Stash Control and a New Shelf

I don’t know about you, but I love to have all of my spinning stash around me. Well, a lot of it anyway. I’m lucky enough to have a family that understands the need for piles of stash.

We have an inactive fireplace in our family room that I have claimed , using the hearth as my stash home. Not in any organized fashion, mind you. Though I organize it periodically, it never stays that way. It’s subject to whims, shopping trips and current deadline projects.

Um, where's the fireplace?

Because I know you’ll understand, here is an un-doctored, un-neatened photo of my fireplace stash.

You spinners who are in long term relationships know what’s coming, right? My husband wants the fireplace back, all of it.

I really don’t need all of that space and now we have a mischievous puppy, so my stash and tools should be more contained.

Are you kidding me?!

We surveyed the rooms and spaces on our main floor and came up with this for me.

Yep, that’s my stash space. It’s 6 feet tall and those shelves are only 12″ wide. Of course, I may take out all of the shelves and just stuff fiber from top to bottom, we’ll see.

I do have secondary stash storage (don’t pretend that you don’t) in the basement, so I have a place for the overflow to go. But some days, many days actually, it’s about surrounding yourself with your fuzzy love.

This also means I need to organize my basement stash (again) to be able to find anything.

What tips do the more organized, yet still big stashers, have for me?

And my basement stash, 20+ years of yarn, fiber and books?

I’m not showing — a girl needs her fiber secrets, after all.

(542 Posts)

Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website

18 thoughts on “Stash Control and a New Shelf

  1. polinium

    I use hanging closet sweater and shoe organizers to keep most things contained. I keep smaller amounts in the shoe organizer, and larger things in the sweater organizer. You may be able to hang a shower/curtain rod in your basement and use these if you think it’s a good idea.

  2. Sarah

    Couldn’t you spin for and then knit him a sweater or three instead of giving up the fireplace stashing station?

    Yeah, I am in need of some organizing, too.

  3. Latisha

    I have a pretty extensive stash myself, and I just finished adding it to my Ravelry. As I cataloged it, I put the yarn in bins according to weight, then fiber content and labeled the outsides (all of them, top & sides). Most of them are clear so I can see whats in them without tearing them apart, but I do have a few that are not, which I use for yarns I do not use often. I have them stacked in my sewing room (behind sewing and cutting tables and in the closet). My books are all on a shelf in my sewing room, with magazines and booklets in magazine holders, labeled according to craft, then type. (I could only catalog less than a quarter of them…) Handouts/printouts are in binders, in page protectors that are labeled according to craft, then by type also. So that I don’t loose or ruin my books, I make copies of the patterns I need and put them in my bag(s) with the project, that way, I can write notes on them as well. Project bags have a central place in what was supposed to be a towel bin, in the living room where I can drop in and take out when I want to trade out what I am working on by the day, hour, room, trip…

  4. Wool Free and Lovin' Knit

    I live in a very small space so your new shelf (just for stash) makes me most jealous LOL. I use canvas sweater bags with clear zippered tops to store stash as they slide easily under the couch out of sight but when I want to look at my yarn I can easily pull them out and see what I have. I also just purchased the Nantucket Diddy Bag for all my knitting tools — LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!

  5. Jen

    I organize mine according to color more than anything because that’s how my mind works. I use the bread bags you can buy at any store – they come 75 in a box for $2 or so. The bags will hold about six balls of yarn. I haven’t quite figured out exactly what to do with the unspun fiber. It’s starting to take over!

    The other thing I do is have a large basket with WIPs and soon to makes resting in it. I keep this beside my wheel, which is beside my bed and beside my stash – I like sleeping with fibery goodness surrounding me! I keep knitting and spinning projects in the basket waiting for love!

    I need some fiber coralling tips too!

  6. JasmineBlossom

    There is this neat storage bin contraption from IKEA which hanges/stands on the wall of any hallway. The height of it is from about shoulder to floor, and I am guessing you can make the bins (connecting them of course) as long as you want. It is called a hallway shoe cabinet, and it looks cool.

  7. nikkapotamus

    for my viewable stash, I use pretty ceramic bowls. Some that I’ve made, some that others have made. It means they are out and pretty and I can pet them when I want. The rest is in several totes/chests in various locations including (but not limited to) my attic, my bedroom, the living room, and wherever else I may need a fluffy pick me up 🙂

  8. Ash

    I feel you, sister. After I followed for a year, I finally got the guts to tackle my stash with clear plastic bins (of many sizes) and labels/index cards. I can’t tell you the peace I feel every time I open my office closet and my stash is there waiting for me!

