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How to Get Your Yarn Stash Under Control

Is your yarn stash a disaster? Read on for a vast assortment of ideas and tips for yarn storage and organization

Do you possess a large yarn stash?

If so, you’re not alone.

Many knitters find themselves with large yarn stashes. This tends to come about for at least one of the following reasons:

  • We just love yarn and can’t resist a good sale 🙋‍♀️
  • We tend to overbuy for projects to make sure we have enough 🙋‍♀️
  • When people (especially former yarncrafters) hear we’re knitters, they think, “AH, now I have someone to give all my excess yarn to!” 🙋‍♀️

The Trouble with a Large Yarn Stash

While one can never truly have too much of that wonderful thing known as yarn, we certainly can find it a problem when it comes to keeping it organized and stored neatly. This is especially true if we don’t live in a large home or have our own craft rooms.

I personally don’t have a craft room per se, but I am fortunate enough to have been able to claim a small walk-in closet as my own home office. This office came with built-in shelves, which meant I had a ready space in which to store my yarn.

yarn organization (or lack thereof...)

However, I am the first to admit that even this has not been the perfect system! Allow me to demonstrate.

Once upon a time, this was (a part of)my yarn stash. As you can see, it was VERY loosely organized, and frankly, it was a mess.

Because it was such a mess, I had a hard time finding the yarn I wanted or needed. It was sort of organized by fiber, sort of organized by weight, sort of organized by type… you get the idea.

As a result, all those “sort-of”s meant that really wasn’t at all organized.

Yes… it’s not perfectly neat. But I can find whatever I need whenever I need it, which is a HUGE improvement!

It took me some time to organize my yarn to the point where it looked much nicer and was easier to track down the yarn I needed, but the effort was worth it!

Below are some basic steps I followed to get this nonsense under control.

Some Basic Steps to Yarn Organization

1. If you have a large yarn stash, recognize that organizing is going to take some time.

Some of us may be able to tackle it all in one day (even if it may take the entire day!). Others of us may need more time, especially if we don’t have an entire day to devote to the task.

2. Do some pre-planning first.

a) Decide where you are going to keep your yarn, and if you need multiple locations. Remember, yarn doesn’t have to be all in one place; after all, some of us simply don’t have one single space large enough to house our entire stash.

b) You’ll also want to decide what you will keep your yarn in, even if temporarily. For instance, you may want to eventually house your yarn in large, clear plastic bins, but you may not have the money to purchase said bins just now.

An excellent solution is to grab boxes from a liquor store and use these to temporarily hold your yarn. Liquor stores nearly always have more boxes than they can handle. So if you request boxes, they will probably offer you far more than you need!

c) You’ll also want to decide how to organize your yarn. Do you want to organize it by color, weight, fiber, type of project, or some other way? If possible, you might even want to store it one way, then in another way within that category.

3. Take one group of yarn at a time and sort it.

If you need a temporary way to keep your yarn sorted, you could use plain plastic grocery bags.

As you sort the yarn by the category you’ve chosen to organize by, be sure to consider whether certain yarns are worth keeping. I think it’s safe to say we all have yarns in our stash that we can’t imagine ever using.

And if so, why hang onto it?

You can donate yarn to so many places – knitting charities, nursing homes, schools, churches, children’s organizations, and the like. Just be sure before you donate that you ask the organization in question if they would like to receive your yarn!

Need some help donating your yarn? Take a look at this post!

4. Wind “messy” yarn.

I’m sure you know what I mean, especially if you take a good look at that photo of my stash above! Some yarn is just falling all over the place. Winding it will help keep your stash so much neater!

If you don’t have a ball winder (I don’t, though it’s on my wish list!), you can wind your yarn by hand. You can even make center-pull cakes!

Center-pull cakes allow you to knit two items at once or hold yarn double. They also tend to sit in place better without rolling about. Here is a great tutorial for hand-winding a center-pull ball.

These are some basic preliminary steps. But there is so much more that can be said — and has been said! — about yarn storage and organization.

For more great ideas, read on!

More Help with Yarn Storage and Organization

21 Tips for Yarn Storage
At sea on how to best store yarn inexpensively? Wondering what to do with your equally vast quantity of needles? This article should help you tremendously.

Too Much Yarn, Not Enough Space? Let’s Get You Organized!
This Lion Brand blog post is pretty self-explanatory; it’s a great bit of help for someone without much space in which to store their yarn.

Small Space Yarn Storage
This is a collection of photos of the many creative ways in which people without much space have stored their yarn. Use this as inspiration!

12 Tips on How to Organize Your Yarn Stash
Here’s a great step-by-step process in yarn organization.

31 Days to Organize Your Knitting & Crochet
I’ve saved the deep stuff for last! If you want to launch a full-scale assault, this WEBS blog series is it. It’s a series of 31 posts to help you dig in and get your knitting supplies as well as your entire knitting process organized.

If you are in truly desperate need of help without any idea where to begin, this series is for you!

Yes, you can get your yarn stash under control. Use these tips, and you can and will get a handle on your yarn storage and organization!

Yarn storage & organization

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  1. Merry Christmas to you!! This newsletter is so PERFECT for many of us–including ME!! With little storage room, I am fairly organized–in that, I have large yarn containers under our bed, a large utility basket in the closet, and a large plastic container on a shelf marked, “yarn for small projects.” such as booties, knit flowers, and to stripe baby hats. I can’t even begin to imagine how wonderful it must be to enjoy a craft room!! However, my “system” seems to work o-kay. Thanks, as always, for making us feel we aren’t alone with knitting questions or advice. May 2021 bring you much happiness, love, peace and, of course, good health. Take care. Sandra