So I spent the weekend cleaning some things out in my home and one of my favorite things to go through is my stash. I do not keep a big stash, except for all of the yarn at 490 Lighthouse, but I do go through it at least once a year. So here are my very rules for cleaning out my stash:
I empty everything on to my dining room table – Every bin, every project bag and every little bit of leftover yarn.
Then I arrange all of the yarn by weight. That allows me to look at each skein and make some quick decisions. I get rid of quite a bit in this process. The question, "What was I thinking?", comes up a lot during this process.
I do keep some partial skeins of yarn. I have to love the fiber, the color and see it mixed into another project. Sometime you just need a bit of something for a pop and this part of your stash is a great place to look. Also, if I have knit a sweater that I wear a lot, I will keep a bit of leftover yarn for it. You never know when something might get snagged or worn out.
All my partial skeins are put into a couple of small bins.
Then I get realistic - Does it spark joy? I don't mean to get all Marie Kondo on you but this is the most important question. When you hold the skein(s) in your hand does it make you truly happy. Do you love the color, the fiber content, and imagining what the skein will become? If the answer is no, give it to a friend or donate it. Someone else may love it and make it into their favorite accessory or garment. If I don't love it, I don't keep it.
Figure out how you want to organize your stash. Some people like to keep it on a shelf (or shelves) in their home so they are inspired by the color. For me, I like it packed away and labeled. I put the skeins in plastic bins and keep them tightly sealed. The bins live in a large wooden cupboard in the house along with my swift and ball winder.
My projects in time out live in the same cupboard. I have a basic rule, if it is not knit on sometime in the year, I re-skein the yarn and find another project for it or donate it.
We get a lot of questions as to where to donate your yarn. As few places I call are:
1 - Senior Centers: a lot of senior centers have active knitting groups and many knit for charity.
2 - Assisted Living Facilities: Many residents knit or can use the yarn for crafts.
3 - Schools: Some schools, Waldorf and Montessori especially, teach children to knit or crochet. Yarn can also be used for craft projects.
4 - Thrift Stores: Some thrift stores take full skeins of yarn.
5 - Knitting for charity website recommends a couple of Ravelry Groups:
"There are three fantastic groups on Ravelry where you can unload excess yarn:
- ISO and Destash of Yarn–for people living in the United States
- Yarncycle–a group where members can unload yarn (and/or pick up free yarn), based upon the principles of Freecycle
- In addition, the Charity Knitting forum now offers an “Items to Donate/Requesting Items” thread, where members can offer their extra yarn or supplies to anyone knitting for charity who needs it."