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How to Organize an Unruly Stash

Feb 1, 2012

A note from Kathleen: Interweave Crochet's project editor Sarah Read recently blogged about a subject near and dear to us fiber fiends, especially those of us who enjoy knitting and crochet, and when I read about Sarah's stash adventure, I knew you'd love to read about her journey, too.

Taming the Stash

When faced with a feral stash, you may have heard that the safest course is to curl up in a ball, cover your neck, and play dead. But I believe that even the wildest of stashes can be tamed. And yes, that's my own stash up there, back when it was very wild indeed (a few weeks ago).

The first step in taming your stash is to get ALL of it and spread it out where you can see it. (From experience, I can tell you that this is best done while small children and the yarn-prejudiced are not at home.) As you lay it out, divide it by sections, like so:

It's a little hard to see my category names in this photo. Clockwise from left, they are: Acrylic Island, Sock Valley, Accessories Alley, Cotton Cove, Mountains of Thread, Sea of Sweaters, and Bay of Lace. A little humor never hurt any of us, right?
Have your empty bins handy, and load the yarn into the bins according to category. Create categories that make the most sense to you. For example, my categories are:
1. Sweater yarn (sweater quantities of worsted yarn)
2. Tee yarn (yarn for short-sleeved garments)
3. Sweaters made of itty bitty yarn (sport and fingering weight in sweater quantities)
4. Lace
5. Cottons and linens
6. Thread
7. Sock yarn
8. Super fancy-pants sock yarn
9. Acrylic and baby yarn
10. Single skeins (not of the cotton, lace, thread, sock, or acrylic variety)

The next step is to build a fort out of your bins.

Then, when you have conquered the world from the safety of your yarn fort, file the bins away in their storage space.

My hanging holder of projects

If you know the next few (or many) projects you intend to start, keep them filed in a separate, easy-to-access system. My friend Sheri from The Loopy Ewe blogged about her fabulous baskets, and one of her readers suggested using a hanging shoe holder as a great space saver, which seemed like the perfect solution for me, as my attic studio has no level walls.

It's great for holding a small- to medium-sized project worth of yarn, as well as the pattern for the yarn, so five years from now, when you finally get to that project, you remember what it was going to be.

Congratulations! You are now a stash-tamer. You are probably also much more aware of the scope of your stash. I was actually comforted by the process, especially when I ended up with two extra empty bins that were certainly not empty the last time I did this. That means two things to me:

1. I have two empty bins to fill, and

2. If I can work through two bins a year, I'm not as close to Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy as I thought I was.

So . . . now it's your turn to flash your stash! Come to the forums and share your stash, feral or tame!




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on Jan 12, 2014 1:53 PM

Hi Kathleen, You posted this on 02/01.2012. I like it and I knew I had a Lot of Yarn but was not ready to find all my Boxes of Yarn and organize. your was the very First Photos or Yarn organization I have seen. Now in Fall 2013 and even Now in Jan 2014 i am really getting Good at it. There is a Blog Knitting on Facebook and I have Shared This on that Wall just Now as we are all going thru a Discussion of and various Photos of Stash yarn organizing which I started . then I remembered the First time I saw anything was yours so I had Find yours on Knitting Daily and shared it on Facebook. . I want share My Photos here but How?

jyllykins wrote
on Apr 6, 2012 9:45 PM

WOW!  and I thought I had a lot of yarn.  People at church give me odds and ends, UFO's, and thread galore.  

Of course since you haven't shown me your fabric stash, I think I may have you beat.  90 percent of it I have purchased somewhere, stores, going out of business, yard sales, etc.  The rest was given to me.

