6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Yarn Stash

The act of spring cleaning is a gratifying and cathartic one. Cleaning and organizing all your belongings once a year mitigates the buildup of clutter and dirt in your home, and the process itself can be pretty enjoyable and therapeutic. Your yarn stash should not be exempt from your spring cleaning efforts. We all have more yarn than we’ll ever get to using, so it’s not a bad idea to pare down your collection once a year to just the essentials. Here are some tips for spring cleaning your yarn stash!

1. Empty ALL of your yarn containers

Gather up all the yarn storage containers you have, and empty them all. Dump out all of your yarn into a big pile on your floor. Why? This will help you see just how much yarn you really have. When it sits in bins and boxes for a long time it’s easy to forget about what’s really in there, and how much space it actually takes up.

2. Go through each skein, one by one

Yes, this is intensive work, but it’s worth it. Sit next to your pile of yarn and go through each skein one at a time. Make multiple piles and distribute the yarn accordingly—one pile for the yarns you plan to keep, one for yarns you no longer want, and one for those which you aren’t completely sure about. Later, split up your yarns you plan to get rid of into more piles according to where they are going. Make a donation pile, a to-sell pile for nicer yarns, and a pile for yarns you plan to give away to people you know will like those yarns.

3. Make bold decisions

Keep the yarn that is most important to you. Forget the rest. We all end up with yarn we’re not super thrilled about, but getting rid of it somehow feels blasphemous. If you aren’t psyched about it, there is probably someone out there who will be, so don’t make yourself keep it if you really don’t feel like you’ll ever knit anything with it. Keep your very favorite and best yarns that make you excited, and let the rest go. Chances are you won’t remember the yarn you tossed even a month from now.

4. Be realistic

What type of yarn do you typically knit with? How much of your stash is made up of yarns that you know deep down you’ll never make anything out of? You might have some beautiful skeins that you love but unless you really think you’ll knit something with them, take them out of your stash. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to totally get rid of it—if you love how it looks, put it on display somewhere in your home. If it’s something you liked at one time but it no longer tickles your fancy, say “Bye bye!”

5. Figure out an organizational system that works for you

How much space do you have for your yarn? Can you put it on display in a common part of your home, or does it have to go into a more secluded storage place? What containers do you already have that you can use? Consolidate the best you can and decide how you want to organize it. Once you have an organizational system, stick to it! If you decide to change up how you organize it down the line, it will be easy because you’ll know exactly where everything already is.

6. Set a space limit

I keep my yarn in a medium-sized barrister bookcase I found on Craigslist four years ago. My biggest yarn stash rule is that all of the yarn I have at any given time needs to fit into the bookcase. If it’s bursting at the seams or I have other yarn strewn about, I know it’s time to pare down what I have. I keep only my most essential yarn in the case, so there is usually space to add something from time to time. Set a space limit for yourself so when things start to overflow you know it’s time to go through everything.

What is your system for keeping your yarn stash organized and minimal?

Happy spring cleaning,

Bust that stash with these spring and summer patterns: