Decluttering Your Studio

It’s finally February, which means spring will be here before we know it. And it also means that, along with spring weaving, it’s time for spring cleaning. If your studio and stash are getting out of control and are in desperate need of attention, I would like to suggest the techniques employed by Marie Kondo in her Netflix series, her books, and—my favorite—her manga (affiliate link).

The basic premise of what is known as the KonMari method is to embrace what gives you joy and eliminate what doesn’t. This is rather easy when we’re talking about most yarns. When I look at my collection of 8/2 cotton—all arranged by color of the rainbow—I am filled with joy. When I look at the giant cones of extra-thick, navy-blue and mustard yellow cotton that I have had for 7 years without weaving with even once, I feel guilt. So, I will take them to the thrift store, where they can find a new home with somebody who will find joy in what they have to offer. I suggest you approach your stash the same way—look at your yarns, individually or in groupings, and figure out what you really love and what you’ve kept due to some unknown obligation.


Christina’s cones of shame before they went in the “to donate” pile. You don’t need to keep yarns because you feel a sense of obligation—get rid of them and make room for something you truly love.

By making this a question of joy, and not how long you’ve held onto a skein or cone, you’ll have an easier time figuring out what needs to go and what can stay. Have a skein of really fun art yarn you’ve not woven with but you smile every time you see it? It stays!

How do we apply this philosophy to tools? Does a bobbin winder really spark joy in anyone? Or, for that matter, a warping board? I would say it’s all a matter of perspective. When you look at your weaving tools and think about their uses, do you feel joy? When you think about winding a beautiful striped warp or how your bobbin winder makes weaving so much smoother does that give you a sense of joy? I used to wind my bobbins using an electric drill—I am N-E-V-E-R going back, so yes, my bobbin winder brings me great joy. Think about the process of weaving in relation to the tool, and I can almost guarantee you’ll find joy in it. And if you don’t—if there’s the fringe twister that always gets stuck when you use it or that one shuttle that just feels wrong in your hand—maybe think about finding the tool a new home. Why keep tools that you avoid?

By going through your studio this way, I think you’ll not only declutter it but also rediscover some of the reasons you love weaving, as well as those items you use, often without a second thought. Maybe you’ll also find some inspiration and finally weave a project with that extra-special skein you’ve been saving for the right project. Of course, if KonMari isn’t for you, Linda Ligon has some other suggestions, including one that involves a bulldozer.

Wishing you joyful weaving!

Featured Image: Christina’s stash of 8/2 cotton never fails to spark joy.

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One Comment

  1. Diane L at 12:04 pm February 8, 2019

    I wish I knew where your thrift store is! As soon as I saw the blue and yellow, I pictured adding a bit of white and making cheerful placemats for my blue kitchen.

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