I liked Lili's comment and plan to do the Excell sheet myself for both.  However I have to resurrect those bins already out in the garage first.  Good hunting for the next project.

judygold wrote
on Feb 26, 2012 2:26 PM

Oh my gosh.  I have laughed until I have almost cried, reading the comments.  My yarn stash is pretty minute at this point (1 drawer and 2 small plastic containers), but my fabric stash . . . that is truly SABLE!  I have my stash, my mother's stash and along the way, I have accumulated fabric from [1]  a wife of a hospice patient I took care of, [2] another hospice patient whose daughter in law was a coworker, [3] the grandmother of a coworker, and [4] the caregiver of another patient.  The conversations always start with, "You sew?"  and end with "Do you want this material?"  As with yarn, needles, hooks, books, etc., the answer always seems to be YES!  The garage has 7 Rubbermaid totes with various materials and the bedroom /sewing room has those plastic drawers all stacked under my cutting / craft table, as well as along the wall.  

Minnesota E wrote
on Feb 23, 2012 2:37 PM

You inspired me to conquer the "don't open the door" closet. Thank you! Bins are at hand.

Lili wrote
on Feb 9, 2012 8:12 AM

I used this method to sort my yarn into matching (they stack better!) bins years ago. While I was at it, I numbered the bins and made an Excel spreadsheet to list the yarn data and which bin it is in. Trust me, by next week you won't remember which bin even if today it seems you could never forget.

The database is easy to update when I acquire or use yarn. I can carry a printed copy in my knitting bag or on my laptop. When I need something for a project, I can search by color, or quantity, or yarn type, etc., and see immediately which bin I need to retrieve from the stack. Saves hours of searching! More time for knitting!

I'm doing the same thing for my fabric stash.

Evelyngrj wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 2:43 PM

I have boxes from IKEA on the top shelf of my closet.  I drape a loop of yarn out from between the box and the lid so I can easily see from the floor which box I want.  I have easily 40 of the larger boxes (they stack 3 high) and lots of the smaller boxes which contain my sock yarn paired up by self striping and solid toe/heel colors.  Apparently I should spend more time knitting and I'd need to spend less time organizing!!!!  One strand draped out is usually enough to trigger your memory.  

Harpanell wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 8:15 AM

Hello Sarah,

My name is Brenda Carter and I am actually in the process of organizing my stash but am in a bit of a dilemma. Most of my yarns (the ones I've made things with and those who have been given to me or I've gotten from yard sales) do not have the information sleeve anymore to help identify what type of yarn it is. Therefore, is there a book or app (downloadable for iPad etc...) to help identify yarn and the worst weight? Or How can I find out what type of yarn it is (i.e. acrylic, wool blend etc.). I'm familiar with some yarns like fingering, sports and lace but some I'm not sure about. Can you help me? Thank you.

Brenda C.

Marie@54 wrote
on Feb 7, 2012 9:35 AM

Hello  to everyone who is a yarn hoarder, knitting & crochet needle hoarder , project hoarder ( things that have been started and stored away and pulled out and started again and put away) HOARDER.  I just sold my house and am downsizing to a smaller home, now I am freaking out about where I am going to store my hoards of bins filled with yarn, and talk about crochet and knitting magazines from 1970's to current , I am stumped what to do with them and I can't part with any of it. I would like to make the basement of the house I am moving into look like a yarn store , you know, with the cubby holes on the walls with yarn. So I would have get a carpenter to build something on the wall.  I really cant stop visiting yarn stores, but my body goes all jelly like when I walk into the yarn shops, I am getting jelly like just typing about yarn shops.   Maria

deniseeld wrote
on Feb 6, 2012 5:23 PM

For my gargantuan stash, my husband built me a yarn store in an empty closet upstairs. I have now 20 cubicles and I've organized my yarn in the following way: by color - browns, blacks, tans and whites, then yellows and oranges, then pinks and reds, then greens and turquoises, then purples and blues. Each color combo has four cubbies. The bottom is heavyweight, then medium, then light, and then fingering. I have wools, alpacas and cottons all mixed, but it still works well for me. Not that I've reduced my stash, since I keep buying new yarn anyway! Denise Elder

Kathy@219 wrote
on Feb 6, 2012 3:20 PM

Forgot to mention that I recently cleaned out my stash - had bits & pieces that went to a friend who makes granny squares for nursing home blankets while much of the yarn in the "Donate" pile went to the women in a local prison who crochet. (not allowed to have knitting needles) They also received several years of plastic bread bags (cut into strips & crochet into rugs) as well as a start on recycling old t shirts into rag rugs. The end result ... More room for more yarn!

