I Decluttered My Linen Closet. Again. Now It’s a Game Closet.

You may remember that last year, I shared my decluttering project in the linen closet.  It mostly stayed decluttered, although apparently I have slightly different standards for what stacked towels should look like than the rest of the family. Ehem.

At the time, I talked about how clutter and overspending are linked – and how getting rid of stuff can actually help you embrace the stuff you have.

I’ve continued to declutter over the last year, creating storage solutions as I go – some that work (like this linen closet) and others that fail.

Even when my decluttering efforts “stick”, however, I sometimes feel the need to revisit an area. That’s what happened with my linen-turned-game-closet.

You see, our board games and puzzles had really become a thorn in my side.

We had some upstairs, some downstairs. Some on the bookshelves, some in the storage tubs. Pieces were everywhere, but where they were supposed to be.

It was reaching that “I’m just going to throw them all in the garbage and be done with it” stage. (Do you get that way, too?)

So, after thinking on the best way to store these games… and keep them corralled so when we want to play a game we can actually find that game – and it’s pieces… I decided to repurpose my linen closet.

But first I had to clear out some space.

The truth is that while our linen closet is pretty narrow, I wasn’t even using the small space that we have to maximum capacity. Fortunately, we have a decent amount of storage in our main bathroom – including two deep drawers, which were actually empty. So, even though the towels don’t look quite as pretty in drawers as they do in closets, I moved them to the drawers.

That freed up one shelf. Then I took a second look at our sheets. Since moving our master bedroom sheets into the master bedroom, I’ve come to appreciate  having sheets in the room where they are to be used.

So, I decided to move the boys’ sheets into a basket in their closet, and my daughter’s sheets into an empty drawer in her dresser.  The fact that I only have two sets of sheets for each bed – one on it and one waiting to go on it – helps.

All this sheet moving around cleared up another shelf. With two shelves to work with, I was in business.

I went around the house, collecting games and their assorted pieces and dumped them all into a huge cardboard box. I should’ve taken a picture – it was quite a mess!

I spent a good 20 minutes, putting pieces back where they belong (using plastic baggies for a lot of them), taping up the ripped corners of boxes, and counting puzzle pieces. If we had a 100-piece puzzle with only 87 pieces, I made the executive decision to throw it away.

Then I divided the games into two piles – games the kids can play alone… and games they can’t. The ones they can do on their own went on the lower shelf.

I used an idea I found on Pinterest to “shelve” the games horizontally – like you would with books on a shelf, with their “spines” facing out. This not only uses the space more efficiently, but it also gives you easier access to the game you want – which, with the stack ’em up method, is inevitably is at the very bottom.

On the higher shelf, I had to stack them up vertically, since the boxes were much larger. (Note to game manufacturers: You know what would be totally awesome for us organized-impaired owners of your board games? Standardize the size of all game boxes! Think about it, k?)

I also hid our not-one-but-two Monopoly Games (we have the regular version AND the Spiderman version) on the very top shelf of this closet. To get it down, a grown-up needs to stand on a stool. This is a reflection of (a) my distaste for Monopoly in general and (b) my utter frustration with the pieces and cards and bills being all.over.the.house.all.the.time.

After I proudly showed off my organizing work to my husband, I reminded him that the way to keep our games organized and accessible is to enforce the “library” system. Only one game may be “checked out” at a time – and it must be returned in good working order before a new game can be played.

Next up: Decluttering and reorganizing my desk drawers. I’ve done a great job of keeping the top of the desk cleared off, but the drawers… eeeek!

Have you decluttered anything lately? Repurposed a closet for an untraditional role? Struggled with keeping your board games from taking over your house? Let’s talk in the comments!

(P.S. I’ve been pinning decluttering inspiration pictures on Pinterest, including a bunch of board game storage ideas – if you’re interested.)


  1. Before Pesach I went through the kids games – put back on the shelves the ones that were complete. The pieces of the others are in a big tub – I have not had time to go through them (I had a burst pipe the week before Pesach and the entire contents of my clothes closet was soaked). I am seriously tempted to figuratively bin the lot (in fact would take to the local kindergarten so that they can use them in art projects). I don’t think my kids would miss them.

