The Yarnologue

Yarn Storage

Please Note: Ann’s use of these stores and products should not be considered an official endorsement by KFI. 🙂

As a result of my family’s recent move, I have the fun (and slightly daunting) task of developing a new storage system for my yarn hoard. (I like to call it my “hoard” instead of my “stash” since hoard makes me think of a dragon’s treasure!)

Well, cardboard boxes aren't attractive at all.

Well, cardboard boxes aren’t attractive at all.

I’m starting from scratch because I didn’t really have a storage system before. There was a time I was able to store most of my yarn in the dinning room credenza (some people call it a buffet), and the spare room closet, and the attic. Ok, it was spread around the house a bit!

The house we just left was an adorable farm house that dated to the early 1800s. This translated to no closets and low ceilings. As a result, most of my yarn was exiled to boxes in the attic.

No closet and low ceilings make storage hard.

No closet and low ceilings make storage hard.

I was able to keep some “active” yarn in a jumble on a table and hang others on some pegs on the wall, but it wasn’t a good system.

Our new place is modern construction, which translates to big, beautiful closets!

A big, beautiful closet all for my yarn.

A big, beautiful closet all for my yarn.

My first ideas was to put the low table in the closet in order to save floor space. As you can see, I’m continuing to store my magazines and books on the table shelf.

I had vague ideas of acquiring shelves or pigeon cubes that could sit on the table and hold my yarn. However, there had to be room for the swift and ball winder to operate unimpeded.

Since this closet is in my home office, the main goal was to utilize the space since nothing else would be stored in it. At the same time, since we’re renting, I wanted something I could take with me to our next residence.

Smooth surfaces that won’t snag my yarn were imperative, which meant pretty wicker baskets were out. I wanted a neutral color that wouldn’t distract from the yarn, so white or black were top of the list.

One of my friends said she uses those canvas shoe bags that attach to the closet rod. In the next breath she admitted she probably has less yarn than I do!

I considered that suggestion, but was worried about stability. However, if those canvas sorters can hold shoes long term they should be able to store yarn. In the end I rejected them as not having adequate space for my needs.

Bins are an option, but have to be dumped to access the bottom layer.

Bins are an option, but have to be dumped to access the bottom layer.

I also considered utilizing plastic storage bins. In fact, I was already using a few. They come in multiple sizes, the clear ones make it easy to see what they contain, and the lids keep the yarn clean.

These bins are actually pretty popular as a storage option and can be inexpensive as well. If you have a small living space you can get those flat ones that go under the bed.

The draw back is access can be difficult. You practically have to dump the entire bin when you are looking for something. At least, I’ve always found them difficult to paw through when I’m after a specific yarn.

I have a mix of personal yarn that is earmarked for projects and work yarn that I have to be able to quickly grab. Access is important to me.

After thinking through several options, I realized the table would have to come out of the closet and shelves and pigeon holes would have to go in.

Ready to load up!

Ready to load up!

Another friend recommended the Expedit shelves from Ikea. While they are quite attractive, they are also big and a little grand to stick in a closet! I ended up with a Mulig shelf instead, which was more affordable and rather utilitarian. Sticking it in a closet was a reasonable thing to do.

It only filled half the closet and didn’t provide quite enough storage space. After all, I don’t intend to stop acquiring yarn. (An impulse to which I’m sure you can relate.)

Getting a second shelving unit wasn’t an option because there isn’t a store near me and I didn’t want to wait for it to be shipped. I also wasn’t sure a second one would fit in the closet. Instead I went to Lowes and got a pair of ClosetMaid 9 cube units. My husband had to do some fancy maneuvering to get them into the closet for me, but he managed it.

At the moment, most of my yarn has been shoved randomly onto the shelves to get it off the floor and out of the reach of my dogs who were starting to eye the pile as a place to nap!

My next step will be sorting and organizing the yarn isn’t a sensible system. It’s another daunting task that I expect to take several days.

How are you storing your yarn? Share your solution in the comments so we can get inspired. If you’ve blogged about your storage system, post a link so we can see.

I’m also open to suggestions about how to organize my yarn.


  1. My husband and I move often (yay military!) so I feel your pain. I currently have a set of cube shelves and use baskets that fit in each cube. I separate my yarn into categories ranging from wool, to I don’t know why I own this, and each category gets a basket(s) and cube(s), notions have a small drawer in my desk. When we move the yarn gets shoved into space bags and put into duffel bags. Have fun!

  2. Forgot to mention I use those baskets that are lined with fabric so the yarn doesn’t snag. Also they have those weird plastic ones too, but I don’t like the way they loo since I have to see those suckers.

  3. There are little fabric baskets that coordinate with the ClosetMaid cube. I debated getting a few, but I think I’ll see how the yarn shakes out first.
    I do need a way to store notions. Since I have Denise Interchangeable needles they are contained in the cases they came it.

