Something we hear almost every day at the shop is, "I already have too much yarn!" I can completely relate to that sentiment. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how much yarn I have in my stash. Recently though I've made some strides in reducing my stash. I thought I'd share what I did to reduce and organize my stash, so that it's more manageable and useable.

mailbox full of yarn

There are a couple of ways to do this and none of them are painless but in the long run you will be happy you did it. I have to admit that the best way is to use a technique that I learned recently from the book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. You'll need to give yourself a big chunk of time - like half a day - to pull out all of your yarn stash. I mean all of it. Pick a room in which to work, either you craft room, if you're lucky enough to have one, or your bedroom or living room. Lay out your stash where you can see all of it. Then you are going to pick up one skein of yarn of each kind and ask yourself one question, "Does this spark joy in me?" That's the only question you need to ask. If the answer is, "yes!" then you'll lay that skein aside (along with all that you have of that exact yarn). If the answer is, "hmm, I don't know. . ."  or "no, definitely not." you're going to get rid of that skein. Just put it in a give-away pile for now. (We're going to talk about this pile later).

 

crate of Casablanca

I've found that this process is challenging at first but once you've picked up several skeins and felt that decisive, "Yes!" it get's easier. The trick here is that you can't think to yourself, "Oh wasn't I going to make wash cloths for so-and-so with this yarn?" You really just ask yourself the one question, "Does this spark joy?" Once you have your joyful pile and your give away pile things will be even clearer. You'll look at that joyful pile and it will make you feel happy and the other pile will feel heavy and lifeless.

I know it's going to be painful to look at the unjoyful pile. I understand. I've been there but the thing is that you've been on a journey with your knitting and/or crocheting. When we start out as new knitters or crocheters we have no idea what we're doing when we buy yarn. We tend to impulse buy or buy because the yarn is on sale but often we don't buy enough or we don't have a project in mind. It's time to admit to ourselves that we have yarn in our stash that we're never going to use. And the thing is, you learned something from buying that yarn, so in a way, it's already served it's purpose.

creme de la creme yarn

Now comes the fun part! You're going to sort and store your yarn. Personally I feel that if you can have your yarn somewhere you can see it, you'll get to enjoy it even more but I also know that isn't always practical. It needs to be protected from moths and sunlight and dust, so however you store your yarn is up to you but I would like to suggest that you sort your yarns by weight. I put all of my fingering weight or sock weight yarns together and all of my worsted weight yarns together, etc. That is what works best for me because when I go to make something I am usually starting with a pattern in mind and patterns usually call for a specific weight yarn.

Once you've stored the yarn that you're keeping, it's time to deal with the yarn that you're giving away. There are a couple of options here. You can always donate some yarn to a thrift store that raises money for a charity that you like. Here in Eureka we have thrift stores that raise money for the American Cancer Society, animal shelters and homeless shelters. We also have an organization in a neighboring town that uses donated materials for educational classes for the community. You might find after school programs who would be happy to have donated yarn for their arts and crafts classes. The key is to find a place to donate your yarn that you can feel good about.

If you feel like you just can't donate all of your give away pile, you could try to sell some of it online but this is labor intensive and time consuming and if you're like me, you'll never get around to it and the yarn you intend to sell will just end up migrating back into your stash.

Once you've gotten rid of the give away pile, go back to your stash and pick one yarn that sparks that joy in you and pick a project to start with it. This is the best part - starting a new project with a yarn that you love. If you don't have a project in mind, check out my Blog post - Ravelry Tips Part 1 for an idea of how to find the perfect project for your yarn.

After I cleaned out my stash I started the Lintilla shawl with a lovely skein of purple fingering weight yarn that's been in my stash for a couple of years.

Lintilla by Martina Behm

I'm having so much fun knitting this shawl and I love getting to use a beautiful skein of yarn from my stash. You can purchase the Lintilla shawl from Ravelry or come in to yarn and buy it through our in-store Ravelry pattern sales.

I hope you'll find these ideas help you enjoy and use your stash.

wall of Yarn

And you won't feel like you have as much yarn in your stash as we have on the wall of yarn at Yarn!