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February 25, 2005

How I Organized My Stash

A bunch of you have asked how I went about organizing my stash. I don't think I did anything particularly noteworthy, but since you asked, here ya go!

I started by pulling out the bins that I had already started filling with my stash over the summer. They were partially full.

Then, I gathered up yarn I had stored elsewhere throughout the house. Mostly they were in bags or boxes. I stacked them up all around me, keeping them in some sort of order (e.g., sock weight, full sweaters, yarn for felting, cottons and summer-weight yarn all in separate heaps).

Then I created a spreadsheet with columns entitled Name, Yardage (this is per skein yardage), Fiber content, Color (I listed both color number and a descriptive name if it was helpful), Number of balls (I went down to half balls if appropriate), Notes (e.g., gift from so-and-so, bought for Mom's scarf but she didn't like it, etc.), and Total Yardage (this column is calculated based on yardage and number of balls). If I were to do this again I would add another column -- bin number. This way I wouldn't have to hunt around to find the yarn I now know I have!

Here's a copy of the spreadsheet template I used. I've left 4 entries in there so you can see how I used it.

I then started with one of the bins and took all the yarn out. As I gathered the yarn together I input what I had one-by-one and put them on the other side of the room. I didn't put the yarn back in the bins until I had quite a bit of the yarn catalogued. This allowed me to see how to best group the yarn to fit well into the bins.

About halfway through this process I had to go out to Target and buy 4 more bins. Yes, that's double the number I thought I would need. Oh -- my bins are clear and I find it really helpful so I can see what's in them.

After a couple of weeks I decided I wanted to use this to keep a running inventory of my stash as well. So I added columns in the spreadsheet to keep track of each month's usage. The way it works is you type the number of balls you've used into the month name column (e.g., February) and the spreadsheet automatically calculates the new totals. It's been fun to see the numbers going down (albeit slowly). I also anticipate using it when I have a new project in mind to see what I have in my stash that's appropriate.

That's pretty much it. Was this helpful? Feel free to download the spreadsheet and use it to your liking. If you have other suggestions or come up with better ways I'd love to hear about them.

February 25, 2005 in Tips & Techniques | Permalink

Comments

Thanks for the spreadsheet. I'm in the process of organizing my stash (as I don't feel like knitting), and wanted to do the same. Now, all I have to do is update your spreadsheet template.

I will add one thing - which is, to keep track of my swatches, especially yarn I use frequently. This way, I can look it up instead of trying to remember, or worse just guess.

Thanks again.

Posted by: lisa | Feb 25, 2005 1:48:08 PM

Oh my, you are so organized. I just have them all in bins by type of yarn or project. I never thought of a spreadsheet. I'm going to use yours (someday) LOL

Posted by: Margene | Feb 25, 2005 1:50:44 PM

The spread sheet is great. Unfortunately I don't think I have enough yarn to justify this, probably less than 50 total balls/skeins. Just an FYI, the number of balls total calculation leaves out the first line. This only changes your total by .6 so it's no big deal but I'd thought I'd let you know.

Posted by: Jayme | Feb 25, 2005 1:56:58 PM

I find it also useful to write down where the yarn is stored. Maybe that's less of an issue when you have all your yarn in bins. And speaking of, where are your 8 bins stored? Do you have one big closet for them?

Posted by: Lauren | Feb 25, 2005 2:23:08 PM

WOW! Great organization - thanks for sharing the spreadsheet, too!

Posted by: Jackie | Feb 25, 2005 4:15:42 PM

I like the way you're keeping track of yarn usage, I think I'll have to add that to my sheet.

One suggestion - I found it helpful to keep track of yarn gauge and suggested needles, so if I see a pattern that I like, I can look through the spreadsheet to see if I have something at that gauge.

Posted by: Kris | Feb 25, 2005 6:04:34 PM

what a fantasic spreadsheet. thanks for sharing it.

Posted by: froggy | Feb 25, 2005 6:44:15 PM

thanks for posting this. it's always great to see the approach someone else has taken. one other thing we did when we organized ours a while back (we need to do it AGAIN now) was to number our bins and tag each entry in our database with the appropriate bin number to help in locating stuff later.

Posted by: amy | Feb 25, 2005 8:13:27 PM

It looks like we had the same idea. I did take a little bit further. I printed my inventory, placed them in sheet protectors, and put them within the bins. That way I don't have to go to my computer to see what yarn is in which bin. No more rummaging!

Posted by: Erica | Feb 25, 2005 11:52:29 PM

Thanks for posting this spreadsheet! It very helpful. It gives me a better sense of what I actually have, so I don't feel compelled to run to the yarn store all the time. Great for curbing yarn-spending!

Posted by: Diana | Mar 9, 2005 10:51:28 AM

I do the same thing, only I'm really crazy, so I take it a few steps further by adding columns for color, dyelot, recommended needle size and gauge, and then my personal needle size and gauge if I've used the yarn before. That way I can sort by gauge if there's a project that I'm searching for yarn for. Scarily, I have yarn furniture - Magiker from Ikea. The glass doors let you see in, but unfortunately the shelves are deep enough that some of the stuff in the back gets obscured. I've already resigned myself to the fact that I can't possibly knit everything I have and that I will inevitably buy more. I just do the buying slowly...

Posted by: Julia | Mar 28, 2005 8:28:49 AM

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