Over my head

I may have mentioned before, like seventy or eighty thousand times, that we live in an old house.  I keep saying it’s about 120 years old, but we’ve lived here for 14 years, so it’s more like 135.  There are things I love about this house, like the way it’s unique and has character, and then there are things I hate about it. Like it’s unique, and it has character.

Upstairs at the end of the hall, next to our bedroom, is this bizarre little space.  It’s a wee room, about  1.5m by 3m (5X9 feet).  It’s not even big enough to put a bed in, and I often wonder why it’s there? (I first thought that maybe it was a tiny nursery, but Joe pointed out that that room didn’t have heat when the house was built, and it’s pretty unlikely someone would put a baby in an unheated room.) In any case, it’s a tiny, tiny useless space, though it does have a great big window, and when we moved in it had a counter (???) and shelving along one wall.  I did what any sane person living in a wee house with only two closets would do. 

I started filling it up with stash- and by stash, I mean the expanded idea of stash, where stash includes yarn, fibre, patterns, leaflets, magazines, kits… You’ve got the idea.  At the same time, Joe made a bold attempt to use it for his stash – which is sort of the same except for that you substitute wire for yarn, resistors for fibre, Popular Electronics for Interweave Knits, and Acoustic Design and Architecture for Vogue Knitting.  I was more successful than he was- but he managed to get a whole lot in there.

Fast forward 14 years, and this room has become a storage space that we all hate.  No, wait.  Hate is not a strong enough word.  Loathe.  Despise. That’s closer.  The room is the only room in the house to still be decorated the way that it was when I moved in, and though I’m sure it was pretty to the people who lived here before, it’s so not me.  The ceiling is painted periwinkle blue, and there’s wallpaper with pink and blue roses on it.

This is just about the opposite of me, and every day for 14 years I’ve walked by that place and thought something hurtful about that wallpaper.  Gradually, despite weekly attempts to bring it under control and make the stuff fit better, the room has gotten unmanageable.   The older I get, the tidier I like things.  I think this is because you can’t like spending time with three little kids and have things tidy… and now that they’re growing up and away I can have it the way I like it.. but the point is, that room is a pit, I hate it, I’m even sort of embarrassed of it,  but I’ve never known quite what to do – and after a while you just don’t see it the same way.  About once a week one of us says something like "That room is the only one in the house that sucks, can’t we fix it?" but then we manage to wander off after shuffling some stuff around, realizing there’s not enough shelves.

Enter that horrible tv show, Hoarders.  I was watching it the other day, thinking "Those poor people, how does that happen to them" and then I just so happened to need some yarn and went upstairs and essentially waded through that stash room.  The irony hit me just that minute and I flipped out. (For the record, if just one episode of Hoarders doesn’t trigger cleaning behavior in you, I’m  not sure what will. ) That room might not quite be a candidate for that show yet, but it hit me that not being quite sure what to do and piling more books on the shelf or counter (???) while you’re thinking about it can’t help.  That rooms a mess. The books are piled high, there’s yarn in boxes, fibre in bins… and magazines all over the place instead of put where I can find the issue I want.  This is some of my favourite stuff, and the rest of the house doesn’t look like this… it’s like the worlds biggest junk closet, except it’s the stash, and I’m tired of digging through the whole thing every time I need my copy of Folk Socks, which frankly, is pretty darned often.   Time to take charge. 

(I took this picture after I started unloading stuff from a bin on the other side of the room, so it wasn’t really this bad, but it was pretty close.)

I checked around, in my bank account and basement, and I came up with a plan.  I would take everything out of the room.  I would take down the counter (???) and the shelving that’s crooked, rickety and doesn’t hold squat anyway, and I would paint the whole shebang.  Then I’d buy some of those supercheap bookcases from Ikea, slam all of my books and patterns into them, re-use the big Ikea storage thingie that I used to have elsewhere into the house for yarn, score another one (not sure where, still working on that part of the plan) and put all the fibre in that.  Then I’d make a rule that if it didn’t fit in that room, I couldn’t have it, destash stuff that shouldn’t be here anyway, since it’s not going to fulfill it’s destiny, and essentially make this room – which is destined to be storage, really great storage. Joe’s got room at the studio for the electronics, so this little space can be a proper, pretty stash room.  I have always wanted that.

I took about half the stuff out of the room, brought the paint up, tried to find a hammer and wigged out, hit by the realization that I’m making things worse, not better, and that I’m totally and completely over my head…but I’m keeping on.  Stay tuned.  I have a vision of what this room can be, and I think I can make it work. It’s going to have to be high on work and low on cash, but we’ll see.

(PS. If you were going to put all your knitting books on shelves together… how would you put them? Alphabetical? By Author? By title? By subject?)

647 thoughts on “Over my head

  1. Hoarders scares the crap out of me! I find myself tidying and piling stuff in the Goodwill bin every time I watch it.
    I think I’d sort the books by subject, unless you can say exactly which author designed what you are thinking of, in that case, I’d go by author.

  2. Go for it, Stephanie! Be an inspiration to the rest of us semi-hoarders! If you can do this, maybe I can too. (I have a much larger room that looks just like this, even to the books and stash.)

  3. Mine are alpha by author after separating to topic, e.g., lace, socks, spinning, quilt, natural dye, etc. Works for me; library is 10×10 lined with shelves; center for work table & comfortable chair.

  4. This time I’m going by title. I tried by author’s last name and it didn’t work very well since I never remember the author but ALWAYS remember the title.

  5. I watched my first, and last, episode of Hoarders while visiting my parents a few weeks ago. It was a truly disturbing experience. At the end of the show I was wondering the same thing as you- how could someone let things get to that state? Then a picture of the piles of books on my bedroom floor popped into my mind. It was not a pleasant moment.

  6. I like re-arranging the library every once in a while, trying something different, but try in the order that you acquired them. That’s fun and no one can find anything but you.

  7. My books are by category: stitch dictionaries, sock books, children’s books, reference books, etc. But then I have a completely different bookcase, which is totally stuffed to the gills, where I keep my very favorite knitting books, and they are organized by author. Why? Those are my very favorite and I tend to have everything that author has written, and I am not about to forget their name. In the categorized bookshelves, I may forget names, but not subject. Good luck!

  8. Somewhat oddly, I sort my knitting books by size, so all the long/squat ones are together, and all the tall/willowy ones are together. I think it actually works, because I remember what the book looks like better than I remember the title or author.

  9. If I ever had the opportunity to have that much space for my knittery stuff – and could properly display my books, I’d probably have them by subjects – lace, socks, humor (that’s YOU! ;), etc.
    Sigh…ah to dream! Can’t wait to see the end result! You can do this!!

  10. I went with subject…mostly…until the shelves were full and I bought more and I started piling them (again) in various spots throught out the house…mostly basement though.
    Size of book is another consideration, because some have to lie on their side (since they don’t fit standing up) and you want to make sure that you have a nice pyramid kind of pile…with related subjects.
    I also kept my potentially, most frequently sought after books closer to eye level and the sweater books from the eighties and the ‘I’m not sure why I bought it, but it was a knitting book on sale, and I might use it someday’ books way up high.
    Thanks for the post idea…I think I’ll go take some pictures to show you. :o)
    Stay Calm and Carry On…you’ll be so pumped when you’re done.

  11. I’ve tried different organization and now am using “spinning” “Technique/Stitch Dictionary” “EZ/MS and other beloveds” “Humor” “books I own that I’m not sure why” “Socks” I had one for “knitting queue” but it eventually contained just about every book I own anyway, so I had to drop that one.

  12. My suggestion, by topic and or by title. Whichever makes most sense to you. Topic: Norwegian knitting – then title.

  13. Hoarders ALWAYS makes me start cleaning – and I hate to clean but that show scares me! If I had the ability to sort my books by subject that would be awesome.

  14. Ooooh, arranging books is one of my guilty pleasures. I have a dozen or so giant bookcases in my house, and every year or so I get another one and spend a long weekend taking everything down, shuffling it all around, and making it fit just so. And yes I KNOW it’s a sickness, but it’s fairly harmless, so I indulge.
    All that is as a bit of background to say I know all about organizing books. So first, worry about function over aesthetics when it comes to putting the books back. Organizing them by color or height is lovely, but it doesn’t really work when you get serious quantities.
    What works is a divide and conquer approach. First figure out some reasonable categories. Perhaps stitch dictionaries, general reference books, sock books, sweater books, spinning books, accessories, gifts etc. Make a whole different pile for magazines and for pamphlets.
    Then, if possible, give each of those categories its own shelf. If you’re feeling really gung ho, you can label the shelves. Some bookends even have a spot to put a label on them.
    Then, arrange the books on the shelf. For normal books I go alphabetical by author, but for knitting books I find I think of the title before the author, so I have my knitting books organized that way instead. For magazines, I’d suggest chronological order. For pamphlets and tiny books, I highly recommend binders so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
    Then, if you’re really feeling like rocking the crazy, may I mention Library Thing? It lets you chronicle all your books. Then you can add tags like ‘bookcase by the door, third shelf’ so you can easily look up EXACTLY where it is.
    Not that I’d know anything about rocking the crazy on this…
    Or you could just invite me over and let me do it. Organizing other people’s books is almost as much fun as doing my own.

  15. I can think of so many things I could use a room like that for….a sewing space, a knitting nook, a place for my quiet time/Bible reading, a place to iron, a reading corner. In fact, I had that wallpaper in a former house. Outdated now, but I loved it then.
    I arrange my books by category: Lace, general, stitch patterns, socks, reference, miscellaneous.
    I can’t wait to see your finished stash room!

  16. You inspired me – I too have one of those odd little spaces with my stash and patterns and magazine and books and buttons just cramed (in an orderly fasion, of course). Everytime I look inside I think, by the grace of wool, I’m a mini hoader. All it will take to fix it is an hour or two and some paint, right? I’m going alpha by author with the books!

  17. Just a word of caution re: Ikea bookcases…… I actually put all my knitting books away (after the youngest kid moved out) in an IKEA bookcase. Alphabetically. And I loved it….I could find what I want. Then one day I came home to find my tall rectangular bookcase had become a tall parallelogram, leaning about 15 degrees off center. I wondered what to do, but procrastinated, and a few days later heard a quite spectacular crash…. as the whole thing had splintered and disintegrated, and all my books were everywhere. (We’re lucky no one was living in that room, as anyone might very well have been killed!) All the books went into boxes, we built new bookcases, and they are now out, but not organized in any way yet. (Do you think the organization of the books caused the universe to think I was getting “too big for my britches?”)

  18. alphabetical by subject…lol
    seriously though my books are all over the place but the ones that are organized are get this -organized by height. i think there may be something wrong with me…:) good luck!

  19. I file by category, mostly, keeping books by the same author together. I can (usually) find a book by subject, not by author or title. I now have a problem in that my books have outgrown my space, now they are flat on top of the other books, wherever there’s room, so new acquisitions are on top of older. Which gets confusing when the latest acquisition is older than the older acquisitons.

  20. I saw one episode of hoarders and I’ve given away boxes of stuff since. I’m still at it. We even sold our house complete with furnishings, I’m I’m still getting rid of stuff.
    Anyway, I organize my knitting books by subject. This requires segues. For example, lace knitting moves from lace history to lace pattern books to lace stitch dictionaries into Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries which end in Japanese stitch dictionaries which move into Japanese pattern books, etc. Only I understand. That’s OK.

  21. I group my (small) stash of books by category like this: Stitch Dictionaries, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Magazines/Booklets, General Pattern Books (they have sweaters, scarves, socks, mittens, etc all in one book), Shawls, Socks, Socks and Mittens (such as Folk Knitting in Estonia), Mittens. Additionally, I put my A Gathering of Lace at the end of General Books and before Shawls, since it really wants to be a shawl pattern book, but can’t quite make it there. And EZ gets her own category because, honestly, she deserves it.

  22. I group my knitting books (and pattern leaflets) by subject, sort of “Socks” and “everything else.” I am not anal enough to alphabetize…

  23. Books are sorted by topic, then by author. Just like the Dewey Decimal System says. Shawls, socks, mittens/gloves (hands go together), generic stitch pattern books, sweaters, etc.
    Exception is the EZ books ’cause, well, they just belong together.
    Magazines are by title, naturally.
    Patterns are by category, just like books.
    I’m getting ready to do something similar when we finish the remodeling of our little guest house. All the fiber stuff is headed that way and both books and stash get sorted and stowed. It’s gonna be awesome.
    Good luck!

  24. However you decide to organize the books, you should stick large tabs of cardstock that stick out and label what they are. If you’re anything like me, you’ll organize them by type of garment or something and then forget how you organized them.
    PS. I remember being in a very old home as a child and there was a teeny-tiny room upstairs. It had, in fact, been a bedroom for a child. There was just enough room for a small twin bed. And my gramps said that is was considered a luxury that a child would have their own room – even being a small one.

  25. Everyone has a little (or a lot) of “stash” if they have any kind of needlework interest. Stash happens. Take a deep breath and take everything out of the room. Strip that wallpaper, paint, and take another deep breath. Sort your stuff then thin it out. Then thin it out again. You’ll feel better if you do it in stages. The sheer volume will be reduced and you’ll pare down to stuff you’ll actually use/read. While gleaning through the stash, you’ll get a firmer idea of how you may want to organize it. Your room can then be arranged to fit the use and you’ll be less likely to recreate the original problem. Good luck – and I hope you end up with a beautiful “You” space.

  26. I’d go by alpha by author name. My instinct was to say categorical, but I can’t imagine every book only falls into one category (take VLT, historical? lace?) and you’d have to predetermine and label each book with its category. It’s already got the author’s name on there.
    Magazines grouped together by publication title (alpha: Interweave Knits, Spin Off, Vogue Knitting) and chrono order within title.

  27. My knitting books are by subject…kind of…they are by subjects that make sense to me so that I can find whatever book I’m looking for quickly. Their order probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone else…but it works for me. My magazines are by date, and the patterns are by subject…The yarn is a disasterous mess that requires me to spend hours digging through stash to find something….but at least I can find the books easily…now if I could only remember which book or magazine the particular pattern that I want is in…

  28. You are not making things worse, but that bit in the middle is bad before it gets better. I CANNOT WAIT to see the After pictures, so don’t forget.
    I would probably sort my knitting books by subject first, but I might have a few subsections for favorite authors. This is what I have my stash in – they are brilliant because they are clear, yet dust and bug proof. I recommend them HIGHLY.

  29. Books- I would organize them first by subject (Techniques, Spinning, Patterns, etc) and then subdivide those (Patterns: Socks, Fair Isle, Magazine Compilations, etc.) and then alphabetically, if it makes good sense (much easier to find that particular Nancy Bush book when you know you need to start in Pattern section and then the Mittens section…).
    Then again, I am a bit compulsive when it comes to my books, CDs, patterns (I have many 3 ring binders of patterns broken down by type (lace, socks, etc.), size, and yarns…) and pretty much anything else I can sort, categorize, and subdivide.
    Good luck with reclaiming that space. It is a noble mission to undertake.

  30. Yep, another reason not to watch Hoarders.
    I think you plan is great & the room will be wonderful. I’d go with arranged by topic, then author for the books. Be sure you cna include a space to display yarn that is seeking a project – perhaps on the back of the door? A few hooks to hang yarns you love (or are currently infatuated with)that are seeking inspiration to find their project.

