How to Trim Your Yarn Stash by Donating It

Is it time to consider donating your yarn? Why that can be hard — and how to do it, once you’re ready

Donating your yarn

Please note: I’ve recently added two more Ravelry groups to the “When You’re Ready to Donate” section in the last third of this post. Be sure to check those out, if you’re looking for additional avenues for yarn donation!

When I first sat down to write this article a few years ago, it hit me that I had never actually donated yarn to anyone.

(Since then, that has changed… but I will admit that I still haven’t donated much of my yarn.)

In the past, when I have asked readers about their greatest knitting struggle, I saw many mention their gi-hug-ic yarn stashes. And, I often saw a variation of this sentiment: “I know I should probably give away some of my yarn, but it would break my heart.”

At first I thought, “Well that seems like an overreaction.” And then I looked at myself and thought, “Oh, yeah? Well I don’t see you donating your yarn, you hoarder!”

Ouch.

So, although I had first attempted to read other people’s minds and wonder why they might not want to part with their yarn, I thought, “Perhaps I ought to look at myself and ask this question!”

Why I Struggle to Donate Yarn

I really wanted to write a list here. Lists seem so logical. So organized. So precise.

But to create a list, one needs multiple steps or ideas or thoughts. And the problem is, I have only one real reason I struggle to donate yarn.

I MIGHT NEED IT SOMEDAY.

Ugh. Isn’t that depressing? I wanted to have deep, psychologically heavy reasons why I’ve never parted with yarn once I’ve obtained it somehow. But nope. There’s my single, solitary reason!

Here’s how I tend to look at my yarn stash:

  • I see the insane amount of acrylic yarn I own and think, “I could make SO MANY blankets or scarves or hats or toys with these!!!”
  • I look at my sock yarn and dream of knitting lots of gorgeous pairs of socks and some lovely shawls.
  • I gaze lovingly at my DK to worsted weight wool yarn and think, “these could make the most beautiful hats and gloves.”
  • I check out my novelty yarn and think “stuffed animals! Cell phone purses! Cute stuff!”
  • I peer at the silly amount of cotton yarn I own and think “dishcloths! Washcloths! Hand towels! WEDDING GIFTS.”

Y’all, I’m hopeless.

And honestly? I’m pretty sure I’ve already reached SABLE (if you’re not familiar with this term, it’s an acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy).

No, my yarn stash doesn’t fill a room or anything like that. But I have a lot of yarn and, while I’m a reasonably fast knitter, I don’t think I’m going to put a dent into this stash until I’ve retired.

In fact, I might not feel the need to start donating my yarn until I am retired.

(Assuming I ever retire. But seeing as how I have the best job in the world, will I? Um… 👀)

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When You’re Ready to Donate

So suppose you’re not me (thank God) and you’re ready to start donating your yarn. I frequently hear from folks who want to unload yarn, wondering where are the best places to donate.

Here are some great ideas for places that you may find eager to take your yarn:

  1. Elementary schools. Many elementary schools use yarn for arts and crafts projects.
  2. Assisted living facilities. Many residents at assisted living facilities enjoy knitting and crochet, as well as other arts and crafts activities.
  3. Churches. Not only do many churches have knitting groups, but often church Sunday school classes for children use yarn for arts and crafts projects.
  4. Thrift/second-hand stores. This is an often overlooked place to donate yarn. I’ve seen (and purchased) yarn at thrift stores myself, and I’ve heard stories (and photos of finds!) from others who have found yarn here.
  5. Freecycle. This website offers a network of groups all over the world that allow you to post items you’d like to give away and items you need and would rather not pay for. This is a terrific way to avoid paying postage and find someone who could really use your yarn.
  6. Ravelry groups. There are three fantastic groups on Ravelry where you can unload excess yarn:
    • ISO and Destash of Yarn–for people living in the United States
    • Destash International–for people living outside the United States
    • Yarncycle–a group where members can unload yarn (and/or pick up free yarn), based upon the principles of Freecycle
    • In addition, the Charity Knitting forum now offers an “Items to Donate/Requesting Items” thread, where members can offer their extra yarn or supplies to anyone knitting for charity who needs it.

Note that both Ravelry groups have additional links to other Ravelry groups that also allow for exchanges of yarn and/or supplies.

Let’s hear from you now: do you struggle with letting go of yarn? If so, why? And do you have additional ideas for places and ways for donating your yarn?

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58 Comments

  1. I have a load of wool bags and boxes of it it is to much for me I would love to donate it I don’t know where to take it to. I live in Belfast

  2. Hi, my mom just passed away. She has lots of yarn.
    She was 98 yrs old and for many years she make many things with plastic canvas.
    My daughter was a teacher and my mom would make things for the kids in class.
    She would make about 20 different things for the 20 kids in class for 17 yrs!
    She made pencil toppers for many holidays, small baskets for Easter, Halloween, etc.
    She made the cuties crayon boxes. That was always a hit!
    Over the years we all have Kleenex boxes, toilet tissue boxes…you get the idea.
    Anyway, we have lots and lots of yarn and plastic canvas.
    I’m looking for a place that would like to have this yarn.

