Since I recently bought and installed this 5 tier metal shelf in the garage, this kick-started how I would be able to re-organize in a few different areas of the house & garage.
I started out by taking a look in the linen closet and deciding what didn't belong or what I could move out of there. Even though bed sheets are technically linens, I decided to move them out of the closet. I only had one set in there anyways - all the others are in my old armoire that is in the guest room closet. Also, there were some office supplies in there, house decor not in use, utility type items (lightbulbs, etc). I decided that all of those would get a new home in a more appropriate spot.
Then, I went through all of the items and got rid of anything that was expired or that I hadn't used in a long time or that I would never use. Everything else that I knew I would keep, I put them into like categories and got to organizing.
***Please don't mind the bad pictures. The hallway that the closet is in gets horrible lighting (which resulted in having to use the *gasp!* flash). It's also in a small hallway, so hard to get straight pictures (you can see in the pictures below how the wall across from the linen closet is very close, so it's hard to take pictures). I really, really tried!***
Before: Some baskets and bins helped to organize the space, but I needed more.
I also used wire shelving to allow for more use of the space. But, as you can see on the 2nd shelf in the below picture, it was hard to get to the sheets under the towels because of the legs on the wire shelves. Such a pain to get to them!
After: I moved the beach towels & summer gear to the top shelf. They get used, but not as often as most other things in the closet. I also moved one of the wire shelves to the 3rd shelf to fit more items there and not have to move all kinds of things just to get to the items. I left the home decor basket on the 2nd shelf for now - it will eventually get moved probably to the garage, but there is enough space left right now, so it stayed.
I also made a label for my basket of medicines/first aid stuff. You can see how I made these labels here. And yes - I'm aware that "MEDS" is crooked and looks like it's walking down stairs. :)
The top shelf of the bottom cabinet held all of my candle & Scentsy items. I had some in a shoebox and the rest were just sitting out in the open on one of the wire shelves - it made it tricky to get to things without knocking other things over. I had some extra wooden handwoven baskets, so I used two of the smaller ones to put all my good-smellin' stuff in there - it also makes it easier to just pull out the baskets and grab what I want.
I also travel a lot and all of my travel items are right next to the candle baskets on the top shelf. I just grab it and go.
On the 2nd shelf, I stacked all of my bath towels on the left. I utilized one of the wire shelves for all the smaller towels - hand towels and wash cloths. Since it's used for the smaller towels, the towels are easy to get to without the wire shelf actually being in the way.
I have lots of little items that I've gathered over time that would come in good use, but I never used myself - toothbrushes & floss from dentist visits (I prefer specific brands), lotion, shampoo, conditioner from hotels, etc. I gathered all of these items together and put them in a box for guests (bottom shelf) - this way it would be easier for guests (and me) to find in the closet without them having to dig through everything.
Here is a quick before & after...
BEFORE (top cabinet)
AFTER (top cabinet)
BEFORE (bottom cabinet)
AFTER (bottom cabinet)
It's not super cute like other linen closets I've seen online and on blogs, but it serves the purpose and is very functional. I was aiming not to spend money and use what I already have - mission accomplished! I'm sure that I will eventually find that the linen closet may need more tweaking, but for now these have been very useful changes for me and will save me a bit of time and frustration.