  31. Hoarders scares me as well and every time I watch it I start cleaning during the commercial breaks.It definitely is a motivator.I don’t have enough knitting books yet but all of my magazines are like with like and in date order.(I also have binders for all of the patterns from the internet.)

  32. I would separate them out by subject (including magazines by title) and then sort by author last name. Can’t imagine owning enough knitting books to be able to alphabetize but one can always dream. =) You’ve been knitting much longer than I have so you’ve got a few years on me.
    Hoarders is terrifying. I have been inspired both to never watch it again, and to never live that way or even close to it. I LOVE to organize me favorite stuff! =)
    Looking forward to the finished product!
    Have fun!

  33. Imagine where you’d reach when you want a particular book or subject of book. That’s where I’d put it. Does your hand always go to the second shelf when you want a sock book? I’ve started storing things in the first place I think of looking for them. It’s not very logical but I can find my stuff.
    Reorganizing is a luxury I can’t have right now. Too much other stuff to do. Have fun painting over those passe roses and swags. Ick.

  34. I think I got through 5 minutes of the show before I started to clean. Best incentive ever.
    I figure books should be by author and subjects. But for knitting it would be subject then alphabetical by author & title inside of the subject. But then I’m OCD and have mine sorted by size and colour as well, so I might not be the best marker.

  35. I do the clean the stash areas (I have two closets and a bookshelf. Note that at least one of the closets is shared with other stuff like roller skates) on a fairly regular basis. It makes me feel like I’m being overwhelmed by the crazy every once in a while when I do this. The books get reorganized every time too.
    Currently, the magazines are all together at the top of the bookshelf by publisher/issue. I’m considering chucking them all to buy the CDs, because they will take up a lot less space. Afterwards, the books are mostly willy nilly, except the sock books are together, books by the same author are together and books for crochet, weaving and other crafts are together at the end. It works and it keeps me from never using one of the sock books, because I’m too interested in the first one. If they are all together then I’m more likely to look at them all!

  36. @ Barbara M: If you think you can leave your bookcase in one place for a long time, get some brackets and those long screws with plastic “wings” on ’em (my hubby & probably yours too would know what these are called!). Mount brackets on the underside of the top shelf, and fasten the whole shebang to the wall. This gives the whole thing more support, as if it’s part of the wall. As to organizing books & magazines, I think there’ve been several good ideas mentioned already; they boil down to “use a system you’ll remember” kinda like picking an exercise program that will fit into a life.

  37. I file by category as well. I could imagine alphabetical by author within a category, but my library isn’t that extensive – unless I’d limit my categories to 2 – knit & crochet.

  38. I am horrible at organizing books. But have managed to score IKEA furniture for ridiculously cheap prices through craigslist. In a city as large as Toronto, I’m sure someone is trying to get rid of some bookcase/storage thingies.

  39. “Hoarders”–the program–really scares me. And at the same time I can’t stop watching it.
    My books are divided into categories–children’s, religious, knitting, etc.–and then in each category alphabetical by author’s last name.

  40. before the move in APril the knitting books were broken down by subject and then by author. sock books togehter, mitten books together, spinning books together, technique books together. Yours are all about the same size, so they were together. it really helped.
    Ever since the move I can’t find the books I want when I want them! I need to finally re-do this.

  41. I have to overcome my inborn OCD instinct to shelve by SIZE and separate them into categories….then, admittedly, within those categories I tend to organize by author THEN by size…*blushes*

  42. I have mine alphabetical by author. That works most of the time. Just remember — you’re making a bigger mess in the short term, but you know you have to keep at it to get it where you want it. When my kids were little, I would tell them they had to spend 10 minutes a day of serious bedroom cleaning, by the timer. They felt that was manageable. Do something similar when you feel overwhelmed. Keep reminding yourself you don’t have to kill yourself over this.

  43. I’m lame and sort my knitting books by size, tallest to shortest. I only have, like, 10 books though, so it doesn’t take me any length of time to find what I’m looking for no matter what order they are in. You would probably not have the same experience, as I imagine you have more knitting, spinning, and crocheting books than my local library. 🙂 Bon chance with the stash room!

  44. OH! By Colour! Sort them by colour! Especially since all the yarn will be so pretty and colourful definitely by colour. You can google bookshelf sorted by colour and come across some lovely examples. And to the fear that you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for unless it’s in some sort of rational order (like by author or theme) they’re stacked in a mess now and I bet you can find what you’re looking for just fine!

  45. Definitely by subject! Otherwise you run the risk of a neat and tidy room where you STILL can’t find anything…. Of course, you undoubtedly know the authors of your articles/books better than I do but, it still sounds like a risk to do it alphabetically.

  46. I group my knitting books by subject like socks, general info, humor, lace, stitch dictionaries, etc., then by height. I always remember what it looks like over the author or title name.
    That being said, when it comes to magazines, I group all Interweave Knits together, and sort them chronologically by date, all Vogue together, sort by date, etc.
    When it comes to pdfs – this is where it gets tricky. Some are in ravelry and some are not. I have binders of print outs – and even have spreadsheets of these pdfs. (I know – pathetic, but after you buy the same Knitspot pattern 3 times because you just had to have it – well, you get the idea). Those I sort by subject like accessories other than socks, garments, socks, club patterns, etc. Then within the socks, I have that sorted by designer, and in each designer tabs, the patterns are sorted alphabetically by name of the pattern. Enough? Probably way more than you wanted to know.
    Seriously – whatever works for you. 🙂

  47. way to go! I’d sort by subject…
    if it wasn’t so darn nice out today I’d feel inspired to clean out MY closet…

  48. For starters, you are not a hoarder. I agree that the show makes me want to clean out EVERYTHING. However, on one show, a woman had 2 DEAD CATS in her living room. I may have a craft room out of control, but there are no dead animals in it. I often wonder where the health department is for these people.
    I applaud your quest to turn the spare room into a knitting nook. However, I admit that I like the old-fashioned wall paper there. So, I won’t be on your decorating committee.
    If you have cleaned out the room, the bad part is over. You will now enjoy going through your treasures which will reaffirm to you that you have totally bitchen taste in yarn. Believe me, you are coming to the good part of the project.

  49. When my husband built my knitting/stash room in the garage I arranged all my books by author just because it made it easier for me (I remember the author and not always the title). This is what works for me and I am able to find what I want unless I don’t put it back where it belongs-then we have problems. I have also been known to accidently purchase 2 of the same books because I don’t really realize that I already have the book and having them by author helps with that little problem.

  50. Oh dear. We got totally over our heads with a project like that this summer, when we re-did our daughter’s bedroom while she was away. We (mostly) finished it, with our sanity intact. You will too! And then you’ll have a lovely stash room where you can find the things you need, and it will be awesome!
    I wonder if originally it was a dressing room or where the wardrobes would have been to store clothes? Sounds like it from the placement, size and lack of heat.
    I sort my books entirely by size, since my collection in small enough to still only fit on one shelf.

  51. How about by era? I see you recycled some 80/90s sewing patterns, but I bet the equivalent date knitting stuff is staying … oh! those shoulder pads ….

  52. Re: the arranging of the knitting books: definitely by subject: all the sock books together; all the lace books together; all the aran/fairisle/ect books together. It makes searching for the pattern you’re looking for much easier!

  53. Knitting Books should definately be by subject! That way when you feel like knitting sweaters you can look at all your sweater books togehter etc. That’s what I do anyhow.

  54. You might like this, Stephanie–
    We had a very similar room in our 200-year-old Massachusetts house, also off the master, and someone told us it was a birthing room. I don’t know if that’s true but in a quick Google (you have to add something like “old houses” or else you get lots of modern-day hospital room discussion) I found several mentions of similar rooms, typically off master bedrooms.
    I am not entirely sure whether the room was literally used only for birthing. It seems like folks a hundred years ago weren’t the types to leave a room unused most of the time. They had a lot of birthing going on, but not THAT much.
    I used mine for a walk-in closet: that was before I had quite so much stuff. I haven’t watched Hoarders yet but I am sure it would totally freak me out.
    Good luck with your renos! Fall brings that out in me, I think–I am embarked on similar projects although less focused (which is probably why you will be more successful than me, sigh).
    I would organize my knitting books by general topic–sweaters, socks, lace, etc., and finally those compilation books that have something of everything.

  55. By subject, and then by whatever I remembered best, whether it be by title or author. I.e. I would probably look in the stitch patterns under “Z” for an EZ book, but Victorian Knitting Today would be under the Lace “V”s for sure.
    Maybe this is why I’m not a librarian?

  56. Hah! You wanna know something creepy? That is ugly wallpaper, don’t get me wrong. But! My very first bedroom, when I was a tiny small kid, had that wallpaper. I’m not sure if my parents put it up – I don’t think they did. I think they ripped it down later and painted a mural (of Winnie the Pooh!) on my walls instead.
    But I remember that wallpaper from when I was a teeny, tiny baby. Not the top part – but I remember the pink and blue roses in the main pattern, and the weird diamond shapes they make if you look at them too long. From when I was two. I am now 28.
    Which makes that wallpaper at least 26 years old. Possibly older, if my parents weren’t the people who put that wallpaper in (and I don’t think they were; they were never wallpaper people and it isn’t my mum’s style at all)… so it would have been there before they bought the house, which makes it 30+ years old.
    Oh, and btw, this was in the UK so apparently those pink and blue roses were internationally horrible. Just thought you’d be amused to know, Steph. 🙂

  57. Books by subject. Magazines by type, then by date.
    I have a stash room about that size also. (Actually was meant to be a small walk in closet.) I added a small set of drawers for thread,pattern envelopes, tape measures, scissors, etc. Very handy. I also quilt, so my stash area has to hold stacks of fabric in addition to the yarn. I organize that by color.

  58. I’m a library cataloger, but my personal knitting and quilting book collection is shelved in places by size, in places by topic, in places by author, and then I have a “current projects” shelf and a “newly acquired” shelf. My system is organic to the space and nature of my work area. I do a decluttering about twice a year, always after a big flurry of activity like after the holidays, a baby boom, etc., and as much as I hate to use knitting/stitching time for decluttering, I always love my books and stash all the more when I’m finished. Everything seems new and precious again! And my husband and kids tell me that since 1) I use my yarn and fabric, and 2)keep it relatively or at least periodically organized, they won’t nominate for Hoarders. Good luck, and enjoy!!!

  59. I’m coming up to Ontario for Thanksgiving and going to be in town for a few weeks. Let me know if you want a hand. I am a “Professional Organizer” and I’m kinda good at this sort of thing. To start, get a couple of boxes marked. “Give Away” and “Trash” and set them up in the hallway outside your room. Sort your “keeps” by putting like with like in Bins (if you have them)or piles on one side of the room. As for ordering your books. Do it in the way that YOU think. when you are looking for a book how would you normally think to look for it? By author? by pattern ? by place you bought the book? That’s the order you want to store them in.

  60. It might be a good idea to organize your books by subject matter. Then sub-organize them by author. When I look through my books, I am generally looking for a specific type of book: Lace, small things (hats, mittens), baby-wear, winter-wear, how-to techniques, ez, summer-wear, sock, etc. It would be useful if books about the same subject were together. Then have a giant miscellaneous group. You might work alphabetical order into the thing, as well.

  61. I have my knitting books by subjects.
    Last month I got the Ikea Besta book shelves (with the height extension) and did what you are doing now. It looks great and I can find things! But consider getting a label maker too so you can have some plastic drawers to put the small things in or just put the labels on baskets or shelves.

  62. I do mine like Diane with the Dewey Decimal System. (I used to work in a library.) As for Hoarders, I think it was meant to scare the crap out of all of us. After I watched one episode, I donated a car load of crap to the local free store. I still donate a bag or two every week.

  63. Oh, boy, books.
    By preference, my books are grouped by theme: “socks,” “lace,” “non-sock-accesories”. Some of the categories get pretty obtuse. If it’s not all socks, and not all lace, but is historical or regional in some way, it goes into “history.” For instance, Knitting Traditions and Ethnic Knitting Discovery are both in History, but Folk Socks is in Socks, and Knitted Lace of Estonia is in Lace.
    Within each category, things are a little chaotic. I don’t shelve things in order, because I’ll never remember what the order is once I pull out my fifth book looking for a pattern, but they’re more-or-less by author. All the Nancy Bush is together, etc.
    The tangentially related to knitting books are at the end. Cheaper Than Therapy, your books, and Franklin’s book are there.

  64. After reading the comments, I will avoid “Hoarders” like the plague…or wool moths!!!
    I would alphabetize my books by either title or by author, whichever you are more likely to remember. If you do it by subject, what would you do with the books that have a little bit everything? Under “E”?

  65. If I had all the time in the world, my knitting books would be arranged strictly by author, but I’d have and EndNote library that I could search by subject, keyword, or even publication. As it is, they are not organized at all.

  66. I vote for by subject/category. That way, when you are in the mood to make a particular thing you can peruse a certain section of your stash library. By the way, I have the same hoarders viewing response as you, I watch it for 10 minutes then have to clean something in my house. I must clean after that program, it is a panic response.

  67. My friends have banned me from watching Hoarders- for good reason…the only positive thing I can say about is that it leads to a of Freecycle and GoodWill donations. I orgainze my books by subject- socks, shawls/wraps, and multi subject books by author- seems to work well.

  68. My friends have banned me from watching Hoarders- for good reason…the only positive thing I can say about is that it leads to a of Freecycle and GoodWill donations. I orgainze my books by subject- socks, shawls/wraps, and multi subject books by author- seems to work well.

  69. My friends have banned me from watching Hoarders- for good reason…the only positive thing I can say about is that it leads to a of Freecycle and GoodWill donations. I orgainze my books by subject- socks, shawls/wraps, and multi subject books by author- seems to work well.

  70. My friends have banned me from watching Hoarders- for good reason…the only positive thing I can say about is that it leads to a of Freecycle and GoodWill donations. I orgainze my books by subject- socks, shawls/wraps, and multi subject books by author- seems to work well.

  71. Sounds like a lot of us could use a room clean-up. Maybe it is a good October project…a cleanup-A-Long…

  72. I think you should group them by how YOU remember them best… Do you want all your sock books together, or ABC order by author (or title)? For me that would be by subject, but ABC order might be the quickest way to find a book in a large collection. Good thing is that if you try one way and it’s not working for you…change it! Your hard work WILL be worth it in the end. Do it 15 minutes at a time and little by little it will get done (without the burn out).

  73. keep at it! you can totally do this.
    also, i’d organize by topic/book type (stitch dictionaries, pattern books, design books) and then alphabetically by author. personally.

  74. You might want to check out what Anne at Knitspot just did with her room. Anyway, I categorize my books by subject, then author with a separate area for EZ and reference books. Good luck with your project, Stephanie.

  75. Get out of my head, you Harlot! I have gone thru the same thing lately. I have a yarn room. I have a mess. I bought shelves, filled them, now need more shelves. Added to my need to tidy up at my age was the experience of cleaning out a house for an friend who was struggling with disposing of his mother’s house. What would I want people to see if they had to do that to my house? That and one episode of Hoarders sent me straight into major clean out, organize mode. Hubby has ordered a dumpster to be delivered this week. Gotta go sort something!!

