It all started with organizing my knitting and then it took off from there. I’ll start with the knitting. Whenever I organize my knitting it makes me happy. Really, just looking at my yarn makes me happy. Years ago when I discovered some woolen socks in a drawer that had moth holes in them, I knew it was time to change the way I stored my precious yarn. Before that I had my wool yarn sitting out in the open. If I remember correctly, I stuck it all in the freezer for awhile (to kill any potential moth eggs) and then I purchased a plastic tub to store it in. I told my friend that it made me sad not to be able to see my yarn anymore so I had to go and buy a new tub that was clear plastic so I could still see it. Funny, but true!
Since then my stash has grown, thanks to so many trades at fiber festivals, but the method for storing my yarn has stayed the same. I have one tub for yarn and another tub that has all of my knitting needles and folders filled with patterns. I have limited myself to two tubs and was proud of myself for letting go of some yarn recently and sharing it with a friend. I have enough yarn to keep me busy knitting for a long time. I thought I’d share how I organize some of my knitting things, in case any of you would find it interesting or helpful. I love to see the way people organize things because I always need new inspiration for that.
Most of my double pointed knitting needles are in a colored pencil holder I got a long time ago. I’ve been wanting to sew a similar case that is larger to hold them all, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. My circular needles have a twisty tie around them. Nothing fancy, but it works. (If you have any ideas, please share!) Once upon a time I had a binder for patterns, but it got to be a pain to three-hole punch everything. Later I got folders and then simply paper-clipped the pages of each pattern together and then put the patterns in the different folders. I’ve been happy with that method because I can easily find any patterns I’m looking for.
While I am knitting I put my current pattern in a plastic page protector and then use highlighter tape to mark where I am in the pattern. I use the page protector because I have had the writing on many patterns rub off and fade away. I fold them, and they rub up against my knitting bag until they are no longer legible, so the page protector has been quite useful to avoid that. The highlighter tape really helps me easily see where I am. I love highlighter tape! I showed my friend my little knitting bag with my measuring tape (the one my grandma got me in my first sewing kit is still going strong), scissors, tapestry needles, stitch markers, and more. I admitted to my friend that, yes, I am a knitting nerd. I love office supply stores, finding the perfect pen, and my little knitting bag full of helpful tidbits.
My knitting has not always been so organized, but I’ve found it essential to streamline over the years if I want to have any time to knit. When I’m running out the door and want to grab a knitting project to bring along, I need to have everything easily accessible or it’s just not going to happen. Yarn. Boom. Knitting Needles. Boom. Pattern. Boom. And I’m on my way.
I didn’t intend for this whole post to be about knitting, but that does tend to happen when I start writing about it. When I organized my knitting tubs after the holidays, my organizing kicked into full gear and I started tackling the house. It started with one nook here or one room there, but before I knew it I was rearranging and needed to move furniture from one spot to another and all over the place.
Jeff called from town one day to see if I had remembered anything else I needed and I warned him that the entire living room was being rearranged and would be quite different when he got back. He trusted me and let me do my thing. He didn’t doubt what I was doing, but I did. I didn’t doubt it with the initial surge of energy to clean, but later when the contents of all the shelves and dressers I was moving were sprawled all over every floor and surface. At that point I was rearranging and reorganizing the entire house and so many parts and pieces were being moved from one room to another that it was impossible to focus on one area at a time, it was one giant dance of moving parts. And it was messier than it had ever been.
My, what I got myself into! I recognized after the holidays that I had a rare window of opportunity, without any markets or festivals, to catch up on some major cleaning that really needed to be done, but I had no idea just how long it was going to take to wrap up what I had started. Weeks of cleaning and organizing (while trying to keep up with daily life tasks like mailing out orders, making meals, keeping up with the laundry and all that.) Weeks of wanting to throw my hands into the air and yell “What in the world are we going to do with all this stuff?” And also wondering how this could be our house and how it could possibly be so messy. There were times I wanted to grab garbage bags and just start chucking stuff out the window, but I kept myself in check and instead went through it all bit by bit. And I filled box after box to bring to the thrift store. Each box we hauled out of the house felt so good!
Bracken also received lots of toys over the holidays, so we had to re-think his play area and also do some downsizing, letting go of some toys he didn’t care much about or play with. I might have whined and complained to my mom every time she called, about being so tired of cleaning and organizing and trying to figure out where to fit everything (like the many display pieces for our booth), but eventually things started falling into place and I began to feel more positive about what I had gotten myself into. Meanwhile, Jeff was busy working in his shop everyday. He didn’t have much of a break after our busy holiday season before he dove back into work to get ready for our next festival. That’s why our whole family enjoyed and appreciated that day away at the coast. A good breather indeed!
And the cleaning project? Reorganizing and rearranging so many parts of our house was a huge task. I’m not a fan of clutter or having too much stuff, I find it distracts me from what I want to spend my time focusing on. Cleaning and organizing are two things that make me really happy (I’m a Virgo), but tackling so much at once was downright overwhelming. It showed me just how much it needed to be done, though. We donated things and gave things away to friends and even hauled an old ugly chair to the dump that not even the thrift store would want. We even let go of things that we loved, but never used, to friends who would enjoy them.
So much progress has been made so far, and yet there’s still plenty left to do. The month of February will be an especially busy month for us and now we’re heading out to visit family. The rest of the organizing will have to wait until later and I finished the last big hurrah today, for the time being. I have to ignore some of the clutter still waiting to be sorted. But, oh, how much better it feels! I didn’t want to wait for spring cleaning this year, it felt good to start out the new year lightening our load and spending January organizing our space and simplifying. It reminded me that we want to keep the things that bring us joy and let go of the things we are holding onto for no reason, really, just because they’re there. Sometimes, less is more.