Yeah, it’s finally here! Where do you keep it all? That’s the question
that I am constantly asked. So what could be a more appropriate way
to celebrate my SECOND Blog-aversary than to share where I keep it
all. Last year, on my FIRST blog-aversary I shared where I stored a lot
of my dishes. Click HERE to see last year’s celebration.
Since last year I shared a lot of my dish storage, I decided that this
year I would focus on where I keep my linens. When I redid my
basement several years ago, I had this closet built for my tablecloths.
You’re seeing the left side of the closet. The doors slide and there is an
equal amount of space on the right. I had the closet double hung with
permanent rods to accommodate more tablecloths.
What you can’t see, and what I tried really hard to photograph, but
had no luck is that the closet is two deep. So it’s not only double
hung – top and bottom. It is double front and back. It’s a bit difficult
to get to the ones in the back, but it works.
I organize the tablecloths similarly to how I organize all of my
tablescaping items, by color. This is the silver, gold, cream area.
Here we have blacks, dark blue, browns, and then into the prints.
The prints flow from pastel patterns to blues to reds. In the back, the
part I couldn’t effectively photograph are the solids: yellows, pinks,
reds, greens, blues, etc.
Now, as you flip through these photos, you no doubt see these little
tags on each hanger.
Well, this little compulsive trait has a story. When I was growing up
my Mom loved to entertain. No great surprise there. She kept her
tablecloths (which are now part of my collection) hung in her
bedroom closet. I have many memories of picking out a cloth with her,
bringing it downstairs and invariably not having it fit – depending
upon how many leaves were in the table. So back up to her room we’d
go to rehang the inappropriately sized cloth and try again.
Even as a child, this drove me crazy. Because of this, each and
everyone of my tablecloths have been measured and labeled. I
frequently forget the exact size I need for my dining room table
depending upon how many leaves are in the table. I have the
measurements of the actual size of the table and each leaf, along with
the preferred tablecloth size on a little sheet of paper taped on the
inside of a kitchen cabinet.
I give only a minor description of the cloth as the tag actually stays on
the hanger. The hanger sits empty in the closet while the cloth is in
use and while it’s being laundered. I also indicate how many
matching napkins a given cloth has. The matching napkins hang
with the cloth. I have a LOT of tablecloths, a great number of which I
inherited so putting this system into place was no easy task, but one
that was well worth it. I keep a little box of the tags and a pen right
near the closet so that new cloths can be appropriately labeled. It’s
real easy to do with a new cloth as the measurement is right on the
As I mentioned above, if a tablecloth has matching napkins, those
napkins are hung with the tablecloth, however I have MANY napkins
that are not matches to a tablecloth. For a long time I floundered with
the best way to store them – in drawers, in stacks, etc. What I finally
settled on and really seems to work is to have them in plastic storage
boxes. I chose a plastic box whose end could accommodate a napkin
folded in four and laying flat against that end.
I had so many white, cream, off white and ecru napkins, that I went
so far as to make dividers out of heavy cardboard, labeled the top of
the divider, and inserted them in the box, akin to a file cabinet. I find
that having the napkins on their ends, rather than lying flat or
stacking them allows me to page through them and see them easier.
Each set of napkins is in it’s own zippered bag. The outside of the bag
identifies how many napkins are in each bag. It saves a lot of
counting! When I’m working on a table, I’ll go to the napkin boxes
and pull out several bags of napkins that I think might work. Once
I’ve made my decision, it’s easy to slide the bags right back into place.
I find the two and a half gallon zip bags the best to allow the napkins
to lay flat and not bunch up. Similar to the tablecloth and hanger
method, when a set of napkins is in use or being laundered, the bag
sits empty awaiting their return.
For better or worse, seasonal napkins have their own little set of
Well you can’t have all of those napkins without a bunch of napkin
rings. OK, maybe more than a bunch.
