My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Fenging My Shui

On May 23, 1994  I bought my condo, so I have lived in the same place for 17 years. It’s a fairly large condo and I’ve done a good job over the years of getting rid of “stuff” I no longer want or need, but lately the stuff has been gathering up. I hate mess and clutter (though you’d never know this from looking at my office at work) so I’ve been getting a little twitchy lately.

I took Thursday and Friday of last week off from work so that I could embark on The Great Condo Clear-Out of 2011. I wasn’t sure how far I’d be able to get this weekend given the state of my back and spine.  I decided that if I managed to sort through my books and get rid of the ones I no longer wanted, I’d be happy.

So on Thursday morning, after two cups of strong coffee, I started pulling books out of bookcases. Rather, all the books out of all the bookcases. It took me most of the day, but at the end of it I had all my knitting books in one set of bookcases (the magazines, pattern booklets, and single patterns are in another location). I even have all the knitting books organized by topic.

And I had a lot of books bagged up, ready to donate to the “Friends of the Library” organization of a local public library for their used books sales.

I spent the remainder of Thursday de-cluttering the living room, moving some of the smaller pieces of furniture.

When I got out of bed on Friday I realized that my back was not happy with all the bending and lifting I did on Thursday and I couldn’t stand up straight, but after copious application of very hot water in the shower and some Aleve (all hail the Mighty Aleve), I straightened out. But I had to take things a little easier on Friday. I did some de-cluttering in the master bedroom, the bathrooms, kitchen, and the linen closet.

Saturday was my “day off.” The King of All Remote Controls helped me schlep all the books to the library for donation and the rest of the day was spent lying on the couch, watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America, and doing a little knitting.

Today I am going to attempt something very scary: I will go into the stash room and attempt to weed out yarn.

Dramatic pause . . .

I have lots and lots of yarn stored in my guest room/stash room — so much so that it has gotten out of hand. So much of it I know I’ll never use. My plan is to donate the cheaper stuff to charity. I’m not sure how I will dispose of the “good” stuff. I’ve got lots of Colinette, Rowan, Koigu, Dale of Norway, a lot of handpainted sock yarn, etc. that I will never knit up. I’d like to make a little money off it, so I’m thinking of offering it up for sale (at greatly reduced prices of course) on my blog here, or possibly through Ravelry. I have no stash listed at all on Ravelry — so it would involved the same amount of work either way — photographing it, writing descriptions, etc. I dunno . . . maybe I’ll put a bit up on Ravelry and see what happens.


Even though I’m not done yet, I am so much happier with the state of my living area. It’s so much more pleasant to sit on my couch and knit without having to look at extraneous “stuff” shoved into corners. Here’s hoping that I can keep up the trend.

All of this is a very roundabout way of saying that I have not done very much knitting over this long weekend. But there’s still tomorrow.

And if you’ve read this far, you get rewarded with a picture of Miss Lucy, who is blissfully drowsy, probably unaware of the feng shui in my newly neat living room.

But you never know.

Happy Memorial Day! Hug a veteran! 😀


  1. Congrats Wendy – it feels good doesn’t it? I need to take after your fine example and clean out my closets at least 😉

    I’m sure I have NO idea what you are talking about in regards to the books and yarn though!

  2. Good for you! You know anytime you want Leslie and I to come help you photograph and organize yarn, we would be more than willing to help!

  3. I think it goes with the weather or time of year or something because I managed to take a couple of boxes of “stuff” to the 2nd Time Around shed at the local transfer station (aka dump where the trash is hauled to a different facility). Thre’s still a lot to go but at least a start has been made.

    Mind that back!!!

  4. You are an inspiration! I have been trying to do much of the same but the darn stuff seems to multiple every time I turn my back. I have more work to do on the yarn and some to donate, too. Our knitting group was given yarn for our charity knitting projects which is great…but guess who gets to store it…me! I have to tackle closets which seem like a deep, dark hole. I have sold some yarn on Ravelry, but with the great following you have I think you might sell more on your website. Afterall, who wouldn’t want some of Wendy’s yarn?

  5. Annette says:

    I hear you! I will have been in my townhome 17 years this fall. I’ve noticed several bloggers who hold yarn sales on their blogs… such as knitandtonic and chicknits. It sells right away. If you’re able to fit it into your schedule, you might try some strength training with a coach at the gym. It has helped me tremendously. Knit on! And enjoy your time off!

  6. Wow! You go girl! I do a thorough “house clearing” at least twice a year. I cannot stand clutter in my office or at home-of course at home it tends to pile up a little more given the fact I’m usually at work LOL Take care of yourself and knit the day away today and tomorrow!

  7. Your shelves look great, and I know the feeling! I have been trying to do at least one box a week. If you have any Dale pullover kits I would be interested 🙂 Hope the rest of your weekend is pain free!

