The difference shelves make

So, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before now, I recently had the excitement of moving to a new apartment and starting a new job all at the same time. This has generally been a very positive move, because although having a day job does drastically cut into my knitting time, having a regular income also greatly increases my ability to afford things, which is pretty freaking amazing.

As moves go, it went pretty well, but one of the holdups has been unpacking my yarn stash. Back in November I managed to get literally everything else unpacked except for my yarn, which has since then still been in the 6-7 large moving boxes it travelled in. It’s also, I realize, been a big reason why I’ve mostly still been knitting on the few larger projects that I started before I moved – the granny square blanket, the Venezia pullover – and a few skeins of sock yarn I pulled out of storage in advance.


As a result I’ve discovered it’s been a lot harder to fully engage with my creative knitting process when I don’t have as easy access to the materials. Sure, they’ve been there in boxes, but it somehow gets a lot harder to pull out a skein of something to swatch up for a new project when you don’t know exactly where that one skein is. Or, even if you still have that one skein anymore, because what if you knitted with it before you moved and just forgot about it?

I finally got some headway on all of this a couple of weekends ago when I got some shelves just for this purpose. (I also needed to make sure I didn’t order anything that wouldn’t fit in the space, which would of course not help matters at all to make that mistake).


Friends, let me tell you how much better it is to be able to see your yarn all in one place. I’ve always enjoyed having an at least slightly organized stash, and let’s face it shelves or some kind of system of plastic bins are probably the most popular way to do that (I hear stories about yarn closets, too, those sound pretty amazing). But it makes such a difference to be able to just see at a glance what I’ve got to work with. The creative process is a strange and loopy thing sometimes so at least removing one barrier helps a huge amount. Also it makes one wonder how many of these IKEA shelves get sold for yarn purposes – by my partial and limited statistical sample of knitter friends, I’m guessing at least 95%. πŸ˜‰

Now I can move on to new challenges – remembering all the great things I had planned for all this yarn, and deciding which to work on first. That is a good problem to have!

How do you like to organize your yarn, knitter friends?

Have a great Tuesday!





  1. carlottaesperanza · ·

    I’m just beginning the process of taking over my daughter’s room for my own office (or lab?). My stash is stashed in the basement, in jars and baskets in the sun room and hidden in an ottoman.
    Now my husband is excited about me moving out of the sunroom, this may actually happen.
    Unfortunately I have to deal with the guilt of taking her space, but she has an apartment near the university she attends.

  2. I have those shoe hangers on the back of my bathroom and bedroom doors full of yarn its amazing how much they hold. the rest is stored in various bags. cannot believe how quickly this can get out of control its as bad as quilting is!

  3. Fortunately, I have my mother’s cedar chest. It holds my woolen fingering weight yarn. The rest is in 3 clear plastic bins, one nearly full of washcloth cotton, one with a few bags of yarn I will put up for sale eventually, and one with yarn for a couple of sweaters. After sticking to a plan to knit from stash, I’m pretty organized. Even the cedar chest is only half full.

  4. I recently posted a blog about this πŸ™‚ However, I think I want to put everything in plastic bags and do just a big more reorganizing into weights of yarn. I bought some cedar / lavender sachets; however still worry about moths and such. I love your shelves!

  5. Caitlyn · ·

    My yarn is currently living in what amounts to a large duffel bag since moving into my first house in November. I’m still trying to figure out whether my crafting will share space with our office or guest room. If I can ever reach a decision about that, I might finally get to embark on buying dedicated knitting and sewing furniture! I have no doubt IKEA will be my first stop. XD

  6. Linda A · ·

    When I first started knitting, I didn’t understand this “stash” thing people were talking about. I wasn’t going to do that. I was going to buy yarn for one project, make it, then go on to the next project. OMG, now I have this out-of-control stash stored in metal slide-out drawers (usually used for office stuff) of varying sizes, stuffed into a file cabinet, hidden in dresser drawers. It’s ridiculous. I still like most of the yarn. It seems, though, projects are my first priority, yarn second, and often what I have on hand, doesn’t meet the needs of the project. Really need to turn that around!
    Glad you and your yarn are settling in.

  7. Of course your stash is excellent, but I want to see a photo of your bitters collection. Damn!

  8. I like that your stash is next to the bar cart. Priorities!
    I have the same shelving unit (just one for now) holding my yarn but the yarn itself is not visible, it’s in those cloth pull-out boxes. I’ll have to consider making it more visible!

  9. I literally JUST bought these shelves myself! I haven’t had a chance to really organize it yet but that’s my plan for the weekend. I got some wine rack inserts that fit perfectly in there. You can see them over at my website or instagram. I was so excited to have a nice place for my yarn and the husband has been very excited for me!

  10. I also went to Ikea – and got one of those hanging mesh storage things meant for toys, which hangs from the underside of my (Ikea) loft bed. It’s perfect storage!

  11. That looks fantastic! I keep mine on shelves too because I get so much inspiration from seeing it, having it easily accessible.

