Applying the Marie Kondo Method to Your Yarn Stash

Marie Kondo and organizing has found its way back into pop culture thanks to her new Netflix show. With her gentle approach to tidying and purging items, I think it’s a great way to tackle tidying a beloved yarn stash. After all, we buy our yarn because it “sparks joy”!

Kondo’s method of tidying, often referred to as the KonMari method, is built on Shinto philosophy. The Shinto belief system includes acknowledging and honouring Kami, spirits that are present everywhere - in people, nature, and in objects. Shinto animism states that after 100 years of service, some inanimate objects are able to gain a soul; with this in mind, the practice of thanking your belongings and honouring them in the way that Kondo does is a beautiful practice.  

If you consider this philosophy, imagine how much more special our knitted and crocheted projects are as they’re crafted from the beautiful yarns we chose into garments that are treasured and worn again and again.

On to the organizing!

Marie Kondo breaks the organizing process into categories so as we organize our fibre and tools, we’ll focus on one thing at a time - yarn, tools, patterns, etc.

Start by putting all of your yarn into a single pile on the floor and, skein by skein, pick them up and see if they “spark joy”. If they bring you pleasure and you’re excited to create something with them, place them in a new pile to keep. Yarn that doesn’t bring you the same happiness–perhaps it’s a weight that you don’t particularly enjoy working with or its an extra skein from a past project–take a moment to express gratitude to it and then place it in a second pile for donation.

The best part of the KonMari method is its flexibility- there are no rules about what you should and shouldn’t keep. If it brings you joy or you’re not ready to part with it, that’s all that matters!

Create a Tidy Storage System

Kondo is a big advocate of using smaller boxes and compartmentalizing storage. For your yarn stash, that might look like organizing your shelf to organize your yarn more effectively, adding baskets, or picking out some new clear bins. I’ve shared some storage ideas in this post and, if you’re feeling ambitious, this would also be a great time to take Ravelry’s stash function for a whirl if you’ve never tried using it.

Repeat with the other categories of objects in your collection.

Once you’ve finished the sorting and organizing process, you’ll have a stash full of yarns that you truly love and are excited to use, plus a much tidier space. I find that knowing what I have in my yarn stash makes it easier for me to plan my next project and I can add to my stash without worrying I’m adding something too similar to yarns I already have.

The yarns you’re parting with can be donated or gifted to a fellow yarn lover. I recommend looking into any charities or local organizations that might appreciate a donation of beautiful yarns, often communities have a Knitted Knockers or Project Linus group or another organization doing amazing things with knitted and crocheted goods.

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