One of my biggest struggles — as a knitter — is keeping my stash organized, both physically and logistically. I mean, I know I should stay on top of entering new acquisitions into Ravelry, but it’s easy to get sidetracked, isn’t it? And when I’m looking through new projects, I’m thinking about what I have in my stash that I can use so I can cast on immediately and jump right in. This is my cycle: Whenever I travel to a new city, I usually visit a local yarn shop to see what’s up, and before you know it, I’ve found something I can’t leave without and it basically just follows me home (obviously not my fault). Once I get back, I put it in a pile to log it, photograph it, and then (god willing I actually get to this point) I finally put it with the others — usually to discover that I had something very similar in my stash already. But how would I know this? I have yarn stashed in boxes, bags, and bins in three different places in my house.

It was time to make a change.

In March, my online knitting friends decided they all needed to clean up their stashes as well, so we dubbed the effort March Stashness and got to work. I pulled yarn out of all the places it had been squirreled away, verified the yarn that was in Ravelry, and the yarn that still needed to get added. For the month of March, we organized, cataloged, photographed and stashed our yarn, loading it all into Ravelry, filling in the missing bits of information and, at the end of the month, we were all feeling mighty proud of ourselves. It’s a great feeling when your stash is actually organized in Ravelry; you can sort by weight, base, dyer; you can easily put colors together for projects and, weirdly, it motivates you to knit more things. But it’s not enough to have your stash sorted digitally; sometimes you really have to see the yarn, feel the fiber, discover how colors play together in the same light so that you know you have the perfect skeins for the project. I, for one, am a sensory knitter — I want to knit with colors that speak to me, and there’s nothing as disappointing as choosing colors from a computer screen only to find out when you get the skeins together that the pixels have deceived you. So it became clear I would need to figure out how to create physical organization too.

Over the summer, my knitters decided we should do another stash cleanup, so Stash of July was launched. For this effort, I decided to get my project room organized once and for all: I bought an IKEA 5 x 5 KALLAX shelving unit and had it delivered. It took me the better part of a night to build it by myself (I do these insane things whenever TheCop is away; it’s just easier for so many reasons) and the next day I started to fill it up, loosely organized by weight (laceweight on the left, increasing to worsted and bulky on the right). The top row is specifically for ESK yarns (I referenced my mixed feels for limiting Yarnathon projects to only ESK yarn in an earlier post).

I don’t have everything here yet, but I’ve noticed an immediate difference: since there’s actually a place to put it, now new yarn comes into the house and gets photographed, cataloged, and put on the shelf within a day or two. It’s easy to see what I have and to shop my own stash instead of buying something new online (which both my wallet and TheCop greatly appreciates). It finally dawned on me that I was failing because I needed both a method of tracking my stash along with a method of storing my stash in order to see what I have and get excited about why I bought the yarn in the first place. I mean, my project room might look like a LYS but hey; if I’m shopping it, then that works, right?

I can’t wait to see what I do for Declutter December.