Kathy@219 wrote
on Feb 6, 2012 3:13 PM

Do you think there's an online form to will your yarn stash to whom you wish it to go? And if so, all of y'all be sure to put my name on your list! I did the clear box thing but ripping off the tops to get to the yarn was way too time consuming. Plus, I found myself just sitting & staring at all the pretty colors...but I digress. My dollar store has fabric "Boxes" that fold flat when you aren't using them but look cute on the shelf. Maybe one day I will get around to labeling them, but for now it's like Christmas morning every time I start taking them off the shelves in my Yarn room. (it's only 8x10 but you'd be surprised how much yarn can scrunch in that small space!)

lkmknits wrote
on Feb 5, 2012 10:42 PM

Love this thread--nothing is more fun than reading about how others accumulate and store yarn.  At this point, my yarn stash consists of my own addictive buying plus that which I've inherited from others who are, sadly, unable to knit anymore.  Funny though--no matter how much I have, there is always a project that needs an additional yarn or two to accompany what I use from my stash--and nothing I like better than going to my LYS to search out the perfect additions!  

As for the spreadsheet, maybe I need to do just one bin at a time.  It would be great to be able to search Ravelry for projects made from similar yarn.  I've been waiting for snow days so I feel housebound and need a project to keep me busy (I live in snowless--up to this point anyway--CT)--guess I'll just have to pick a day and get started!

gladness wrote
on Feb 5, 2012 5:29 PM

OMG - I thought my stash was large, but in reading peoples comments I am just a begginer....  My yarn stash, which pales in comparison, consists of mostly single balls of assorted fluffy yarns - not much in the way of multiple balls of the same colour/type.  I know this 'cause I spent a day going thru my 2 duvet bags and 4 tubs cataloging it all on excel.  If I could only come to doing the same thing with my quilt fabric stash.

Morgana199 wrote
on Feb 5, 2012 2:07 PM

Most important to Yarn Stash Acquisition is proper training of the husband. Mine knows that his refrain when I am buying yarn is "Your stash is so small" and carries the same husband points as "Your ass is so small". Enough said.

I keep my "assigned" projects (yarn bought for a specific pattern) in the extra large sliding zipper bags with the pattern and then in cute patterned bins. Unassigned  yarn is put in clear bins labeled according to grid location and season (summer knitting, winter knitting). A sample of each yarn is put onto a binder page and labeled according to location, yardage, content and brand, pattern suggestions and needle size/stitch count.

I do love a yarn sale.

And, Sarah, your stash is very small indeed.

Janice1066 wrote
on Feb 5, 2012 2:12 AM

My yarn is stored in our garage loft where it's not easy to get at, and because of that I'd just buy new yarn without even bothering to check my stash. So I took one skein from each batch, labeled them (name, # of skeins in the batch, colorway, gauge, needle size, etc.), and now keep those representative skeins in the house where I can get to them when considering yarn for a new project.  The labels are the kind used for price tags that have a piece of string attached which can easily be attached to the skeins.  And I'm also gradually listing my yarn on my Ravelry page which I highly recommend.  Will I use up my stash in my lifetime?  I doubt it.  And I'm headed to Stitches West in a few weeks where I am quite certain that I'll buy yet more yarn.  My husband says the yarn is our retirement - we'll just sell it as we need cash.  I now consider my luscious yarn to be low-maintenance pets.  No feeding, walking, or litter needed, and they always want to be held and petted.

MaryS@196 wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 10:52 PM

I am a firm believer in SABLE:

S tash

A ccumulation

B eyond

L ife

E xpectancy!

