Canadian Designers, Inspiration

Spring Cleaning? How about that Stash?

Continuing on with that Spring Cleaning theme – have you thought about how to organize and clean up you yarn stash? Read on for some great tips!

Spring has sprung. Here in Canada we are finally looking forward to the warmer weather. Spattered in the midst the Spring showers, are brief days of sunshine and warmer breezes. Houses that have been shut up from the cold are now being opened. And the spring cleaning begins.

Walls are washed, the floors are scrubbed (a few times a day if you’re house is like mine with a muddy backyard and three kids and a dog who like to go In and out). Bedding is washed and hung outside to dry – don’t you just love the smell of crisp, sun dried bedsheets?

And then the cupboards and closets are opened up; the pantry and the Linen closets are aired out. The wardrobes are changed over from Winter wear to spring and summer.

This time of year I also like to clean out toy boxes and dressers – resort and then donate what the kids have outgrown (as long as it is still recognizable…. ).

And then there is that closet that my husband doesn’t dare go near. It’s the one in our guest room. The one across from my craft corner…. you know where this is going.

It’s the closet where I keep my “stash.”

I don’t have (what I consider to be, some would disagree) a large stash. I am the type of yarn buyer that will only buy for projects that I have in mind (and a clear intent to actually make that project 😉 ), and it’s usually only for one project at a time… okay maybe two.

But that being said, even with this type of buying there are always extra balls lying around (I wouldn’t want to buy too little in case I ran out mid project!). Sometimes ive bought yarn, started a project and discovered that it really wasn’t the one for me, so the yarn and partial project are stored. Sometimes I’m given yarn – whether it be as a gift or inheritance. And there are those occasional times when I come across a luxury skein that I can’t pass up.

So I have a bit of a stash. And it’s kept in this closet, all safe and secure in five medium plastic totes, plus one for finished items.

Okay, I also have some stored in my shoe organizer (does anyone really use those for shoes?). And I have my collection of crochet thread stored in the zippered plastic bag that my douvet came in. And I have more thread stored in the tower beside my desk….. and a couple SMALL baskets of yarn that I’m currently using (or just enjoy looking at) on my desk.

I don’t have a lot of space though. And I like things to be relatively organized.

So every year I head to the closet that my husband wouldn’t dare go near and I come face to face with my stash. It’s time to sort, air and clean it out.

It can take a couple of days, in between my daily commitments and fun with the kids (it really has to be done after my two year old goes to bed – she loves “yarn mountains “).

The first thing I like to do is run around and gather any balls that have wandered into the recesses of our house. Then I take each of the tubs out of the closet and examine them. Once a year it’s a good idea to take a look at your storage containers – check for water or moisture damage, rodents and or insects (ewe), or smells of mildew. If it’s a nice dry day, and your stash is portable, you may want to even take it outside in the dry sunny air for a little bit.

How do you like to organize your yarn?

As mentioned, most of mine is in clear plastic tote bins. And in those bins my yarn is organized according to weight and, in some cases, fibre. So I have my thread sorted into the quilt bags, then a tote for my wool and luxury skeins, one tote of bulky and super bulky yarn, three of worsted weight (mostly acrylic and blends), and then one for my cotton. The shoe organizer holds mostly blended yarn, and those that didn’t fit into the other categories.

How do you sort your yarn? I’ve seen and heard of it being done many ways – by weight and fibre (my preferred method), or by colour, brand or age. It’s really up to you!

I make sure that all the yarn is sorted into the correct bins. I make sure that it is all rolled or balled. I either set to work detangling any masses that have formed, or I throw them out. Smaller balls/scraps/ends are gathered together into large ziplocks so they don’t get lost in the depths.

There are lots of ways to organize your stash. Before I reorganized my craft space, I kept a lot of it in bags. But I’ve seen beautiful pictures of walls lined with shelves. Shoe racks, dressers and china cabinets that have been repurposed. Guest rooms where the “guest bed” is really a bed frame of yarn. A quick search of Pinterest will get the creative juices flowing. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. What’s important is that you find a way that works for you. One that you are proud to look at, or post to Instagram.

Looking for some more inspiration? You may find some here: https://www.interweave.com/article/knitting/yarn-stash-national-pack-rat-day/

Finally, once my yarn is sorted, because I know I only have a certain amount of space, and I look forward to the gathering of the new spring colours and Yarns for the upcoming projects, I begin the difficult process of deciding what will stay, and what will have to go (gasp!!).

When I look at my stash, if I am honest, there is a lot in there that I know I will never use. Some of it I will hang on to – it has a special memory associated with it – but others I know deserve a better home where it will be loved and used and live up to its full potential (yes. Sometimes I talk about my yarn as though it is living… that might be weird).

So some of it must go.

But what do you do with it?

There are lots of great places to donate clean yarn. Of course, thrift stores are always willing. But also consider schools (ours has a “maker space” that is always looking for craft supplies), camps (by spring many already have “wish lists” posted to help with their programs), churches (getting ready for summer kids programs), libraries, seniors homes, or your local crochet and knitting circles, an unsuspecting and gullible friend or family member. You may choose to seek it on a local buy/sell page or upcoming garage sale. There are many places who would love to cherish your unused yarn, it may just take a little leg work to find them.

Once I have cleaned out the stash I smile a little wider (secretly filling with glee about all the new yarn that I can now find!), and breath a little easier knowing that I am more organized, my yarn is aired out and smelling fresh, and I am aware of what I do have available for upcoming projects.

After my stash has had a chance to air out a bit, it is then once again neatly stored in that closet (that my husband doesn’t dare go near lol).

I’m curious to hear about your stash? Do you have any yarn stash spring cleaning rituals? Do you have any tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below, or head on over and share on my Facebook page FOUND HERE, or tag me on Instagram @RichTexturesCrochet!

Would you like to hear the story of how I turned a storage corner of my house into a convenient workable crafty corner? Check out my post on “Crafting in small spaces” found HERE.

Thank you, as always for stopping by! Happy Crocheting and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sarah.

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