organized threads

Image Details: ‘organized threads’ by jenni waterloo, via Flickr.

I have an inbuilt hatred of being Too Organised. Despite my military background, which you would think would have forced me into being a bit more regimented after several years of loyal service to Queen and country, I find the whole concept of getting things organised to the nth degree suffocating. That is not to say I am a massively disorganised person, because believe it or not I do have a plan (yes, I can hear the wails of protest from here, but stick with me people – especially you, Sal and Kate!) it’s just in my head. I am one of those people whose husband, a lovely gentleman with an acute case of OCD, despairs at them, because my ‘guff’ – books, knitting, general notes and paperwork – is dotted in little piles around the house instead of being put away Nice and Neatly In Its Place. I defy his pleading cries to tidy up, because in my mind this is tidy. I don’t lose things. Ask me where anything is in my house and I can take you straight to it. Granted, it might not be in the most obvious place to most people, but I know where it is. This, I feel, is more important than having stuff neat but not knowing where you have put it so neatly.

I do have occasional bouts of needing to straighten everything up, however. There is usually a trigger for this, and there was this time too. After making my craft room and tidying my stash into nice plastic boxes to keep it safe from the creatures of South Africa, I have now discovered that I am accumulating stash faster than I am knitting it up. I am running out of space in the boxes. I have had to put a bit of sacrificial acrylic on top of the box so I can keep all the fancy stuff inside away from danger. This has prompted me to consider a Big Stash Tidy Up.

I have heard podcasters talk about tidying stash. This fabled talk of putting it all on Ravelry and matching it up to patterns, printing out the pattern and putting it into a little bag with the yarn, ready to be used. I listened in wonderment (whilst stifling a yawn and mincing through the current most popular patterns on Ravelry aimlessly) about how they had done this and thought ‘that will never be me’. Well, I am not going as far as the whole bag thing but I have started to list my stash. I am even going to sort out my queue. Hold the phone people. Or maybe someone should call a doctor. I am clearly unwell. To be fair, given that I have a very limited amount of time for crafting due to my extremely busy toddler, who wants to help with everything, especially if the yarn looks expensive -and who wouldn’t want yoghurt on a skein of Malabrigo, Mama – and if I plan my crafting I can make best use of the available time. Not that mincing on Ravelry is a waste of time, of course.

Organizing my Seed Stash

Image Details: ‘Organizing my Seed Stash’ by Chiot’s Run, via Flickr.

At this point I thought it might be useful to add some handy hints for getting your ducks in a row, in case any of you have felt a sudden mad urge to organise your crafty life.

1) Reaquaint yourself with your stash. I guarantee there will be something in there that you didn’t know you had. You will either think ‘Good grief! What was I thinking when I bought that/ Where the blazes did THAT come from?’ or ‘I can’t believe I left this skein of amazingness rotting, unfulfilled in this box for so long.’

2) Make a list. Either use Ravelry, or knock out a quick excel spreadsheet if you prefer. You could go retro and write it in a notebook, or even on one of those roladex type things that were popular in the 80s. Whatever floats your boat!

3) If you aren’t going to use it, get shut. Don’t hold on to yarn you know you will never use as, whilst I am quite sure it is providing valuable insulation to your craft room, ultimately, it is just taking up space that could be used by something you actually like and will use. Donate it for charity knitting, sell it on eBay, swap it or list it as for sale/swap on Ravelry. Set it free, my friends. Set it free.

4) Categorise. You may wish to sort the remaining yarn by weight, colour or amount. Too anal for me I am afraid. I tend to just put skeins next to each other because they look pretty. I know what I have got and exactly which box it is in. That is how my mind works.

5) Bag it up. Consider putting the yarn and patterns together in a bag ready to go. Again, I can’t bring myself to do this. Although I do store yarn in bags for protection, I keep my patterns in a file, separately. Use your queue to plan your projects on Ravelry if you prefer. My queue is more of a mood board to be fair. I have no intention of even making some of those projects.

6) Pour yourself a stiff drink. You’ve earned it. Don’t feel like you have to tidy the lot in one go, or organise everything down to the last fibre. Just set yourself an achievable goal, such as matching up 5 lots of yarn with a project and leave the rest for your next mad tidying spree.