How to Organize Your Yarn Stash, Part 1: Get It Togethercomments (9) August 13th, 2008
We all have them. Those buckets and bags of yarn that hide under the couch, stashed in corners behind bookshelves, under the bed, or even out in the open. I have always prided myself on keeping my stash under control; in fact, it seems like I hardly ever buy yarn. But, boy, do I have a knack for acquiring it—from friends who are moving, as leftovers from design projects, and from my old job where there was always a box of free yarn. I recently moved apartments, and darn if I didn't see another gigantic bag of yarn every time I moved a piece of furniture. Although I have to keep some of this yarn in case there's a technical issue with one of my designs down the road, the other stuff inspires feelings of guilt for projects I'll never make. If you love your stash as is, don't read this series of articles—it's totally fine to have a lot of yarn! But if you're living in tight quarters and need some inspiration to pare down (and in turn ways to keep your spending down), here are some steps for getting your stash in control.
This first part deals with getting your stash organized, operating under the premise that you aren't getting rid of anything. It's good to take stock of what you have (after all, after you untangle all the yarn knots, you might not have as much as you think) and then decide what needs to go and why (I'll talk more about that next week!).
To organize your stash:
1. Get all of your yarn in ONE place. That's right, pry it out of the corners and out from under the couch. This is important because you may have multiple balls of the same color in different locations, and it will be helpful to
see what amounts you have of each yarn before you make any decisions about what to keep.
2. Sort your yarn. How you want to sort it is up to you. I first sorted my yarn by brand/type of fiber. Multiple colors can go together, theoretically, since they are the same gauge so you can put them in the same stack if you like. If you tend to have multiples of each color, you might want to group them separately, however. If, while you are sorting, you get inspired to combine certain yarns for a project, put them together in their own stack. If you have lots of bits and pieces of certain types of yarn (i.e., novelty, sock, etc.), you might want to group them together. Use your intuition and go with what makes logical sense to you.
Note: If you are anything like me, you might feel like running away from the apartment at some point during this process. It's okay to take a break; all of those tangles can be exhausting. See the photo of my floor above for evidence! Come back to it when you feel up to it.
3. Bag it. Buy a box of slider-top gallon-size bags from the grocery store and bag all of your like yarn together. (If at this point there is something you definitely want to throw/give away, go ahead and put it in a separate pile, by all means!). For piles too big to fit in one bag, you can store them in a larger clear bag or a bin of their own (see below). Having something see-through is key for me—I don't want to have to open several bags to find the yarn I'm looking for. There is a double bonus to bagging the yarn: 1) You can squeeze a lot of air out of the bag and yarn before you close it (trust me, this works just as well as the as-seen-on-TV space-saver bags) and 2) when you're looking through your stash later, you can grab seven balls at once (in the bag), and nothing will unwind and get tangled!
4. Bin it. Put the bags into a larger bin (or bins). I have two 66-quart storage bins for my "stash" and one large metal bucket for the WIPs, and am aiming not to let anything more than this take up space in my life. If you don't have enough bins to contain your stash, either buy more (be sure to consider what will fit in the amount of space you have), or really think about the amount you want to allow yourself to keep. Next week, I'll give some tips and motivation on why and how to let some of your yarn go.
5. Pat yourself on the back. Go sit down and have some cookies. This yarn sorting is hard work!