What does your stash look like? As a crafter, you know exactly what I mean by the word stash. It’s a little different for each of us but regardless of what makes up the stash I think we all struggle a little bit with the best way to organize that stash in our space. I have the opportunity today to write a post about the benefits of a color label printer in the home and I wanted to use that opportunity to share some tips on using labeling to organize your stash.
Stash Problem #1: Yarn, Yarn, Everywhere There’s Yarn
I don’t keep a lot of clutter around my house. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to go through my home and declutter it, physically clearing out the old to embrace the new in a way that I think creates some mental space for that as well. My one huge exception to this: yarn. I love yarn. I love collecting yarn, using yarn, displaying yarn. I have more yarn in my home than I could use this year even though I pretty much didn’t buy any yarn in 2012 and haven’t bought any at all in 2013. So for me, the stash is the yarn.
For the most part, I like to actually have my yarn out where I can see it. I have purchased a bunch of vintage-y looking metal containers, like washbuckets and unique trash cans and metal bowls, and I’ve organized my yarn stash in these by color. The various blues, purples and greys are what are currently on display in these metal containers around my home.
The thing is that to have all of this yarn out on display would be overwhelming and also impractical. So I still have a large stash of yarn that needs to be stored. I have a yarn closet for this. The yarn goes into bags and sealed containers, organized by color. And this is where a color label printer would work really well for me; I could print out labels for different types of yarn (weight, fiber, etc.) and print those in the color of the yarn that’s in that particular bag or box, slap the label on the exterior of the container and be able to easily see what bag I want inside of my yarn closet for any given project.
Stash Problem #2: Where to Put Those WIPs and UFOs.
Some of you may already have a terrific sense of organization when it comes to your yarn but perhaps your problem is what to do with the WIPs. A lot of crocheters keep tons and tons of different projects going at once. And I think almost all of us have those ones we started, definitely want to finish someday but just aren’t feeling right now. Where should they go?
If you’re lucky enough to have a craft room then you can put those unfinished pieces into a section of your craft room. If not, you may have to store them in various drawers and closets. Putting them into bags is really smart, especially if you’re organized enough to include all of the following in those bags:
- The hook you started with
- The entire set of yarn you need for the complete project
- The pattern
If you’re not using clear bags then you may want to use a labeler to put a note about the WIP on the outside of the bag so that you can easily recall what it is when you’re looking for it again in the future. Labeling your projects in bags like this can also be really helpful if you’re taking multiple WIPs with you traveling and want to pack them for easy retrieval.
Stash Problem #3: Hooks and Notions
In January I asked a few “crochet questions of the day” related to hooks including how to organize them and how many was too many. The answers are different for everyone. If you’re one of those people who has hundreds of crochet hooks then this might be part of your stash problem.
A lot of people like to display their crochet hooks. However, you may need to put some of your crochet hooks away in storage. Figure out whether you want to organize them by brand, by set, by the material they’re constructed from or by size and then separate them into different containers. Label those clearly so that it’s easy for you to grab the hook you want next time you’re about to start a project!
Stash Problem #4: Patterns, Magazines and Books
Your yarn is put away in neatly labeled and sealed containers. Your hooks are easy to find. Your WIPs and UFOs are manageable. But you’ve got a book problem. Your house is overflowing with crochet books, crochet magazines and even printed out crochet patterns.
Here are some tips:
- Consider going digital. You can organize crochet patterns on your computer and use tools like Ravelry to make it easy to find the patterns that you want when you want them!
- Make a crochet pattern binder for those loose printed out patterns. If you have lots of them, multiple binders that are labeled on the outside for easy organization can be a good choice.
- Separate the crochet books and magazines into their functions. In other words, keep your crochet encyclopedias and stitch dictionaries together and your crochet pattern books together. Do you keep vintage magazines because you love them but don’t actually use the patterns? Those may be in a separate space from the more recent crochet magazine issues that you’ve dog-eared to complete patterns from.
- Rotate what’s out in your physical space. You’re probably only going to work on a few projects at a time so just keep a few crochet pattern books out for that inspiration. Box the others up, label the box and stick it away. Every few months, rotate that out and put the new inspiration in your space!
Stash Problem #5: More Stuff than Space
I think the problem for many of us isn’t the specific type of crochet items and notions and tools that we collect but the fact that we have more of those things than we really have space for them. I know that’s definitely the case for a lot of us urban crafty girls here in San Francisco where storage space is so incredibly limited. I advocate streamlining and decluttering as much as possible then after that finding a good labeling system that allows you to easily find what you’re looking for. Craft projects are a lot more fun if the preparation and clean-up for them is simplified!
What makes up the bulk of disorganization in your yarn stash? How can you make a small step to solve that issue today?