  76. The books have got to be filed alphabetically by author – you can’t separate by content of book since there are tons of books that have hats and socks and sweaters and then where would you be? Then again I am a library creature by training and therefore have some pretty strict rules in my head about these things?!

  77. Feels good doesn’t it…getting started. I just did this and couldn’t believe the “stash” I had. Some long forgotten but all fabulous (that is why I bought it). I started off with Ravelry organizing on line and that helped me a great deal. Because my plan was to use up the stash I took the yarn and matched it with possible patterns and stacked those books next to the see through bins of yarn (so I can see the colour) on the shelf. I put a label on the front of the bin that lists number of skeins and tension required. I bought some bags (used for scrapbooking, I think) for $2.99 each and sorted/ matched yarn to pattern as I go. I now have a nice queue of stuff I want to do and it is a matter of picking up the next bag and getting started. Definitely more productive. I am itching to go out and buy more stuff but I am keeping myself in tow until some of this has either been knitted up or donated (I will have to live until 100 to use it). You are probably more organized than I was and have less to do.
    Tip: On the high ceiling you may want to break up your colour ( by thirds) on the walls or keep a picute rail there to bring the celing down some in a smaller boxy space. Striped wallpaper will make it look like a skyscraper and bring the eye up. Warm colours on the walls will make it look smaller or on the ceiling appear to bring the roof lower and cool colours larger/ higher. Good luck, what fun!

  78. Right now my knitting library is arranged first by book height (under 9 inches tall on the vertically challenged shelf, taller books on a taller shelf), then topic (socks, shawls, sweaters, multiproject, stitch dictionaries). I have few enough books that I don’t need to go further down than that to be able to find something.
    I do classify some authors as topics; all the EZ books go together, for example.

  79. Hoarders has totally made me clean the house too! Good luck to you. And my bedroom had the same hideous wallpaper when we moved in. It took 10 years to finally tear it down. Ugh! And for the record, I keep my books together by subject, magazines by date. 🙂

  80. Great blog entry and comments. You could create an entire new book around this one issue! Yet another book for the stash…

  81. Make sure those bookcases have real wood, not the fiberboard crap that will fall apart. Seriously, it will look like a war zone til you finish. Don’t let the inbetween stuff get you down.

  82. First off, Hoarders is what my friend and I watch while knitting together. We call it motivation to throw things out.
    Second, I must always organize books by author first, and by height second. Tallest books on the left all the way to the short books on the right. I’ve always done this and sometimes re-organize books at other people’s houses to meet my level of book organization OCD. I’m not sure they appreciate it like I do (hehehe!).

  83. Today my car is loaded with bolts of fabric, that aren’t mine, to make my workroom more efficient. Problem is I have filled the space that the fabric took up with the boxed fabric scraps and yarn and it still looks the same. I still can’t find my 3 foot by 9 foot cutting surface either.
    There must my a ‘nesting’ clean up virus going around.

  84. I have to admit, I am a bit of an organization freak, I love LOVE to have things organized! Your plan has me very excited for you, I can’t wait to see the finished product. I would definitely organize the books by subject. Good luck! It will be so worth it!

  85. I grew up in a house from about 1910 with that kind of small room. I was told it was a sewing room, from the days when the lady of the house would make most of her own and her children’s clothing, sometimes with the help of a professional seamstress who would travel around, staying for a week or two with a family getting everything finished for the season.
    I organize my knitting books by subject and size – a necessity since so many knitting books are oversized. The search for the perfect bookcase is always a problem. The only ones that have EVER been truly satisfactory have been the ones we’ve built ourselves from real wood. Since the big box stores will cut boards and plywood backings to length/size for you, it’s not a lot harder than putting together a kit. I’ve always wedged the front bases rather than bolted the top backs for stability, but I don’t make mine higher than I can reach.

  86. I love when you start home improvement projects! Can’t wait to see the progress! I don’t have too many knitting books, but if I did, I’d organize them by color. 🙂

  87. Though I’m neurotic about sorting by author for my fiction books, my knitting books are shelved by subject. That way, if I’m in the need of some inspiration, I can look in one area and know that unless I messed up, all of the relevant books are there. There are, of course, a few hold-outs that screw up the system, but they can typically be shelved between major subjects (socks, baby, sweaters). I think that if it works for my Ravelry account, it is good enough for reality, too!

  88. I would divide knitting books by section/type like references, stitch dictionaries, pattern collections, EZ–which is a category unto itself. Then in each of those sections I would alphabetize them. My books aren’t like that but I am positive you have way more knitting books than me.
    I like the sound of that mysterious little room. Maybe someone once had a tiny office in there. Maybe people stored clothes in there 100 yrs ago. Maybe you will find something really old when you take down the current paper, maybe when everything is out some of its original purpose will become clear.

  89. My great-gram had a room like that in her house..
    There were old coat hooks along one wall to hang clothing on. She called it the “dressing room”, since they had so few outfits so long ago (and did not need closets, and usually so many people shared the bedrooms, they used this room to hang their things and to change in.
    PERFECT for a stash room.
    And that wallpaper? Hilarious.

  90. I was sitting down recently to watch TV with my husband when I realized he had it on the Animal Hoarders show. I told him I would NOT watch it and he found something else. We are pet lovers, but I could not bear to watch it.
    Occasionally we go to a client’s home so they can sign a will, power of attorney, etc. A couple of those visits and seeing Hoarders a couple of times has done it for me. I refuse to allow us to ever get near that point.

  91. Hoarders always makes me happy I’m a packrat and not a hoarder. Happy de-packratting! (As my family says).
    I like to organize my books by imprint then by either subject or author….I like how the publisher’s marks line up on the spines….yes I know…I’m a dork 😀

  92. Elfa systems from the Container Store. Way better (and easier) than Ikea bookshelves. Although I do have two Ikea bookcases purchased in the 1970’s in Germany that are working quite fine. But at the Container Store an Elfa expert will help you maximize the space. They figure out what screws you need, cut the shelving, etc. Fantastic.

  93. When I decide to rearrange my craft room, I always end up in the middle of the room, crying, surrounded by heaps of yarn and fabric. My husband gently pushes me through and helps organize things. I think it’s a lot easier for someone else to organize your belongings, because you’re just way too emotionally invested. Maybe Ken could come help? (Sorry for volunteering him, but hey, that’s what friends are for.)

  94. By subject – If I want to knit a teddy bear I don’t want to wade through all my other books to find that pattern!! Good luck!!!

  95. Oh, I love when people blog about fixing up their homes! Definitely post pictures along the way (loved your bedroom remodel).
    I would sort the books by subject. Of course, that would all be out the window the moment I took a book out.

  96. Library of Congress numbers. Yup, really.
    Stick with it! The hard work will be worth it. Can’t wait to see the after pictures.

  97. I will send you a pic of mine when I get home. I just went through the same thing. I organized books by subject so that all my sock books were together and all the baby books as well.
    I bought 3 bookshelves ( I am sure you will need more) and organized my stash as well.

  98. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve kept my books in “rainbowbetical” order. I could sit around for hours trying to remember an author’s name, but when I see a book in my mind’s eye, the color is the most notable feature, so I just sort that way.
    Plus, think how pleasant it would be to see a rainbow every time you walk past your former niche of shame. Good luck!

  99. Something’s in the air, for sure. I’m organizing stuff at work that hasn’t been touched in 8 years, mostly because our computer network has slowed down to the equivalent of one stitch a minute and I simply cannot stand it any more, I’d rather organize crap.

  100. I would go either by general subject (socks, sweaters, stitch dictionaries) and then author or just by author/editor. I’d also rip out the patterns that I most liked from the magazines, add a bibliographical reference to the pattern, file the pattern by subject and recycle the rest of the magazine.

  101. OMG–WE HAVE THAT ROOM TOO! We don’t have any idea what it’s for either! It’s right off of our bedroom. It’s got a lovely window. It’s freaked us out since day one. 1902 house.

  102. Weird, I am doing the same thing….only my stash room is also the tiny “guest” bedroom, desk/computer area and photo-keeping room. I have organized my books by subject except for a couple of authors who get their own category, like EZ and Debbie Bliss.

  103. At the time your house was built, often there would be a box room upstairs, just like yours. It was meant for trunks and suitcases and dress boxes and things like that.
    Not far removed from the use you’re making of it, except that it was for items that were not in daily use.
    So, continuing to organize and use it for storage, you are honoring the spirit of the house….

  104. I have a room in the basement that used to be called the Museum Room – Inherited my house from my Aunt. It now has most of my books in 7 bookcases form Ikea ! Of course my knitting books have to be upstairs in the living room with me. I sort my books by the ones that I like the best then by what they are for. I did see the Horders show last night. Then looked around at my books and yarn and made me think that I needed to regroup and figure out a better system. Painting out the roses will help you and make your room look bigger. You might think of putting shelves a foot under the ceiling. I worked at a weaving shop and that is where they put the yarn. Dust falls down and doesn’t get on it up there.

  105. I believe that these small rooms were either sewing rooms as mentioned above or “box” rooms to store out-of-season clothes or travel trunks. If you don’t have a lot of closet space that’s where they stored things. My “sewing” room is 8 feet by 10 feet and has just enough room for a narrow twin bed in it (currently buried under laundry baskets filled with potential projects but I digress). Elder Son was home last weekend and told The Husband and I that he was planning a Viking funeral for us so he won’t have to cope with the cleaning out. Hmmm. Better go sort so he doesn’t miss the valuable stuff…..

  106. If you wanted to get totally anal, classify the books by the dewy decimal system and make a card catalog where you can perhaps list favorite patterns or subcategories right on the card. You always are saying your house is messy or you wish it was cleaner but every picture I see that you take always looks clean to me. The floors shine, the chairs and cushions look tidy. Even the stairs outside are swept. You must have a way harsher definition of messy than I do. I can’t wait to see it all finished! Good luck to you!

  107. Aha, your house and mine are kissing cousins!
    We’ve been slowly, slowly de-fuglifying rooms in our home (as money, time and energy eventually end up within hitting distance of each other).
    I’m putting actual walls on my 3 season screen porch (and 2 by-god, honest-to-goodness REAL windows, like with glass, in too) with the intention of calling a cease and desist on frozen pipes this winter… by way of blocking off sub-freezing, gale-wind force “breezes.” I, too, am doing the Ikea/stash solution route.
    I nodded and nodded through this whole post. Brilliant! I hope we both succeed 🙂

  108. OMG! This is my very very very favourite thing to do. When we moved into our Austin house there was a 3×14 closet with no windows and a gun rack at one end. When I first started priming the walls in there, I couldn’t stay in it for more than 10 minutes because it skeeved me out so hard. Eventually it became the most heavenly kitchen pantry ever. Wish I lived closer so I could help with that closet!

  109. By subject, of course, but then I’m a librarian. Don’t worry – the general subject will do. I don’t require Library of Congress classification system call numbers. 😉

  110. Also, I know it seems bananapants, but I bet you could sell off some of the books you’re not too fond of to pay for the shelves. That way the spirit of those books would still have contributed to the room.

  111. I arrange my knitting books like I do all my books — in stratigraphic layers. So I know that I’ll find my Folk Socks book next to Starmore’s Fair Isle book, because I was looking at the former when I was inspired to find a pattern in the latter that I wanted for a pair of socks. Or there are certain books that just go together for me, like EZ’s books and Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries.
    Archaeology of the mind — it’s all the rage.

  112. I’m on the edge of my seat! For the most part, I have organized my knitting books by subject: womens, mens, stitch dictionary/reference/design, baby, home, felting, etc. Magazines are kept together publication and in order by date. Printed out patterns are in plastic sleeves in binders, not really organized (ok, I have a women’s binder, baby binder, and everything else binder).

  113. I have been working on my stash room, too. I am taking over the “exercise room” and creating a yarn/sewing room. I have all my yarn sorted in clear sweater boxes from the Container Store by either color of fibber (you can buy 20 at a time and actually see what is inside). The boxes are all on shelves so I can get to one box without unstacking everything.
    I just retired from running an elementary school library. I thought about putting my books in order by author, but I have decided to put them in order by title or the Ravelry list view. This is sort of by title (I am dropping the articles–the, a, an–if it starts the title, Ravelry doesn’t do this). Anyway, if you look at your Ravelry library and click on a book, I think this makes it easy to find the book. Not all books have a single author. A lot of books have a lot of different patterns, not just socks or sweater.
    I have already successfully found and used items from my stash that I had forgotten I owned. I still need to get rid of the weight machine so I can move my sewing machine in, too.

  114. I would definitely organize by subject. Do you ever think to yourself, man I want to do something by so-and-so? If you’re like me, you want to make socks and you want to find a sock pattern. So organize by subject.Then, if you’re feeling really obsessive, organize by author within each subject.

  115. Depends on the Books. Fiction books I arrange by author, scientific books, first by subject, in alphabetical order B for bacteria, Z for Zoology, then by author. Same for craft books. First by subject, embroidery, crochet,knitting,sewing, spinning, then suborder, Cables, lace, socks etc, sepparating guides and dictionaries in its own suborder.
    And yes, I do arrange my clothes by color and purpose in my closets, why do you ask? 🙂

  116. Depends on the Books. Fiction books I arrange by author, scientific books, first by subject, in alphabetical order B for bacteria, Z for Zoology, then by author. Same for craft books. First by subject, embroidery, crochet, knitting, sewing, spinning, then suborder, Cables, lace, socks etc, sepparating guides and dictionaries in its own suborder.
    And yes, I do arrange my clothes by color and purpose in my closets, why do you ask? 🙂

  117. books by subject. I would leave the counter and use it for a blocking counter. Careful of cheap shelving–if you have a handy friend built in would be better for things like heavy books. Then I would have the friend do one wall for hanging and storing out of season clothing and in the center of the book shelving I would nail up some type of plastic lightweight storage boxes(Open like the milk bottle type) and store fiber in those and hide fiber in drawers put under the counter. Any other extra wall or area I would put up hanging pegs, or shelves with pegs for clothes,skeins,whatever. A giant walk in closet with all the things you would love to have.

  118. Agree: Hoarders makes you crazy to get things ship-shape.
    Ikea bookcases are nice, but I really like the wire metro-type shelving. They hold bins or binders, a ton of weight, and come in chrome and white and ivory and even black, and the shelves are adjustable.
    I put all my patterns into clear page protecter sleeve, then into ring binders, by subject, and then sub-categories, then by how interested I am in the pattern. My books I order by subject. Yarn by weight and some by quantity–ie my sweater and larger project quantities are in upstairs bins, and my smaller lots are downstairs in the cedar-lined 70s spa-cum-stash room. I figure I’m less likely to impulsively start a big sweater than I am a sock, scarf, or cowl, or to swap or trade or destash same on the fly. I keep a list on my computer of what is in what bin upstairs, as I’m disabled and Geekheart has to fetch down those bins when I need one. I also have my knitting tools in bins. My interchangeable needle tips and cables are filed in smaller page protecter clear sleeves laid on their sides in quarter-sized clear bins, and the sleeves labeled. DPNs have their own bin, with a selection of small sleeves I’ve sewn, pouches and unused Clinique and other counter makeup bags from thrift store, and even eyeglass cases serving as DPN holders. My long straights are all in fabric rolls I’ve sewn, and labeled in their own bin.
    I have software on my computer that will instantly scan in any book with a bar code, or I can manually enter something. For Macs, it’s called Delicious Library. It’s slightly limited (they have a place to enter your manly tools, which I subvert to meaning knitting needles. So I have a whole list of my needles and books which is published to the ‘cloud’ on my MobileMe, and I can consult on my iPhone when I’m out in my LYS.
    Good luck! Progress pics would be very interesting.