    I did some searching around The Unclutterer. It’s run by a knitter! Some possible resources and ideas: (with link to pictures of yarn stash) (resources for all kinds of hobbies, including yarn/fiber) (photo of amazingly organized stash)

    One person in the forums also suggested using a dresser. I really like that idea.

  9. Julie

    I have a closet dedicated for my stash; it includes various bins, boxes, and bags. It’s primary feature is a door which does double duty of keeping out the cats (and cat hair), and hiding the stash which is not well organized in an aesthetically pleasing way. Anything outside of the closet is a WIP (or about to become a WIP).

  10. Barb Thames

    My best move in the organizing of stash was to buy a hat/coat stand. Nice oak to go with the living room furniture and it holds tons of project bags — both those really in progress and those just thought about.

  11. Robin

    I love your new stash space! I have a very small condo, so my stash is contain in half an armoire….with my other big love, books. It’s not ideal, but until I can convince my family that they don’t need extra towels and sheets (and I can steal the linen closet), it will have to do:)

  12. Erin

    Eh, who needs a fireplace anyway? My stash was pretty well under control in a 12-cubby structure that I picked up for a song at Costco. Organized by color on the farthest wall so I could gaze on it from all angles. I love being surrounded by all that color! Ah! And then…I took up spinning. Oh lordy. I need another 12-cubby structure to attache to the top of the other 12-cubby structure (it’s modular). I feel inspired to re-organize again. Ya, thanks, Jillian, there goes my weekend 😉

  13. Melissa

    Agreed with the shoe organizers from Ikea. Mine is the kind that hangs from the closet rod, and has pockets to stuff with fibery goodness. Mine cost on the order of $3 apiece!

  14. Kelly

    Mine’s almost identical to yours. In my office I’ve a tall shelf thingy that’s narrow and has 4 levels to it – each level gets a different category (knitting books/mags, sock yarn, projects in que, etc). I also utilize the top as a shelf and stuff some things underneath. I’ve been thinking of picking up some clear/opaque bins to fit inside since yarn does fall out sometimes when I’m digging.

    I’ve also got a large bin in the basement that holds my overflow and stuff I won’t be using for a while.

    Currant projects are on a shelf my hubby built for our kitchen counter (keeps them instantly available but off the spill-prone surface) that holds 3-5 projects on the go (I store stuff in gallon sized ziplock bags – keeps the cats out).

    It’s not terribly organized, if I think about it, but maybe that’s the point. If it were organized I’d feel pressure to knit more of it up instead of being held off because of the chaos. 😛

  15. Seanna Lea

    I have a hanging closet organizer, which mostly has yarn in sweater lots. I have a plastic drawer organizer that is full of lace weight and sock weight yarns (mostly), and at least two other things that contain yarn. I would not say that any of these are technically organized, and I will be looking forward to any better options you come up with.

  16. CONNIE

    I use bookshelves and clear plastic totes. I separated all my books by subject (socks, lace, stitch dictionaries etc) then my very organized friend with a knack for decoration, Penny, lined them up by size in each category and put all the spines flush with each other. One shelf they’re standing upright, the next shelf they’re laying down, with odd sized books facing so you can see the cover.That made a HUGE difference! If you’ve a very organized friend, enlist their help! I also bought some rectangular wicker baskets lined with material to hold odds & ends of fiber, yarn & tools on the bookshelves. The organization made my hodge-podge collection look designer (thanks to Penny). Everything else is corralled in the clear plastic totes by category – fleeces, worsted weight yarn, sock yarn. Those are stacked neatly in an antique bed frame complete with headboard & footboard with a quilt thrown over the top. Accessible in a moment, but neatly out of site (camoflage at it’s best) Yes, some was outright purged (yarn & colors have changed in 20 years – it’s OK to donate or throw it out if you’ll never use it and don’t love it) but I’ve yet to miss anything and I have a “craft room” now, not a “craft disaster”. A large wicker basket on the floor holds WIPs (work in progress) in clear ziploc bags. Good luck to you and do enlist the help of an organized friend – makes for a fun afternoon and their objectivity helps you part with sch-tuff you might not get rid of on your own.

  17. Pat Dixon

    When I havehad to purge my fabric or yarn stash..I always find a person new to knitting to take over the bounty..It is amazing how my vintage stash come out so beautiful in some one else hands..

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