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How to Tackle Yarn Storage & Organization

How to Tackle Yarn Storage & Organization

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking a lot about yarn. It started with showing you guys my last Craftsy yarn haul, then teaching you how to read yarn labels (and why you should), and most recently, how to use a ball winder for your yarn. There are two more topics I want to cover in what I’m dubbing the “All About Yarn” series and one of those is how to tackle yarn storage and organization for small spaces. Everyone is different, but if you’re looking for ideas on how to deal with yarn storage, or just interested in seeing how I store, organize and maintain my stash, this is the post for you!

Yarn Storage and organization

Yarn Storage Overview

Now, I have a pretty decent stash. It’s not as grand and drool-worthy as some of the stashes I’ve seen on Pinterest, but it’s not small either.  I try to buy yarn as I need it or with specific projects in mind, so I don’t end up with loads of yarn I don’t know what to do with. But still, sometimes a pretty skein is too good to pass up!

I keep all of my yarn in my closet, and I have it organized into bins and drawers. I spend a lot of time in here, just hanging out, working on projects, or staying up late reading, so I needed a system that wouldn’t make the room feel cluttered. My solution was to store yarn in bins that hid the yarn but kept it organized.

I also use two Sterilite 3-drawer carts as yarn storage. These hold the yarn that I reach for most often and ones that come in smaller balls. These carts are cheap, but they’re amazing: they hold so much more than you would expect them to, and they can be moved around or customized with spray paint. I left mine white, but I will go into detail about what’s in each drawer (and bin) and what I do to make sure it’s all tangle-free.

Organizing The Drawers

Yarn Storage and organization

Drawer #1

The drawers of this cart come out too, by the way, so it was easy to take them out and show you one by one. The picture above is what I call my “KnitPicks Drawer”. The last row is a mix of yarns, but the rest are all Knit Picks Brava and this drawer easily holds 12 balls of yarn. I could probably fit more if I wanted to wedge them in, but they fit perfectly. Each ball is shorter than the drawer, so they can stand up and look super neat and clean from the top, but I can still see all of them at a glance.

Yarn Storage and organization

Drawer #2

This drawer holds most of my smaller, full balls of yarn. Most of these are DK weight, and then there are a few I’m saving for something special. The teal in the top right corner is leftover from my Snorlax project, the blue and purple are ones I’m not quite sure what to do with, but I have some ideas for them. I have two bigger skeins in there as well just because they fit that space. There are a total of 19 balls of yarn in this one drawer! I’m telling you, they don’t look like much, but they are the key to yarn storage!

Yarn Storage and organization

Drawer #3

This drawer is less full. It holds the leftover full skeins I got for my Rameeze Knit Baby Blanket Pattern and the Hudson Baby Crocheted Blanket Pattern. When I had more of those skeins, this drawer could hold 11 full skeins like this. How crazy is that! You can even see how these four sit perfectly in the drawer and there’s no wasted space, and no squishing. The ball on top is Knit Picks Capra DK yarn. I had something I wanted to make but it got too warm for it, so I’ll revisit the idea after summer.

Yarn Storage and organization

Related: Rameez Blanket Knitting Pattern

Related: Hudson Baby Blanket Pattern

Drawer #4

The drawers below are amazing examples of why I love my ball winder so much. It changes my yarn storage into something so neat and easy to manage, even with used skeins. I have a full post on how to use it and my review of it here.

The 5 black and brown yarn in this drawer are my Cloudborn Superwash Merino Bulky (discontinued) yarns, and they came in 100g hanks. I used them for a blanket idea, changed my mind about using this incredible yarn for a blanket, and frogged the whole thing. I used my ball winder to wrap each color into a nice little cake and now they look like this!

Isn’t that SO much better than the hank form? Which would you rather see in your yarn storage? I ended up making some thick cozy scarves with this yarn! This drawer also has some other leftovers I wound up and a few things of crochet thread which I don’t use, and probably never will.

Yarn Storage and organization

Related: Cookies & Cream Infinity Scarf Pattern

Drawer #5

This is my favorite drawer. It’s just so perfect. The first 5 yarns are the leftover Knit Picks Brava that I used for my Mocha Ripple Throw. Those cakes of yarn are actually made up of remnants from 5 balls of each color, but I used my ball winder and joined the ends of each ball to make one cake each. This way, I can see exactly how much there is rather than guessing if there are enough scraps. The yellow one in the corner is leftover from my Lemonade Scarf. All the other yarns outside the box are meant to go in too, but they’re on the side so you can see everything.

Yarn Storage and organization

Related: Lemonade Scarf Pattern

Related: Mocha Ripple Throw Pattern

Drawer #6

This is the last drawer and it’s a mix of smaller finished items and scraps. These are all scraps that are too small to bother using the ball winder with, but there’s enough to actually make something with or use as embellishments. This drawer is the one I make sure to maintain the most carefully.

Sometimes, we tend to keep scraps that can’t make much, scraps so short you can’t really even crochet 5 rows with it. I try to use those up rather than keep them in my yarn storage, or I’ll just toss them out. There’s no point in keeping little bits like that and those are the ones that make tangling an issue. So, if I can make a flower or a bow with it, I keep it. Otherwise, it’s out.

Yarn Storage and organization

Related: 20+ Free Crochet Flower Patterns

Also in this drawer are my yarn bobbins with the yarn they hold. These have fine or superfine yarn on them from something I did a long time ago. There’s actually a lot on them, but finer yarn like this also gets tangled and unraveled easily, so these bobbins help control that. They can also be used when you’re doing colorwork and need to keep the working colors separate. The best part about these, though, is that they stack and click together.