  119. Well, I only have about 10 knitting books, so I just throw them on the same shelf. I’m guessing (especially with that pic) that your situation is more difficult.
    1. Decide how organized you really are. We all tend to think we’ll do more than we actually will in the glow of a new project. Do you alphabetize your spices or anything else? The answer to that will be a good guide.
    2. Determine how much readily accessible space you have. Will you have room for everything in easy reach, or will some stuff be going on a higher shelf?
    3. Divide into magazines and books; it will be easier to keep things from slipping and sliding.
    4. What makes the most sense to me is to put the books into categories: socks, sweaters, stitch dictionaries, biographies/histories, and a mix category for those lovely “one-skein wonder” books.
    5. I wouldn’t organize any more than that unless you truly are an organized person at heart… are you the type that pulls 5-10 books at a time? If you are, are you really going to want to “reshelve” your books, as in a proper library? If not, than you’re going to waste a lot of times alphabetizing only to undo your work later.
    6. Don’t be conned into buying too much stuff to “help” you organize. I saw your tweet… I’d just get some standard bookshelf dividers, a la the library, and separate your categories that way.
    7. Oh, and I always go alphabetical by title, if I’m doing it because the authors name are a pain to see as the type is usually significantly smaller.
    And if all else fails, just use the Dewey decimal system. The knitting archivists will love you.

  120. I can’t wait to see what you managed to do with that itty space! I’m so jealous of people who get to have a whole room dedicated to their craft.
    As for the books, I’d group by project type (sweaters, socks, etc) and then alpha by author within each group.

  121. The easiest is alpha by title. HOWEVER, knowing (?) you – you’ll probably break it out by category, then maybe by title. As long a you understand it, then it’s a good system.

  122. I would sort books by colour of binding. I won’t remember the name of the book or the author but will remember what the front page looks like. Assuming that that will be same colour as the binding, that’s how I woud sort the books. Plus it will look pretty, so even if you have to read every book binding to find the odd book, which I would likely have to do anyway, at least this way will be visually appealing and easy to maintain.

  123. I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I got up and watched Hoarders on NetFlix. It was about one episode of Hoarders too many (I’d watched a few yesterday, too) and I spent the rest of the morning cleaning and disinfecting the entire kitchen.

  124. Books by subject (loosely) and individual patterns/projects in clear plastic page protectors in huge loose-leaf binders (I’m up to Vol. 6 for cardigans, shawls and socks respectively). I’ve decided that I’ll do a better job of organizing when I retire. I have no plans to retire for another 8 or 9 years thereby putting off any decision making for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, by the time I retire, I won’t care anymore.
    Stash lives in a shed in my daughter’s backyard (in another state), as well as in various bins, nooks and crannies in my little townhouse. It’s easier to buy new yarn than to find a skein I’ve stored somewhere. I do have a list of my stashed fibers with particulars as to color, fiber composition and yardage as well as where it might be hiding, but sometimes I just don’t get around to putting a new yarn on the list or I forget to take an old yarn off after I’ve used it. As long as the whole mess is mostly out-of-sight, I’m okay.
    If I still care about organization when I do retire, clearly, it will take an entire year of my non-working life to get it together. Upon reflection, I may never retire.
    Leslie in wet and dreary Bucks County, PA.

  125. Oh, a little stash room all of your own! With a good window too! Looking forward to it’s makeover… For books – by subject, then by size, so that there can be vertical piles of the big coffee table inspiration books, with tidy rows of smaller pattern books on either side perhaps. While alphabetical is pleasing in a library, for your own referencing, I find subject works best since you can put the most utilized in one, easy to reach place.

  126. If I had the space, it would be separated by media (book, mag, etc), then topic, and in each topic, things would be alphabetical by author. I might be a little nuts to be that particular….

  127. I definitely sort by subject. I had an ex who took it upon himself to alphabetize all my books while I was gone one day. That relationship didn’t last…

  128. I put my knitting books in categories. Then by author.
    Category definitely makes it easier to find what I am looking for and browse when I am just looking for inspiration.

  129. I feel so strongly about this that it barely feels like an opinion – by subject, totally. If you want socks, you want to be able to see *all the socks,* posthaste! An exception might be for something like my Elizabeth Zimmerman books. But EZ is kind of a subject all in and of herself.

  130. I have bookshelves with books organized by subject (knitting, quilting, cross-stitch). I also have three-ring binders that hold pattern PDFs, leaflets, booklets, and magazines. I’ve found that magazines are easier to access when placed in a binder using a three-hole-punched plastic holder (available via Amazon and other places on the Internet), rather than those containers you have on your shelf. I try to group magazines by name and date.
    To keep down the amount of stuff I have, I will relegate certain yarn and other materials to an opaque box for a set amount of time (no more than a year). If I don’t need the things during that time, off they go to a better home.
    Good luck with your efforts. When you’re done, it will be much easier for you to find what you want.

  131. Uh…true confessions….I have recorded episode after episode of Hoarders…and never watched any (I think I am afraid it might hit too close to home). I was out of space on my DVR…22 episodes of Hoarders…deleted them all without watching (but new ones are appearing on it). I was Horading Hoarders.
    I would definately arrange by subject…knitting!

  132. hi 🙂
    i would put the books by subject,then in alpabetical order,by author.

  133. We had a room like this in the house I grew up in. One of the long walls had had a wide french door way to the master bedroom (my dad put book shelves in it). There was a window on the far end, opposite the door to the hallway and the door to the attic steps. My mom put sewing machine and her grandmother’s antique dresser in there. The dresser held her sewing stash. Thus, it was a sewing room. So what you have there is a sewing room.

  134. General groupings for socks and mittens, lace, stitch dictionaries, technique references, household etc but a special place for EZ, Marianne Isager, Nancy Bush, Mason Dixon Kaffe Fassett and Cat Bordhi
    Printed copies of patterns and those torn out of some odd magazine are in plastic sleeves by the same groupings.
    I still have to hunt sometimes but the best thing is that all my magazines are in Ikea magazine collection boxes by year published. I can go online and find the pattern I want and go straight to the year and find it. Takes up a lot of shelf space and worth it to be able to pull out a year without going thru the whole history of IK.

  135. I recently remodeled what use to be my stepson’s room when they came to vist as kids (one’s now married and the other is working.) into a studio for me. I’ve grouped my books by type and then alphabetized them within that type. Like Kim said, I always remember a title but not necessarily the author’s name (unless it’s you of course!) It works for me and I love my studio!

  136. 1. By media- DVDs, books, magazines, roving, yarn all separate. 2. By subject– each magazine in reverse chronological order (newest first); Books divided into (a) lace, (b) socks, (c) babies, (d) stitch dictionaries, (e) Alice Starmore (and/or cables and arans– doesn’t everyone have an Alice Starmore section?) (f) favorites, (g) babies, (h) general. 3. Notebooks with tabs for loose patterns– organized by type. I’d do yarn by weight/fiber content. Then color if there’s lots of one kind.

  137. Subject – because that’s how I look for them. So I think however you look for them is the way to go.

  138. Are you planning on painting over the wallpaper or are going to remove it first? My husband always makes up remove it. Good luck with your reorganization.

  139. Subject, then author. Otherwise, if I go looking for the book with “that fab shawl pattern in it” and have to scan the entire bookcase for that one title, I’m going to get lost in all the rest and never remember what I went in there for.

  140. Dry wall anchors Anna.
    When I’m in the mood I love pulling stuff out and gleaning/reorganizing. It happens on a rotating basis. I find that each time I redo an area it’s a little different.
    Here’s what I want to know–what to do with all the leftover sock yarn?

  141. Sorting by subject is easiest to keep track of for me. Then the anal part of me shelves by size. Magazines are stored in magazine boxes (good price on the fold up cardboard ones at Ikea) by publication title and filed by publication date. Pattern booklets are stored in the cardboard magazine file boxes too by subject.
    Oh, and for those books that don’t quite fit a category, they become the “Don’t Quite Fit” category on the bookshelves. :o)

  142. I sorted by category, then author. Booklets like DoN patterns get put in sleeves and then in binders that are also sorted by subject.

  143. Can’t wait to see how your stash room turns out!
    I’d arrange the books by subject, and alphabetically by the author in each subject section. And keep an inventory on your computer with a shelf location for easy access.

  144. Totally with you on having the kids growing up and finally getting things tidy. I’m about 4 years behind you on the “kid curve”, but I’m dreaming of orderliness.
    I JUST straightened up my modest knitting library. I organized mine by author for my personal “knitterati” including EZ, Barbara Walker, and one SPM & then all other books by subject.

  145. Hoarders is a motivator for me to declutter as well!
    My books (knitting and otherwise) are arranged by height- tallest to shortest. With the knitting books, I’m familiar enough with the size of a particular book to know where it’s likely to be found. With my other books, I have enough of a particular category (plant guides, science, history, etc) so that they have a shelf of their own and again, I know the size of the book and it’s easy to find.

  146. Hoarders was just the kick in the pants I needed. I’m only on my fourth episode but it’s forcing me to look at my own acquisitions more carefully. I’m on a serious “use it up or get rid of it” bender.

  147. I do have all my knitting books on one large floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, and they’re arranged by some very loose categories, then alpha by author, then alpha by title. This probably appears completely chaotic to others* but it really suits the way I think about knitting and therefore use my books.
    * My categories probably only make sense to me — for instance, I have a category of “traditional techniques” which includes stuff like Knitting In the Old Way and Folk Socks and Folk Bags but also stuff like Sweaters from Camp and Inspired Cable Knits and all my Alice Starmore books, and then I have a category of “just patterns” which is where Stitch-n-Bitch and the various Vogue sweater books my ex-MIL likes to give me but also Knitting Nature get shelves. Anybody else looking at this probably wonders why my sweater books are all over the damn place. Incidentally, your books are in “Knitting Literature” along with all my EZ books; you’re in good company. 🙂

  148. Use a hybrid organization approach. Organize by subject or type for the most part. With Labels, big pretty labels. So you remember how you organized them. If you’re like me, titles and authors are hard to remember when you’re trying to track something down. But you always know what TYPE of book you are looking for. You know if you are looking for something about socks or sweaters, or even quick knits. But aside from the matriarchs of knitting like EZ and Barbara Walker, the rest of the names kind all blur together. Incidentally, here’s where I would make an exception to the organize by type concept. If you adore a particular author, group them together.
    I guess it all depends on what’s easiest for YOU to remember. The whole point is to find it again later.

  149. I’d organize my knitting books by subject. Socks, mittens, hats, sweaters, Basics (to cover books like Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Opinionated Knitter or Knit Great Basics by Brown Sheep Company), colorwork, etc. Don’t worry about what’s “right”, worry about what makes sense to you. You may have a section for socks and a sections for folk and you may end up checking both places before finding “Folk Socks”, but at least you’ll know not to look near your lace shawl books.
    Good luck!

  150. Oh by subject for sure. But sometimes–for example, with Elizabeth Zimmerman–the author IS the subject. Also, magazines are sorted by season, not by title. MMhhmm. My system makes sense to me.

  151. I can never figure out how to sort the books..right now they’re piled on a shelf according to size which is NOT optimum. I’ve been considering scanning all of my books and creating a sortable database for myself. That’ll happen right after I win the lottery 🙂

  152. I think I’d use Crazy Aunt Purl’s book organizing method: by color. It makes things so aesthetically pleasing! In reality, I use a hybrid system:
    Level 1: Subject area
    Level 2: Alpha author last name

  153. I go by subject, and then by friendliness – books I think would be friends with each other.
    About the room -my brother has a house in San Francisco about the same vintage as yours – and he says the little room was called the “fainting room” where the lady of the house could go and loosen her corset when she felt faint…

  154. My knitting books are lumped on a couple shelves in the upstairs living room, and in an IKEA bookcase in the finished basement. I removed the spines on several paperback books so I could have them spiral bound. They lay flat (which was the idea) but now there is no spine label to read, just a spiral. I still like the idea, but I wish I still had a spine (vagrant thought).
    My yarn stash is kept in 4 big plastic bins, two rolling plastic carts, and in miscellaneous zip-lock and fabric project bags.
    I’m scared what would happen if my husband watched ‘Hoarders’…

  155. I file my books by subject. I have floor to ceiling shelving, computer desk, and bulletin boards in my teeny weird storage room, so I can’t even see enough of the walls for anything about them to bother me.

  156. Sorted by category: reference, socks, etc.
    Maybe a special section for faves. Store magazines by journal & chronological order but group fall in season. That way all the Fall stuff is together – only just rearranged to this end – it is working great for me.
    I so wish I had a room for stash extension, all be it small. Good luck, often times I need chaos level before I hit organised.

  157. Here is my system for the books about 300 of them and we are not talking pattern leaflets. I have them in alphabetical order by author and then on the computer in a table I have them by author and by title. Sure helps me keep from buying a book twice when they pull that change the cover thing I am finding more and more in book land.

  158. As they fit, and
    somewhat by size, and
    a little by category, and
    somewhat by what I don’t want to see very often (they go at the ends behind the bookcase’s siderails.
    Help any?

  159. Could the urge to clean be “catching”? I have an unreasonable urge to empty the garage and install fancy storage cabinets, instead of the current state of disarray. And I don’t even watch Hoarders!

  160. I’m with what seems to be a growing consensus–sort by subject, when possible, with EZ as her own category. I put single patterns and free downloads into clear plastic sleeves and sort into different subject 3-ring binders; for pattern booklets and magazines, I bought a slew of those cardboard magazine holders like they have (or used to have) at the library, and again, sort by category, so all children’s are together, babies, women’s, men’s, family, socks, shawls, Vogue, Interweave, etc. And the notebooks and cardboard holders are all labeled and then shelved alphabetically–very expandable and easy to find what I need. When I retire (ha, ha), I’m going to index all my pattern books into a master list, because it’s now reached a point where I can’t always remember which book I saw a pattern in to find it again. Good luck–we all know your little room will be fabulous when you’re finished, whatever the challenges along the way! Best, randmknitter

  161. OMG. I now have no choice, I’ve heard too many people talk about that show. I must see an episode – one, at least.
    I’d put my books in order by subject (and then perhaps by author, tho’ in reality, mine are by SIZE, just because otherwise, I can’t see everything, so the smallest are in the middle of the shelf and the tallest are on the outsides!).
    Good luck, Stephanie, if anyone can do this, you can.
    (But I spoke to Nana Sadie Rose *wink* and she’d like to put in an order for your wallpaper…)

  162. Hoarders freaks me out too! In fact, I’m making a run to Goodwill tomorrow.
    I’ve got all my knitting books sorted by subject.

  163. Organize books like a bookstore: Sort by subject and alphabetize by author’s last name within that subject.

  164. If I had that many books and magazines, I think it would be best to organize by subject and maybe have a small section of often used books.
    I would also put magazines separately or just rip out what you actually like from them and put each page in a plastic page cover. And then just put dividers between which say form which magazine it came, issue and year. That way you can have binders full of patterns of a specific kind (i.e. a sock pattern binder, a pullover binder, a binder of articles/lessons…etc)
    Or you could even buy those magazine binders if you’re willing.