I find these shallow stacking drawers to be the perfect storage
solution for napkin rings, place card holders and such. You just slide
open the drawer and grab what you need. Of course, they are sorted
If you glance back two photos, you’ll see that the napkin ring drawers
are sitting atop an old chest of drawers. These drawers house my table
runners and such. This drawer hold table runners in the blues. I’ve
even gone so far as to label the outside of these drawers. No matter
how well you think you know your stuff, when you start to
accumulate this much you forget. Label, label, label. Sometimes I
think I’m single handily keeping the company that makes the label
tape in business! LOL.
So on to placemats. This is a work in progress. These are larger
stackable drawers. My good friend Nancy gave me a bunch of these as
she recently had built in shelving installed. It’s a great way to store
placemats, but the truth is, I’m running out of space in which to put
the stackable drawers.
These round mats frequently act as chargers (oh, chargers, that’s a
whole other story). They used to be color sorted, but that seems to
have gone by the wayside. These sure look like they could use a bit of
straightening. I like to keep them out where I can see them.
Clearly I love to collect and change things out with the seasons. Dish
towels and hand towels are no exception. I found that I had so many
dish towels, they clearly went beyond the capacity of my kitchen
drawers. One day on a “space for storage” hunt in my home, I realized
there was a cabinet in my laundry room above the dryer that really
wasn’t being utilized to it’s fullest potential. Yes, those are teacups
and pitchers up there on the ledge. But they’re not there for storage
per se, they’re there in a decorative sense. One of these days I’ll have to
do a tour of my laundry room. It’s small but fun and functional (and
has music, anything to try to make doing laundry better!).
But what to put in there was a bit of a quandary. Now don’t get me
wrong, there was no lack of stuff to put in the cabinet, but rather
exactly what stuff was the issue. Most of my dishes are in my dish
room in my basement. All of the linens in the earlier part of this post
are also stored in my basement. What was the right thing to cull out
of the collection that could stand alone, be put on the second
floor (and not have part of the collection in the basement and part
Seasonal towels won. This was definitely one of my better organizing
projects. I sorted out the towels by occasion, assigned shelves and
labeled. The good thing about doing this was that I realized how
many seasonal towels I have. Basically I don’t buy anymore.
This is one of those situations where you could say, why bother
labeling? It’s pretty obvious which are the Christmas towels and
which are the Harvest towels. But by labeling it just makes it easier.
I must have organized these three or four years ago. What I love, is
that they have stayed organized.
And because they are organized and easily accessible, I use what I
have. If you can’t find it, you don’t use it and there is just no sense to
having it at all.
By now you clearly must think I’m nuts or have an organizing fetish
or both. I don’t think either are the case. I have many wonderful
treasures and I like to use them. I just know that if I can’t find them, I
don’t remember I have them and don’t use them. Lest you think that
everything in my home is order (those that know me, know that this
couldn’t be further from the truth), I’m sharing the above photo and
parting photo with you.
I recently celebrated my birthday. So what do I ask for and get on my
birthday? DISHES!!! The ones in the center – white with soft touches
of pink and splashes of gold flowers and decorations, they look
vintage but are new – were a birthday gift from my dear friend and
fellow dish-a-holic Barbara.
I love to mix and match my dishes and therefor am always on the
lookout for solids. I had spied the lovely lavender/orchid plates and
French blue plates in the Crate and Barrel catalog. My patient
husband, Mr. Scaper, and wonderful children indulged me. I was
thrilled (still am), BUT where to put them???
Those close to me know, I collect in sets of 12, so that’s 12 plates from
Barbara and 12 dinner plates and 12 salad plates in lavender plus 12
dinner plates and 12 salad plates in blue. That means I need to find a
home for 60 new plates!!!!!! Nancy gave me placemats (12 of course)
but I think I can squeeze those in.
Good thing Kathleen, of Cuisine Kathleen, gave me my birthday
present early. I’ve already found a home for them (of course they were
dishes). Which reminds me, I’ve got to do post with those.
Enough about me, I can’t wait to see where YOU keep it all!
- The Tablescaper