Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Reducing the Stash

Lately, I find my yarn stash (and my other crafty stashes) overwhelming. When I moved earlier this year, I did a small reduction, but it didn't seem to put a dent my collection. Even though I am lucky enough to have an entire room with a walk-in closet dedicated to my knitting/sewing/crafting, it was packed to the gills. I would love to be a complete crafty-minimalist and only have enough yarn, fabric, etc. on hand for a few projects, but I don't think that will be happening any time soon.

yarn stash
So. Much. Yarn.

For the past couple of weeks I have been KonMari'ing (see The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) my stashes. It can be hard to see past the potential of a yarn or fabric and to focus on if it "sparks joy." The biggest obstacle has been the guilt of wasted money and effort organizing, storing and lugging this stuff around. I had briefly considered selling a lot of the yarns on Ravelry, but there is quite a bit of it...so far two contractor bags worth. To retain my sanity and to stop punishing myself, I have decided to drop it all at my local thrift shop. I also tossed all of my partial skeins...sure they had potential as a stripe in a future project, but so many have been taking up space for years waiting to be stripes.

In addition to using "sparks joy" as a qualifier for deciding whether an item stays or goes, I also made lists (lots and lots of lists) of what I like to make, what colors I like, what prints, etc. This really helped give me a road map when I got stuck on an item. I don't wear a lot of florals, I don't like brown, I only like heavily variegated yarns for socks and I don't like dyeing sweater lots of yarn. Giving a voice to my likes and dislikes helped so much and made it so much easier to ditch the yarn that I had bought to make a blanket...I dislike knitting or crocheting blankets, but I felt that since I could do it, I should. It was really freeing to let go of all the "shoulds" that I had stashed for.

The sad part is, even with the massive reduction, I still have so much yarn (and fabric). To help further reduce the yarn and fabric I did keep, I made "use it, or lose it" groups. These groups are full of yarn or fabric that I wasn't quite ready to part with and which I still see a ton of potential in...basically a long-term maybe pile. If I don't use these by the start of next summer, they're outta here!

I also made groups of stash for planned projects. For sewing, I have the fabric and the patterns paired together and for knitting I have the yarn in Ziploc bags with design notes and sketches. Finally, there are all the other yarns and fabrics that I love...I plan on revisiting them all within the next year or so to see if I still feel the same about them and if I am ready to assign them projects. I should be able to better assess then how much stash I am using in a year and if my tastes have changed.

So, I am feeling a bit less stash related stress now having cleared out a bit and having a plan to keep things under control. Are you overwhelmed by your stash? How do you keep it under control?


  1. I found your post very helpful. I am overwhelmed with yarn (a lot of it was given to me), yet find it hard to part with. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Very much appreciated.

  2. This reply is a bit late, but I feel your pain.