Organizing Linens Takes the Wrinkle out of Entertaining
Company put me in a whirl last weekend!
It was not that they were unexpected. Rather, my day had gone unexpectedly. The time I had planned to calmly set the table, tidy the house, and prepare the meal had flew by in a series of unexpected events. I was really grateful to be able to grab a tablecloth and matching napkins and have them in a condition that they can go right on the table. No whipping out the iron or steamer and no rummaging for matching napkins.
Recently, I was working with an organizing client who wanted her linens unscrambled. She entertains often and just through use (and people helping stow things away) the linens had become scrambled. I loved that she had an armoire for her things.
Winter is a great time for a few indoor organizing projects. Getting your tablecloths, runners, placemats, and napkins organized is a good rainy day job.
Tips for Organizing Table Linens:
Begin organizing by gathering all your table linens from this spot and that. Open them up and decide if they are still good to use. Discard stained linens if you have tried to unsuccessfully to treat the stain. It is unlikely you will set a pretty table with it. Discard place mats with stains or rolling edges that no longer lie flat. If you have not been using something, either you could not find it, which organizing will cure, or perhaps it just does not match your table settings. Maybe you should donate those items.
Create a bit of hanging space in a guest closet, coat closet or armoire. You could even add hooks to the back of a closet door for this purpose. Use this space to hang runners and tablecloths.
Fold tablecloths into thirds or fourths, lengthwise, and slip through the hanger.
If you have extra hanging room, you can even hang place mats by putting sets of four on clip hangers, such as the type used to hang skirts.
Choose a flat surface to store place mats. A spare drawer in a guest dresser, an extra shelf in the linen closet or hidden shelf in your china hutch are good options.
Smooth and fold napkins so they are ready to use. Using a piece of ribbon to tie sets together is a nice way to stay organized. Once bundled and tied, you can stack them on a drawer or shelf, and pull out a set without the other sets toppling and making a mess.
If you have pretty napkin rings, but forget to use them, gather then into a basket or container and store them next to your napkins.
Keep linens looking nice by treating napkins and tablecloths for stains promptly. If you have a table protector on your wood table, such as table pads, you may be able to apply stain treatment to the cloth while it is still on the table. It is sometimes hard to find that spot once you balled up the dirty cloth. Be sure you do not get any stain treatment on your wood.
Make sure to wipe or spot treat placemats after use. Do not be tempted to stack them at that time. Leave them separated until they are completely dry before stacking.
Author Lea Schneider, a columnist for What’s Cooking America, is a freelance writer and organizational expert whose organizing ideas have been published in many magazines including Woman’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas, Family Circle, Parents Magazine, as well as numerous newspapers and websites. She is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.
Getting organized is all about living simpler and making things easier. The bonus is it often leads to saving money. Lea Schneider’s kitchen organizing columns tell you how to organize the many things that relate to kitchens, menus, meals, and special food events.
Check out all of Lea Schneider’s helpful home and kitchen columns at Organizing Kitchens, Pantries, Menus and Meals.