  8. Michelle says:

    it’s amazing what a little dr cluttering can do, but this provides me with some much needed go getter to get mine done. Enjoy your weekend

  9. i did quite a bit of decluttering when i sold my house 2 years ago. i decided i wasn’t going to pack up stuff i was never going to use. the library got alot of books and my grandson’s school quite the bunch of yarn, fabric, thread, notions etc etc.

    and i hugged two veterans today–my son retired after 25 years army and my daughter-in-law retired after 23 years army. both retired as Sergeants Major. i gave my other son a long distance hug– 20 years retired army -warrant officer 4-chinook helicopter pilot

  10. Well good for you! Feels better now doesn’t it
    And I’m pretty sure there will a few of us that would be glad to help with the destashing 🙂

  11. I wanted to say “Thanks” for donating your extra book stash to “friends of the library”. I volunteer for my local “friends” and also donate extra book stash (yes, even knitting book stash!) I always felt it goes to the community as a whole. Also, just a general “thanks” for all you do for the community of knitters.

  12. Cathy Goldman says:

    Koigu….did I hear you say Koigu… to me……:) I’m a sucker for Koigu

  13. I understand the need to clean out stuff. We decided to pull up all the carpet in our house & put in tile. Moving everything out of each room was such a pain, I decided to get rid of 1/3 of everything. I did & have not missed any of it. I would LOVE to help you destash!! Also @Pat – please hug your three Veterans one more time & tell them THANK YOU for me.

  14. Where do you send your charity yarn? As it turns out, I too sorted through my stash and have a pile that I’m ready to give away to charity, but don’t know where to send it.

  15. penelope10 says:

    Hope your back gets better.
    Decluttering is a wonderful feeling. I am in the process and am amazed at all the craft stages I have been in!
    A yard sale will take care of the bulk and donations for the rest. Yeah!

  16. It is wonderful to destash and clear out the “clutter” that all of us tend to collect. Please take care of your back! Would love to help you out with your yarn destash- just saying!

  17. anne marie in philly says:

    handpainted sock yarn? that seems to be calling my name! but NOT for socks, of course! :-b

    I would take a gander at what you want to sell.

    smooches to lucy and the KOARC too!

  18. Melissa says:

    Might be nice to do it on the blog. That way your readers get first crack at your goodies. You may no longer want them, but the rest of us will probably love most if not all of it.

    PS Congrats on the clear out. It’s always nice to be able to see the living room.

  19. You are my inspiration – I have been in my very small condo for 20 years, and really need to do a clean-out. I like Paula’s idea of getting rid of 1/3 of whatever is in my house. That would really make a difference. Last winter I cleaned out two closets and was amazed how much better I felt with the extra closet space. Keep up the good work, but don’t over do it.

  20. Suzanne says:

    Great job on the books. I tried to weed out some and need to do some more. I have 2 piles I was saving to read that I probably never will read and need to donate them. I have been working on my clothes with every change of the season so that has helped. We have been cleaning out the attic and I’m suprised sometimes with my willingness to just donate or tag sale some stuff. The yarn I haven’t had the heart to do my buckets yet though I have donated other yarn to a local senior home that has a room set up like a yarn shop. I need to get to the buckets and just donate what I will never use. It feels so good after to be rid of some of it.

  21. Must be something in the air. I was attempting to do the same thing this weekend
    Robin Diebold´s last blog post ..My progress on my projects

  22. Theresa says:

    I cleaned out nearly all my books in January. I went through stack after stack, checking to see if they were available at my local digital library or the regular library and if they were I put them on my “wish lists” and set the books aside to donate. Within a few days my DGD came to visit and took all my books with her. I was left with a dozen or so books – well, maybe 2 dozen – that weren’t available anywhere else and I continue to weed out the books I know I’ll never read. If I’ve read one, out it goes. Definitely makes one feel lighter somehow!

  23. catspaw says:

    well whatever you decide just let us know!

  24. My LYS had a de-stash yard sale. We took our priced and initialed de-stash. They sold it and gave us a gift card (so we could replenish). The leftovers we could pick up or the LYS folks would find a place to donate it. (One of our sister stores works with women’s prison knitting group. Another possible charity was a farm for autistic adults.) Most of what I sold was novelty yarn (yes jewelry makers like it and a few knitters). I’m still holding on to the good stuff and am still SABLE. I didn’t make much money but I did find some patterns for stash and used stash for projects that I had queued.

  25. Sounds like a lot of spring cleaning! Inspires me to organize my own “knitting knook.”. Please let us know when the extras from the stash go up for sale.
    Rusty Boyd´s last blog post ..Keeping You in Stitches Retreat

  26. Sound like you had a bout with spring cleaning. Watch the back. I live with never ending back pain. The chiropractor is my best friend.

