Joy' and her new Netflix series - we decided to seize the day and have a sort out.
Here are the tips we came across to keep everything in our linen cupboards looking (and smelling) lovely
Tip One: Streamline
Ms. Kondo is right - we all hoard way too much stuff these days. Truth is that most of us only every use half of the bedding and towels that we own on a regular basis. If, like us, your linen store is bulging then there's only once real place to start. Work out what you really need and give the rest away. The general advice is that we need 2 sets of bedding and a spare blanket for each bed. Plus 2 large and 2 small towels per person plus a 2 sets of towels ready for guests. Once you've singled these things out, let go of the remainder. Reuse what you can - cut things in to dishcloths or dusters; put a sheet or two aside for decorating and store in the garage, demote some towels for your pets, or to have in the car. Give the rest to a charity shop or drop off at your local dog shelter. They are always after old blankets and towels, especially at this time of year. Once your stash is reduced, try to keep it that way by deploying the 'one in, one out' rule.
Tip Two: Let it breathe
Before you load your cupboard back up, have a think about how you want to store things. The key to keeping linens lovely and fresh is to ensure there is sufficient airflow. That's why slatted shelves are such a good idea, as they let air circulate. If you are going to use boxes or baskets to store things, opt for mesh or wicker over solid sides. Any moisture is going to make things musty so check the space you are using to make sure it is nice and dry all year round. Make sure everything you store in there is fully dried before putting them away so you don't accidentally add moisture to the space. We like the tip of tying a together a bundle of blackboard chalk and hanging it in the cupboard. The chalk will absorb any small amount of moisture in the air. All you need is a a pretty ribbon and the job's done. Once you are sure you've got a clean, dry, well-aired space, make a pledge to keep it that way by planning in a 6 monthly clear out to give it a nice refresh.
Top Three: Sort Smartly
How you stack things makes a difference. Put the stuff you use every day centre stage so it's easy to grab without the need to rummage. Put the less regularly used stuff, such as guest towels, higher up or at the sides so they don't get in the way. If you are using baskets or boxes then labelling them with simple packaging labels can save you hassle and help the rest of the household keep things in order. Our favourite tip of all though is the pillowcase trick - put all the bedding you need to dress one bed in to sets and pop them folded and ready to use one of the pillowcases. It saves space time and means everything always matches. Clever huh?
Tip Four: Scent Naturally
Gentle scented bedding is lovely to sleep on and there are lots of ways to do it. From scented papers and liners to hanging lavender bags or pot pourri. Just make sure you scent in a way that keeps things dry (remember you want to keep moisture out) and keep it subtle. Too heavily scented fabrics are off-putting. As you can probably tell, we prefer to keep things natural when it comes to scent. There are a whole host of natural aromatics to choose from so let your nose be your guide. Some of our favourites that work well with fabrics are cedarwood, bayleaves, roses, chamomile, dried orange, eucalyptus, or a small nosegay of rosemary. Ring the changes by changing what you use by season based on what's in your garden or what type of mood you want to evoke in your home. As we're looking forward to Spring we like the freshness of rosemary right now. Another tip we heard and loved - if you are a fan of scented candles, open the outer wrapping of one and store them in your linen cupboard before using. The aroma will permeate the air and you'll get the benefit of the scent even before you start burning them. What a nice idea.
All this adds up to lovely linen and that means a well-made bed and beautiful cosy towels to wrap up in when you step out of your bath. Makes all the work worthwhile don't you think?