  12. I have those shelves but I used them as head boards for twin beds! Yes they are full of yarn!

  13. Jo Reese · ·

    I am learning new things each week @ my knit club @ the library! I just visited Vulcan’s Rest in Chesapeake City, Md, & highly recommend making a visit there- lots of classes, workshops, and very friendly owners. I know what you mean about shelving- I will be inheriting bookshelves very soon and from your blog I now know how to put them to good use. Currently I am working on a new flexa scarf to wear for my grandson’s christening. Thanks to my very capable knit ladies, I have an easy pattern that will work perfectly with my outfit😌

  14. My stash is stored in these same ikea shelves…plus a bookcase and yarn closet πŸ˜‰… At least it is all in the same room. I loved having the visual treat of having all the yarn in view but I have recently protected them in plastic zip top bags. I know it’s better but I miss really being able to see all the yarn for inspiration.

  15. Funny you post about yarn storage. I plan to spend the weekend going through my bins and bags of yarn in the basement, organizing it by category, and listing which bin it’s in on my Ravelry stash listing so I can find things when I want them, which I can not do now. This may take more than a weekend…

  16. I chose a taller model, but I also have an ikea bookcase to store my yarn, fiver and fabric. So convenient!

  17. My stash is in tubs in various closets. It wouldn’t all fit on your shelves…I’m trying to remedy that by knitting more!

  18. I also have the IKEA expedit, same colour. Mine is 5×5 but I recently had to add two baskets on top for spinning fibre. Being able to see it all helps me buy less.

  19. Putting my yarns on Ravelry has helped me visualise my stash.
    The yarns are stored in numbered boxes, and I use that reference when I add my yarn to my Ravelry stash (under the Stored In field).
    The Ravelry Stash is also very helpful in that you can easily browse through your yarns, search through/filter them, see related patterns, and plan projects for them.
    I’d love to place the yarn on shelves but I’m too concerned about the pesky moths!!

  20. I have the same shelves as you. My yarn is mostly in said shelves in the “guest” room (no one has ever stayed in it). I also have an ottoman for my knitting chair that opens up and I keep rotating stash in there. Sometimes it’s new stuff that I want to touch and look at before shelving it. Sometimes it’s stuff that I’ve pulled out to see if it will work for what I’m wanting to make or will inspire me on what to make.

  21. Hello! Where oh where is your bar cart from? We really like it. Thanks!

  22. Organize yarn? It sort of is… in the upstairs craft room, the closet is all shelves, no hanging rod. On these shelves I have neat and tidy plastic bins from Staples, in several sizes. They hold fabric and yarn. The yarn in these bins is mostly sorted by color, but a few bins hold yarn for projects. I know of two that have “sweaters” in them. Not really sure about the rest… πŸ™‚ Then, downstairs I have a nice big basket which holds a WIP (sweater vest) and several yarn purchases – special yarn! It lives behind the couch. Not sure if this is why the sweater vest isn’t getting done? Then there is a kitchen cart from IKEA also behind the couch (what would we all do without IKEA?) which holds: tools on the bottom (yarn winder, bag of circulars, etc) and a bag of sock yarn scraps which will amount to something someday. Middle holds special yarns purchased with actual projects in mind. Top holds an odd assortment – a cross stitch project WIP, several knitting books and patterns, and a few odds and ends. πŸ™‚ Then there is the coffee table in front of the couch. This has what every other living room in America has on it’s coffee table. Namely a food scale for weighing yarn, a tin of stitch markers, a book of patterns, a small box with the current project in it, and a box of tissues. The linen closet doesn’t want to be left out, and so it has tucked in there a shopping bag of bulky hat yarn, a bin of odds and ends in worsted weight, also for hats, maybe, and a bag that holds my oldest WIP- a zippered sweater vest all completed except the zipper. Been there for a couple of years.

    So while I think it is organized and that I can put my hands on what I need whenever I want to, a person who wasn’t into fiber might just see a big woolly mess. πŸ™‚

    My mother and I were saying the other day that knitting is not a craft room project, and should not be designated as such. The tools are small and you always need something; they should be close at hand. The fiber needs to be seen and touched, and knitting is something you are not likely to go to the craft room to do, so why should the yarn be put away there? It should be right in front of you most of the time. So for that reason, I love your shelves! They let you see the colors, and that leads to much more creativity. πŸ™‚

  23. Thanks for asking, Deb! It’s the little Bekvam kitchen cart from IKEA as well – does the trick with a few trays and things added! πŸ˜‰


    On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 7:07 AM, Glenna Knits wrote:


  24. I love my IKEA Expedit shelves. They’re a little fuller, but still doing a great job. I like the pull out plastic cubes/drawers. Mine are organized by yarn weight; do you organize yours by weight or color or? Here’s a post with pictures of my space:

  25. Love it. My stash needs a good clean out.

  26. Looks nice! Similar to my set up, but with more pretty rolling cart and less stray cat litter. My cubbbies look all but identical, but they’re from Home Depot.

  27. When me and my then boyfriend (now husband) moved in together I got his IKEA shelf, just like the one above (but 5×5), for my stash. He had some airplane manuals in there before but it was obvious it was a yarn shelf. It now stands proudly in the livingroom filled with yarn. I want to say that I didn’t marry him because of that shelf, I mean, he does help carry yarn bags from the store too and is generally a nice dude who likes and understands knitted stuff, but it might have been a good part of the deal… =)

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