Organizing your Stash

Originally posted 2008-04-16 06:18:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Rita, a stitcher in New Jersey, sent me an email yeterday. She asked:

how about
giving some tips on best ways to store your “stash” of extra threads?
Do you advise doing it by color? What method of storing works best?
Do you recommend those little Floss away bags on a ring?

I often get asked this question, so here’s what I do. If you have another way to roganize your stash, let us know in a comment.

For a long time, I kept threads wherever I could, mostly in the garage. This is not an ideal place to keep stuff as it’s damp and usually less insulated than the rest of the house. Then, we were cleaning the garage and my DH found some threads, then more threads, then more threads.

He was not a happy camper and I had to get organized.

At that point, the stash went into my closet and behind the couch in the family room. In the closet it lived in some sets of wire shelves and in various other containers, including a chunk of card catalog.

When my eldest daughter left home, the threads, the books, and some of the canvases moved to her room, where they still are.

I keep threads sorted by type in baskets, cigar boxes, little IKEA drawers and cabinets, like the card catalog.

When I need a thread for a project, I pull it and put the threads into reinforced zippered project bags, similar to these ones from The Container Store. I get mine from Needle in a Haystackwhere they have an additional sizes as well.

I don’t use flosaway bags, because I don’t much like storing my threads in plastic. If I have a skein which, when cut, doesn’t have a label, I use thread drops, which are card stock in a teardrop shape from Access Commodities. I also get these at Needle in a Haystack. I transfer all the information on the tag to the card and loop on the thread.

I m bad about putting away threads so I almost always have a basket, bag or tote with threads waiting to go back into the stash.

How to Organize
The big question is how to organize your threads. Once you have containers the question is do you organize by color or by thread type? I think the answer really depends on how you think about thread.

I tend to think in textures first. I know this is the thread I want, then the question is, do I have that color. So sorting by thread type works for me.

If you think color first and then by looking at what you have think about texture, then sorting your stash by color would work best for you.

Organizing the Other Stuff

I think every stitcher should have a tool kit near the stitching chair which has the things you find useful when you stitch. Mine has my laying tool, brushes, and clips to hold larger canvases.

I also keep my needles in clear plastic cases. I did notice on my trip, that it can be hard to fins them since the case is clear. I have a red TicTac case, which I’m going to empty and put the needles into tonight. It’s kind of like the black wallet in the black purse idea, by having the case be a different color, I should find it more easily.

I have many pairs of scissors, but not as many as I’d like. So one, with one of my beaded point protectors, goes into each of the current project bags. The protectors guard both the scissor points and my bags.

My canvases are in many places (I need to get a grip on this part). In progress pieces are in bags in a basket by my stitching chair. Projects on hiatus are in one drawer in my closet, small unstarted projects in the same drawer and larger projects in another drawer. And there are even some canvases upstairs with the books and threads.

One thing I try to do is take a day annually to sort through my stash and get rid of things I’m not going to stitch. If you have a guild chapter with auctions, this is a great way to donate. If you don’t think about Stitch in Peace, an eBay store who helps with stash reduction.

I hope you all get some ideas for organizing and that you’ll share your tips with the rest of us.


  1. says

    I’ve found the best way to stay organized is to have your organization tools easily accessible. If you have to dig your way through a mountain of other clutter to get to your project boxes, you’ll be less likely to put things away. I recently organized my own crafting space and posted about it on my blog (with before and after pictures). My craft storage is under the TV in my living room. This has two purposes — its easily accessible and I have more incentive to keep it organized because everyone can see it.

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