Yarn Organization Tips and Tricks

Melissa How-To's

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Help! I Have “Crafting ADD”

When I think back to a year ago, it amazes me that I was able to complete any of my crochet projects. I was so unorganized! I was so excited about crocheting that I couldn’t turn my brain off. I was constantly coming up with new design ideas. It felt like I had a ping pong ball in my head. With each new idea I would get this overwhelming feeling that I needed to get to the craft store as soon as possible and find the perfect shade/color/weight/texture yarn for whatever it was I wanted to create. I call this “crafting ADD”.  When you have “crafting ADD” you do things like crochet a really cute bunny hat that ends up being more appropriate for Halloween than Easter because you got bored after attaching the first ear. 

Are YOU a Yarn Hoarder?

Okay, if you’re looking at your yarn stash and thinking it might be time for yarn hoarders anonymous, don’t fret. You’re not the only one that is on a first name basis with all of the cashiers at your local craft store. I promise. I know how hard it is to resist! Yarn just looks so pretty. All of those different colors and textures. And let’s be honest, buying yarn isn’t going to break the bank. Have you noticed though, that yarn looks so much prettier at the store than it does after you bring it home? And it’s so much more inspiring at the store. You know what I’m talking about. You stand there in the aisle staring at all those beautiful skeins of yarn and that ping pong ball in your head is going nuts with design ideas. Do you know why? Where are you storing your yarn after you bring it home? Do you toss it in a basket, bin or in a closet to get it out of the way (or to, ahem, hide it from your husband)? If your answer is yes, we need to fix that!

Option 1: Utility Cart

One way to get all of your yarn organized is to get a rolling utility cart that has multiple storage shelves. I know, I know. Utility cart doesn’t sound very appealing. Don’t worry! Here is a picture that I took of my cart. Isn’t it pretty? 

It was great because I could easily see what colors I had to work with. At the time, I didn’t have my own office or space to store my yarn. This cart worked perfectly for me. I would wheel it out of my closet when I was working on a project and just wheel it back in when I was done. No more messy skeins of yarn getting tangled up in a bag or on the floor. I used all three storage shelves for yarn but you could even leave one shelf free for all of your crochet tools (organization tips for tools coming soon). Since this cart is so pretty, I would frequently just leave it out. I really loved the color. I found a very similar looking cart on Amazon: blue storage utility cart. I used the past tense “loved” because my daughter, Ashley, asked to “borrow” it. It is now in the kids play room filled with My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop toys. 

If you’re sitting there thinking “yeah right, I would need five of those carts to get my yarn stash organized”, don’t worry. I have the perfect solution for you. I know it works perfectly because it’s how I organize my own yarn. After a few months of wheeling my cart around, which in the end had bags full of more yarn hanging off the ends, my husband began finishing a room in our basement for me. He’s quite handy. A couple months, some flooring, a dozen sheets of dry wall, a gallon of paint and lots of hard work later and I finally had my very own space. I was so excited. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to optimize the space since the room isn’t very large. I knew I wanted my yarn to look like it was on display but I also wanted it to be practical. I didn’t want a regular bookshelf because the shelves are too long. My goal was to find a piece of furniture that was tall (I didn’t want to waste too much space above the shelf) and had smaller “compartments” so I could organize my yarn by colors, brand and weight. The moment I set eyes on this shelf, I knew it was perfect. Here’s a picture of what I like to call, my “Zen Den”.

Option 2: Cube Shelf

This shelf works perfectly for storing all of my yarn, tools, supplies and bookkeeping. You can find a similar 25 cube shelf on Amazon: 25 cube storage bookcase. The organizing possibilities are endless with this shelf. I have since added cube baskets in the bottom row and I use two of the top cubes to store my books and binders. If you have one wall of space to use for your yarn hobby, this is the best way to utilize that space. If your wall can’t accommodate such a large shelf, there are smaller cube shelves on Amazon: 16 cube, 12 cube9 cube , 8 cube, 6 cube, 4 cube, 3 cube.  Once your shelf is assembled and you are ready to fill those cubes with your beautiful yarn stash, keep these tips in mind: 

Organization Tips

Tip #1

Organize your yarn by color and weight. Why this is helpful: If your crochet pattern calls for a red worsted weight yarn, you aren’t going to sub a red bulky yarn or a blue worsted yarn.  Keep your similar yarn weights and colors together. That way, when you need a red worsted weight yarn, you go to that cube (if you also follow tip #2 your cube will likely have red, orange, yellow and pink worsted weight yarns) and since you already know the yarn weight is correct, you can simply decide which shade of red will work best for your crochet project.

Tip #2

Organize colors in the order they show up in the rainbow. Why this is helpful: Colors appear on a spectrum. It is easier to compare and choose the perfect shade of blue when you compare it to other blues, greens and purples. Holding up a skein of blue yarn against a bright orange won’t help you determine if the shade of blue is more aqua or turquoise. This is especially helpful if your yarn is stored in a room where you don’t have a lot of sunlight.  

Tip #3

Wrap those yarn ends around your yarn and tidy it up before it goes on the shelf. Why this is helpful: You are finally getting your yarn stash organized. Spend more time in the beginning to save yourself aggravation down the road. It only takes one long tail to cause a big mess.

Tip #4

For fur yarn and yarns that tend to shed, place them in a clear gallon sized bag. Seal it and poke a hole through one of the corners to get the extra air out. Why this is helpful: You don’t want those little lint pieces all over the rest of your yarn. If you catch those while crocheting and they get looped into a double crochet, you’ll be pulling them out with tweezers later. And you don’t have time for that.

Tip #5

In addition to color and weight, organize your yarn by brand. If you are loyal to one brand, just skip this tip. In my photo you can see that the top row and the second row both have yarn that is organized by color (I started with red/orange/yellow in the exterior cube because I wasn’t sure how many cubes I would fill). Those two rows of yarn are both worsted weight but they are different brands. A worsted weight in one brand can vary greatly from another brand. This is why I stress the importance of checking your gauge in my patterns.  Since I had so many skeins of yarn from two different brands, it made sense for me to separate them. 

I hope this post inspires you to get your yarn stashes organized so you can spend less time untangling messes and more time being creative. I’d love to hear from you all!

If you like the mannequin dress form that I have in my Zen Den (it’s perfect for photographing crochet scarves) here is a similar one from Amazon: mannequin.