Yarn Storage and organization

More Yarn Bins

I also have several fabric bins lined up along the top shelves in my closet, and most of those are for yarn storage. Some of them have other stuff in them, like puzzles and paints, but they’re awesome. Firstly, they’re all the same and look cohesive. Second, they’re deep and hold a lot. And thirdly, they’re cheap.

Each bin is just a few dollars and they come in so many colors, so they’ll match any room. You can get them here. There are even some with chalkboard sides that you can write on! I stuck to simple gray ones.

The ones in the pictures are from my Dollar Tree, and they do the job, but the ones I’m linking and recommending are a bit better. They’re sturdier and made of thicker stuff than the Dollar Tree ones, and the color options are amazing. Either way, collapsible fabric bins are super useful. Here’s what I keep in mine.

Bin #1

My first bin has my “neutrals” in it. I like to keep some black and white yarn on hand at all times because you always need them for something. So I always have the Caron One Pound or the Lion Brand Pound of Love in my yarn stash in black and white. This also has a tan color from a sweater I made for myself, but it’s another useful neutral color.

Yarn Storage and organization

Bin #2

My bins are organized by type of yarn, but it’s mostly about what I intend to use them for. You’ll see the trend, but it’s split up by what project I have in mind for them. This bin has my Sprightly yarn in it. This bin is deep, so the yarn is actually in layers. I have 12 of the balls in here, and the other 2 in another bin, which I will get to.

Related: Easiest Crochet Cardigan Kit

Bin #3

This third bin has the two remaining Sprightly yarn and my Bernat Softee Chunky yarn. These are going to end up as a baby blanket, but for now, they’re just hanging out in here. This bin holds 9 big skeins right now, but I can easily add a second layer on top.

Yarn Storage and organization

Bin #4

This bin is a little bulging on the sides, but I didn’t want to separate them! It’s really just because I stuck that half-used blue in there. Anyways, this is what I call my “Pokemon Bin”. Back in October, my niece and nephews asked me to make them a bunch of Pokemon, so I picked out all the colors and kept them together so I didn’t accidentally use them. They are all the Crafter’s Secret from Hobby Lobby, except the white with the gold ribbon.

Yarn Storage and organization

The Current Project Bin

My last bin is where I keep everything I’m currently working on. This bin lives under my desk. I change the contents of this bin a lot, replacing it with new yarn each time I start a project. I also take whatever leftovers I have and wind it up or add it to my leftovers drawer. It’s also where I keep my needle/hook case so it’s always on hand. This bin is sturdier than my other ones and although it’s smaller, it has great handles which makes it easy to take with me if I want to work somewhere else.

Yarn Storage and organization

Embroidery Floss

Last but not least in my yarn storage is my embroidery floss. In middle school, my sister made a lot of macrame friendship bracelets using this embroidery floss. So we bought a lot of it then. Since she doesn’t make those bracelets anymore, she gave me the embroidery floss she had and now I use it to add details to my plushies. The pinks, whites, and black are especially good for adding on noses and eyes. They’re also great for sewing crocheted pieces together if you have the matching color. I keep this container on top of my storage carts.

Check out some of the freebies below to help you with yarn storage, organizing your stash and WIPs!

Figuring out yarn storage is different for everyone, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have as much yarn as others or you have more than what you know what to do with. I wrote this post in 2018 when this was my entire stash, but it’s grown since then and I had to come up with new ways to store my yarn. I actually did a video so you can see me set up my yarn room here.

Yarn Storage Recap

That’s all of my yarn storage and organization! Let’s just quickly recap everything you need to take away from this post and make it more bite-sized:

  • Use storage carts and collapsible bins!
  • Buy new yarn with projects in mind to avoid too much excess.
  • GET A BALL WINDER! It’s only $20 and you’ll use it forever.
  • Throw away little bits/scraps. You won’t use them and they’re taking up space.
  • Keep a current project bin to help organize your work.
  • Use vacuum bags from the dollar store if you need to save even MORE space!

That’s it for today, guys. If you want to see how I store my supplies, let me know in the comments! Until then, be sure to subscribe down below and you’ll get access to the weekly newsletter for post updates, yarn sales, and subscriber-only bonuses in the resource library. Thanks for reading! In the comments, let me know how you store and organize your yarn. 

See you soon!


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Shehla | The Blue Elephants

Thursday 25th of May 2017

Thank you! I love bins too, there's so handy and affordable. That sounds awesome, I'll check it out. Sorry for the later reply, I wasn't getting comment notifications !

Leanna Forsythe

Monday 15th of May 2017

Last fall I was going through my storage closet and was shocked to find that I had a large garbage bag of wool left over. I got busy and crocheted some projects but I still have so much left. Great simple ideas I need to make some bins for mine as well. Thanks for the share.

Shehla | The Blue Elephants

Monday 15th of May 2017

I'm glad you found it helpful! Bins help so much and it's easy to adjust as your stash grows/shrinks. Make to get collapsible bins if you're low on space, then you can just store the extra until you need them.

DearCreatives.com

Thursday 11th of May 2017

Love how you organized all your stash! Was great to catch up with you today. Pinned & sharing Thanks for joining the Inspiration Spotlight party.

Shehla | The Blue Elephants

Saturday 13th of May 2017

Thank you! It took a while to figure out the right system, but it's worth it!

Pili Gomez

Thursday 11th of May 2017

Love the amount of yarn you have and how colorful it looks all together!

Shehla | The Blue Elephants

Saturday 13th of May 2017

Thank you! I am a huge fan of bright colors :)

cucicucicoo

Tuesday 9th of May 2017

Wow, that's great! My yarn stash is considerably smaller than yours, but it's such a mess! :) Lisa

Shehla | The Blue Elephants

Tuesday 9th of May 2017

It sneaks up on you! Half of this is from recent purchases and I needed to tidy up a bit before finding a home for it. But what I love is that this system is so simple, it work for any size stash!

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