  27. I wish I had never started a stash, that is how bad it is. What with weaving cones now installed in with the skeins and the fabric that I have been collecting I may never see the walls of my rooms or closets. Cat hair too. Can you donate cat hair? I have quite a stash of that on my floor.

    But you are an inspiration. And so is Lucy.

    Thanks again for the Summer Mystery Shawlette, I am enjoying that!
    Alice in Richmond´s last blog post ..52311 The Best Nest

  28. gloria Alvarez says:

    I’ve had clearing my closet on my To Do list for a couple of weeks now. I’m waiting for a friend (and novice knitter) to come visit so we can declutter and then knit. But since I got the guest room /craft and stash room in order, my life has been better. So I know where you are. Kudos to you!!

  29. I wish I were as industrious as you were this week/weekend. But I am starting to feel that same need to declutter and organize. It does feel good once its done. Let us know about the yarn! Kudos!!

  30. A whole stash ROOM?! I love it!

    Since I’ve got only two stash containers for yarn, it looks like I’ve got some work to do. I’ll keep an eye out for your stash sale.

    Give Ms. Lucy a pat for me.

  31. Have you heard of “Library Thing?” I destashed my library about this time last year (I had a houseful of books!) and what was left I organize using Library Thing. It’s free for up to 25 books, after that you pay a one-time fee of $25 and it’s a great way to organize your books!

  32. I meant to write that it’s free for up to 250 books! oops!

  33. Dorothy says:

    I too have been bit by the declutter bug. Also having an annoying back, three surgeries and the removal of 3.5 inches of bone on the back side of my spine to remove preasure, I have to take care. This is difficult because no matter what I do I have to bend to clean. Anyway I purchased a new Dyson, and went to work in my quilt shop. Let me tell you I carried off so much “stuff” to the trash can it was amazing. I scrubbed the carpet and furniture and felt like I had accomplished so much. Tomorrow I will be knitting as I can feel my back is not happy with me!! My three cast offs kitties just love it when I rearrange their living quarters. They have to sniff everything out in case I took their toys. Crazy kitties.
    I am very good, I hug a veteran of 30 years of service everyday!!! He is afterall my hubby. ;0)

  34. Susan Murphy says:

    I have a suggestion for your Great Destash Project. How about just posting one or two items at a time here on your blog, suggest a minimum starting cost, and let all of your fans bid on the items? That way you could continue donating to the Red Cross, or whomever you want, and we would have a way of donating to the worthy cause as well. I think it would be fun; that is, of course, if it is not too much of a hassle for you.Perhaps you could delegate an auction manager from among your many friends and fans.

  35. Connie G. says:

    If you’re ever in my neighbor, feel free to stop by and help me unclutter. I wouldn’t even ask you to do anything…just tell me what to do with the too mush stuff I have accumulated! De-stashing is another dilemma of it’s own. Especially when you think of shipping overseas (or not). Good luck with your decision whatever way you decide to go.

  36. Maria Torres says:

    Wow! Good for you. I need to get inspired to do the same. My very small knitting room is so disorganized. I think I’ll go to my room and do a little organizing right after this post. Please do post your stash ASAP, I’ll like to purchase some of the Koigu. LOL

  37. rae gommel says:

    Dr Who marathon….. sigh … very jealous!! I don’t get BBC America… Guess I’ll have to hook up Apple TV and get caught up.

    After re-starting the shawl 3x (read directions THOROUGHLY before knitting away) I’m really liking it. Dont know that I’ll get all rows done today – but I’ll give it a good try.

    Safe and Happy Memorial Day toy you!

  38. Nancy in CA says:

    Have to endorse the Ravelry stash tool and destashing. Yes, it takes some time to photograph, but the database magically populates things like weights and yardage. I’ve nothing but good things to say about both selling my stash and acquiring new (Wollmeise!) on Ravelry. Happy destashing!

  39. I’ve been de-cluttering too and it feels sooooo good! It is hard to stop. I seem to be moving from one area to another because they touch and the cleaned up area makes the uncleaned area look worse. Hope I can stop soon!

  40. Christine says:

    wow….that’s incredible..only a few days???? it would have taken weeks, and I’m sure I would have stopped to “take a break/give my back a break” and probably would have done the knitters’ ADHD and started many projects and…….but I would have gotten a wee bit done.

    But not like you! BRAVO! pain and all…you can rest and smile.

    The guys are gone for the week, the power just went back on!!! (instead of 3 days out from storms) and you have just inspired me to go back to decluttering…

    ..or maybe I’ll just knit on my shawl…..