That applies to books as well as yarn.  I live in a very small house, and my basement is stuffed.  I have 4 bookcases filled, but can't bear to part with any of my treasures.

I store my yarn in clear bins.  Clear bins are slightly more expensive, but I can see what is inside without opening them.  Renting a storage locker is next -- for everything EXCEPT my yarn.  That stays here where I can enjoy it!!!

nlset wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:26 PM

I also store my stash in bins.  I also use reuse the plastic  zipper bags that sheets and linen come in for storage.  I try to group the yarn with the pattern I plan to use.  One of the main reasons I continue to buy yarn is because I don't have enough for the new project.  When storing wool yarn I use cedar blocks ( I guess you could use mothballs) to reduce insects.  I store  yarn for my knitting machine and fiber for my  spinning wheel.   I plan to use all of my stash in this life time becauseI knitting will keep me active and young..

Karen Mihalj wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:21 PM

"stash acquisition beyond life expectancy"??  Ha!  I thought it was "she with the most stash, WINS!"  Hahaha!

Thanks for the Project Holder idea.


Ashland, OR

Karen Mihalj wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:16 PM

I am dying laughing!  I can't wait to show my husband your stash pictures.  I don't looks so bad now!!!


Ashland, Oregon

nlset wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:13 PM

I also have my yarn stash in plastic bins.  I try to group my yarn also according to the project. I find one one of the main reason I continue buying more yarn is I don't have enough yarn for the selected project. I save  linen plastic zipper bags  to store yarn with the associated pattern. When I look at my stash at least I know why I bought the yarn in first place.   Loose wool yarn,  I store with cedar blocks(I guess you could use mothballs) to reduce the possiblity of  insects.

lkmknits wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 7:50 PM

I've 'binned' my stash (which is also SABLE), but think I need to rearrange things.  Right now it is arranged according to colors--I think I want to try by weight instead, with specific projects put together in bags.  How did any of you get your stashes onto a spreadsheet?  Didn't it take ages to do?  I realize that spending time with your stash is part of the fun, but don't know if I want to actually take the time away from knitting to do that much work.

FraniM wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 5:28 PM

Had to laugh looking at your bins.  We built what the workers called the "Garage Majal"--a two story garage.  The bottom is a conventional garage but the second story--24x32 feet--aha--2/3 of it is my studio.  I now have 31 LABELED 50 quart bins of yarn.  Wool, mohair, acrylic, specialty, cotton and "donation" (stuff people gave me for various reasons).  I had fun with the labels, too--puffy letters in a kind of grayish brown for the wool, bright primary block letters for the acrylic, various fonts in different colors for the specialty and so on.  I have another bin filled with needles, pompom makers, etc, etc.  Do you have any idea how much yarn 31- 50quart bins is?  And that's not all of my yarn.  I also have a 5 shelf 36" wide book case filled with knitting books (I'm 65 and my first books were the Barbara Walker first two stitch collections, the first of which I bought when it came out) and it doesn't hold everything by any means.  Plus I have more yarn in the house which I kinda sorta haven't mentioned to my husband because I really don't want to have to move it out just yet (for obvious reasons) PLUS there's my knitting machines and KM yarn stash.  I've been "collecting" for 45 years.  I haven't calculated the SABLE but at 65.............

HistoryDoc wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 4:35 PM

I guess my stash story is a little different--but still similar to all knitting "nuts."  A month ago my husband lost a 3 year battle against cancer.  I think I will be trying to recover for a long time, and at this point knitting is really saving my sanity.  Because we were living in a very rural area on a 3 acre farm which we could no longer maintain,  and because I have trouble driving because of coronary problems, we had bought a small house "in town" to make getting to treatments easier.  He did not live to see all of the decorations and arrangements--but he was very firm about one thing: I was going to have a yarn room.  A whole room!  Full of yarn!  Organized for yarn!  Ready for the rocker and knitting!  So now I have one whole wall filled with six of those bookcases that consist of squares and I am about to fill all of those squares with my yarn.  And I have more of the squares to put on another wall and fill with more of my yarn. And I have four ottomans with removable tops filled with my yarn.  Not to mention two 3-drawer wicker chests full of yarn.  So far I have remained firm about not utilizing the oven in the new stove for new yarn, but I realize that it may come to that at some point.  When I finally get all the other stuff moved in (yarn comes first, naturally!) I will be able to sit amidst all my wonderful yarn in that room and I know I will feel his presence and be comforted.  Isn't yarn wonderful?

