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adventures in tidying up

I started the year, not with resolutions, but with a couple of goals and intentions. one was to not buy any more yarn until I knit a bit of my stash down (vague, I know) and the other was a general “get rid of stuff” around the house. I don’t know how impressed I should be with myself since it’s only february, but so far I’ve been pretty good about the knitting and no yarn buying. two am sock yarn buying doesn’t count thank goodness! the rest of the house has been a mixed bag. I’ve somehow made more of a mess and I still have the exact same amount of stuff.

I downloaded the life changing magic of tidying up last month to help push me along, but I feel like some things I already knew, some things did help, and some things are just cuckoo and are to be ignored. marie kondo basically tells you to get rid of most things. fine by me! considering I have hoarding tendencies, I should probably do something about all those ignored things in my desk drawers. oh, and everything that’s on the floor. but do I have to thank every item and talk to things as I put them away? I had already tackled books before we moved and I did pretty well cleaning out my closets last year and paring down to only a few things I wear. knits though, that was another story. I had knits I hadn’t looked at since we moved in 2013. others I tried to love, but they were relegated to drawer life once I blocked them.
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so I did what kondo advises and dumped everything on my bed. every single scarf, shawl, hat, sweater, and god knows what. I found some questionable knits (a thick and thin poncho? really?) and some that had seen better days (the jo sharp pilled horribly and the sweater is heavy as hell). I was ruthless as I tried everything on, but did not talk to any piece of clothing. I divided things into donate, frog, and keep piles. some things moved from keep to frog and some went from frog to donate (pilly yarn is not worth my time, I’m looking at you malabrigo). I refilled the shawl/cowl drawer with everything folded vertically (kondo’s suggestion) and I must admit it looks so much better. I can actually see what I’ve knit and don’t have to take everything out to see what’s on the bottom. I can also see I’ve knit a lot of blue and pink shawls. time to shake things up color wise.

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one of the surprise finds was the campus jacket I knit back in 2011. all I remember about this jacket is that I used some super clearance yarn from webs,  quickly knit it, wore it a couple of times, and then never looked at it again. following the pattern, my pockets came out tiny. annoyingly so. I couldn’t put my hands in them, let alone anything of value. I considered the project a fail I would get to eventually. four years later and I finally frogged and reknit those pockets. funny enough, this has become my most worn knit this winter. it’s perfect to wear in our drafty house and for quick runs outside with dobby. to think I almost frogged or donated this one. now I’m obsessively looking for another bulky jacket pattern, though that may have to wait until I allow myself to buy more yarn. all that frogging has added to my stash; at this rate I’ll never buy yarn again!

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here comes the ugly truth: the sweater pile. this is the current state of my dresser. I was good about going through my sweaters, it’s the storing them away that is the hard part. kondo is so obviously not a hand-knitter. I haven’t figured out how to fold all these sweaters to fit in a drawer. she talks about everything “having a sweet spot” and I’ll tell you right now a sweater with a gigantic cowl doesn’t really have one. I would love to put them away in a way that I can see them all. maybe they need to be rolled instead of folded? we’ll see. you can’t deny they are all visible right now!

so tell me dear friends, how do you store your knits? any tips or tricks? and have you gone through your “knitting archive” and cleaned up a bit? I probably should have done this a bit sooner.

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  • Cara February 26, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Hey you! Love the blog redesign! And I can’t talk to my things either. Sometimes I’m good at throwing out stuff, sometimes not. And right now my knits are in a bin or in a pile on a chair. What I really need to do is cull my stash – way too much that I will never knit!

    • bitterpurl February 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Thanks! Took me a while, but it was well worth it.

      So I’m not the only one with knits all over the place? That’s good to know!

      I’ve been good about not buying this year (hah) but the problem I have is none of the yarns I have work for the sweaters I intended them for. I either need to recalculate all the patterns or knit something else in the meantime and then buy more yarn later. sigh.

  • knottygnome February 26, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Last Fall I had a Great Purge of all my clothes, even the handknits. Yes, I could’ve ripped out some of the sweaters or donated them but was I ever actually going to do that? Now I could actually use one or two more sweaters b/c I don’t have that many.

    I should probably purge again in the spring b/c some things i had a hard time letting go but after not wearing them once the entire winter it’s probably time.

    • bitterpurl February 28, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Yeah, a lot of those sweaters were not worth my time ripping. I hate ripping when knitting, why would I add more ripping to my to do list for a yarn I didn’t love. I did take the times with the special stuff, like yarntini, crown mountain, and some long gone pear tree. Any ideas what sweaters you want to knit? I’m trying to be a little more mindful about my pattern choices.

      I need to go through my clothes again and finally let go of those few things I never look at.

  • Robby February 26, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I love that you reworked your pockets and gained a found item of value. That is exactly the sort of task that feels dull and pointless when I think of it and then I am so glad I did it. Wish I could remember that lesson more often.

    • bitterpurl February 28, 2015 at 11:59 am

      it’s the little things isn’t it? I have a cardigan I finished last year I barely wear because I measured the collar wrong and just haven’t bother to rip it and reknit. maybe that should be my next project before all the sweaters are put away.

  • Duni February 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I dream of going through my knits and actually culling them as needed. I have quite a few shawls that are just…not right. Thanks for reminding me I can frog them (except that Estonian number in Filatura Superior. Might as well be Kidsilk Haze).
    As for storing them, right now all the ones I wear are on a shelf in my closet. They stay folded nicely for about a month in the winter before toppling over and trying to suffocate me. I am constantly on the lookout for shelf dividers that are like bookends and kind of stand up to create little cubbies. I’ve heard The Container Store has them, but they are only compatible with the closet system they sell. Perhaps I should try to make my own?
    Also, I really love that orange and purple shawl. It’s gorgeous!

    • bitterpurl February 28, 2015 at 11:56 am

      yes do it! but that Estonian number can just be passed on. You sent shivers down my spine reminding me of ksh.

      I think I’ve seen those cubbies! I bet they would be easy to make, or maybe copy from something picked up at home depot or target. here’s the weird thing about this house: we really have no closets. :O I’m thinking a mix of effective folding and maybe some baskets.

      thanks! it’s my stripe study in some countess ablaze yarn. love that thing and don’t wear it nearly enough.

  • Ana February 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

    We do shelves instead of drawers for things like sweaters. Not so good if you’ve already got your dressers, but it makes it easier to find sweaters that don’t fit right in drawers.

    • bitterpurl February 28, 2015 at 11:47 am

      I’m thinking it’s time to hit up ikea for some sort of sweater cabinet. It’ll get me the shelves like you, but it’ll have doors and be tucked away. Now the question is: is a sweater cabinet a little insane?

  • grumperina February 28, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    The more I hear about this Kondo person, the more I like her. I am of the throw everything out persuasion myself. I don’t talk to any clothes or objects, though. I seem to do regular purges, usually prompted by big events, like pregnancy or what have you: when restocking my closet with regular clothes from a year ago, I was quite critical. I don’t wear much in terms of handknits, but I understand the issue of trying to store big sweaters in some easily visible and accessible way. Wish we all had giant closets where every item could have plenty of space.

  • Duni March 2, 2015 at 10:21 am

    A sweater cabinet sounds perfectly good to me. 😉