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. Many ladies want to store some things which can be useful for them. It is important that women need extra closet or extra room for stashes. Some ladies are interesting in knitting and they like to use yarn and stashes of yarn.