  2. Jessi Levy says

    So my husband will start working from home next month, which means my home office/crafting room, will now have to be shared with his business! So I’m now in the process of trying to come up with a way to properly store my crafting supplies more compactly, and reducing the size of our home office. I love to organize, it energizes me and it’s so good to see your project! Inspires me to keep moving forward!

  3. We have two linen closets in the hallway- only one is used for the traditional purpose. In the other, my husband uses the bottom (hanging) portion for his clothes, and the rest is my overflow pantry, which allows me to stock up on things like Duncan Hines mixes and almond milk which otherwise take up a lot of precious kitchen space.

    I love the idea of using odd pieces from old games in art projects!

  4. I love making “executive” decisions for my house too! (that line really made me laugh) I just recently re-organized one of my kitchen cabinets. I didn’t want to spend money on it, but there was no other way, so I bought some organizers and now we are all a lot happier and nothing is falling out… next up, hopefully desk drawers too… can’t wait to see how you do it!

  5. You are my hero! One day I want to be just like you!

  6. I’m totally going to do this with our upstairs linen closet. only then the kids might not ever play games at all…

  7. I am one of those weirdos who finds cleaning strangely cathartic. I threw out so much stuff when I was Pesach cleaning this year. It’s like a weight off my shoulders. I’m hopeful I’ll be doing more in the next couple of months. When I moved my sofa to clean under it, I turned it perpendicular to the wall it had been against. It looked great! I wound up rearranging the whole room. I thought my family would balk, but they all love it! Your closet looks fantastic! I’m inspired to work on mine.

  8. My best decluttering this year was figuring out a better way to store all the gloves, hats, scarves, etc that we use for winter. I took one of the hanging shoe organizers (it’s about 6 inches wide with 10 “cubbies” for shoes and hangs on a closet rod) and hung it in our small coat closet (really wanted the 11 or 12″ wide sweater version but didn’t have enough closet footage to give to it). Then each person in the family got 1 or 2 cubbies for their stuff. Now the kids (and my husband) all knew exactly where to put and then find their own stuff. It saved us so much time in the mornings.
    For games we use 2 shelves of a bookshelf that is behind closed doors and an ottoman so that the 2 year old can’t get into them but the older kids can.

  9. Rachel Albert says

    Not long ago I took an old tv stand, the old fashion ones, and I made it my shelf for board games. I love the linen closet idea but with few furniture pieces and 4 kids sharing bedroom, the closets are super full. However, I am proud, funny I read the post because I was wondering who I would boast to, I cleaned my furnace room. It is a room off the basement (furnace is there) and it became the junk, storage pit and everything was thrown in there, had become impossible to walk, even pull chain, came off and it was dark. So I tied a string, so I easily reach light, freecyled out a lot of stuff I don’t know why we kept and organized the stuff I wanted to keep on shelfing units, put luggage together, sukkah stuff together, the room looks so big and spacious and I can find everything, and there were some interesting finds. Not to mention the stress relief I got from cleaning because I wanted to, not pressure filled pesach cleaning.

  10. So interesting to see this on your site this morning. I was just trying to put away some more of my linens from Pesach(we had all of my out of town married kids with us) and I realized my linen closet is not working and I was trying to think of another way to keep my sheets. I like the idea of keeping them in the room where they are to be used. Then I can use my linen closet for towels, over flow of kitchen pantry, and paper goods like tissues, paper towels and TP

  11. This is such an interesting post, because I did the same thing before Pesach. I have a similar type of linen closet and I filled 2 shelves with games. I still have 2 shelves with linen on them, but I think I will find new homes for that stuff too.

  12. Jennifer S says

    I LOVE this idea! We also have games floating around everywhere. I put a bunch on top of a bookcase, but now no one plays them because even grown-ups need a ladder to get to them. I’d like somewhere high enough that my 3 year old can’t get at them (especially the Game of Life) but my 11 year old can. (BTW, I think Life is even worse than Monopoly–it also has all the money & cards that go everywhere, PLUS those microscopic people you’re supposed to put in the miniscule cars!)

    I also love the idea about the hanging cubbies for scarves/mittens. I grew up in California, and since I moved to New York, all the winter paraphernalia has been a thorn in my side. 😉

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