    1. Hello Peggy, I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to respond — I didn’t see your comment until now. The article you’ve posted your comment to has several suggestions for places in your area that may appreciate your yarn. I would suggest you try contacting those places first. My condolences on the loss of your mother.

  3. Hi. I have 3 large bags of skins of yarn with no place to keep them anymore 😥 please tell me who would b interested. Beautiful yarn! I live on staten Island, NY

    1. Hi Michele! Can you give me a general idea of where you live? I have readers from all over the world, so if you give me a basic idea of where you live, I can help you find a charity relatively near you. 🙂

  4. I came into possession of a TON of yarn & fabrics & have no use for these (still in packaging) items. Many of the items are from Northern Italy, in the Lake Como region.
    What is the best outlet if I am looking to donate or sell this material?

    1. I don’t know what would be a good alternative for you, if the ones recommended in this article won’t work for you. If you haven’t contacted any of the sources recommended here, try calling or emailing and asking if they would like any of your yarn and fabrics; if they’re not interested, they might know of someone who is. Good luck!

  5. I am in San Jose,CA and going through my mom’s belongings who recently passed and I have quite a bit of yarn and yardage I am trying to find a home for. She loved to help those in need and I know she would like to help. I am looking for some place local to drop off other than thrift store. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. Have a blessed day.

    1. In the post above, there are several other possible locations listed for local places where you might be able to drop off your yarn: churches, assisted living facilities, and schools (especially elementary schools, but middle and high schools could be worth checking into as well–some of these have knitting clubs that could use the yarn.) Hope this helps!

  6. Hello, with this pandemic and people loosing there jobs and homes there are many homeless people. One day I was out going to thrift stores with a friend of mine. In one day I saw at least 10 homeless people. At that moment I decided I was going to make care packages for the homeless. In these care packages I put in items that i have made. i make: face masks, hats, gloves, scarfs, wash clothes, blankets. I have used up all my yarn and am needing help to get more yarn. I’m hopeing that some kind person or people would help out and donate yarn. Any amount would be so great. Thank you in advanced

  7. My issue is that I have some wools or other animal fibers that most charity knitting/crochet don’t really want. Any good resources?

    1. Hi Nancy! I would suggest you offer your animal fibers to thrift stores. That would be a great way for them to get into the hands of people who would appreciate them!

  8. I can’t thank you enough for this article. I moved recently and was absolutely appalled at how many boxes ended up filled with yarn. Definitely going to sort through and donate some to folks who can put it to better use than sitting in a packing box in my closet. Thanks again.

    1. Hello Peggy,

      My name I Alessandra Vaughn. I am crocheting hats, scarfs, gloves, blankets, scrubbies for the homeless. I put all this into the care packages I make for the homeless. I have been doing this since this past November. I have made 82 care packages with all the things i mentioned above in them. I am looking to find yarn that can be donated to me. Any amount of yarn would be so very helpful. Thank you in advanced

    2. Hello Peggy,
      I need yarns to work items for children in need (shawls, scarves, hats, mittens and small blankets) to distribute in countryside poor schools, hospitals for cancer and homeless kids living in streets. I can’t afford buying any longer as I used to do before due to my current financial situation as I lost my job in Covid times. Thx

  9. My wife started knitting a blanket for my newest granddaughter early this year.
    She suffered a stroke in March. It does not look like she will be her old self. She has accumulated quite a bit of yarn. I would like to donate the excess in exchange for completing the blanket or pay if necessary. I thought it would be nice if she received her blanket before she turned 1.

    1. I am very sorry to hear about your wife, Greg. I am going to email you to find out some more about you and see how I might be able to help.

    2. I am so sorry that your wife had a stroke. I am messaging you because i think I can possibly help and finish the blanket your wife was making. please let me know

      1. Alexandra, I appreciate your help. What would you need from me? Besides instructions. yarn, current incomplete project. I have to find out from you if shed had enough yarn to finish. I can give you my phone number if that makes it easier?

  10. Hello!
    I am a teacher in Greenacres, FL and I am starting a crochet club to teach some students. Is there anyone that can donate yarn and/or crochet needles?

    Please email [email protected]

    1. Hello Alessandra,
      I have lots of acrylic yarn to donate. l thought I could make blankets and scarfs, etc. to donate but turns out I am not a village. I just heard the acronym STASH and this fits me perfectly. Let me know if you still need yarn and I will be happy to let you have mine.

    2. Hi Kelly,
      I don’t have extra crochet needles but I do have yarn I can donate. Let me know if you want some.

  11. I am in NYC and work for an organization called Breaking Ground, it is a low income housing corporation who provides services for mental health. We are in need of yarn for our Crochet Club. We’ll pay freight. Can anyone help please.

    1. Hi Cindy,
      I have a variety of yarn including baby yarn, silk, worsted, and some WalMart brand.
      If interested please email as I need to donate as I simply have lost interest as I can’t sit still very long!

