Storing Table Linens

Covered Up in Tablecloths and Placemats?

These Tips will get your Table Linens Finally Organized.


Lea SchneiderAuthor 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.



How to store table linens

If you are not having company to dinner today, then it is a great time to organize your table linens.

It does seem that the only time we think about doing something about the swooshed table linens is when we are having company.  Rushing about to set a pretty table, we will mutter loudly that we do not have time to press a tablecloth.  Then we will press it anyway and vow to get those tablecloths organized.

During the next dinner party, family gathering or holiday, we find ourselves in the same situation.  Muttering, ironing and struggling to find eight matching napkins.

Using the corner of a closet for hanging tablecloths is a great way to stay organized and cut down on wrinkles. A rolling cart can hold matching napkins and napkin rings. There’s still room in the closet for guest coats.







How to store linensYou can repurpose a piece of furniture for table linen storage, such as was done with this old secretary desk. The narrow top drawer is perfect for keeping small stacks of matching napkins together

If you vowed to organize your tablecloths, place mats, and napkins, here are some tips to help you get started:

See if you can hang your tablecloths.  You will have fewer wrinkles.  Corners of your coat closet or guest bedroom closet are good choices.

Fold your tablecloth into thirds or fourths lengthwise, depending on the size, and then fold it once over the hanger.  If you have some small tablecloths, you might even be able to clip them on skirt hangers without adding a fold to the center.

Do not use wire hangers.  The thin wire may leave rust marks and it also will leave a sharp crease.  Use a tubular plastic hanger, a wooden hanger or even one with a cardboard insert, from the dry cleaner.  You can also minimize the center crease by folding an old towel over the hanger first and then draping your tablecloth over the towel.

If you have tablecloths in different lengths, for use with a different number of table leaves, then add a label to your hanger.  The label will help you identify tablecloth sizes without pulling them off the hangers to try on the table.

Placemats can also be hung, if you have the room.  Use skirt, or clip hangers.  If you are worried about indentations from the clip, you can cut a small piece of an old towel to cushion the clips or even a piece of soft foam rubber.

If hanging is not an option, it is still a great idea to separate your table linens from your sheets and towels.  This way you will not have them as wrinkled nor will you have to dig for them.  A dresser or chest can be used for linen storage.  Fold your tablecloths as long as possible, in order to have fewer creases.

If you have multiple napkin sets, there are several ways to keep them together.  You can clip them with a binder clip or tie them with a ribbon. Clear plastic shoeboxes can be used to hold folded napkins.

If you wish to use your coat or guest room closet for linens, you can add a wheeled cart with drawers to hold napkins and napkin rings.

Table runners can be stored either by hanging over a hanger, on a clip hanger or can easily slip into a drawer.  Roll your table runner around an empty cardboard core from a roll of paper towels so that you do not have any creases.

Be sure to clean away any stains before storing as the longer they set, the less likely they will come out.

If your table is waterproof, you can apply a bit of stain remover to the cloth while it is still on the table so that you can find the stain easily.  If your table needs protecting from moisture, help yourself find the bits of food splatter or spilled wine by grabbing some clothespins before picking up the cloth.  Clip a clothespin to each place that you need to treat a stain.  You will then find them easily in the laundry room.

Do be aware that antique linens require special handling in both storage and cleaning.  You will want to use an acid-free box to store antique linens in order to prevent their yellowing and staining.


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