on Feb 4, 2012 1:57 PM

very nice ti read about and see your stash. good to know I am not the only one. if it makes anyone feel better or intimitated, I am the tops in stashing!. I have rented a storage space for $300 a month as I do not have any more room in my house. At least more than half the storage space is yarn and the other half being Christmas stuff brand new directly from Walmart into storage. After Christmas sales and Michaels have good ones in January.Finally I tried to organize some and I filled one BIG Plastic size biggest I could find in Walmart, filled only with Simply so Soft Yarn. I have whole bunch of cotton Yarn and One Pounders Red Heart etc. So Much more new Yarns and mention not cashmere as well. Last year at the Stitches knitting convention on the last day discounts I bought so much they gave me in Large transparent white garbage bag and i carried it out to my car  on my shoulder like Santa Claus! I have Pure wool Yarn from 20 yrs ago waiting to be opened. I like the idea of organizing like yours. I will post my pix soon. It helps to know I am not the only one. I have Coffee Mug that says so much Yarn and so little time. Mention not 6 bookshekves of all my knitting books hard Bound Like Kaffe fassett and Elizabeth Zimmerman, all Books of Barabara Walker, Nicky Epstein  and many more and of course Years of McCalls, Cross Stitch. Crochet, Cast On by Knitting Guild of America, Vogue and of Course Knitters from beginning to (105?) and all the Leisure Arts Pamphlets, Work Basket etc. I like sitting in my knitting room and spend an afternoon just going thru my books and wow the Lace shawls book and the fine Yarn and some Mohair kits waiting to be started. My god The Knitting Convention is in a few weeks with hundreds of Yarn Vendors waiting for me. Here I go again.Yes I also feel good surrounded by my wall of Tea cups. wall Knitting Books and Magazines and Boxes of Yarn. taht is my safety NEST!

spankyvb wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 11:40 AM

This is nothing. Try 5 footlockers, 3 trunks, and 4 of rubbermaid largest bins!!! I have wools from my Grandmother in PA and Germany, my Mother's stash and then my collection. Two 6 foot bookshelves of patterns and books from 4 generations. Then there's the embroidery and crochet stashes. Baskets of projects started...It never ends because the fiber people keep coming up with new exquisit yarns and colors, not to mention talented knitters, who share their wonderful designs. So we poor lovers of knitting and crochet haven't got a chance. Isn't it fun...

on Feb 4, 2012 11:33 AM

The trip to IKEA is well worth the effort. I organized my yarn using an IKEA wire drawer system a few years ago; the system was in the laundry section as I recall. Anyway, the shallow, wire basket drawers fit into stackable storage units that fit into a rather small closet in my knitting room. Results: visible stash, easily accessible, flexible (can add more units), and portable (just add casters). I place the yarn in zip-lock bags for protection from moths.

dshostak wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 11:23 AM

I did not receive this post in my Inbox.

Not sure why. It seems I miss one or two a week.

How can we fix this?



dialfred wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 11:20 AM

Great idea for organizing. I started out putting all my wool into the cedar chest. I now have 5 cedar chests & several dresser drawers full, plus a wicker hamper.  ummm...  I think there's an under the bed bin, too, somewhere.   I've taken to selling off some when I know I'll never knit it.  Then it goes into someone else's stash. BTW, can I interest you in a some of eyelash & ladder yarn?

