Linen Closets ~

Care and Management of a Linen Cupboard~

In the era of cloth not paper napkins, of tablecloths, and dish cloths it was important to know how to care for those items and preserve them in the best manner.
“A Linen cupboard should be in an airy dry situation to prevent mildew, not against an outside wall.

One shelf should be set apart for table linen, another for bed linen, a third for bedroom and bath towels, others for dusters, tea-cloths, oven- cloths, etc. In order that each article may have its fair share of wear, everything as it comes back from the wash should be laid at the bottom of its own respective pile and the clean supply be given only from the top.”
~Annie Butterworth, Manual of household work and management

In her Efficient Household Purchasing chapter of Household Engineering Christine Frederick advises January as the best time to purchase household linens. The same holds true today.

Mrs. Frederick also felt that there needed to be detailed records of where linens and clothing were stored including the date of purchase, size and number of items (such as bed sheets), and other such distinguishing details written on a card and placed in with other House Records.

Another timely tip, this one on alternative ways to keep bugs at bay from your fine linens came from Practical Housekeeping…
Lacking closets, vintage homes would use an armoire such as this to store clean linens.
“In the country remote from drug-stores, many housekeepers use the dried leaves of sage, thyme, spearmint, and other highly scented herbs. These are gathered after the housewife has laid in all she may require for cooking and medicinal purposes, are tied in bunches and dried, and then laid among the clothes in the large wooden chest ; or a pole is laid from rafter to rafter, and the clothing is hung over this, and casings of calico or old cotton quilts are carefully pinned around each garment, the bunches of herbs being also pinned at intervals about the clothing.”
~Practical Housekeeping 1887

Published in: on September 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm  Comments (11)  

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This has come at the perfect time for me. My linen closet is in complete disarray and in need of a good sorting out. I think I will get on it tomorrow! 🙂


  2. Glad for you Laura!! I know you will get it in perfect order. Best wishes !!!


  3. Really nice nostalgic website, I am going to send my wife the link. There is website for a local closet shop in Louisville that has some really interesting and informative articles about closet organization. I would recommend taking a look at them, even if you are not in the Louisville area the articles are interesting.

    • Thank you so much Troy. I appreciate it. I will look at that website.

      Blessings to you ~

  4. Sounds like a useful tip, thanks for the post.

  5. I would love a cupboard that looked that good – mine is a bit of a mess. I have far to much in the linen closet (far more than just linen) and it needs a very good clean out. I find fitted sheets a pain to fold so I don’t do a very good job. When I have some spare time!!

  6. Teresa,
    I just wanted you to know that I love your blog!!! I happened to stumble upon it recently and am so glad that I did!!! I have chosen you for an award on my blog, The Domestic Jock!!! You can check out the post with your blog named as one of my favorites on and accept your award for a lovely blog!!!

    • Thanks Ann Marie !! You are a sweet person.
      I will go see about the reward 🙂

      Teresa Ann ~

  7. Very interesting post. I must admit that I don’t have a specific linen closest, though I would enjoy one, I think. We do use cotton napkins, placemats, etc. in our house….why surround yourself with plastic and paper when the real fabric is so much more responsible, cost effective, and healthy? I return to the old ways, I guess!

    • I love using cloth napkins too. I agree with you on the plastic and paper thought. Glad you enjoyed the post!!!

      Teresa ~

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