5 Ways You Should Avoid Storing Towels, According to Professional Home Organizers

5 storage mistakes to avoid to make sure your towels look great and are stored practically, too

beige bathroom with tub, sink and open shelving
(Image credit: Armac Martin)

It never fails to amaze us how impactful some of the simplest and most inexpensive tweaks to our homes can be, making our spaces feel that bit more special. Our towel storage is one of the many areas that, with some thought, can elevate our bathrooms into a more luxurious space we want to linger in for longer.

Bathroom storage is always worth paying attention to as it has the power to make our morning routines more seamless. Plus, given that our bathrooms are the spaces that guests are most likely to interact with, it's also key in giving a good impression to people visiting our homes.

Below, interior design professionals and home organizers have shared the ways you should avoid storing towels for both aesthetic and practical reasons. So whether you want to organize your bathroom to make it look more serene and spa-like or simply need to free up some space in your linen closet, take note of these towel storage mistakes.

1. Folding instead of rolling

white marble bathroom with tub and vanity unit

(Image credit: Breegan Jane)

'The mistake I see clients make is folding their towels! It might surprise you, but folded towels just never look as amazing as you think,' says interior designer Breegan Jane. 'I encourage my clients to pay attention to places where towels are required to look nice, like by pools or in spas. You’ll notice they are usually rolled and positioned on their sides.

'Roll your towels and place them in a basket or neatly on a shelf. It will make a world of difference.' If you are placing them on a shelf, you can look at our bathroom shelving ideas for inspiration on ways to make them look beautiful and practical, placing towels alongside indoor plants and decor.

2. Trying to store too many

bathroom towels on rail next to sink with wooden mirror

(Image credit: Rebecca Udall)

Starting with a good decluttering session is one of the things people who store their towels properly always do when organizing their bathrooms. 'The most common towel mistake I see is simply having too many towels!' agrees Caroline Roberts, a professional home organizer and founder of The Simplified Island. 'We wash our towels and hang them right back up for use, so we have one set per person plus a few extra sets for guests. Consider how many towels you actually need and donate the excess to your local animal shelter.'

It's all too easy to end up with more towels than you really need, and a mismatched selection of worn-out towels never looks good. Once you have edited down your collection, you can look at stylish ways to hang bathroom towels to maximize their aesthetic potential.

3. Keeping them in the wrong room

bathroom storage floating vanity

(Image credit: Future)

Professional home organizer Caroline Roberts points out that the best place for towel storage depends on the layout of your home. For instance, if you have a large home with bathrooms spread out, she recommends storing towels in each bathroom for easy access. 

If, on the other hand, the bathrooms are fairly close together, Caroline suggests storing them in a centrally located linen closet.

'I have very limited storage for towels in my house, so I roll my bath towels and store them in a basket,' Caroline says. 'Not only is it functional, but it gives the bathroom a spa-like feel. In a cabinet where the towels are not contained by a bin or basket, I tend to fold the towels and stack them,' she shares. 

It's worth taking a second to think if your towels could be more conveniently located rather than keeping them all in one spot because that's where they've always been.

4. Storing them out of reach

bathroom storage with open shelving

(Image credit: Future)

Accessibility and visibility are key when it comes to storing everyday items, whether it be in the bathroom, closet, or kitchen. Otherwise, items end up being awkward to get to, so we end up not using them, or worse, we simply forget we have them. Towels need to be easy to grab quickly as we get out of the bath or dash out the door to the gym.

With that in mind, avoid keeping towels stacked up high in a linen closet, as they can be hard to reach without a load of towels tumbling down on you. 'If you have a heated towel rack, avoid overloading it as this can compromise the look of your bathroom and make it harder for damp towels to dry. Storing towels so there is plenty of airflow will also keep towels smelling fresh,' says Hugh Metcalf, editor at Livingetc.com. 

'If towel storage is becoming a pain point in your home, consider adding some more hooks or shelving, or purchasing a couple of wicker baskets, like these from La Redoute, for extra storage that's functional and stylish.'

5. Using overly elaborate folding techniques

There's no doubt that how you display your towels makes a big difference to how a bathroom feels – towels rolled and stacked neatly on a shelf make the whole space look much more intentional and curated, compared to a damp towel flung over the door.

But in the same breath, it really isn't worth going for a complex folding technique, even if you have special guests. It might look great, but in reality, we rarely have time to fold each individual towel perfectly, and it's not a practical approach, especially if someone else is doing the laundry one day, or you're limited on bathroom storage space. 

Keep it simple by rolling or hanging your towels and replacing them when they have seen better days.

Millie is a homes writer and journalist renting in North London. She contributes regularly to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes. As well as covering shopping trends online, she loves vintage furniture, candles, Interior Design Masters and a Facebook Marketplace bargain. She has previously written for Fabulous, Stylist and Marie Claire.