Tuesday, January 10, 2017

De-Cluttering the Yarn Stash

Last week I wrote about de-cluttering your fabric stash. A few weeks after my most recent fabric de-stash, I decided to do a yarn one as well. Only this time I approached it a bit differently than I usually do. Usually I just look through the yarn and say, "Yeah, I can get rid of that."

But since we really, truly need to make room in our house (that baby needs a room!), I decided to be a bit more...ruthless. I came up with a new system that worked really well. As in over 20 skeins gone.

The Method

Much like the fabric method, the yarn will be sorted into different piles. Only three piles, and a garbage can. The piles are Give Away, Keep-Project assigned, and Keep-Souvenir Yarn. For yarn, I have to go through the piles in a different order, just because it makes more sense to me this way. I mean, how do you know what yarn is going to be Give Away yarn if you don't know the rules for the Keep yarns?

Throw Away

While this didn't become a pile of it's own, it is an essential part to de-cluttering. Any ball of yarn too small to make a project, like a hat, went straight into the garbage can. Because if you are anything like me with yarn, those little balls in a pile will end up back in the stash box.

Keep- Project Assigned

This yarn is the yarn that you bought with a specific project in mind. Not the "I'll buy it and figure out a pattern later" yarn. This is yarn that came into your stash because you saw a pattern that you have to make, and went out and bought yarn for it. As with the fabric, be honest with yourself about whether the project will actually be made.
For me, I feel like once I got rid of all the yarn I did that I have a higher chance of making those projects because I'm not being bogged down by all the other yarn. I will have no choice but to make those projects because it's the only yarn I have to work with.
I also recently resolved to no longer make items for others. No more custom orders. No more "it might sell in the shop" making. Again, this gives me pretty much no choice about using the yarn that is left in my stash. Those sweaters are for me and my family!

Keep- Souvenir Yarn

Ok. This is the pile that you cannot make exceptions for because I can see a lot of folks trying to talk themselves into keeping yarn that they shouldn't while adding to this pile.
First, what is Souvenir Yarn? It is yarn that you bought while on vacation. It is yarn that is unique to the area and shop that you bought it in. It is not the same Cascade 220 that you can get at your LYS.
The Souvenir Yarn in my stash was bought when we were in Sarasota a year ago. I asked the shop owner what they had that was unique and local to them. I was pointed toward a wall of indie dyed yarn from a local dyer in colors inspired by pictures taken by a local photographer. That is Souvenir Yarn.
Souvenir Yarn that is kept does not need an assigned project. However, you again need to be realistic about whether the yarn will be used or not. If you haven't noticed yet, I am not a believer in 'treasure' yarns. Those ones that people buy and put in their stash, and then it spends the rest of it's existence being admired and not used. This does not go down with me. If yarn is in my stash, it will be used. If it won't be used, out it goes.

Give Away

Anything that has not made it into the Project Assigned or Souvenir Yarn pile goes here. Everything. (Side note: WIP yarn should be off somewhere with the WIP.) Again, how you get rid of it is up to you. I have had success posting on Craigslist and Facebook to find good homes for my yarn. Post pictures, announce it's up for grabs, and get it to the first person who wants it. The sooner you can meet up with them and hand it over, the better. Do not post the yarn as "For Sale" with prices, the point of de-cluttering is to get this yarn gone. If you try to sell, you won't de-clutter. People like free stuff more than stuff they have to pay for.

Also, last week our reader Lynn suggested finding local charities that could use the stash you are giving away. I know where I live there is at least one charity that accepts yarn because they teach refugees to knit. Thanks for the great suggestion Lynn!!!

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