Organizing Your Yarn Stash
Ah, the yarn stash. Like age and weight, the size of your yarn stash is a private and oftentimes embarrassing little secret. I’m here to tell you – Be Proud and Be Loud! You’re spending your hard earned money on lovely yarn that will be made into beautiful generous gifts for your friends and family. And hopefully you’ll also be making yourself some fabulous items along the way. So there’s no such thing as having too much yarn. And keeping your yarn organized and protected is important. Plus when it’s all organized and looking pretty, it’ll never fail to give you a thrill to look at and marvel at the endless possibilities of what you can create with all that scrumptious yarn!
My Yarn Before
As Lisa talked about in her yarn organizing post here, she was able to devote a small space to her yarn and tools. I will talk about using a yarn cabinet to organize your stash.
For the past couple of years I’ve been fortunate enough to have an entire room dedicated to my crafts and hobbies. This room went through several changes as I tried different methods of storing my yarn. I finally settled on a yarn cabinet from Ikea that had glass doors to keep out dust and pet hair. I paired this cabinet with another one that had open shelves and closed doors for storage.
Of course, the bigger the space, the more stuff you can cram into it and pretty soon you can have quite a mess! The last few months have been extremely busy for me and therefore I had started to slack off on my yarn storage and organization. As you can see, a lot of my yarn purchases hadn’t even made it into the cabinet. I decided it was time to reorganize the stash!
As a professional organizer I use the popular S.P.A.C.E. method. The acronym stands for Sort, Purge, Assign a Home, Containerize, and Equalize. Here are the different steps to take following this useful method:
Step One – Sort
The first step to any organizing project is to categorize your items. Put all like items together so you are able to easily see exactly how much of one thing you have. For my yarn, I sorted it by weight (fingering/lace, crochet thread, sock, DK, worsted, bulky, etc.). This is how I choose to store my yarn. When I’m choosing my next project and I decide to make a pair of socks, I can easily see all my available sock yarn in one place. Once you have all your yarn sorted by weight, color, etc., it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step Two – Purge
The next step in organizing is to purge any unwanted or unneeded items. And now that your yarn is sorted by like items, you can easily decided what you no longer need/want. Easier said than done, right? As a professional organizer, I’m all about purging unnecessary items but when it comes to yarn, even I struggle to get rid of old unused yarn! Still, I was proud of having been able to discard a lot of yarn I know I won’t use and before I knew it I had a whole bag full of yarn to donate!
Step Three – Assign a Home
Now that you are only working with things you are keeping, it’s time to assign everything a home. For my yarn, this meant which shelf I will be storing it on. As I mentioned before, I store my yarn by weight so I decided to start with the lighter yarn on top and work my way down. I don’t care too much about color coordination. I just want to see how much of one yarn I have. Again, keep like with like. To make better use of my shelves, I inserted shelves within my shelves. A while ago I found some great shelves at Ikea, Target, and Walmart. These shelves can be used in the kitchen but they work great in a yarn cabinet. This brings us to our next step – shopping!
Step Four – Containerize
This is where you are now able to go out and purchase any containers, baskets, bins, etc. to contain your yarn, tools, and notions. As you can see, I have all my yarn in the cabinet with the glass doors on the left. On the right, I have boxes, books, pattern binders, and various magazine holders to store magazines and pattern books.
I currently keep my circular knitting needles in a file box which I labeled by needle size. This method has been working for me for a few years now. I keep a needle size guide in the front in case I need to size a needle before I put it away. This method also allows me to keep the needles in their original packaging which helps keep track of the needle length. This being said, I’ve been thinking of reorganizing my needles and putting them in folders with pockets to keep them separate by size. I recently used this method for a client and it turned out very well. If and when I do go to this method of needle organization, I will be sure to make a post for you to see!
Underneath on the shelves with the closed doors is where I keep things like extra yarn, pillow forms, blocking mats, finished projects to be blocked, and any other items I need to store.
Step 5 – Equalize
This is also known as maintenance. Once you’ve taken the time to completely organize your yarn and supplies, it’s important to maintain the system you’ve put in place. I try to take 10 to 15 minutes every week to equalize my yarn cabinets. I straighten out the yarn shelves, put away and patterns I’m finished with, put back the blocking mats once I’m done blocking my latest project, and put away any needles, hooks, and notions I’ve finished using. Doing this on a regular basis helps to maintain a clean and orderly space.
For me, aesthetics are very important. I love walking into my craft room and looking at the bright colors on my shelves. Earlier this year I was in Costco and saw a set of cabinet/shelf LED lights that you can stick anywhere you’d like and control with a small remote control. The system is easy to use and install and the batteries were included. The light is a cool light that allows you to see true colors and it brings me much joy to turn on the lights to my yarn cabinet in the evenings!
The Virtual Stash
Before I put away my new yarn purchases, I make sure to add it to my virtual stash on ravelry.com. I love keeping track of my projects and my available yarn. This is especially helpful when I’m out buying new yarn and don’t quite remember if I already have something similar at home. I also add pictures of the yarn for easy reference. There’s even a place to keep track of which hooks/needles you own so you don’t end up buying duplicates. Here’s a screenshot of my yarn stash on Ravelry.
Do you use Ravelry?
Do you have a yarn mess too?
Have you organized your yarn stash?
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