  165. Hoarders freaks me out! And also makes me feel like my house is spick and span (though it really isn’t).
    I’ve got my knitting books alpha by author. Within authors I’ve got them sorted mostly by preference – though if there’s a series they’re in numeric order (exp. Knit Lit 1-3).
    Magazines are in these great black bins I got from Staples/Office Max – sorted by Publication and then by date. There’s even one for “miscellaneous” which are then sorted by date.
    Pattern leaflets are sorted primarily by what they are – socks, outerwear (scarves and mittens, etc), lace, babies. Mostly in a binder but some are in more of those black bins I mentioned above.
    Your cleaning reminds me that the stash is looking a bit higgledy piggeldy and needs to be organized. Homework reading must come first though! And I can’t do it when the roommate is home. Don’t want to scare him!

  166. One method I’ve used when I want to be ruthless in cleaning and de-cluttering, is to use the rule of “If I wouldn’t buy it now then I’m not keeping it.” Usually there’s at least half I wouldn’t buy again, so that goes to Goodwill or Freecycle or some place other than my house/closet/cupboard. But sometimes you’re left with almost nothing that way, too. It’s not my usual method. I mostly use something not as drastic because I’m a big chicken.

  167. As a former bookstore clerk, I’m fond of alphabetical for everything OTHER THAN REFERENCE. Reference books should be shelved by subject.
    That said, you should shelve them using whatever method will make it easiest for you to find what you’re looking for.

  168. Of all the Knitters I know, YOU deserve a pretty stash room. I worked in a bookstore for several years and the most efficient way to shelve books is to group them by subject then alphabetical by author. Give each shelf and group a number and letter, then have one of your girls index it. Yes, I am annal about the way my books are arranged. Why do you ask?

  169. Books: By subject – I can never remember all the authors names and that would call for a spreadsheet to find something. I find it easier to look at group by subject. This also helps to keep me on course rather than heading down another path and letting the muse get her hands on something that will only become a long term WIP.
    Keep going on the room – you have a great plan. It is a bit overwhelming because you have to make the place junkier before it gets better. Oh, but is it worth it. I did my home studio a few months ago (see blog) and I love it!!! There is also an IKEA forum on Ravelry that will give you great ideas. IKEA is just about as much of an obsession as knitting.
    Good Luck – can’t wait to see the results.

  170. I’m guessing it was a sewing room in the original design. My father’s boyhood room was such a place, right over the stairs with a large window. Built in the late 1880s …

  171. I am a multi fiber craftsy gal (started knitting a few years ago because I found it easy to do with two toddlers in the house…but I primarily identify myself as a quilter, not sure why, I guess it is what I have been doing the longest) anywho, I like my books by subject…beading, applique, knitting, art quiting. I have a whole bunch that I dont really use that I stack in a pile and use as a book end.

  172. So, since you’re the one reorganizing the space, does that mean that you get the finished space all to yourself, or do you still have to share with Joe? I vote for the former. Oh, and my books are organized by subject, too.

  173. You’ve mentioned your stash closet before, and it sounded big and I always wished I had one big enough too–now that I know the real size of yours, I’m really wishing I had a stash closet as big as yours! Good luck!

  174. Horders: terrifying! Do the books by topic. Also have one small section for books you use constantly so you can find them quickly and easily without having to stop and think, “Did I put that in the sock section or the hat section. That’s my mana’o. Aloha!

  175. Some project you’ve got going there – but don’t fret. It will all come together. Like you say about knitting itself – no one will die if the room isn’t done in a day – or even a week. I think it kind of looks like fun, in an overwhelming sort of way, and just think how light and refreshed you will feel when it IS done. Good for you, Steph – keep on keeping on.

  176. Putting it on the shelf is as far as I get it – the 21/2 year old doesn’t allow for anything else.

  177. I have my books shelved by title – with the exception of special collectionsm – like Nicki Epstein’s “Knitting on/over/near/beyond/off” books, they get their own spot together, so I only have to remember one title to get the whole set. I’m terrible with names!

  178. As someone currently undertaing her first renovations (yes, two at once, I must be nuts) of her 100 year old house, you have my sympathy. I feel the same way about my house and love it, due to (and despite of) its quirks.
    But there’s no excuse for that wallpaper. I, for one, am glad to see it go.

  179. I recently turned the guest room into my knitting room. I figure, we only have guests once in a while, but I knit every day. The guests can stay at a hotel. But as these things go, the stash has expanded to fill the space. (Somehow, I now have 10 vintage sewing machines. I only started learning to sew a few months ago, so there’s really no justification.) But all my gorgeous yarn is now visible and accessible (in one of those IKEA open cubby storage things), and all my books are on shelves (by color and shape, actually). My magazines and patterns are in upright holders. My fiber is stored in transparent bins in the closet, and my spinning wheel is set up and ready to go at a moment’s notice, as are my ball winder and swift. I love it. I am a little bit of a neat freak, and the organization does my heart good. Since I live in a houseful of boys, it’s a great sanctuary (my husband recently commented that it’s always the cleanest room in the house).

  180. However you organize it, I’d buy the best bookcases you can afford. Or build your own. Cheap ones fall apart SO fast, and end up being more expensive.
    Can you trade knit goods to a carpenter to have them build you shelves? They don’t have to be fancy; but they must be sturdy.

  181. When all else fails, alpha sort by author…then you have all collections by the same author together.

  182. By subject (weaving/shawls/knitting/socks). Then alphabetically, under author. MY Wool Room is neon aqua – soon to be changed.

  183. Have fun!
    If you don’t love it, get rid of it.
    Another favorite web-site (fly-lady) says you can’t organize clutter. First de-clutter.
    I “organize” my books by category. No author’s even within categories. I am about to get rid of the ones that I haven’t used, even the ones that were gifts, even the ones with the one pattern that I plan to knit, one day.
    I love the comment about the NY City rent.

  184. No! Get that shelving at IKEA that is essentially a bunch of stacked cubes – then each cube can hold a different type of magazine, yarn, whatever. There are drawers you can purchase separately that fit in some of the cubes, some of them you leave open, some of them you can put little doors on…get the picture?
    Oooh, can I come up and help?

  185. I would totally organize by subject! Then by author(alphabetically of course). I’m a little anal that way….
    I am so addicted to Hoarders! The SO finished a whole season in one night! Thankfully I was asleep for most of it.
    BTW…a light green is great for a craft room. It’s known to be a very calming color and perfect for de-stressing.

  186. ooooh, I am really excited for you to get all organized! I also am so glad you decided to show off your messiness, it makes me feel better about mine. I think I have a whole season of Hoarders that I can stream from Netflix… maybe that is a good starting point. I’ll use stash yarn and knit while I watch hoarders.
    I would totally organize the books by subject. and I recommend 3-ring binders and those flat plastic magazine holders for the magazines, organized chronologically. I have found that my magazines that I keep in those library stand up boxes get all slouchy after a while. Or maybe they could be stacked with the spines facing out. Like in a heavy duty paper tray or ooooh! maybe one of those office mailbox deals… ooh my wheels are turning, want me to come over?

  187. I recommend organizing them by subject. That’s how you’re most likely to use them.
    What is it about fall? I’ve just been hit by a huge reorganization/remodeling/tidying urge myself. Two straight weeks of sorting, organizing, and purging, and my house is almost nice! I don’t know what I’ll do with myself once I finish–lie around and admire the order, I guess.
    About shelving, I got some really great shelving units from Home Depot for my dyeing studio. They’re three feet wide and two feet deep(!) Meant for garages, so they’re cheap but super sturdy. I was afraid they’d be too ugly–they’re light gray plastic–but once you put all your stuff on them, you don’t notice what the shelves look like any more. You might consider that if you have a lot of tools or want to sort the yarn and fiber into bins.

  188. You should send all the info to The Nate Berkus Show..he is looking for people who need help with decorating..if you get to do it, you would be helping knitters far and wide with their stash problems. I love Hoarders..it makes me feel really good about myself 🙂

  189. The same thing happened to my mom when my brother and I moved out. She always complains about how messy it is and it is always so clean compared to my place.
    Anyways, I sort mine by craft and then by subject, like socks, sweaters, general. But I don’t have that many books. One shelf. I am working on it… 🙂

  190. My knitting books are crammed (mostly) into my living rooms shelves and I think I started out having them by subject, (with all the sock books together, all the stitch guides together, all the general knitting books together, all the spinning ones together and so on. But I’ve noticed that my favorites have all migrated to one shelf at the middle of the shelves, where they’re easy for me to grab so they’re kind of all jumbled together. But I have no problem finding which one I need. So I guess my sort of point is that it doesn’t really matter what sort of system you use (alpha by title, alpha by author, Dewey Decimal or whatever) as long as it makes sense to you. My job gave us all a webinar with one of those organizational goddesses (apparently our team is a bit like herding cats sometimes. We always get everything done on time, usually early even, but it can be a wild ride to get there!) and honestly one thing really stuck with me. The reason that some people fail at organization is because we’re trying to stuff our mental processes into someone else’s flow chart. Rather than alphabetize or categorize your life to some one else’s design, you should sit down and figure out what works for you, and then keep it up.

  191. Best idea ever. I love watching your renovation projects. Like you, the older I get, the more I like everything in its own place. My suggestion for organization? Color. I know it’s not technically categorizing anything, but whenever I need order–especially visual order–I fall back on ye olde rainbow. Somehow, that seems to be the best in the order of Things.

  192. I’ve glimpsed “Hoarders” and I know my house is unfortunately in that state. When I can breathe I’ll work on the house.
    I organize my fiber books first by type (general techniques and pattern libraries, garment construction, ethnic, socks, lace, handspinning, dyeing), then if I have more than one book by an author I bunch that author’s books together. I don’t have so many that I have to alphabetize the authors. Small books like yours and the Vogue On The Go books go in a wine box upended on the long side.
    I like the roses but if they’re not you then have at it.

  193. I love watching Hoarders. Fascinated and horrified by it at the same time, and always motivated to get up and de-clutter the minute it’s over. (For a less horrifying but still motivating show, try “Mission Organization” on HGTV. Same effect.) My craft books are “organized” (if you can call it that) by subject. That means when I finish with a lace book I toss it in the vague general direction of the other lace books. So what color is the new stash room? Lots of pics, please!

  194. I arrange books by type (knitting, cookbooks, travel books, novels, etc) and then by size. Because it looks interesting.
    I think by colour is just as awesome, though.

  195. By subject. I know it’s not as precise, but I have considerably fewer to look through of each book by subject than I do if I go by title.

  196. I sort mostly by subject. Tall books end up on the top shelf, where there’s room. But it works, because the tall books tend to be sweater pattern books.
    Socks books are together, right next to (often intermingled with) mitten books. Lace all lives together, and the stitch pattern books are next to the technique books.
    I guess the responsible thing to do would be to organize them by author w/in each grouping. In reality, the books I love the most tend to be out of the bookshelf because I’ve been looking through them again, and the books I don’t like as much linger on the shelf untouched.
    Or there’s last week, when my books got reorganized by thickness, because I needed to make a stack of fat things to put a camera on for sweater photos. And I couldn’t be bothered to reorganize them when I put them back.
    Writing all of this out, I’m making a new year’s resoution (got to give myself some time for follow-through) to actually get rid of the books I never use. *Someone* will buy them at the library book sale!

  197. If you buy bookcases at IKea be forewarned that the sizes change year to year. Ask me how I know. Second, while these last somewhat long, for a true fiber lover it might not be long enough. When one breaks, or you have to disasemble it, you will learn new curse words as the thing falls apart, splinters, or the holes don’t match up. Or you do it upside down. You might want to look into a hutch for some of your needs. Hutches can hold the fiber and yarn, books on top, current sock project in a basket so you can grab and go. If this doesn’t help you, seriously strong shelves. Seriously.

  198. If I had to organize knitting books, I think I’d do it by subject. Basic books together, books about cables together, lace books in the same place, sock books elsewhere, etc.
    Of course, MY bookshelves won’t hold all the books because some knitting books are BIG, so that they can show their luscious color photos. So, I have my regular size books on one shelf, upright, and all the ones that won’t fit upright are in several stacks on another shelf.
    You might want to take that into account when putting up new shelves.
    Hope this helps!

  199. BY COLOR. I shelve all my books by color. It’s appealing to the eye- which is the #1 reason I want my books shelved and “organized”- I want them put away so it looks nice and actually adds to the decor/appearance of the room. Although I am a bookworm, I don’t have enough books of any one subject to truly need to organize them that way (I mean really, I would only have to turn my head a couple inches to see a different subject- this is not a public library). I have like 70 knitting books, organized by color (as are my “non-knitting” bookshelves and my cookbook shelves), and it gives the area a fun appearance that welcomes me or others to sit on the floor and start browsing thru the titles, and is fun to coordinate with the colors of the yarn stash. I use a cube system like Ikea’s with knitting books in some cubes, yarn in others either in cloth drawers or loose in piles.

  200. I did my sewing books by subject, and then typed up a massive cross referencing index, which was just a bit obsessive, but lets me remember whether I have a book already by author, by title, by subject, and for things with patterns in them by a particular pattern name. Then you have a small book that tells you everything you have, and gives you about six different ways to remember anything on the list.
    Actually the biggest help was that I gave away a LOT of books, and kept only those I used more than once a year. Which wasn’t too many. Anything I kept only for eye-candy went to the library where they swore they were delighted to have it and would take care of it for me. So I go visit some things there.
    Also I donated two subscriptions to magazines I wanted to read but didn’t want to keep to the library, and I go visit them there too.
    I wanted one really good place to be in to make stuff by the time I turned 50 (today! yay me!) and deaccessioning a pile of books and stash helped enormously.

  201. I’m kind of picky and I organize my books by author first, then by title name.
    Good luck with redoing the room! I always get into those modes where I feel like redoing something… unfortunately a lot of my projects end up half done out of frustration, or they’re done but half-ass-edly so.
    On the bright side… at least the room was only ugly wallpaper. We have a room in our house with nasty knotty pine wood paneling. And not just any kind of paneling – the kind that goes at a diagonal with each wall being the opposite direction. I painted over it with a sandy tan color trying to make it better, and it’s certainly brighter and less fugly, but its still diagonal paneling.

  202. As I am a sock knitter, all my sock books are together because otherwise I wouldn’t find them. All the Rowan books, EZ, Noro, Jo Sharp, etc, are grouped together (or should be). And all the technique books are top shelf, as I sometimes forget even the basics and have to look it up.
    But my library seems to have a life of its own and I really need to do some serious dewey decimal work here (not that I remember one whit of that from high school). Take a peek:
    Thank goodness for Ravelry!
    Looking forward to seeing the end result of your “Stasheroo Redo.”

  203. My books are sorted how I see it, and that’s pure logically.
    1. Topic
    2. Title within the topic
    3. In numerical order by number in a series (if applicable)
    4. I have a shelf that is entirely reference (Stich dictionaries and how-to knit type books), a shelf for knitting fiction, and then 3 shelves by topic- sorted alphabetically. One big Ikea shelf holds most of mine and the bottom is filled with binders of patterns.