Pat@42 wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 10:33 AM

there are a couple of apps for the ipad that will allow you to enter you stash items and keep a tally. i have the app but haven't done the entry yet!!

on Feb 4, 2012 10:31 AM

I'm in the process of re: re: organizing my stash.  I'm finishing up some unfinished projects which makes me feel really productive (till I remember that I've only had this newly finished project on my needles for 5 years or whatever).  I just love going through my yarn and patterns and being newly inspired to make whatever project I had thought I wanted to make at the time.  Surely after all this time I can part with this magazine or yarn that I haven't used, most of the time it returns to the library of special things I love.  I've put some of it on Ravelry but it takes time to do it no matter how it's logged.  I really do have a big stash.  I've been passing some  things on to my beginning students which is almost as good as making it myself.

Leslie Sand wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 10:17 AM

Put your stash on Ravelry!  It not only keeps track of what I have, but also can suggest patterns that others have used for the same yarn, or you can search by characteristics of the yarn (ie, worsted wool, etc) to get ideas of how to use it.  I can look at my stash on Ravelry and get inspired way easier than by looking at a spreadsheet :)  You can also list your pattern/book library there,and it tells you what patterns you already's a miracle.

pat p. wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 10:10 AM

Oh my dear,dear misinformed friends-there is positively no such thing as "stash acquisition beyond life expectancy". This is a vile phrase from the pits of hell itself and the words should be banished and the thought perished!!  Not a wise woman among us knows when our plys unravel and what with the advances in science and medicine-well- we could just go on and on. Besides, I have always believed in the concept of "she who dies with the most toys WINS!!!"  My stash fort always gives me a deep sense of calm,security and well-being that most certainly does my heart and mental health a world of good. How lucky you are to have not 1 but 2 empty bins to fill. What a wonderful thing to look forward to!! I also sew,quilt and do needlework amongst other things so my stash is quite diversified and truly vast. I like to think of my fort as a castle with a village annex. I think we are all truly blessed to have such plenty!     We Stash- Therefore We Am!!!  Happy hoarding to all!!!!

dmeyers863 wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 10:00 AM

Thank you all for this inspiration.

I have yarn all over the house.  Some in cabinet in the family room, some in basket in living room, a lot in covered storage boxes in home office/workroom, some more in guest bedroom.  (By the way - these last two rooms are what happens when the kids leave and there's extra space to just keep more stuff.)  Yarn and yarn related projects are really out of control and I am going TODAY to get plastic totes and start organizing!

Also like the 'projects ready to go' solution.  These too are all over the house.  I keep them in the zippered bags that sheets and other linens come in.  But, what's where is a mystery.

I use a program called Evernote that keeps my work, home and other projects organized.  It syncs to my I-phone app.  This is where I'll keep my yarn file once it's organized.  The program allows you to take pictures and store them along with text info and contents are searchable.

Wish me luck.

P.S.  Here's a link to Evernote -

granne5 wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 10:00 AM

I have a stash at least that big ~

I see labels on the tubs ~ a must in organizing.  Clear plastic is so much better, also stack within so you can see at least one skein of each color/type. (Crowd the multiples to the middle & your basic is always visible)  I like the idea of an additional spreadsheet to keep updated.  It's also an easy way to paste on the outside the bin contents.  

For my small skeins such as cashmere, eyelash, etc. I have clear shoeboxes that fit on a closet shelf.  

JenLevine wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:53 AM

No matter how much I knit, my stash level never seems to recede.  I congratulate you on verbalizing the goal of a 2-bin stash reduction.  Me... well I will reframe this yarn as porn obsession knowing that at any moment someone can ask me to whip up a stuffed animal or hat over the weekend and I have that Mary Poppins moment where I pull out just the right yarn.

JenLevine wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:53 AM

No matter how much I knit, my stash level never seems to recede.  I congratulate you on verbalizing the goal of a 2-bin stash reduction.  Me... well I will reframe this yarn as porn obsession knowing that at any moment someone can ask me to whip up a stuffed animal or hat over the weekend and I have that Mary Poppins moment where I pull out just the right yarn.

