I’m not exactly the tidiest of people. I would love to be tidy, but I always seem to have too much stuff for the space available and end up with things stacked in corners or underneath furniture or piled on the corners of tables and the tops of bookcases and even on the staircase (we are having our bathroom done this week, and the need to clear the staircase to enable the workmen to carry things up and down safely has revealed that there were an awful lot of things – mobile phone boxes, old chargers and so on – which had more or less taken up permanent residence on the bottom few steps of our stairs because there didn’t seem to be any other sensible place for them). On the other hand, I am quite organised; I have a good memory and efficient filing systems and can generally lay my hands on any given item fairly quickly, whether that be books and items of clothing in my house or files and paperwork in the office.
I think the key thing to being organised when overwhelmed by Stuff is systems. As long as I have a good system then I can narrow down the possible location of the thing I want closely enough that it doesn’t take me very long to search it.
My stash is definitely approaching overwhelming proportions these days. Fortunately, when I first joined Ravelry it wasn’t terribly big and I spent a Sunday uploading photographs and logging everything on there. This has been hugely helpful; now whenever new yarn arrives in the house (which happens with quite alarming regularity) I photograph it and log it on Rav before putting it away.
As to the actual ‘putting it away’…well, jumper quantities of yarn are easy, because they can be stored in plastic bags which can be stacked up (mainly behind the coffee-table at my end of the sofa) and are large enough not to get lost. Individual skeins of 4-ply and laceweight yarn are a bit harder, because they need to be kept in something, so I have (currently) five large lidded plastic boxes which stack on top of each other and each hold quite a lot of yarn. I started with three boxes, and have bought more as I needed them, so for a while tended to simply add new yarn to the top box, but I found that it was impossible to keep track of which yarn was in which box and it was taking me far too long to find skeins of yarn I knew I had. I needed a system with more granularity, so a couple of months ago I decided to reorganise things a bit.
I started by emptying all the yarn out of the boxes onto the bed:
Even if I had ended up with a system that wasn’t any better than I had before, I think it would have been worth doing just for the sheer glory of seeing all my yarn spread out like that. Such wonderful colours and textures!
However, once I had emptied everything out I arranged the boxes around the bed and proceeded to put the yarn back according to a system. One box for laceweight, one for Yarn Yard sock yarn, one for Knitting Goddess sock yarn, one for sock yarn from other UK indie dyers, and one for commercial sock yarn, non-UK indie dyers and the few skeins of heavier yarns I’ve bought thinking that they might be nice for hats or thicker shawls and scarves.
Some of the boxes are a bit full, but it just about fits.
The left-hand stack, from the top down, is Knitting Goddess; UK indie dyers; Yarn Yard; commercial, non-UK and heavier weights. The box on the right is laceweight.
And now, whenever I want to find a yarn I know I have stashed I can go to the right box first time and find it in less than five minutes, instead of having to hunt through every box and never being quite sure I haven’t missed it without emptying the whole lot out!