  204. I think topic, essentially, but I agree that some authors sort of are their own topics and their books belong together. I have about 10 knitting books (a couple of which are on loan to a friend), and it may well now become an ambition to have enough to require a cataloguing system. Currently, it’s ‘next to the bed’ or ‘in the study’. Which looks an awful lot like your stash room!

  205. I would put the knitting books by colour of spine. Not efficient if you like an easily understood order, but it’s the way I roll nonetheless.

  206. The problem with sorting your books by subject is that, other than sock books, they’re mostly a full collection of scarves, sweaters, hats, et al. I’d separate the socks books and do the remainder in alphamagical. Truth to tell, when I’m looking for a something, I frequently go to Ravelry and try to find something I already own. (And don’t ask how that’s working out, what with that handy little “buy” button on the patterns I don’t own.)

  207. I have 40+ years’ worth of knitting books, a large number of crochet books, and every spinning book I could get my hands on in the last two years. I have found that the best way for me is to arrange the books by subject, and then alphabetically by author within the subject category, and alphabetically by title within the author category. There are lots of other ways to arrange the books, but this seems to cut down on the time spent searching for a particular book.

  208. For the poll: loosely by subject. Really though, I tend to find my books by colour when it comes down to it, as the colour of the spine is one of the first things I remember when I’m looking for a particular book. Odd, but it works.

  209. I’m with you on the getting-older-getting-tidier thing … but I still have small kids so am TRAPPED in a twilight zone!! ha ha.
    I would do the books according to subject. Looking forward to seeing what you do with that space. The wallpaper is ME though so I wouldn’t need to repaint!

  210. Oh Steph–I hope you figure this out and let us all know. I’ve done pretty well storing the yarn and roving in plastic boxes on shelves my husband put in the closet. but the books are another matter. Not enough bookcases. No room for bookcases. And knitting books come in all sorts of irregular sizes making it hard to group them by subject or author both of which I’ve tried. Good luck. Keep us posted.

  211. Knitting books are in sections. Ie sock books with socks, lace together, etc. Then once you get into a given section it’s alpha by author. And then I get a bit type A on it. I keep the books by a single author in place by date of publication.

  212. I’ve never seen Hoarders, but “How Clean is Your House” has always been enough to get me frantically scrubbing and decluttering.
    Your plan sounds great! Can’t wait to see pictures of the new Stash Room! 😀

  213. it’ll be great! just keep at it–it’s always darkest before dawn right?
    also, I like to organize my books by subject, then by author or size. probably size wins out b/c i’m obsessive like that. good luck!

  214. I have that room! It’s my office/stash room/supplies/books (some of them anyway). I am continually going thru stuff and throwing away. One thing I did that I like is I bought many pushpins and I have papered my walls in photographs of friends, postcards, quotes, periodic table of the elements, swatches, child artwork etc. I love it. There is always something inspiring to look at.
    Re: books – I don’t buy that many, and if I don’t use it I sell it.
    Looking forward to watching your project progress!

  215. As soon as you mentioned that it was cold in that room I wanted to store apples there. My uncle lives in the middle of an orchard and has about a dozen apple trees around his house, and every year we go up there and visit and pick too many apples, many of which then rot because I don’t have a root cellar or other cool place to put them and I don’t get through them fast enough. (Although this year I am doing better than usual; I have made at least five apple crisps and a couple of rounds of applesauce, which I never made before.)
    Also, my kitchen has way too little shelf space, and it also has a shelf by the door, and I just realized the other night that if I took that shelf out and put a cabinet there I would have a lot more shelf space. Of course then I’d have to find another place for the recycle bin, but I think it would be worth it.
    All of which is to say that I applaud your organizational zeal and hope to emulate it.
    I shelve my knitting books alphabetically by author, but I have only about 75 of them. I have already separated my crocheting and spinning books into their own categories, and I also have a catch-all “other crafts” category (jewelry making and rug hooking, mostly). 75 is a lot, but it’s not so many I can’t keep track of them, especially as I generally remember who wrote what, and several authors are represented by multiple books. (Yes, all of yours are there.) I’m getting pretty close to subcategorizing, though.

  216. Order your books by how you remember them.
    If you think:
    I need a book about socks = Subject.
    I need a book by Cookie A. = Author.
    I need Knit. Sock. Love. = Title.
    And if you want to get a little…Type A –
    By subject, then Author, then Title.
    I need a book on socks, by Cookie A called Knit Sock. Love.

  217. I dream of shelves. I live in a messy pit with the leftovers of three children’s toys in the house, but I do dream of shelves.
    My DH recently had pneumonia, and with it came some life-changing decisions, amongst them some changes, and he has begun a daily campaign of throwing out clutter (more particularly his workshop). The change from lassitude from depression, to constant changes is a little hard to get used to, but I am liking less stuff in the house.
    I still dream of shelves.

  218. My library is by subject, then by author, then alphabetical under the author’s name. You’re bound to know the subject you want long before you remember an author’s name.

  219. I had these types of cleaning frenzies whenever I would come back from aiding in cleaning out a estate house in the famly, each of the grandparents. We didn’t realize that my grandmother really had a full-size basement all those years. Then every house appliance from the ranch for 80 years; which it turned out was (unfortunately re-inforcing) useful for spare parts from time to time.
    Books: by subject: socks, general knowledge, ethnic focus.

  220. Great minds think alike. I’m decluttering my house by donating stuff – bagfuls of books, clothes, toys … then I’m going to work out a plan to store what’s left in a way that makes sense.
    I have my knitting books organized by subject, then by author. The Billy bookcases from Ikea have adjustable shelves which are great for oversize books!

  221. I sort them by subject. My lace, sock, hats, etc are in groups and are easier for me to browse. The odd books that don’t have ‘friends’ are in a potpourri knitting or crocheting or spinning or weaving or dyeing catagory.
    Our yarn store sorts them alphabetically by title. That drives me bonkers, as my background is years working at the local library as a tech.

  222. hmmm…. i organize my knitting books, magazines, etc. by my favorites. My ultimate favorites go first, then as the list goes down, the books are less favored upon than others.

  223. I would sort according to how often you use the books. I know it sounds a bit random and silly, but I tend to take the realistic view of productivity. 14 years from now, you’ll be glad your frequently used books are near the door (accessible) and all the others are the ones buried in the back under the stash you will acquire between now and then.
    Bare in mind, though, that this is coming from someone at the beginning of motherhood. I’ve got at least 18 years of clutter ahead…

  224. The room looks like it would make a nice office with some new paint or wallpaper.
    It might have been a nursery or a maid’s room way back when.

  225. I keep my knitting books by subject. Lace, toys, baby/kid, adult clothes, fair isle, cables, etc. If a book falls into multiple categories, I either put it between the two categories or in the one that was the reason I bought it. I have a 3 ring binder of single patterns in sheet protectors organized by project type as well. Magazines are in the IKEA magazine holders by title and year(s).

  226. I organize my knitting books by color. Granted, this is only one shelf. But I generally remember what the cover looks like, and books organized by color can look terrific in a room.

  227. Many a time my boyfriend’s come across me sitting in the middle of the floor in the middle of an ocean of mess and I’ve announced, “I’m tidying!” It has to get worse before it gets better, that’s my rule.
    Somebody just has to mention hoarding and I break out in cold shivers. I am terrible for acquiring stuff. The worst thing is, even when I take loads of stuff out of the house, there is often very little visible difference. I destashed three huge boxes of books to the charity shop a while back, and I thought that there would be loads of room on the shelves. But no! It was as if all the other books had breathed out and shuffled about, because there sure as sugar were no gaps.
    Re book organisation. I do mine by theme, and then by size. I’d like to do subject, then alphabetically, but it just doesn’t look pretty enough. And you know that there are books that go cross-subject: where does the lace stitch dictionary go, and what about the ethnic socks? Whichever you choose, you’re probably going to end up looking in the wrong subject section for it. Anyhoo, if you don’t like what you choose, you can always re-organise again – but then, I like rearranging my books.

  228. Being a librarian, I can tell you that it will be easier to find things if you separate first by subject, then organize by author within subject. If you have titles by the same author, arrange those by title.
    That being said, I don’t have enough room in my house to do this properly. I think I need to watch Hoarders and get a good dose of “Holy Crap, I need to clean this place.”

  229. i do have my knitting books on shelves. i sort by like topics. all my sock books together. all my norwegian sweater books together. all the lace books together. and any books by the same author together. all the books in japanese together. (and what was i thinking? books in japanese?)

  230. In my sad little but completely overfilled bookcase of knitting/spinning/weaving/dyeing books and magazines, I have them organized by subject. I know that my Folk Socks book is right there with all the other sock books. I also have those decorative cardboard magazine holders for my magazines…they are turned sideways to fit on a shelf in the bookcase. They are organized by magazine type and then are in order by date. Outside of that, I have binders for my loose patterns, which are all in those plastic sleeves and again are organized by subject (baby, sweaters, socks, techniques, etc.). It seems to work pretty well for me, but I seriously need to upgrade to a bigger bookcase! 😉
    Good luck with your quest!!

  231. I hate to point this out, but given that your stash is yarn and fiber, which is pretty much limitless in its ability to squish down, how will you know when something doesn’t fit? You could just keep squishing until it does. Or is that not a helpful observation?

  232. I actually started mine out by subject. All the lace, all the socks, etc. But then *I pulled a couple out to decide on something and pretty much just shoved them back wherever it seems they will fit. Repeat from * until it’s a complete mess and I don’t even know where some of my books are anymore.

  233. I organize my knitting books by topic. So, sock books all together, baby pattern books all together, stitch dictionaries together, lace books all together, felting books all together, etc. Then there is a separate shelf for all the “smorgasboard” books (ones that have lots of different kinds of patterns).

  234. Ooooh, I had that same issue (the books, not the room – oh, yeah, and the reaction to the Hoarders program). I don’t use book patterns a lot but I do a lot of researching when I want to do a certain type of object so I opted for putting them in roughly, subject pods. I have a pod that is mainly lace, another for children, another for fair isle/cable/gansey, another for historic knitting, another for stitch dictionaries/design books, etc., etc. That way, when I go to research, I can grab a section and it’s easy to put them back up. Ease of maintenance is a big thing for me.

  235. In my world, the fact that the books are on a shelf at all as opposed to in piles around my apartment is good enough. I don’t arrange them anymore, because it deters me from putting them back on shelves if I have to remember what order things are in. I used to be really uptight about book order since I worked at a bookstore, but that was nearly 10 years ago and I’ve given up.

  236. You have a boxroom! A room for storing stuff in trunks etc, in the days when nobody threw anything out in case in came in useful(or for storing out of season clothes). The ones here in Edinburgh are bedrooms for students who can’t afford bigger rooms (9ft will fit a bed),otherwise they are home offices.
    I have split my books into magazines and books and then into pattern/technique, and then into wherever it will fit in a gap.

  237. My knitting books are put on the shelves by subject. At least, those that are on the shelves. Many are on the table next to the comfy chair. I looked for Selbuvotter last night to share with a friend and couldn’t find it–lo and behold, it was on the shelf, not the table! What came over me that I put it away?! Then there are the separate pattern leaflets and booklets–those live in a cardboard box that long ago overflowed. I tried to separate them into categories, but I couldn’t find any more boxes the right size. Besides, what do I do with the ones that cross categories? So I put them all back where they’d been.

  238. I have my knitting books sorted by subject, i.e. socks, cable, aran, fair isle, stitch patterns, techniques, design, etc. Works for me so far. When the bookshelf gets full, I have to give away a book to have room for a newly acquired book. Same goes for yarn stash…it’s in a cedar chest; when it gets full and can’t close the lid, have to clean it out, give some away or stop buying. It’s worked well for 3+ years, otherwise I’d keep buying and not knitting the yarn.

  239. By subject:
    Anthologies (in-depth how-to’s)
    References (can be small take-along)
    Pattern Books
    Stories, Self-Help and Humor with knitting themes

  240. Subject!! My current office is a decent size room but the book shelf unit in it, bought over my protests, has non-adjustable shelving. I currently have things “organized” by size! If it fits… Aargh!

  241. Kudos! I have recently had the same organising instinct. I have a buch of Ikea book cases and I highly recommend (once there is money) getting the doors for them too. Seems much tidier…
    Yarn – Organised by weight from the thinnest to the thickest (I love this when I’m trying to substituite)
    Books – I tend to remember who wrote a pattern and so I have mine organised by author, but the best thing to do is to think about how do you organise stuff in your head?
    I find if I go with that I pick things up more easily because it seems natural that what you’re looking for be where you think it should be….

  242. My fiber books are grouped by technique first (all weaving books together, all spinning, all dyeing, all knitting) then I suppose by subject. In weaving, for example, I have basic pattern books, 4-shaft books, and multi-shaft books. Sadly, I don’t have enough books yet to need to organize by subject then author, but a girl can dream.
    “Hoarders” scares me. I watch it, I get panicky about the mess, but at 10 PM I’m not inspired to start, so I put it off until tomorrow (when I promptly forget the previous night’s intention). If only it came on in the morning rather than at night. Then, I could wake up, have a good scare, and get to work.

  243. Hoarders TV show – love it!!! My sister hates it – she’s a neatnik. I’m the semi-hoarder when it comes to yarn and books altho my little closet doesn’t have nearly the stash yours does. I recently destashed a large number of knitting magazines on EBAY in one lot for 99cents. And I’m getting ready to do that with years of patterns I know I will never knit. Good luck on your project – mine is still in the middle of the sewing room floor.

  244. P.S. I think the wall paper is kind of cute, Just put on your crinolines and tame your curls into ringlets and you can sit on your tuffet there and do fine handwork. Actually, that may well have been a box room, used for suitcases, trunks and – boxes. Many houses of this vintage and older had them.

  245. Librarian here: my books would go by subject, and then alphabetical by authors’ name within the subject. But maybe that’s just me.

  246. definitely by subject.
    and when my boys moved out, we refurbed their room–drywall, paint, floor, insulation, paint, etc.
    It is now my wool room. Best thing the Hubby every did.

  247. books to be arraigned by. . . . magazines/booklets/pamphlets in those magaznie boxes. . . books organized by type of project and size of book.
    it makes no sense to anyone else, but no one else has to find patterns in my house.

  248. I think how you organize it totally depends on how you utilize it. Do you go looking for specific authors? Do you look for specific titles? Do you browse for types of patterns. Go with what works for you!

  249. I have my knitting books sorted by subject, I guess you would call it – sock books are together, baby knits, garments, stitch dictionaries, shawls, etc. If they are books that have multiple types of things, I shelve by what it mostly is – like, mostly adult garments with a sprinkling of accessories would go in the garments category. I don’t alphabetize within categories, though.

  250. I order books by author and by type. So — all of Zimmerman or Veronik Avery or Nancy Bush together. All the Folk (Folk Socks, Folk Shawls, Folk mittens) together. Knitted Lace collections together (Estonian Lace, Lace Knitting). This tends to put same type of things together (Nancy Bush is almost always socks) but not always. I find I am sometimes in a Veronik mood….or a Zimmerman mood….or a Norah Gaughan mood. So if I were in the mood for knitting a shawl I would go to the lace section with side steps into Knitted Shawls and Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl. If you have room put a small comfy chair in your storage room for browsing.

  251. So – are you going to paint the room green?
    By the way, I sort my knitting books by type or failing that , by size, so that I can see the title of all books in a stack….

