As crocheters (and knitters), we’re always on the hunt for amazing yarns that inspire us. But let’s face it – most of us have far more yarn then we can actually use in our lifetime. You may have heard (or used) the acronym, SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) to describe this phenomenon.
As a New York City apartment dweller, I definitely have to prune out my stash periodically, or there’d be no room left for me, MC, and the cats.
Whether you’re reducing your stash as part of a move towards a minimalist lifestyle, to prepare for a move, or because you just want more space for the yarn you want to own RIGHT NOW, here are 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash.
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Share it with your local crochet or knitting guild chapter
Many local guilds offer yarn swaps and related activities. If you aren’t already a member, you can find a list of Crochet Guild of America local chapters here and The Knitting Guild Association affiliated guilds here.
Drop it off with an organization that crochets or knits for charity
Groups that crochet or knit for charity are often looking for yarn. These organizations may have specific requirements based on the type of charity projects they work on regularly. For example, some organizations that make children’s projects prohibit the use of black yarn and other organizations may have a ban on wools due to allergies.
You can find a searchable list of these organizations through Lion Brand’s Charity Connection. Always check with the contact person about updated requirements before dropping off or shipping yarn.
Bring it to a local school, hospital, or retirement community
Many local schools, hospitals, and retirement communities include yarn crafts in their recreational and educational activities.
- If you don’t have a relationship with a local school, check out DonorsChoose.org. This search for the keyword “yarn” brings up some really interesting projects seeking yarn donations!
- Contact your local hospital and ask to speak with the “Child Life Specialist,” a person who helps promote coping for hospitalized children through play and other activities.
- Your local government may have a department of aging that can refer you to retirement communities, government centers, and non-profit organizations that provide recreational activities for retirees.
Always check with the local organization to see if there are any restrictions (for example, by fiber content) on the yarn you can donate.
Bring it to textile recycling or a local thrift shop
Another way to keep your yarn out of the landfill is to bring it to your local textile recycling drop off. In New York City, we are lucky enough to have several weekly options for textile recycling.
If your local area hasn’t yet instituted a textile recycling program, most local thrift shops (also known as secondhand stores, charity shops, or opportunity shops) will accept yarn donations.
Post a listing on your local Freecycle message board
Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own” communities. Membership is free and most local groups have an online message board where you can post offers.
I have listed yarn on Freecycle many times and it is always claimed quickly. (In contrast, I’ve also listed brand new appliances, furniture, and other items that might take weeks to get picked up.) While sharing yarn on Freecycle allows you to meet some great crafters, for safety reasons you may not want to arrange to meet in your own home. I usually set up a meeting a few blocks from my apartment.
But what about…?
You may have noticed that I haven’t listed any ways to sell yarn. In my opinion, that isn’t as easy as you would think. In fact, selling yarn is often very time consuming – especially if you are actually trying to recoup your initial purchase cost or something close to it – and, it can even be more costly (in terms of your time, sellers fees, and storage space) than donating or giving away yarn.
I also didn’t recommend tossing large amounts of yarn into the trash. It isn’t very environmentally friendly, and, in some local areas, it’s also illegal.
Here’s one more tip (a freebie)
Yarn makes great packing material! If you have something fragile to ship or are moving, consider using some of your unloved yarns as cushioning!