  41. WAY TO GO!!! We just did the same in a big way last weekend. It felt so wonderful (and then we had family in from out of town so inevitably, the house is a disaster again and all the cleaning/organizing needs to be done again when they leave).
    I just wanted to say, I’m wicked excited to see the stash yarn you’ll post for sale. I have much the same (as I’m sure more yarn crafters are), too much stash, not enough time.
    Amanda´s last blog post ..Knitty progress funky ceramics

  42. Susan Shelly says:

    You are inspiring me to clean out some cabinets and closets! That’s where we manage to stick stuff we aren’t actually using. Also – looking forward to your possible destash:O))

  43. Destash? Can you put pictures up on Flickr with prices? Then Paypal for payments?
    Kristen´s last blog post ..Backdating posts

  44. Robin F. says:

    how about destashing by color? Sell ‘bags’ of yarn to make sorting easier.
    I’ll buy!!

  45. Sandy R. says:

    Good for you! And thanks for the push. I cleaned out my books and took them to the library earlier this weekend but that was it. The linen closet is next and then my closet are on deck for next weekend. It feels good to purge the clutter.

  46. It must be the time of year! Last week I went thru my ceiling to floor bookcase that my son built for me.Ugh.. It took me a whole week to do it,I use to (key phrase) Use to do it in a day. Gave many , many books away. Not just knitting as I am a great reader. It looks so much better. Must go on cleaning things out as I really can not stand the clutter. Wish me luck. Good for you doing the same. Take care of your back, you only have one.

  47. I’m decluttering too. Donating my cheapo yarns to the nursing home – they love to make scarves and mittens for the mitten tree at Christmas.

    If you are selling any yarns, let us know on the blog, we are interested!! Especially sock yarns – they make lovely prayer shawls!!

    Be careful of your back – God only gives us one to last a lifetime.

  48. Definately must be something in the air — NC has been in or close to 90 for a week so loving the AC – which makes looking at decluttering a necessity — so in between working on the mystery shawlette, blocked MY Japanese Garden, washed 2 other shawls, threw out 3 bags of JUNK — and watched shows I had on the DVR — Ahhhhh, love free days now back to watching my granddaughter (almost 2 1/2) tomorrow ——-

  49. If you have crap yarn you don’t think is worth selling and want to donate to a charity, I have a friend who knits cat blankets for animal shelters, and happily takes incomplete skeins, Red Heart, or anything else sent her way. The website linked above works as one example of the Do Goodery, or you can email me for more details.

  50. I was just thinking I need a few days off to do just what you’ve been doing. Of course in my case it’d be complicated by having a daughter who’s a clutterbug.
    CarolineF´s last blog post ..Show- no tell

  51. I need to follow your lead. Do you have suggestions on a good way to store individual patterns, booklets?

  52. Long weekends are for de-cluttering! It is such a good feeling, isn’t it? Congrats on not seriously messing up your back. It’s so easy to go overboard doing these things (I do this with my garden all the time), and by the time you realize you’ve overdone it, it’s too late.
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..Sweet Salsa Sweater Bag

  53. Good for you! It seems the “stuff management” never ends – sometimes I feel like it is my part time job. But you DO feel so much better getting rid of the excess. Enjoy that clutter-free high!
    Julia´s last blog post ..Seamless

  54. Wow, Wendy, I bow to your accomplishment, a bow that is as deep as my back allows.

  55. As a cataloger it warms my heart to hear that you have organized your knitting books by subject. Do you need any Dewey Decimal numbers? 🙂 I bet your donation is warming the hearts of your local Friends of the Library, in addition to the lucky library patrons!

  56. I am very impressed! I managed to get the oven thoroughly cleaned and can now walk into the walk-in closet in the master bedroom. That was all the virtuousness I could muster, but you’ve inspired me to do more!

  57. Great job with the decluttering, Wendy! Decluttering is sooo rewarding. Almost more so than the acquiring! I’m glad you donate to your library. I try to do that as much as possible. It makes me feel so good knowing that a book I’d probably never read again is being purchased and/or read by someone who may just swoon with delight when they find the very book they were looking for. Hope your back is feeling much better. Bess

  58. I have a hard time letting go of stuff. I’ve only gotten rid of books a couple of times despite all of the moving I’ve done. I think it comes from never getting to keep stuff as a kid (we moved and nearly everything went into storage).

    Your effort here is amazing to me! I think I will have to take a closer look at my stash in the upcoming year and see if I can work a bit more from what I have rather than chasing the currently sparkly yarn on the horizon.

  59. Three cheers for getting rid of stuff! Good on ye, Wendy.

  60. I have been in a decluttering mindset for quite some time now, but it’s slow going as I get easily distracted as I go through my stuff. I am in awe of your ability to just get it done. I suppose that’s what I should do.

    Good luck destashing. The last time I saw a picture of your stash was maybe a year ago and it was impressive! I’d bet you could make some decent money from a sell-off.

    Give Lucy a hug from me — she’s so gorgeous!
    Mary´s last blog post ..Grey shadows