  252. When we moved into our house, our bedroom had the same wallpaper, a very similar border paper as a chair-rail, and the same wallpaper with blue vertical stripes in addition to the flowers below the chair-rail… I feel your pain!!!

  253. We have undertaken a similar task, but ours involves several rooms. One bedroom had become a nasty storage after the kids left home, the carpet upstairs had become disgusting, there was junk we didn’t need anymore everywhere! Then the TV blew up and everybody knows that the new ones don’t fit into the old entertainment centers. So far we have: painted the front bedroom, laid carpet in that room plus another bedroom, gotten rid of the entertainment center and the computer hutch, converted the “storage” room to an office, rearranged the living room, hung pictures in new places, and I still have to make curtains for the office and touch up some paint that looked kind of patchy where the entertainment center had sat. Add to this confusion that our son and HIS six-year-old son moved in with us because of his marriage dissolving and you have a Mama that’s just might run away. I do love my office now, though-it’s so serene up here! Oh, and I set up a “free” box at the end of the driveway and am continually adding things to it. It’s a pretty popular spot with the kids coming home from school. (For that reason the 3 or 4 R-rated VHS tapes didn’t go in that box-LOL!)

  254. yeah, “Hoarders” inspired a big reorganization effort on my own part a few weeks ago. My own books are arranged by subject, and within that, alphabetically by author. Collections that span wardrobe genres get put in thir own category, grouped by publisher. Although, something like “Folk Socks” would probably just end up hanging out on my couch or coffee table with the WIPs and the coffee mugs. good luck!

  255. I don’t have that many knitting books, and what I have is totally disorganised, but in my perfect world they would be organised by subject, on shelves in a pristine room totally dedicated to yarn and knitting. Kind of like my own personal knitting shop. I’ve watched Hoarders too, and for awhile I was feeling all “How can they live like that” and then I went down into my basement. I’m working on sorting out the junk down there, but I really don’t want to throw anything away. Do I have a problem?

  256. Good luck with fixing up that little room. Just keep the idea of what it will be in your head and keep going for it!
    Like a lot of people have said here, I keep my books by major subject, then roughly by author. Certain specific authors I group all together, just cause I tend to go through their books a lot.
    I feel for you doing this. I’ve got to do the same soon for my stash area. My biggest problem is that the ‘stash room’ is my bedroom / computer room / craft room, so lots of ‘stuff’ just rotates in there. We’ve got plans on fixing up most of it, we just gotta wait till we finish the attic so we can shift stuff to there so we can straighten my room out. It’s gonna be nice, but it’s taking it’s own sweet time.

  257. I would love a day in your stash room! I can just imagine the things you’d have – I guess it would be a lot like the treasures I found in Mum’s only modern! Good luck with it – it’s hard to tackle those things, I am looking forward to seeing the outcome… and the resulting use of stash!

  258. I have been doing the same thing! Cleaning my stash room in the basment. Am putting my unfinished projects into 2 gal. ziplocks (much like your socks projects) and standing them on shelves. When I feel like a new project, I can see the ones I have already started and forgotten instead of buying more yarn and starting new. (Yeah right, we will see.)But it sure looks purty!!

  259. I’d do it by subject – socks vs. shawls vs hats, vs mittens, etc. Organize the sections in order of your favorite (socks most handy) or alphabetically. Within one category, I’d have books/hardbacks vs paperbacks vs free papers. I’d start out alphabetically then let the most-used/favorite items end up on the left each time I used them. You would end up with quasi-alphabetical with favorites more accessible.
    My mom loves everything to be alphabetical. I prefer to have things organized by ‘feel’ – how I feel about them…hence, favorites on the left, which is where my eyes first look to find something. That way I don’t have to look long. 🙂

  260. Good luck with the stash room – just keep remembering it will be great when you are done. I don’t have too many books but I have a convoluted system for organizing them. All of the sock books together, all of the reference books together, all of the Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker books together and then all my books that are mostly sweater books like Custom Knits, Fitted Knits, Brave New Knits, Vintage Knits (I suddenly see a theme!).

  261. I know you are low on cash but when you can buy Interweave on disc for each year and you will save lots of space…..It’s my goal also. I have an old big beadboard cupboard from the elementary school that was torn down. When it gets fixed, my stash will fit in there or be gone….have to not be a hoarder, have to not be a hoarder, have to not be a hoarder……..

  262. Definitely by subject. And you are not a candidate for Hoarders until you leave fast-food containers and drink cups and animal feces amoung all your possessions.

  263. I’m a librarian and I’m rather funny about how to organize stuff. Oddly, I believe that you choose a plan based on who needs to find things (1 person vs. a whole community). If it’s a community, you choose something like Dewey Decimal or alphabetically so everyone will know the organization system right away. If it’s just one person (usually yourself) then you get to choose any way you like. So, when I organized my CD collection, I did it based on how I remember the names of the band/singers – you know: Beatles, Tull (for Jethro), Eva ( for Cassidy), etc. then you always know where something will be – it’ll be exactly where you look first. So, for stash, the question is how do you think – do all the sock books go together because you will need them that way? or by method (top-down vs. bottom-up)? or by author? what will you think of first? It doesn’t have to be a good rule for everyone – just for you.

  264. Go you go! Getting things clean enough that they can be cleaned is always the most frustrating part, at least for me. Glad you’re taking charge so the room will be what you want. (And yes, I can absolutely see Hoarders being a good motivating factor!)

  265. House, 1895, check. Stairs, check. Room 6.5′ x 10.5′, check. Just above the 6′ x 7′ pantry off of the kitchen. Unheated, check. Window – original to house, check. 30 minutes south of Rhinebeck, Check. Stash, – unchecked.

  266. However you do it 1 IKEA bookcases are not as sturdy as they could be. 2 label the shelves so when you forget you wonderful system, it is staring you in the face 3 Decide whether you are a ‘lumper’ or a ‘splitter’ Chunk sock books in one section or sort by toe-up, toe-down, ethnic,etc. $ plan on leaving empty spaces and get inexpensive book ends to prop up the outsize or floppy books. As you may have guessed, I am library trained.

  267. Books! Long before “Library Thing” existed, I established a database for all my books – 3200+, including history, knitting, biography, Modern Library, Indian Studies, mystery fiction, and such-like categories. Each listing has Title, Author, category, hardback/paperback/coffee table book. I also, in my OCD way, listed the location of each book on which particular shelf in the house. 8 years ago we moved house 200 miles, and I still have the active, correct database. Just needed to change shelf locations. Bookshelves in almost every room, up and down – including the guest bathroom (the “Paris” room). So I can easily generate reports by category or author, and often do. I carry short lists with me so I don’t buy a book again (I’ve done that once or twice!) and so I can buy the latest used/new book for any given author. So as I migrate my knitting books to another large, new bookshelf they will be alpha. What else? I did say I’m OCD, didn’t I??!! They are also on Ravelry……

  268. One should put items together by how they use them. If you refer and search your stash by author or title, then organize them that way. If you search your stash by subject then same thing. If there is more than 1 of you using the stash of books, come to an agreement together.

  269. I put my knitting books by height. Seriously. I couldn’t decide on a content based system and organizing them by height had three advantages. Each series (like stitch dictionaries) would often fall together, it maximizes how many shelves you can fit in each bookcase, and it looks nice. At first that last one felt pretty frivolous to me, but c’mon. You’re putting in all this effort to make it look nice. It may as well look nice. Since I couldn’t decide on author alpha, or content, or date, at least this way it’s a harmonious presentation while I’m looking for what I want.
    And… Good luck!

  270. There’s no one answer for me. I organize them as follows:
    -those books shaped like projects (e.g., mitten, sock)
    within ‘socks’ there is no sub-organization. I like to browse randomly and it would be less fun to know right where to go…

  271. I organize my magazines by issue and magazine. I order my books by type of book (sock, sweater, combined, knit, vs crochet, etc.) then I alphabetize them. I let ravelry keep track of which patterns I like and who they are for. Might not be the best way to do it, but, It’s the best that I’ve thought of so far.

  272. Gosh, I wish that we had “like” and “agree” buttons for your blog comments. I was reading the ways that people organize their books and I reeeaaalllyyy wanted to comment!

  273. Currently there’s no rhyme or reason, because I too watch Hoarders and am in the middle of an organizing mess. There’s nothing crawling or making a mess in there besides me, for which I am extremely grateful.
    All that I have done is put like books together in a section: all crafts in one shelf, and the craft books that don’t all fit there go to the next shelf. Then there’s a box with books that are going to the library. Sorting by subject and then alphabetically comes next.
    The rest of my books are still in big stacks waiting for me to get to them, but they are all off the floor so that I don’t break a toe or stumble into them and cause an avalanche. (I have had two in the past couple of months, one of which was paperbacks landing on my head, so be careful with that vertical stacking thing.) I was so mad it set me back a couple of weeks.

  274. I’m a Librarian: Books should be by Author’s first and last name…..Unless you want to get into the whole Dewey thing, and most people dont…
    Magazines I would shelve Alpha by title and in Month/year order.
    That being said, nothing on my book shelves are in either order…..My cooking Mags are in Month year though. I think it’s something like the Cobblers kids having no shoes.

  275. I watch Hoarders on Tuesday mornings while I clean! It really puts some “oomph” behind my cleaning, let me tell you. I have a small house too, 1360 square feet, so I am very much looking forward to seeing what you do with this room!

  276. Magazines: By magazine, and then by year.
    Books: (Three Categories) 1. All of my major authors (the Zimmermans, the Walkers, the Pearl-McPhees) grouped together by author.
    2. Books by various authors that I use frequently (Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, technique books) separated into pattern books and technique books.
    3. Everything else separated by pattern and technique books.

  277. I -used- to just do it alphabetically by author but then when I moved home, I started an even MORE tedious system by arranging them by favourites, fiction or nonfiction, topic if nonfiction, alphabetically by author, then alphabetically by title.
    Insane, yes. A wee bit obsessive, yes. But at least the dewey decimal system wasn’t brought into the mix.

  278. I like to order my books by subject. I don’t try to go any deeper than that level of organization. Lace knitting books here, sock knitting books there and origami books somewhere else entirely.
    I haven’t watched hoarders yet, but I did watch the second episode of a hoarder show on Oprah. Wow! It was beyond belief. I took a course in voluntary simplicity and thought that was a good approach. Simplifying starts from within. I never quite finished though. I do always think twice about buying too much stuff though it’s hard sometimes.

  279. I had a huge room that looked like that, and got it organized and under control. It just takes time and perseverence.
    Books: by craft (knitting, crochet, etc) and then by size according to whether they’re tall or short.
    Whatever makes sense to YOU.

  280. Enter all your books in library thing or Ravelry, and test out sorting methods till you find one you like.
    Hoarders is on Hulu.com so folks can watch it anytime they need a little jump-start on the cleaning/organizing front.

  281. I would sort my books by how often I use them, with my go to books/magazines/patterns at eye level. But something like Ukrainian folk socks for me would got on the bottom shelf, together with the rest of the sock books. So it would be a blend of usage and then topic.
    I don’t save whole magazines, just things I like. I would also have a design wall (bulletin board is too small) for ideas that strike me.
    I like wine racks with yarn sorted by color (within sizes – 1 for sport, etc.) Of course, my stash is total chaos behind the clothes in my closet.

  282. I would sort by mood. All the fussy socks and Fair Isle baby cardigans and thread-thin lace wedding shawls would go together, and books with inspiring things I will never knit but love to look at would go together, and all the chunky cheap afghans would go in with books that have names like ‘Great Garter Stitch’ and ‘Projects to Finish in One Hour’, then all the self-design type of books that have patterns you make up as you go along or ‘Stitchonaries’ would go together. That would manage to sort itself by author sort of. I definitely group by author, and then file in the appropriate “mood”.

  283. Good for you! Go for it! Etc!
    I have my books roughly organized by subject. Except for the ones that are too big – those are organized by size. Roughly.
    Funny – Folk Socks is the most dog eared book in my library.

  284. Mine’s more or less by category or author, depending. All E.Zimmermans are all together right next to my 1st edition Mary Thomas that my grandma gave to me (sort of). Categories are pretty much the way after that – Because I think in “what do I want to do now” instead of “who do I do now.” And if I have the category, I pretty much know who’s in there (tho, Nancy Bush is just everywhere). My stash room (aka the studio) is starting to look a little scary, too. Maybe this winter…

  285. By subject. I can’t usually remember names of people or books but I usually do know what kind of book I am looking for. Once I get to the area that I need, if there is a specific author I want, I just remember what the book looks like. But I guess I am a pretty visual person.

  286. Every good project inevitably has that “oh, no!” moment when you realize that you are in over your head. I call it the vodka moment – the one where you really really want to go and have a drink and forget about the massive disaster you’ve created. But then you soldier on and eventually it all starts making sense again.
    And I like to organize by subject.

  287. I keep my fiber/spinning/weaving books separate from my knitting books and shelve everything according to size. I am very visual, so the size and color of the book are my search tools. Of course, this only works if you are seeking just one book…if you want to pull all sock or lace or (fill-in-the-blank) books for research or inspiration, this method is definitely not efficient, but all in all it’s not too shabby. My pattern notebooks are filled according to garment.

  288. Go for it! You’ll have a studio when you’re done!
    And don’t worry. If you don’t have a massive bug infestation and a dead animal or 3 in your room, you are *not* like most of the houses on Hoarders. That show always makes me clean my guest/sewing room too.
    Best of luck!

  289. just read your tweet about the textured ceiling: here in the “burgh, it means that the plasterer was too lazy to final coat the plaster, or that there were a ton of cracks in the ceiling. As for the books, magazines, etc., being a little OC, I have mine by subject, then by author.
    Can’t wait to see how your project closet turns out!

  290. Oh, I forgot–I’d sort the books by size and subject, depending on which looked prettier. I know that’s weird, but I have 3 short shelves of knitting books. I suspect you have more than that.

  291. I think what your little room was what they used to call a box room. I did up a small bedroom last year for my fiber and yarn. I have wire bins on three of the walls and two bookcases on another wall. I file by books by type, socks, lace, etc. General books, are filed by author. My patters are in binders and are filed by pattern type. Good luck, it looks bad when you start, but then gets better and you start to put thinngs back.

  292. OK. The room is pretty bad. But it’s small and that’s hard to work with unless you have the PERFECT shelving and containers. And as far as Hoarder’s goes (which I am TOTALLY obsessed with, btw)…I’m betting you don’t find any mummified cats under all that stuff. And that, right there, makes you OK.

  293. Ideally? By subject Aran all together and near Fair Isle in the ethnic section, and so on.
    Reality? I’m lucky if the books are all in the same house, much less the same bookcase…. I spend way too much time looking for the book I thought I needed only to wander off halfway through the search with three others that looked interesting during the hunt.
    Good luck! I’m hoping to score some storage ideas from your foray.

  294. Mine are shelved by size 🙂 Taller books on taller shelves, smaller ones on smaller shelves. But, In only have one tall bookcase, so it isn’t too hard to find what I want. It is in the room of a son who went 13 hours away for college and stayed at school over the summer — I painted it, moved the bed out, put in my stash and my desk and a comfy chair. Love it!!

  295. Organize by topic.
    The really scary thing is that I actually like that wallpaper, although not as wallpaper. I would use that fabric for a tote bag or apron.
    I told you, scary.

