Sneak peek: my linen closet


Minimalism looks different for everyone, but sometimes it’s nice to see how other people put it into practice. So I’m going to start giving little ‘sneak peeks’ into how my family actually lives with the choices we’ve made regarding what possessions we keep and how we store them.

Our new apartment in California has just incredible amounts of storage—to us, at least. (Though, I was stunned to find that our stuff seems to almost fill it up anyway…how is it possible that our things expand to fill whatever space we have?) One of the things that we have now that we didn’t before is a proper linen closet. Well, maybe it’s more of a cupboard. Point is, we’ve got a dedicated space for linens that we didn’t before—and here’s what it looks like.

At a glance:


As you can see, the cupboard is quite tall and narrow. It’s also pretty deep, but I do my best not to hide anything in the backs of deep shelves. To me, this is a pretty good-looking amount of stuff in the cupboard—nothing squished, except for the pillows I’ve unceremoniously wedged in.


I promise I didn’t take any special pains to make our linens look clean and pretty for you guys; this is how the cupboard looks every day (bemused dog not always included). The wonder of having less and folding things properly!

Let’s go through this in more detail.


First up is our extra sheet set. We only have one bedroom, so we don’t need more than two sets: One on the bed (a lovely soothing purple) and one for the guest air mattress or on laundry day (the charming greige pattern). We accidentally ended up with four purple pillowcases when we bought the purple sheets two years ago, so we use them with the greige sheets too.


Next up are our spare pillows, courtesy of my grandma, who let us take two from her house when we moved. Nice to have for guests or if we have a cold.


This is where extra towels go. We own four bath towels, two white and two teal. Two towels are hung up for our current use (they get washed about once a week), and the other one is stashed in my office desk for when I ride or run to work—hence the single towel on the shelf. We also own two washcloths, one of which I always keep hung up to wash my face.


Moving on down, we have an extra quilt. While it’s not the same as our everyday quilt, we did purposely buy one that matches both our sheet sets so that if we need to wash our normal quilt, the extra one fits seamlessly into our bedroom.


This shelf holds our beach towels and the dog towel (which is also the towel I use for about a week after dyeing my hair so as not to ruin the good ones). We bought the beach towels on our unexpected Miami honeymoon because we didn’t have any, and mine is the most unabashedly tacky thing I own: it’s a giant $100 bill.


Finally, the bottom shelf has a motley crew of linen items. On the left side are the two pillowcases that came with our second sheet set. They’re worn and torn, so I use them to carry bread and bulk groceries. Underneath is a table runner that a member of my grandma’s church handmade for our wedding—so sweet, but we don’t have a table anymore. We also store the shower curtain we bought while living in our last apartment. This apartment has a glass door, so no need for it—but I love the pattern and want to use it again in a future abode. Finally, on the right, is the tablecloth we used on our sweetheart table at our wedding. Again, we don’t have a table, but if we were to host people, I would borrow or rent a card table from somewhere and drape this tablecloth over it to be fancy. Our matching cloth napkins are stored in the kitchen.

So there you have it. These are the linens that this minimalist lives with. While we don’t have a large number of items—having a small apartment and no kids facilitates that—I think we serve as a good reminder that you don’t have to get rid of everything that you aren’t using right now. Be sensible about it, of course…but it’s reasonable to hold on to a couple of things that you like and fully expect to use again.

What does your linen closet look like? What do you think of ours? What is the minimum number of towels one needs, in your opinion?


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