All hail the linen closet! *LOL*
Every floor/unit had one or some other central storage of clean linen, and it usually fell most always to nursing staff to keep them clean, tidy and well stocked. Sometimes one served both a floor and unit if located on or near.
Back in the day hospital bed linen was 100% cotton (no poly/cotton blends) muslin. As one who collects and restores vintage linens perhaps am more tuned into than most, but there is nothing like the smell of freshly laundered and ironed bed linens.
That is what greeted you when you opened the door to the linen room.
A trolley arrived daily (usually early morning) from the laundry brining up fresh clean linen. It usually fell to nursing staff (nurses or assistants) to unload said linen.
In this picture you see "bed packs" stacked at right angles to each other. These contained everything one needed for a complete change of linen (two flat sheets, pillow case and draw sheet). In the morning back when AM care was an orgy of bathing and bed making you simply loaded up a trolley with these bed packs and were good to go. That and or if a bed required changing later in the day everything you needed was right there in one pack. Above the linen packs you also see "bath packs" same idea but with towels and washcloths.. everything you needed for AM or PM care.
Elsewhere in linen closet you'd have separate items; sheets, pillowcases, wash cloths, towels, pajamas, isolation gowns, blankets, etc.... Things varied of course by floor/unit served. For example for L&D, maternity, Peds you'd find diapers (cloth), infant/child sized linen and such, along with various padding and perhaps belts for lady's "sanitary" purposes (before disposables).
Then as now nurses had to cope with shortages of linen balanced by their desire for patient comfort. As such there were usually one or more "unofficial" linen closets. You'd find linen hidden in med rooms, cupboards or closets anywhere in or near the nurses station, supply rooms, etc... This of course was not in any official way sanctioned, but sometimes you did what you had to do. Surprise came for a nurse not expecting (such as reaching for an IV bottle and getting a slew of draw sheets falling down upon her), which could give the game away.
Because of the closed door and all that freshly laundered linen many rooms were one of the few places to get some "fresh air", and escape the smells of the floor. The same closed door (and usually sound dampening insulation) also offered privacy and made linen rooms a popular spot for a nurse who needed to have a moment in peace. Things like a patient dying, your BF dumping you, and or other equally unpleasant news. This and or you just needed to get away and collect yourself before the next disaster. Should you have a good cry, no worries as there was *hopefully* plenty of wash cloths. Hahaha.
You also could find no end of *interesting* things hidden away in linen closets. Bottles of booze, personal notes, various other contraband....
Back in the old days most hospitals where possible had their own laundries onsite, and as such linen never left the premises. Places owned and laundered their own linen. Linen that was worn out became draw sheets, rags, scultetus binders, etc...
A nurse's natural desire for her patient's comfort versus the facilities need to control laundry costs often put the two at odds. For a very bad "Code Brown" some nurses saw nothing wrong with using as many washcloths, towels and other linen as required. OTOH the head/charge nurse or supervisor would see what was a full linen closet just a few hours ago was now half empty, and it wasn't even 2PM.
On evenings, nights, weekends and holidays when the laundry was often closed request for fresh linen usually was made to a supervisor. Many places had a central supply/storage room in or near the laundry or elsewhere where stores were kept. You'd make the request and the supervisor got "the keys" and either a nurse or assistant went with her to fetch what was wanted. Some supervisors took this very seriously so you needn't get greedy. If you wanted/needed say ten sheets, you might get that, then again not. Made do was the order given, hence the use of top sheets for bottom, no clean blanket/spread.