I hate to admit it, but I'm one of those yarn junkies. I start my day by working on my projects and I end my day the same. I just love working with my yarn. To organize your yarn you need to ask yourself a series of questions before you tackle this project. Let's think this through. What questions should you consider?
- How much yarn do you have?
- Will you be organizing the yarn by color, weight, skeins, balls, or hanks?
- How are you storing it right now? Is it working for you?
- What kind of storage would work for your space and not look overwhelming at the same time?
- What kind of storage would work the best for you to be able to find what you are looking for?
- Where will it go once you organize it in the kind of storage you choose?
There is nothing worse than to get all organized but then when you go to find something you need you don't know where it is - frustrating.
One part of organizing my yarn is when I purchase yarn for a specific use I write on the yarn label or a piece of paper that I can tape on the label what project the yarn was purchased for. For example, I went to the Smiley's yarn sale last month and of course I brought yarn. But I brought yarn mostly for specific projects. So when I came home I got out my slips of paper and tape and proceeded to write down the name of the pattern and if it is a copy, is it from a magazine or a book. This way when I pick up that yarn later (because by then I have already forgot why I purchased that yarn) I will know what I brought that yarn for. No confusion or aggravation.
Why do I know this? It is because I have done that in the past where that I brought yarn and was all excited about making a particular pattern out of a particular yarn and the pattern got mixed up with all the other patterns and the yarn got put away and you can figure out the end of that story. I think I have lots of company out there that have done the same thing. I know you new knitters and crocheters don't have that problem yet. That's why this is a great time to nip it in the bud before you get crazy like the rest of us. I know, speak for myself - LOL (laugh out loud)
So you bring the yarn home. Mark on the yarn label or paper the pattern name. You could always change your mind. Nothing is set in stone. It gives you an idea of what you were thinking at the time and it will be easy if you want to make the project in that yarn. This clears your thinking process when you pick up that yarn because and will know what you brought it for.
Then it is time to put it somewhere. Hum, where do I put it and what do I use? Well, for certain yarns like small balls of yarn you can use a basket. It is very decorative and it can look neat. But if you talk about full skeins of yarn then you might think of a plastic tub, crates, or these laundry holders that I picked up at the dollar store. There are also those plastic storage bins with draws for specific yarns and supplies. After you answer the above questions you need to pick out the kind of storage that fits your need. You don't want to get out of hand buying all of these plastic containers and then change your mind and want to use something else.
What do you do with the old items you are changing from? You could give them to your friends that also need to organize. You could have a swap. But don't go there. The goal is to sit down, breath (some of you need to really breath big and exhale because of all the yarn you have) and then think before you buy what you might already have in your house to use (recycle) or do you need to go out and buy. Then the question is how many is reasonable without crowding out your space.
Whatever you use then you want to label the ones that are not going to be easily accessible. For example, you use the tubs. They are not all see through. To help you identify what is in the tubs, label the outside with what the content is especially if you have more than one. Or better yet, take that digital camera out that you only use at special occasions and put it to work. If you don't have a digital camera then a cell phone will do. I have an extra card in my cell phone so that I can take more pictures with it and then download to my computer.
Back to the yarn. Lay all the yarn out on the floor neatly next to each other and take a picture of it. Make sure you can see the labels for the brand. You can arrange by color, weight, or brand. Whatever will help you out in knowing what you have. But when you put them back into their storage container, make sure the yarn is from the same picture in the same bin or you will be defeating your purpose of knowing what is in the bins. If you have several storage bags then number them with a marker or piece of paper and tape. If you only have one bin it should not be a problem just to go in when you want unless you have to store it somewhere that is not easily accessible. But wait, am I talking about real knitters/crocheters? None of use have only one bin of yarn.
You do have to keep up with doing this as you buy more yarn. It is nothing worse than knowing you have something and can't find it because you have too much to look through. We have got to make it easier on ourselves so that we can do our needlearts more, and more, and more. You can swap yarn with friends or there is a website for swapping. Yarn can be donated that is still good for senior centers. Or you could surprise a new knitter with a couple of skeins of yarn and give them an easy pattern that could fit the yarn. Make sure they know the needle size.
The name of the game is to be able to find what you are looking for when you want it and for the project it might have been intended for. Once all of your scrap yarns are neatly in place, like in a basket or some kind of container, you can make a stripe or make strips for a blanket. It could be given to a nursing home or if it's baby yarn it could be given to a local hospital that has a preemie ward. Let's not waste yarn because we don't know what to do with it so we throw it away. Those last three words just make me cringe. To give is divine. So give a blanket, hat or a scarf to someone in need using the perfect thing, your scraps.
Storage space for yarn is always and will always be a problem. You just run out of space to put whatever storage items you are using. There are several storage items you can use: large garbage plastic bags, bag that a comforter set comes in, laundry plastic bags that you can get from the dollar store, old suitcases, plastic tubs (but they can't bend or stuff in a space). Again, think of what you already have in your house that you are not using that can be used for storage for your yarn.
I have these great laundry holders that I got from the dollar store. I keep my yarn that I know I will be using up quickly. You don't want to store yarn where that it will get all dusty after a while. So think about the yarn that you will be using in the next couple of months and an open storage bin will work great and you can store them in a corner. And again, you want easy access so that you won't be hunting for what you need. You want something pretty durable and not something that every time you look around you are replacing. Not good for your storage or for the environment. And you might can swap something you have with one of your needlearts buddies that also wants to organize. Make it a group effort and it is more fun and you will get more done. So that means "PUT THE YARN DOWN FOR A MOMENT OR TWO AS YOU GET ORGANIZED" - LOL.
What goes along with our yarn is to have a yarn swift and ball winder. Wonderful tools to make life easy with our hanks. Now if there is anything that I would say to buy is to get those two items if you buy a lot of hanks.
I hope this series of how to organize for your hobby has helped. If you have any comments please share them with the rest of us. If not, I enjoyed writing about organizing and hope that this will help you enjoy your needlearts a lot more.