    2. Hello Cindy, my name is Daphny and I have a good amount of yarn I would love to donate to you organization if you are still in need. It’s a variety of with some partial skeins and lots of new yarn I no longer need. Let me know if you would like it and we can figure out the details!

    3. Hi Cindy,
      I am in NYC and have some yarn I’d like to get rid of. I have full balls and some partials from a now-defunct work crochet club . I can drop off the yarn at Breaking Ground. Please let me know.

  12. I sent a big box of Lopi yarn to a knitter who loves making Icelandic sweaters for her family. The thicker yarns and needles make my hands hurt, so I would not have enjoyed knitting this yarn, and she was thrilled to get it. Win-win!

  13. I have rheumatoid arthritis and a lot of pain in both Hands; I know I have to donate my yarn…..I hope I can bring myself to do it.

    1. I’m so sorry! Do you feel like you need to donate because there’s no hope for knitting for you anymore? Have you taken a look at some other knitting options like loom knitting, or is the pain too severe to consider any sort of activity using your hands? I hope you can find a solution that won’t require you to donate your yarn, or at least not all of it. (Donating yarn is great, but I hate the thought of your not being able to yarncraft anymore!)

    2. I have arthritis in both my hands and fingers. I have had it for the last 15 years. My hands and fingers hurt often and hurt really bad. But I keep crocheting. I don’t let the pain stop me.

  14. My name is Daniel Sexton. 15 months ago I lost my wife to pancreatic cancer. She was very active in crocheting items for different organizations. Making squares to send off for children in need. She made caps, scarves, afghans, lapghans, socks, hats for cancer patients in need. I have a very extensive yarn collection that she would have wanted me to donate, preferably to a charity. I live in Kemper, Tx. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hello Daniel, thank you for reaching out! I’m contacting a source in Texas who I think should know of a charity in your state who would like to accept your yarn. I’ll get back to you when I know more!

    2. Hello Daniel, sorry to hear about your loss. I wish you quick recovery from this big loss.
      I need yarns to work items during this summer to be ready fir winter cold days. I target children in need with crocheted and knitting shawls, scarves, hats, mittens and small blankets and distribute in countryside or marginalized poor districts schools, hospitals for cancer and care for homeless kids living in streets. I can’t afford buying yarns any longer as I used to do before due to my current financial situation as I lost my job 2 years and half now! Thx

  15. I have given away yarn to a local giving group, and I work for our local goodwill. Yarn that’s donated goes out on our floor, for such cheap prices! I like to save my bits and pieces to make striped hats and slippers to give away.

  16. It is hard to donate yarn. You know you will want it as soon as it is gone, but then you get to be an old lady like me and you remember how much stuff you had to get rid of when several of your relatives died. Also, it gives you an excuse to buy more!

  17. I periodically destash some acrylic to a charity group in a city where I used to live. I still make trips there a couple of times a year, and the group is always grateful for the yarn, as many of them are seniors on limited incomes. I *could* donate acrylic to the prayer shawl group at church, but it’s a small group and there’s a ton of yarn in the yarn closet. I do often use stash yarn for projects in that group, rather than using the group’s yarn, so I guess that destashes a little. I am hesitant to donate non-acrylic or novelty yarn, but I sometimes give friends odd bits of wool or wool-blend yarn that I’ve decided I won’t use. I still have way too much yarn!

    1. That’s one thing I never do is buy yarn for charity projects, so that’s definitely a good thing! (Probably because I usually *choose* my charity projects based on my stash, haha.) Sigh, I definitely have too much yarn and just pray that someday I’ll find the strength to donate!

  18. I have actually free-cycled bags and bags of yarn recently – mainly because I had to clear out my basement due to plumbing repairs. It was made easier by acknowledging that yeah, I’m probably never going to knit all this yarn and by the fact that I got to see the people receiving it face to face. One was a fibre artist, another picked up the yarn on behalf of a group of ladies who knit for charity, and the others were just regular knitters like me who love yarn. I confess some of my yarn did get bagged and temporarily stashed in my garage and will return home to the basement.
    I’m one of those people, like you, who looks at all this fabulous yarn and imagines all the wonderful items it will get transformed into. So I had to chuckle about your reason: “I may need it someday.” Yeah, that works for me, too! I get pleasure just thinking about what I will make from all this yarn. We just have to know where to draw the line between enough and too much.

    1. I’m glad you got a chuckle out of my post, haha. Good for you for freecycling your yarn… I truly do admire folks who are willing to see that they do have a SABLE situation and ignore the “I might need it someday” lie for what it is! *insert sheepish grin here*

  19. What great timing. I just gave away 14 lbs of my stash yarn to a group of charity knitters at my local church yesterday. This was mainly acrylic yarn that had been donated to me because people know I crochet for charity, but also wool a friend gave to me when she was destashing! I am still keeping hold of my leftovers from various projects of my own but in truth they could go too. An interesting article – thank you!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Tamara! Yeah, I’m actually *part* of a group of charity knitters at my local church… I could conceivably haul it all in someday if I do eventually feel that need. Here’s hoping that need-feeling will emerge… someday. LOL