January 7th, 2013

31 Days to Get Organized: Destashing Your Yarn

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Thanks for sharing the photos of your piles of yarn yesterday. I hope if you didn’t post it publicly, you still took a photo of your stash. This is Day 7 (one full week!) of 31 Days to Get Organized. Today we’re yarn destashing. A yarn purge. Yarn decluttering, whatever you want to call it. Essentially, we’re trying to get rid of the yarn we don’t love or won’t use.

Getting rid of yarn can be a hard task for many, especially if you paid good money for the yarn, or if someone you care about gave the yarn to you as a gift. But our time is too short and our spaces are too precious to have them filled with yarn and things that aren’t useful to us. So grab some containers for your big sort. With my recent move, I’ve already tossed anything that is useless to most. I’ve also given away a lot of yarn too. Whenever I get rid of yarn, I pause and think “Am I going to miss it?” 99% of the time, I never think about the yarn again. And all the recipients of the the “free” yarn totally make up for the 1% I kind of wish I had back.

So back to the piles you’re going to make.

Keep It! – If you like the yarn, if you plan to use the yarn, even if it just brings back a happy memory, sort the yarn into your keep pile. Most of the yarn in my stash I intend to knit, crochet, or weave someday. (I’ll be around until I’m 97, so I have some time.) But I have yarn in my stash I have no intensions of ever using. It’s keepsake yarn for one reason or another. I’m ok with this. I keep this yarn out in the open in a bowl, on top of the shelf of my craft books. I look at the yarn frequently. This makes me happy, so I’m keeping it.

Find A Better Home – Then there’s the yarn we don’t like anymore, or don’t have any use for. There are SO many other places where this yarn could be used. On Wednesday, I’ll be posting lots of ideas for new homes for wayward yarns, places to sell yarns, and places to give them away. Stay tuned.

Just Throw It Away – Sometimes there’s just no hope for a yarn. Maybe you tried making something; it became hideous; and the yarn fused to itself. You really can’t rip it out now. NOBODY is going to want it. So just chuck it in the garbage. Have a few yards left from a project? Toss it too. On Friday, we’ll post some ideas of what you can do with your leftover yarn. But sometimes, it’s best if it just goes in the trash can. You make the call. Some of you can’t bear to throw out a scrap. Who knows, maybe someday you could use it for a knitted toy or some crochet amigurumi. But if you don’t have the patience for saving bits of yarn, toss it.

A yarn destashing can take a little bit of time. There’s a lot of decisions to be made. Have you ever noticed that it’s not the organizing that takes so much time, but all of the decisions you have to make?

Tomorrow we’ll have a tutorial on how to recycle yarn from a project you’ve ripped out so you can add it back to your yarn stash. This gives you an extra day to possibly spend on destashing. Take the time you need. The rest of the organizing posts will be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Happy destashing!

– Dena

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12 Responses to “31 Days to Get Organized: Destashing Your Yarn”

  1. LAGirlfromBmore Says:

    I’ve done a couple of big yarn destashings. In the first, I got rid of virtually all the acrylic yarn. I don’t like acrylic, but other people really do, and it’s great for charity knitting and teaching folks to knit. I also got rid of a lot of less-expensive cotton – another fiber I’m not crazy about. If there were colors I didn’t like, out they went. I took it all to my knitting group and let them take what they wanted; then I gave some to the school’s knitting club, and the rest I posted on Freecycle and ended up giving to another school.

  2. nanasbug Says:

    Funny-before I read this, I was cleaning out my sewing/beading/yarn room. There were two large plastic bins under my sewing table. I couldn’t even remember what was in them, but they always annoyed me when I was sewing. Yep–opened them up and found some very old white yarn. Lots of it. Wool that had almost felted itself. It is now happily in the trash can and my feet have more room.

  3. stringnstone Says:

    In the process of de-stashing and straightening (not even going to try cleaning) my workroom. Every so often when I find yarn I am not going to use it goes to the closet in the spare room and when there is a bunch it is donated to a nursing home, Goodwill, etc.

  4. Laura Says:

    Great ideas. I sorted through my stash about two months ago and used (almost) all your criteria. I did not manage to actually through whole skeins away, only a few scraps, but still. I even went to the trouble of photographing a skein of each type of yarn so that I could add my own pic to my Ravelry stash. Which is where I keep track of all my skeins now and – so far, any additions to my stash in RL have made it to my virtual one online as well. I hope to keep that up in the future.

    Looking forward to your next tips!

  5. Pam G Says:

    really have lots of perfectly good yarn to give away…that’s way I haven’t destashed-don’t know what to do with it!-looking forward to tips

  6. Ariane Says:

    I too am looking forward to suggestions as to who might use my unwanted yarn. I’d love to give it to a place that will use it for a good purpose – charity knitting or schools or something, rather than just to goodwill / thrift stores. And thanks for the series – these are great!

  7. Faye Says:

    The yarn or any other craft items you want to give away, or even the yarn or any other craft items you are throwing away, can be used in the art depts. of elementary schools. I’m sure they would appreciate everything you give them.

  8. SpicyKnitter Says:

    If I am having a hard time parting with a yarn, I will roll some of it up into about a 2” diameter ball and I keep the balls in a glass vase in my craft room. Then I can get rid of the rest of the yarn, but I will always have that little ball to gaze upon. It works for me.

  9. Mandy Says:

    I did this recently:
    1. Gave away a 30 gallon tote filled with new/unused yarn.
    2. gathered up all unfinished WIPs that I had no intention of finishing, and FROGGED them all. I then rewound the yarn into ‘cakes’ using the Boye yarn winder. “new” yarn ready to be used! (Great for ‘scrap’ projects or gypsy rugs).
    3. Gave about 150 granny squares to my youngest daughter. She loved the ‘jump start’ to an afghan.

    Ahhhh….ready to crochet again!

  10. Sally Kinsey Says:

    I am a mosaic artist and clutter has become my middle name. Every artist I know has stashes of materials and mosaic artists are the WORST because EVERYTHING is potential material for us!! Recently I had spinal fusion surgery and knew ahead of time that I would be limited in lifting for the rest of my life. I knew I had to start to de-clutter, (or as we artists say… destash!) So I started a website where artists of every form can list their creative materials for sale. There is a knitting and crochet category that is need of items to be posted. There is no listing fee and the listing does not expire. A commission is charged when your item sells. The website is http://www.destashed.com. I hope you take a look and find it useful! :o)

  11. Nicky Says:

    Just cleared out a lot of my yarn – I realised that over the years my husband had picked up a lot for me from charity shops, and it was causing me a great deal of stress. I already feel lighter. I now know what yarn I have, and what I am going to do with it. I will only buy yarn now with a clear project in mind. They are always the projects that I finish.
    Feeling smug.

  12. Sarah Turnbull Says:

    Yarn that cannot be used could be composted if it is biodegradable (rather than going to landfill). I have only ever tossed yarn once – a soy singles that became hopelessly snared to itself when I tried to knit it. Broke down in the compost bin pretty well!

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