This is the current state of our living room. No, we are not in the process of moving. I have just taken the yarn stash out of its natural habitat (the walk-in closet) and turned it free-range until I get it sorted.
Phew. It's been a bit dusty, quite grim, and I'm only halfway done.
I already kept a strict sweater-amounts to themselves rule which has helped a lot. Sweater-amounts have each their own bags/containers which has made my life a lot easier. I pulled the bags and containers out, had a look into each bag/container and most of them are back in the closet. Some of the sweater-amounts were acquired as kits (like this one) or with a specific pattern in mind (like this one) and now they have the pattern included in their bag/container.
The biggest task is now to organise everything else. Luckily I am an experienced yarn organiser(!), so I have a very good idea about how I want things organised. Mine is a somewhat idiosyncratic system which I would not recommend you implement in your own yarn stash nor in your business. I have decided to organise the remaining stash in a vague "what type of project is this for?" way.
The laceweight yarns are all together - and I have finally faced my laceweight problem. It is huge. I have a shitload of laceweight, pardon my language. I thought last year's shawl-a-thon would have made a dent in the laceweight but I still have a staggering amount in my stash. I am both delighted to see how many beautiful yarns I have and terrified by how many shawls are still waiting to be knitted. Instant moratorium on buying laceweight.
Then I have a box for my "11 Hats in 2011" project. This box is devoted to all those one or two balls kicking about the stash. So far I'm surprised by how many of these balls come in shades of brown, grey or off-white. I hope to find some colourful one-offs soon otherwise my little endeavour will turn out slightly depressing. At this stage I can just about squeeze all these balls into one box, but I think I'll soon need to upgrade the size of the box.
Following on from that, I have a bag for general purpose cottons. I use cottons a lot when I'm doing provisional cast-ons or am putting things on waste yarn. The colours I have are not great (apart from one cone of beautiful green dk cotton) but they'll work just fine for their intended usage. Fingering weight yarn goes in its own box - I do not have that much. I have a box for yarns which come in a designated "awkward amount": too much for a hat, too little for a sweater or cardigan. Hats & mitts? Giant cowls? Scarves? Who knows. They'll all be living in the same box, though. Interestingly these yarns tend to be shades of green. And then I have a box for sweater-amounts that do not take up much space (fingering weight, sport-weight and Kidsilk Haze).
And this is me at the halfway stage. I am pretty much in control of the sweater amounts - I know what I have and where I keep them. I am horrified at how much laceweight I own. I'm okay with the rest of the stash I have looked at so far. I'm weeding out a lot of yarns which I'll be donating to Garterstitch100's SitandKnitaBit knitting stations throughout Glasgow (although the most vile things will just get thrown out).
(And can I just point out before anybody uses the words "rampant consumerism" and "shopaholic" that a very large chunk of this stash consists of gifted yarn? It does not make its size more palatable, of course, but it does make me feel better. Don't ask why.)