Taming your Yarn Stash
As seasons change, I find myself changing up my home. And part of that is re-organizing! One area often untamed after each season is my yarn stash. I don't know about you but my stash can grow and shrink in no time at all!
Today I thought I would share some of the ways I organize, display and sort my stash and provide ideas for you to incorporate some new ideas by walking you through my process.
To begin, I am very fortunate to have a room where I can store and organize all my yarn and tools. And with this, I am able to put yarn away but also keep it on display - especially those skeins that have a project or design plan. Or I organize some beauties to inspire me with new ideas...which can also be dangerous because then I find myself wanting to cast on all the things! Whatever your stash storage situation, having a plan or process to easily find what you're looking for can be very helpful.
Step 1: Sort through the Stash
To do this, I prefer to take each tote, drawer, or shelf one by one rather than dump and pull everything out into the middle of my room. If I do the latter, I have an anxiety attack because it is so overwhelming. I have learned with time that by going through each storage space I am able to thoughtfully decide the fate of each skein(s).
As I sort through each drawer, I break everything into 3 sections: 1) Planned for a project; 2) No project but I see possibilities; and 3) No project and not loving it. I continue this for each drawer, shelf, and bin. Those that fall into #3 - I place into an extra box, tote, or large garbage bag so its out of sight and ready for its future home.
For those that no longer bring you all the joy - there are many options to part with these skeins. You can run a destash sale on Ravelry, eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Donate the items by making calls to local community centers, public library, schools, or shelters to see if they would be interested. Or consider organizing a stash swap with your local knitting group or knitting guild.
Step 2: Clean your storage spaces
Once I have a drawer or shelf cleaned off, I take the time to clean this space really well. Clear the dust, wash anything that may have collected dirt, and also add a lavender sachet or cedar board before I begin to restock that space.
This helps keep away any unwanted pests from making their homes in your yarn stash.
Step 3: Organize by ... weight, color, fiber, project
Once we've sorted through everything and you have your "keepers" ...then its time to organize how they are stored. I choose to organize my yarn in 2 major categories and in 2 different ways. If the yarn is designated for a project - all the skeins are stored together and usually on one of my shelves so they are easy to access and ready for casting-on.
Then when its in my "brings me joy" stash but not sure yet how I'm going to use it - I store that yarn in my yarn cabinet by weight - I have a drawer designated for bulky/chunky, Aran/worsted (2 drawers), DK (2 drawers), Sport, Fingering, Mohair/Suri (fuzzy yarns).
When I store by weight, I know right where to go to look through my stash to find the perfect yarn for a new project or design. And when I keep the yarns on display that have a plan - I am tempted to cast them on and knock off a project from my ever-growing queue of future makes!
Step 4: Scraps and bits
As you have gone through your stash, you may have come upon partially used skeins, leftovers, scraps. I found that these are often best stored together - no matter their fiber, color, weight - in a locking tote or locking plastic bag and pulled from when needed.
I will be honest, I am not a scrap keeper. These I part ways with once the project is finished (blocked, fit verified, no more changes to be made). For years I would keep leftovers in a clear plastic tote with dreams of knitting or crocheting a scrappy blanket, or using them to knit a bulky marled sweater. After moving to new homes and hauling that tote with me and never opening it other then to add to it...I had a heart to heart with myself and donated it all. So today - when I have those partial skeins or project leftovers, they go into a box or shopping bag and each month I take it out of the house and drop it at the stash cart at my LYS.
There are so many great storage ideas and over the years I've tried many. For years I stored everything in giant ziplock bags and clear locking totes - this worked great when I was moving and traveling a lot and yarn could sit for long periods of time. I have used cube storage units, book shelves, old dressers, and repurposed hutches.
A couple years ago my dad built me a stunning cabinet (There are photos in my lost post) that totally changed how I display and store my yarn - this is how I have a drawer(s) for every weight, there are windows too so I can see many yarns without opening the drawers, and its enclosed and secure. I still use open shelves - bookshelf units I picked up at Target and Menards (local midwest store similar to a Lowe's). You don't need to spend a lot of money for great storage and often you can find spectacular pieces at estate sales or even your local Habitat Re-Store. A little sanding and a fresh paint job can go a long way! Here is a link to a Pinterest Board I created with some ideas.
And get creative using household items to showcase some different yarns...I found these extra wide glass vases at Target to make mini-skein arrangements. They would be great for storing your straight needles too.
Happy Organizing! And please share your photos as you re-organize your fiber spaces - I love seeing new ideas!