How to Reboot Your Yarn Stash

Welp, it’s happened. I officially have too much yarn, and not enough hours in the day in which to knit it all. It was inevitable. But am I here to cry “Uncle!” and announce that I’ll no longer be bringing new yarn babies into the family? 

Of course not. 

Instead, I’m about to embark on that pilgrimage known as “The Rebooting of the Stash”. Have you heard of it? No? That’s okay – I just made it up. If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’ll never live long enough to knit all this yarn”, then pull up a chair and let me tell you my plan.

I’ll start by telling you what’s in my stash:

  1. Leftover oddballs
  2. Skeins that seemed like a good idea at the time
  3. Sweater quantities that I still plan to use
  4. One sweater quantity that I’ve had for twenty years (yes, twenty ACTUAL years) and can’t seem to part with, but have never once come close to using
  5. Almost enough yarn for something, but not quite
  6. A little too much yarn for a medium-something, but not enough for a bigger-something
  7. Dye lots that don’t match
  8. Yarn that was given to me
  9. Souvenir yarn
  10. Perfectly good yarn in colors I used to like
  11. Yarn that brings up bad memories
  12. Yarn that brings up good memories
  13. Yarn that I love but will never use
  14. Yarn I’ll probably use for something, but I’m not sure what yet

What’s a knitter to do?

How to Reboot Your Yarn Stash (in 9 Easy Steps)

  1. Empty all of your cupboards, craft closets, baskets and project bags and take an honest look at what you have. 
  2. Put all of your small oddballs into their own box/tote.
  3. Separate sweater quantities into groups.
  4. Place souvenir/trophy skeins in their own pile. 
  5. Put all the single ladies (ahem, skeins) into their own pile. 
  6. Any skeins that make you cringe, question your life choices or recoil in horror – put those in a box with a lid. 
  7. Skeins that have a sibling or two – group those together. 
  8. Minis – put these with the oddballs. 

Okay, now we have some semblance of order. LET’S REBOOT!

  1. Wipe down/dust any cupboards or bins that need a little refresh before you put yarn back into them. 
  2. Throw a little lavender or cedar sachet in there, too, while you’re at it. 
  3. Ignore the oddballs for a minute. 
  4. Take an honest look at your sweater quantities. If you’ve fallen out of love for yourself, maybe they’d make a good sweater for someone else in your life? Do you have a knitting friend who might swoon over the gift of a sweater quantity of yarn? Could you donate it to a charity auction or fund? 
  5. I’m a believer in the value of single skeins, but they are easier to use when they’re stored together. Create a bin just for the single ladies (and fellas) and put a tag on it so you know what’s what. This bin will be a great place to start when you’re ready to knit your next shawl. Or hat. Or mittens.
  6. Create another bin for twosies and threesies. This bin becomes a great resource for mixing and matching with single skeins. 
  7. Souvenir/trophy skeins – unless you are deeply, passionately committed to these skeins being too special to knit, and therefore destined to be framed and gazed upon for the remainder of your years, I recommend giving these a home with the singles and/or twosies-threesies bins where they can make some friends.
  8. The box of horrors? Close the lid and donate it ASAP. 
  9. Revisit the oddballs and minis. Be honest with yourself – how many of these will you really use? Pull out any that coordinate with your singles, twosies and threesies. Keep any oddballs that seem like obvious partnerships and put those in a bin called, “Potential”. But for everything else, donate it to your favorite teacher for a school craft project (or someone with smallish children that love to do crafts). I know it’s tempting to keep those cute little balls of goodness forever and ever, but the truth is – you’ll probably never get around to using 98% of them. (I preach this as one who knows. Trust me. I’ve had leftovers in my stash for twenty+ years that I’m still holding onto just in case. Let those leftovers live their best life and go out with a bang on a 4-year-old’s craft project. 

Liberate your stash by giving your creative space a little breathing room. You’ll feel more inspired and less overwhelmed. And believe me, you’ll never miss the yarn you’ve released into the wild. Instead, you’ll look around your creative space and think to yourself, “This is awesome. I’m going yarn shopping.” 

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