JenLevine wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:53 AM

No matter how much I knit, my stash level never seems to recede.  I congratulate you on verbalizing the goal of a 2-bin stash reduction.  Me... well I will reframe this yarn as porn obsession knowing that at any moment someone can ask me to whip up a stuffed animal or hat over the weekend and I have that Mary Poppins moment where I pull out just the right yarn.

chels_athel wrote
on Feb 4, 2012 9:17 AM

I did the sort and bin idea several years ago.  I have found an other idea to be really useful if you have a stash anywhere near as large as mine, which is totally wonderful or out of control, which ever your choose to label it.  In addidtion to the sorting I also make a database on my computer of each yarn complete with brand name, color, amount, color number and a discription color or type of the yarn.  These of course were under different heading such as Baby, Sock, Worsted, etc.   I can check in a minute to see if I have something I can/want to use without having to disturb my bins.   I also did this with my  hefty stash of fabric for all of you fabricaholics.  The one with the most yarn or fabaric wins!  RIGHT?

on Feb 4, 2012 8:55 AM

Thank you so much for posting this.  I thought a had a huge stash, thanks to all of you, I see my stash is small.  Yipee, I am heading for the yarn shop today to buy more.  :)

annekaelber wrote
on Feb 2, 2012 7:36 PM

Do you have access to an IKEA near you? If so, they have the EKBY RISET bracket for sloping walls, which will make it so you can put a (level) shelf on those sloping, irregular walls -- instantly, more storage!

I just saw this in their 2012 catalog. Believe me -- for yarn storage ideas, a trip to IKEA is worthwhile! We used to drive the 4-5 hours to get to the one in Atlanta, when we lived in Bluffton, SC. Now, we're back in Arizona and the Tempe, AZ location is mere minutes away!


S.C@2 wrote
on Feb 2, 2012 1:43 PM

It is certainly a good idea to have your storage containers on-site & available. I've been known to leave the house in order to buy more/better sizes & since I have to drive past 2 yarn shops, it's necessary to make a stop. Particularly since all that yarn on the floor has reminded me that I don't have quite what I need for another upcoming project. Oh well!

on Feb 2, 2012 9:32 AM

So Kathleen .   .   . guess whose house is going to get robbed this weekend ?  LOL  We're all jealous !

FGRhodes wrote
on Feb 2, 2012 9:07 AM

This woman is a piker!  My stash is about four times as large as hers.  I store it in smaller clear plastic file boxes with locking lids which I have bought slowly but surely over the years.  I have a large number affixed to each box which matches the information on an Excel spread sheet where I keep all sorts of information, e.g., Manufacturer's name, name of yarn, weight of yarn, colour of yarn, type of yarn (wool, wool blend, acrylic, et cetera) and number of skeins.  I also have a large 3-ring binder with plastic page protectors in which I keep numbered index cards (three per page) with a swatch of about six inches of each yarn in each box so that I can flip through the pages for inspiration.  As I use a skein, I adjust the skein count in the Excel spreadsheet.

The boxes are piled six high in numerical order all around the edges of my work room (good insulation!) for easy access.  As I find new yarn that I cannot live without, I catalogue and store it too.  About once a year, I go in, shift yarns around, and re-stock boxes that have developed new empty spaces (because the yarn was used in a project, of course)..  With a large family (I knit for about 35 people each year) and a fair amount of charity knitting, I find that the stash is constantly changing.

No one has ever given me guff about the size of my stash, because I am so amazingly efficient, I only inspire awe!  :-)

However, if the truth were to be known, every now and again, I do think that I have reached the "Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy" point -- with a vengeance!

on Feb 1, 2012 5:21 PM

Thanks for the stash article. After showing your  stash photo to  my husband, his comment, " you have more than that". I was laughing when I read him you're comment on maybe refilling the two empty bins. He didn't see the humor.  They just don't get it! What I have done is go through all my yarn & inventory the full skeins on my IPad, putting the price I paid, when available & what they would cost now. I explained to my husband that this yarn is valuable, if my yarn outlives me, which we all know it will,  he now knows not to just toss it.