  4. I use the closet mate shelving with the mesh baskets that fit in the cubicles. I sort by color.

  5. I don’t know how to help you. I too, have massive quantities of yarn. What I worry about having it in open shelving is just dust since I have tons and tons of yarn. I store it in the big see-through plastic bins; store it by type of yarn but I haven’t been happy with that system.
    Just moved and it’s the opportunity to think of a new system. So will keep reading the posts.

  6. suggestion:
    These open from the front so you can keep them stacked and they’re clear so you can see what’s in them….though since they’re designed for shoes they’d hold 1-2 (possibly 3) skeins of yarn.

    large clear shoe box

  7. I stopped buying for my ‘stash’ and only buy for projects. For this I store the yarn and pattern or info on where the pattern is to be found, in a mesh bag with snaps at the top. All of the snap bags are standing in a container. All I have to do is grab one and whatever needles are needed, and I’m all set. My stash is limited to one large plastic container.

  8. I bought yarn when I saw incredible deals with a project in mind. (A lot of projects are still in my mind). I buy the gallon size freezer bags and sort like yarn into them. It keeps them dust free. I then hang them on my sliding closet door. (to do this) I use carpet sealing strips and instead of nails I use hooks. I hang my smaller weight yarn on the top and heavier weighted yarn on the bottom.

  9. I used the cube and fabric drawers thing to store my yarn, and then had a problem with mice. They thought my yarn drawers made nice beds and nests and such. After an absolutely horrible purging we found some 2 gallon zip top plastic bags, like for food storage and put the saveable yarn in those. Squeezing out the air as you are closing it means the yarn takes up less space and I could hose 3 times the yarn in the same space. It’s also protected from random water leaks, smells, etc.

  10. It is amazing how much space is needed to keep all this wonderful yarn organized. I am also a spinner so need to keep fiber and yarn organized and clean. I am using clear plastic bins with tight fitting lids in a shelving unit my husband and I built for this purpose. I also use clear plastic drawer units that stack in the closet. I considered using attractive baskets in the shelving unit as it occupies 6 feet of wall space but chose the bins with tight fitting lids to keep the dust and unwelcome visitors out of my fiber. I also am a binder fanatic for my patterns. I use plastic sleeves for any pattern that is in current use to keep it from getting tattered. I think I am getting either neurotic or obsessed about this but I think being organized frees the mind to be creative.

  11. My current storage system isn’t a system at all. I have a big green plastic bin that holds my “crappy” yarn aka acrylics and things that haven’t found a home. I have a cardboard document shipping box that holds my cotton yarns and some of my unraveled thrift store sweaters, and a plastic bag that originally held my comforter that has my “nice” yarn, aka my good wools. All of that is shoved into the coat closet in the living room. One day it will all migrate to the kid’s bedroom because eventually they will be out of the house and I can fix up that room and take it over.

  12. at the moment my system is a collection of clear and not clear totes as well as cardboard file boxes. As someone stated it is a pain when I am looking for a specific yarn type. Someday (sigh) when my college age son moves out, his room is going to be my craftroom and I plan to get cubbies with lids or covers (to keep the dust out) for the yarn,a set of clear drawers (the ones they sell at Christmas time would be perfect) for all my hooks and needles, and a couple of small bookcases for my patterns. They also need to be categorized but that is for another day.

  13. What about a pegboard with those long metal hooks for storing yarn that is still in hanks, like they do in a lot a yarn stores? I’m still in the process of getting my yarn organized and my stash down to a more manageable level myself. I swear, I could stock a yarn store all by myself with the stash I have right now!

  14. See through boot boxes. The skeins are listed on Ravelry and boxes are numbered so I can find the yarn I want.

  15. Those pegboards have been popular lately. I’d be worried about dust and fading. I think I’d do that for decoration with leftover yarn rather than active stash.

  16. As a constant knitter ,yarn, pattern and needle hoarder, a.k.a. MOM..I have moved my stash/holy mother load from Germany to Hawaii and back again, finally landing in U.S.A…I think….Anyway, I commandered the daughters’ bedroom the minute she moved…Thank god for Holy Matramony!
    I have a couple of those large silvery steel shelving units with the see through plastic containers. I love them…yarn is layered by: “this could be a couple of sweaters” ..
    For Christmas,I dump a bunch out,decide who is getting what,put each persons’ sweater in a labeled grocery bag,dump it all back in the box and start working.

  17. If there was a way to post a pic, I’d do so. Cheap, efficient and expandable…I use cardboard file storage boxes. I turn the boxes on their sides, with the lids beneath them. The lids provide the stabilization by diffusing the weight. Stack them along a wall, floor to ceiling, and you can store, enjoy the multiple textures and colors of your yarns and find what you are looking for without digging through multiple covered boxes.

  18. I have shallow, lidded plastic boxes but have wondered about using the net hanging toy containers from Ikea. They are divided into sections and are easy to access. Nothing on the floor and you can get as many as you need-they are not expensive. You could use ziplocks or not.

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