Decorate, KonMari Tidying, Organize

Tidying Up the KonMari Way: Linens

If you’re like me, folding a fitted sheet is an exercise in futility. You try to make it into a neat little square and put it at the bottom of the sheet set so it looks decent in your linen closet but give up and just roll it into a ball and throw it in the back of the shelf. Then you lose track of which fitted sheet goes with which flat sheet and just wash the current sheets and put them back on the bed so you don’t have to mess with folding the fitted sheet. Am I right? Wash, dry, don’t fold, repeat.

Yesterday I decided to tackle my linen closet and get rid of sheets, duvet sets, and towels that no longer spark joy in me. I read about this method of decluttering, called KonMari, on another blog. Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning expert, developed the KonMari method for simplifying, organizing, and storing your belongings. From the description of Marie’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

Using Marie Kondo’s method, Jen, who blogs at Organized Jen, purged her considerably large wardrobe, weeding out clothes that didn’t bring her joy when she held them. Marie suggests putting all the items from one category – clothes, shoes, bedding, books – in the middle of the floor and sorting them into three piles: keep, donate, or throw away. By putting everything (and she means everything) in one place, you can see how much you really have. (You can read Jen’s closet purge post here.)

Jen’s blog is all about organizing, so her closet was perfectly neat; tidying up wasn’t really the issue. Jen’s goal was to let go of clothes, shoes, and accessories she no longer loved or wore. After reading Jen’s post, I thought about the KonMari method and how tidying up might help me function better in my home. Every time I opened a door or drawer, I wondered what it would feel like to hold something in my hands, close my eyes, and feel joy emanating from it – or not. My favorite spaces – my clothes closet and my Stella & Dot closet – are organized and beautiful. Getting dressed is like shopping in my own little boutique! The rest of the closets make me want to run away, taking only my dog and my laptop (and a couple of suitcases with cute clothes and jewelry) with me.

I decided to start with my linen closet, which is actually a cabinet in my garage. My bathroom closet is too small to hold bedding, towels, toiletries, and other products you commonly store in the bathroom, so I had a carpenter build custom cabinets to hold the linens. My copy of Kondo’s book is on its way from Amazon, but I figured I could probably apply the “does it bring you joy” rule without reading the book.

I didn’t take a before picture of the cabinet. but here’s an after:

After picture of linen cabinet
I buy all my sheets and towels at Pottery Barn during their yearly white sale after Christmas. Not only do I get at least 20% off, but if I have Pottery Barn rewards coupons, I can apply them, too. I got two sets of sheets and towels for $41, including tax, this year. They usually have free monogramming during the winter sale, but I found a local monogram shop I like better, so I took everything there. I like white sheets and white towels – it makes it easy to choose the ones I want!

I wanted the linen closet in my garage to bring me joy, so I pulled out anything that was old and ratty or missing something from the set. I also got rid of duvet sets I no longer used, donating them to a local charity. I separated the sheets and towels and then started folding. As usual, the fitted sheets gave me fit. This time, I turned to YouTube for help. I watched several “how to fold a fitted sheet” videos, tried and failed many times, and was convinced I lacked some essential fitted sheet-folding gene. Then I found this one:

Hallelujah! A fitted sheet-folding demonstration even I could follow! After a few unsuccessful attempts, I did it. I folded the perfect fitted sheet!

Fitted sheetIt’s almost too pretty to put in a closet! I refolded the top sheet and matching pillowcases and stacked them with the fitted sheet. I put the pillowcases on the top with the monogram showing so I can tell the sets apart, then I tied a pretty ribbon around each set, just like Christine did in the video. Don’t they look joyful?

Sheet StacksI present to you my beautifully organized linen cabinet!

Labeled linen closetI keep going out to the garage and opening the cabinet door – I can feel the joy, y’all! All the towels and sheets on the top three shelves are in good condition. There aren’t many bath towels on my towel shelf because I did a load of wash right before I took this picture. I’m single and don’t have kids, so I only have queen sheet sets for my bed. I keep everyday dishtowels on the fourth shelf; I have seasonal towels I rotate during the year, but I store them with the seasonal decorations. I buy inexpensive washcloths at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to use when I remove my makeup. I roll them up and display them in a cute box in my bathroom. I kept some old towels that are still in good condition to have as backups, although I’m sure Marie Kondo would say to donate those, too. The bottom shelf has old-old sheets and towels for drying off wet dogs, messy spills, and covering plants if needed.

The secret to the success of the KonMari method is to keep only those items that bring you joy. I’m pretty well-stocked with sheets and towels I like, but if I buy new ones in next year’s winter sale, I’ll swap out some old ones (I’m looking at you, extra towels.) This linen cabinet makes me smile and lets me breathe. This little space in my house, with its neatly folded fitted sheets tied up with ribbon is done!

Kelly Gartner Style KonMari

Click here to read more in this series.

10 thoughts on “Tidying Up the KonMari Way: Linens

    1. Do you have the book? Mine arrived yesterday. I’m having to hold myself back from shutting everything down for the next week and starting from the highest corner of my house and working my way to the lowest. I feel like it really will be life-changing!

    1. You’re welcome! I think you can adjust for different closet sizes. I’ve found that paring down my wardrobe has helped immensely, and I’m not buying as many new clothes and shoes as I once did, which keeps everything manageable.

  1. Thank you for the information and inspiration! I just spent some time folding the various bed linens in my bedroom, and somehow the piles of stuff on the window seat and in the corner have managed to disappear as well 😉 I also love the fact that you tied up sets with ribbon. Easy to keep them together without linens spilling everywhere and becoming a mess, *and* the cute little bundles spark joy. My mother is coming to visit this week, and I’m sure she will be a bit jealous/impressed/and curious! I’ll have to share these tips with her.

    1. Knowing how to fold a fitted sheet is a game-changer! I’m sure your mom will be impressed with your newfound skills. the sheets always feel so cool and crisp when they’re folded this way. Love getting into them at night!

  2. Very interested in the best video how-to for folding fitted sheets which was expecting to follow below the ‘Then I found this one:’ line… but there was nothing there. The only thing shown right below that is a photo of a folded sheet. That’s nice result, but where is the link to the how to video? Please.

    1. Thanks for noticing that, Jan! I think the link was broken, but I found the video and reinserted it. I hope you can see it and that it helps!

  3. I have just finished reading the book and am sorry to say that you jumped the gun and missed many of her key concepts! She is very firm on keeping to the order of categories (clothes, books, papers, komono, sentimental) and you started with komono. There is nothing wrong with your process, but it was not Konmari, it was simply decluttering. The method of storage is also anti-Konmari, because her method says not to make flat stacks of anything. Fold and store vertically so that you can reach in and grab any item without lifting others.

    1. Hi, Katie – you are right. I did jump the gun with the linens. I learned about the method through another blog, ordered the book, and was so excited to get started that I jumped right into sheets and towels before I’d read a word of the book. I assure you I followed the process to a “t” after reading it, and I use it with all of my organizing clients because I know it works. I have a lot of other posts in which I shared the process I went through as I did my whole house, and you can see that I’m definitely a KonMari fan. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *