Friday, January 2, 2015

Week #1, Mastering our Stashes...

And so it begins...this one to the tune of "The Garden Song", by Arlo Guthrie

"Tub by tub, skein by skein...gonna rein in this yarn thang,
Gonna clear some of it out, 'cause simplifying's what it's about..."
large & in current stash...
a side can see there is little to *no* wasted space...ha!

Yeah...I am so excited about my year of decluttering/organizing/minimalizing that I wrote a few bars.  Maybe you'll catch the bug too, who knows, right?

I figured I would post each week's challenge the Friday before, as I have some friends who want to follow along with me.  (How cool is that?!?)

I will preface this all with a bit of introduction.  My methods are very methodical & detailed, if they don't work for you, that is totally fine, take what bits do feel right, use them & leave the rest.  For this week's focus, destashing/organizing yarn, I cannot recommend Ravelry highly enough.  It is an absolutely amazing site & a godsend for keeping tabs on what you have in your stash.  You upload photos, dates, prices...the database keeps it all organizing by color. *BUT* you can search your stash based on weight (fingering, dk, bulky, etc), on fiber content (100% wool, wool blend, contains wool, etc) & more.  And that is only the beginning...

Ravelry has loads of free patterns for both knitters & crocheters, as well as patterns for purchase.  You can search for patterns by size, gender, type of garment/item, techniques used, etc. Click on any pattern & you can see any projects made from that pattern, see reviews (based on a 5 star rating system), get yarn ideas, and more.  Honestly, I could go on & on about ravelry, I LOVE it!!  However, that is *not* the subject of this post.

Ok...your stash.  Mine was uploaded to Ravelry a few years back.  It does take a bit of time, depending on the size of your stash, but once you get it in there it is magic *AND* once it's in there, you simply add yarn as you go, which is much more manageable.
about 4 years ago when my sister & i created my ravelry stash...not the much smaller scale of overflow in this photo. ;)

As far as physical storage, I have three, 18 gallon tubs, organized by rainbow color order.  The pink one is ROY (red, orange & yellow), the blue-green one is GBV (green, blue, & violet) & the dark blue one has whites, browns, grays, blacks & any multi-colored skeins.  That is how things started, I had to rework it pretty early on as blues & greens are my favorite colors to work with, so that tub rapidly filled up. I moved the violets into the ROY tub (as both yellows & oranges are pretty rare.  I LOVE them.  They just seem to be harder to find in the world of yarn).
You now know the secret to my system.  As far as quantity, my only requirement is that the tubs have to be able to close, which they all can...but you see them ready to bust, yes??  ;)

Here are the details for this week's purge...

MATERIALS you will need, or @ least that I am using:
1) an additional (empty) 18 gallon tub, to be the "purge" tub
2) a postal scale, or scale of some sort to weigh partial skeins
3) a jar/tub for niblets
4) access to a computer/Ipad to input/update your Ravelry cyber stash

As my stash is organized by tub, I will be sorting through each tub, one/day.  Open one tub & dump it into another container or onto your table.

1. Pick up & hold each & every yarn, and ask yourself "Do I love this yarn?".  Be honest with yourself -- 'everything you hold, holds you', and our end goal if freedom.  Only you can make the choice for you, in this moment. If you love the yarn, put it back into your stash tub, it you don't, toss it into the purge tub.  If you're really not sure, keep it/them for now & check back next January.

At this point, I would like to point out the plastic bags.  I have each yarn stored in a plastic ziploc bags.  This is great for a number of reasons.  1) When you have multiple skeins of a yarn, they are all in one (or sometimes two) neat little packages, 2) moths can't get into/out of ziploc bags (and you DO NOT want a moth problem if you work mainly with wool!!), 3) your yarn is safe from moisture, odors, pet hair, etc, which is important is your stash is kept in your basement (like mine is) and if you have tons of both children & animals running around you house. You can rest easy knowing your yarn is safe! :)

2. As you go, you may come across partial skeins, hence the "niblet" tub we have on hand.  Set a minimum weight for your stash, mine is 1 oz.  If a skein weighs less than 1 oz, then it goes straight to the niblet tub. These are great for little projects, wrapping packages, etc.  I don't keep tabs on these little guys, so the children are free to use them in their crafting & projects, I use cotton niblets to hang my chicken feeders or mark garden rows for planting...bits can be cut off to use as "life lines" in your knitting projects, whatever.

Okay, now that we have narrowed things down a bit, let's go back through the "LOVE" tub.  Again, dump it into another container or out onto your table.  Again, pick up & look @ each yarn.

1) Rub the yarn against your face/neck.  Is it itchy??  For me, that means it goes straight to the purge tub. All of our children & my husband all have sensitive skin, so I don't even bother with itchy yarns. If you do a lot of felting projects these might be good to keep on hand.  You choose...

2) Did you buy this yarn for a specific project?  If so, do you still want to make that project?  If so, find the pattern on Ravelry, add it to your queue & tag that yarn.  If not, no worries.  We're just working on getting reacquainted with everyone @ this point.

3) Have you had this yarn for more than two or three years??  If so, decide on an "Expiration Date".  I am still debating mine.  I can't decided between one year or two.  My gut says one year, as I work well with deadlines, but my crafting time is not @ all what it used to be.  At any rate, I'll have that all figured out before Monday.  Choose a date that feels right for you.  I do recommend staying with something smaller, no more than two or three years.  If you have had this yarn for three years already and give it a three year expiration date, that means you will have been holding onto it for a good six me, that says that maybe I don't love this yarn as much as I thought I did.  Feel free to make an exception if you have special circumstances. I know some folks have yarns that have been handed down from their grandmothers/mothers.  This is *your* destash, *you* make the rules.

At this point, since skeins are on a smaller, more manageable level, it might be a good idea to go ahead & update/begin to create your stash database on Ravelry.  Make sure each yarn has a picture (taken in good/outdoor lighting), double check that your quantities & weights are correct.  Depending on where you are with all of this, you may have had you fill for one day & that is *totally* fine.  Baby steps...  Do what you can, a little bit @ a time & you'll get it all done & without the added stress/frustration of having forced things.

My Ravelry stash is pretty much up to date.  I plan on starting @ the top, with the yellows and working my way down.  Any yarns that I tossed into the purge tub will get put into the "will sell/trade" folder for now & any that I cannot seem to locate @ the moment will get put into the "traded/sold/gifted" folder for now.  If they turn up as I work my way through the house, I'll handle them then. ;)  All of this will leave only yarns I LOVE in my 'stash", perfect!!

I also plan to note the "Expiration Dates" in the "notes" portion for each of those skeins that need one.

I just want reiterate one last time that this is what works for me & where I am right now.  Read through it, think on it, take what works for you & leave the rest.  Edit & revise to your heart's content! You are @ the helm of your journey, so do what makes sense to you.  Please share your own thoughts/ideas/links, as I would love to see how your destash takes shape!

And *CHEERS* to us for taking the first step!


  1. I'm pretty late to the game but love way of explaining and breaking things down. I hope you were able to document your 52 weeks, I'll be following along. Thank you so much for creati g this blog!

  2. I'm pretty late to the game but love way of explaining and breaking things down. I hope you were able to document your 52 weeks, I'll be following along. Thank you so much for creati g this blog!