Also by doing this, my yarns are all organized, at least till the next time!


annecloward wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 1:21 PM

When organizing my stash last year, I went a step further. I created an Excel spreadsheet and listed all of my yarn (numbered and in ziplock bags) with a brief description. I also listed the bin number for each bag. I can easily find any of my yarn now. It also helped me realize how much yarn I already had, and has saved me hundreds of dollars. Before I head to the yarn store, I check my stash and spreadsheet.

Carol Tanzer wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 11:34 AM

This is a really great post! Thank you for sharing this Kathleen. We've all been here and it's so inspiring and motivating to see how everyone else organizes stash. I'm sure even the comments to this will contribute new ideas and suggestions: It is a GREAT Thread!! I always use transparent  tubs and use a little smaller size so I don't have to dig down into the bottom plus I like boxes that are shelf-stackable. Looking forward to reading all the comments--hope you get lots!

bessT wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 11:21 AM

I like the see-thru storage a lot! I use giant zip-lock bags - and I have a binder for pictures of FO's. Every once in a while it is good to do some pruning. The charity idea is excellent.

Jan Ball wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 10:58 AM

Great motivational blog.  I like the shoe cubby and hanging bag idea, nice to see some of the luscious yarn instead of hiding it away.  I try to clean out my stash once a year.  Our local LYS has an annual 'turn in your stash' day and they give you a store credit.  I think it is $1 for 300grams (partial wound up balls as well).  The yarn goes to charity knitters and you get to purchase some new stuff. Yeah!

ruzzzzz wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 10:39 AM

And here I thought my stash was out of control. As it turns out, I need to go yarn shopping!

Mary PatM wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 10:20 AM

I loved reading this posting.  I would need a ballroom to sort in and the categories would need to be named for places in the universe!!  But isn't it exciting to get reacquainted with all those possibilities again......

Janknit wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 9:58 AM

A few years ago I rearranged my stash by color according to advice in Sally Mellville's book Styles, and it has been the best yarn organizing tip I ever got.  I put it in clear 15 qt stackable bins that sit two bins high on shelves.  Everything is easy to find and it is great for doing colorwork.  You know you want a blue, and all the blue is in the same place.  Larger amounts of the same yarn, like for sweaters, I keep separate in those zipper bags that sheets come in.  They can go on shelves or in big baskets.

La-Piccola wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 9:41 AM

I can only hope that my stash grows to be as large as your stash of yarn! My stash fills only 2 flat storage bins that fit under my bed.  However, I would love to have a sea of yarn someday ha ha ha. It's probably not in my nature since I have been knitting for 30 years and my stash hasn't grown beyond the bins. Happy knitting!

flhudnut wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 9:10 AM

I enjoyed reading this but bins are not the way to go in a humid climate like Florida.  I had good luck buying the vertical furniture shoe cubbies that stores like Target sell.  It organized my craft room & I filled the divided spaces by yarn color.  The room is very bright and inviting and a quick spin around lets you see what you have.  If you are concerned about dust or cats (!) you can tack a sheet to the upper edge and leave it to cover the yarn until you are ready to 'shop' for your next project.

on Feb 1, 2012 8:13 AM

I spent a weekend doing this several years ago.  Before putting the yarn in the bins, I photographed each yarn and then used Ravelry to catalog my stash--photo, meters/gram, color, silk/angora, etc, number of skeins, etc.   Also I numbered the bins and included the bin number in my notes.  If I had a pattern in mind for the yarn, I also included that in my notes.  Now, whenever I buy yarn, first stop is to snap a photo with my iPhone and add post it to my stash on Ravelry.

ilovesocks wrote
on Feb 1, 2012 8:13 AM

Holy cow what a stash!  (drooool!)  I've been trying to knit through my stash and got it down to 2 craft bag sized, but now I wish I had more yarns to choose from.