  296. All knitting books should be organized by subject. Go for it and have an absolute blast. I’m going to be watching to see how you do this as I will be doing something similar myself very soon.

  297. Been there, done that. Mine was worse. There was no floor space. Organize by subject. It’s easier to find comparable information and patterns.

  298. I’d arrange things by subject, if possible. I happen to need a couple of scarf patterns for Christmas gifts, and my patterns, magazines, and books are totally unorganized. Maybe I’ll get busy and start organizing, too. Off to knit with my buddies at church right now.

  299. I have them by type or subject… So the reference books are together, books with lace projects are together, baby knits are together, etc. I find it easier to find what I’m looking for that way.
    BTW, loved your motherly rant the other day. 🙂

  300. I myself have them organized by subject (socks, lace, stranded, kids, etc), but I say organize them however you look for them.
    I mean, if you look for Folk Socks by “Socks”, which is what I do, then by subject is useful. If you look for Folk Socks by “Nancy Bush”, then you might want to go by author, or title. I believe Crazy Aunt Purl organizes by color & size, because it’s prettier and that’s how she remembers them.

  301. i love hoarders! it’s the only show that makes my clutter look spartan.
    perhaps that room was originally a closet? your room sounds like the size of our closet. supposedly in the old days, closets were taxed like rooms, hence why old houses have one closet (if that).
    there’s no order to my books. they are shelved by size, but i do try to sort by topic (socks, kids) or author (yarn harlot, EZ).
    have fun redoing your fiber space! i lost my only closet to the boy’s toys.

  302. first, I always make more of a mess to clean up the first one.
    and the books
    How do you go looking?? here I would be wanting “a sock book” so I would probably put them together by type, then by author. but that’s the the librarian in me.

  303. It will feel so good when it’s done though, especially if on the cheap! I arrange books by subject, and then by author within a subject. Loose patterns go in binders that are organized by item with patterns I want to do in the front, and patterns I’ve done towards the back.

  304. OHMYGOD Stephanie! I watched hoarders last night because I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t see anymore to knit and threw 3 huge trash bags of “stuff” away today and filled another 2 bags up with “stuff” for the goodwill!!!!!!!!! Think there’s something in the air??????????
    As for arranging, I had mine in alphabetical, by author order, but rearranged by type, makes things much easier to find = good luck with the project, I’m sure it will turn out great when you’re finally done <3

  305. Haven’t read all the comments; not enough hours in the day, but about the books. I have mine in subject order and then no particular order. I have the knitting dictionairies, your books, the sock books (many, many great sock books), lace knitting books (again many great books) general knitting books, the spinning books, dyeing books and (gasp) the crochet books and (huge gasp) machine knitting books segregated. It seems to work for me. I also have no room for any more books, but a new one comes out and you know, I have to have it.

  306. I would put all the books on the shelves in no order whatsoever. Leave the middle shelves open and fill them with the books you find yourself using the most. That way – those are the ones that are accessible, and you’ll only need to stand on a step stool or crouch down when you’re browsing for inspiration. 🙂

  307. In my new house, there is this odd bonus space off of the master bedroom. This room was quickly designated mine (I’d have planted a flag if I could). In the two bookshelves I have (while desperately needing more from IKEA), I divided up my knitting books by generalized subjects: lace, stitch guides or instruction techniques, patterns by type (mittens, socks, etc) and crochet. It’s easier to find a book knowing what type of knitting I’m looking for. I’m still looking for a good way to do magazines other than magazine holders. Right now, I’m loving trading up my old IK mags for the dvds that hold four issues in one small case.

  308. Good Luck!!! I think it is OK that things get worse before they get better.
    When we moved in to this house we had three small children. It was a perfect fit. The kids grew and then there were four of them and this house was not made to hold 6 large people and their stuff. About ten years ago I made the “Where are you going to put it?” rule. If you could not answer the question, you could not bring it home. It saved us.

  309. I don’t worry about the kind of book, but how to find a pattern that will fit my current need. I try to put a yellow post-it sticking out of every page that has a Must-Make-Someday pattern in the books and magazines. So I do end up going through most all of the books, but only looking at a few pages in each–that doesn save time.

  310. wow…
    i seriously thought i was the OOOOOONLY person on earth who had one of “those” rooms! i can’t wait to see what you turn YOURS into. it just might give me hope and inspiration for MINE!

  311. By subject and I agree with Barbara M. and anyone else who warned you about cheap Ikea bookcases. The operative word is cheap. Books are heavy, magazines are heavy. You need sturdy bookcases or you will be picking them up off the floor.

  312. The small room most likely is simply a “nook” used for a day bed and small side table, or just a couple of chairs and a small side table between them…used for either visitors back in the days when people actually did that, or for a place to sit and, wait for it…do needlework. If the area is in an out of the way area, probably a needlework room — the women in the family would sit and mend/knit/crochet/sew/talk –and they could stash all their accouterments. If that is the case, you are basically using it for the proper purpose…a stash “stash”! So, get an old style bookcase with doors, install your books/patterns in that and put at one end of the space. Get another one for kits and equipment at the other end. Put in a third for yarn and you have a very pretty, very neat, glass enclosed so the dust stays out (as does the cat) stash room! You can go to a thrift store and find the cases more cheaply than at IKEA! Or you could always talk the girls into hunting them down and giving them to you as an early holiday gift. If all else fails, stick a sofa and a table w/lamp in the space and sit there to knit! Have fun and paint the space some lovely feminine color that electronics would find unappealing.

  313. Call one of your brothers for construction, Rachel H for stash busting and organization and warn the family you are unavailable until further notice. Good luck!!

  314. Having given this some thought, I think you should organize your books alphabetically. Subject would only work if each book was only about one subject, like socks or afghans or sweaters. But few of my books are like that. And while you know the author at the time you organize the books, are you going to remember who wrote the book you saw that really cute pattern in? I probably wouldn’t.

  315. carefully so everything fits and nothing ambushes you on a dark night when you are looking for something but don’t know what it is only thatit’s there. Good Luck

  316. Hoarders, gulp, I can’t even watch the teasers. You have a stronger stomach than I do.
    I’m sure you can tame the stash & get the room into shape.
    Categorize books by subject, then author & date of publication. Old friends get pulled to the front of each author’s category. Probably also have a couple feet of shelf space for the 8 or 10 books/magazines in current/repeated use.

  317. Hooray for organizing! Hoarders is great inspiration for that!
    I organize my books by general category: basic “how to knit” books, stitch dictionaries, knit lit fiction, Yarn Harlot (yes, you really do have your own section!), and patterns. I only have about twenty “just pattern” books, so they are all mixed together, but my guess is you have enough to split those into sub categories. Within each category I organize by height, which I know is completely weird and nonstandard, but it looks so much nicer that way!
    Good luck!

  318. For Barbara’s info, those things that you screw into the wall and they expand to make the thing secure are called “mollies” – they’re made of molibdinum.For Stephanie’s info (she doesn’t have enough already), I have a closet two feet deep and eight feet long with one shelf the length of the closet. This is where I store ALL my stash but not my books. My knitting books are on the floor under the window in my library/sanctuary/knitting room and all my magazines are stored on cupboards with doors on them. How do I get all that yarn into that closet? DH installed double brass hooks under that shelf and I store project-quantities of yarn in bags I buy for 50 cents at the thrift store. Excess yarn (dare I call it that?) goes into Office Depot boxes that I stack and label. The floor of my closet holds three whatchmacallits that are meant for file folders but in my case are used for files containing downloaded patterns. Numerous knitting bags, small and large, are stored behind the boxes (you can store small bags in big ones, BTW). I call this using every inch of space. And good luck to you. It is heartthrobbing to have a knitter’s space all your own.

  319. I stopped watching Hoarders when the so-called specialist wanted her to throw away a whole box of Addi Turbos, still in package and the woman did!!!!!
    I keep my books by most usage. The ones that I use to make my own patterns are on the most eye-level, easy access shelf and it goes down hill from there!!1
    😀 Carla

  320. Subject – when I’m thinking of using a pattern, I usually say to myself, “I want a good blanket pattern” or “I want a nice hat pattern”. I don’t believe I’ve ever thought about starting a project and thought, “I want a pattern by so-and-so”.
    And I wouldn’t go alphabetical because sometimes patterns have wacky names that aren’t really related to the subject. (Totally making up a name here) “Gwendolyn’s Gold” could be anything, really.

  321. I just moved into a place with a walk-in closet. Half is devoted to yarn (part stash yarn, part finished objects), the rest is my clothes. I feel like its a fair balance!
    Plus when I moved, I resorted my books into subjects. I find that helpful when I want to knit mittens, I look in the accessory section. Works for me, but it depends how your brain is organized!

  322. Just in case you need one more opinion on book sorting. I sorted my books by subject and then put loose single patterns in the same subject into those magazine holders onto the same shelf. To try to make a bit easier to find what I want… Best of luck to you. You are taking on a big project but it will be fabulous… keep your eye on the prize at the end~!

  323. What Cat said. Category, author, most favorite lumped together. Your go to books. Magazines are a different kettle of fish and need someone other than me to organize.

  324. My books are sorted by type – stitch dictionaries, design, socks, lace, etc. Some books like Handknit Holidays, Last Minute Knitted Gifts, A Fine Fleece, etc. are in a “gotta have it” category, and then Starmore books are together as well as Elsebeth Lavold. After sorting by type, they are sorted by height. Works for me!

  325. Hoarders is like cheap therapy for me. Every time we watch it, it ‘reins’ us in and makes me rethink buying something..saved us big time at the auction on Saturday. LOL
    For the books, I have mine by author first…all EZ’s books together, yours together, BW’s together…however the stitch dictionaries go with Barbara Walkers books, sock books are on one shelf, and so on.
    I don’t have as many books as you do, but I recommend the Billy bookcases with height extensions and doors. Good thing is you can buy a bit at a time. Bad thing is that Anna Zilboorg’s mitten book and the Vogue stitch dictionary #5 won’t fit in standing up. I hate laying them down as they are hard to get out.
    Have fun sorting/storing/organizing..think of it as a New Year project.

  326. My house was built in the 1880s and it has a similar room on the 3rd floor. It was originally about 5’x 8′ and it even has a little window. Our neighborhood historical society tells us that it was a birthing room (as your commenter Laurel mentioned also), and that it was additionally used as a sickroom. I have hopes of one day turning mine into a bathroom, but right now, it serves as a catchall storage.

  327. You can definitely do this- don’t get freaked out. Just take it in small bits. Like, today I am going to remove the shelves. That’s all. Then the next time you can concentrate on removing the wall paper. Things like that. Keeping in mind that AWESOME new stash cave you’ll have will help keep the willies at bay, too (especially when it seems like everything thing in the room is giving you the stink eye).
    As for your books… this is one I’ve gone back and forth with my self. I think I’d go by project type/theme, and then alphabetical within that.
    Good luck with the reno. Boy am I jealous of your soon to be glorious space!

  328. Good luck and i hope it goes well. I would think by subject for the books would work for you. 🙂

  329. Now that you have shown us (wuth picturem yet)you won DARE not finish the job!!!!!
    That’s one way to force yourself to do it. :o))) (big grun,)

  330. Now that you have shown us (wuth picturem yet)you won DARE not finish the job!!!!!
    That’s one way to force yourself to do it. :o))) (big grun,)

  331. My books are separated by subject, i.e. reference, socks, lace, etc. Now if I could only get to the massive pile of magazines!

  332. the process sucks but it is so worth it……did the same thing over 3 days a couple of weeks ago in what I now call the “studio”….my arm is black and blue from all the pinching of myself that I do when I walk in now……………oh…and alphabetical by genre for the books.

  333. hahaha I thought that first picture, with the adorable vintage wallpaper was going to be the “after” picture.
    I would totally arrange books by subject, not author or title. Actually, my books are arranged, as my college professor once said, “by accession,” meaning in the order in which I got them. That isn’t that bad a plan, except when they’re all lying flat in a pile!

  334. I haven’t scanned the comments, so probably several hundred people have already said that your little unheated room could have been a “box room”, meant for just what you’re planning, storage of boxes, i.e. suitcases and assorted stuff, in your case, stash.

  335. I put my knitting/fibre books by subject. So if I want to knit socks, for example, I’ve got that section. If I want to review or learn techniques, I know where that is. Then there’s on separate special section: it has all my Stephanie Pearl McPhee books!

  336. My books are by subject, in general (I have a couple of shelves that are only 6″ (15 cm) high and they get the shortest books). I do some grouping by author (e.g., Elizabeth Zimmerman, Kaffe Fassett), some by yarn (e.g., Noro, Rowan), and my magazines are by title and mostly in numerical order.
    That said, I still misplace books from time to time. Usually I’ve stowed them with yarn as a project pack. This year I made a giant Excel multi-page spreadsheet for keeping track of stash and indicated locations of any books that were with yarn rather than on a bookshelf.
    That has cut my average book hunting time considerably, but since I am not perfect about putting things away, I still hunt a bit.

  337. Alphabetical by author’s last name or by height (more typically) or, in some circumstances, perilously driven by a false sense of design knowledge and an ill-advised suggestion by someone who presumes to have that knowledge, by color.

  338. I was one sentence into this and thought,” that’s the perfect stash room”. Kudos for starting over to organize it, though. It needs to be done every decade, whether it needs it or not. That’s my plan, anyway. I’ve been re-doing mine, one room at a time (I have stash throughout my house), and can’t figure out the library, myself. I’m basically going alphabetical, but sometimes “Gloves” go into “G”. Alphabetical by subject OR author? sigh.

  339. I decide what’s most important to me personally, then organize by it. For instance, subject is most important to me. So I’d separate sock books and sweater books. Then I would have a section that was a mixture, since so many books are. Then everything just gets shoved willy-nilly into its section without alphabetizing or anything. The beauty of this is that my absolute faves tend to be always grouped together. If I don’t know what I want to make, I can grab the pile of books that have several things and flip through until I find something I like. If it’s a bag, say, I can go to a bag book and look for more ideas. All in all it works rather well for me. But I’ve got to say, honestly, without any sucking up at ALL, that your books are all their own section, and I tend to pull those out whenever for whatever. And I laugh and I read sections to my husband and, God love him, he does his best to pretend to care. He does laugh along with me quite often, though. I know you’re you, but sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be you… Do you have your own books in your library? Do you think they’re as awesome as the rest of us do? Tangent, I know. But I suppose it doesn’t matter… there’s probably not too much chance you even read through this entire thing, what with almost 400 comments on this post alone already. ^_~

  340. You can do it!
    As for organizing once it’s all done…I am in a class entitled Organization of Information right now, and the rule I keep coming across is “Organize according to the aspect(s) of the information that are most useful to the users.”
    So…if you usually dive for patterns by finished project, organize by that. Know your designers? Alphabetical by author. And if you have enough to fly up a student to create a catalog for the whole collection, I’m volunteering ; )

  341. Books organized by subject, unless the author has a few (Sally Melville, EZ). Went through all the knitting magazines, took out the patterns I thought I would use, tossed the ruined magazines, sent the whole ones to Library free bin. Getting rid of rug hooking, needle point, quilting, beading stuff. Life is getting short, and knitting/crochet seems to be all I want to do. Just got back from a RV trip around the US, acquired lots of souvenir yarn. Agree with all about the hoarding, either use it or find a new home (dump).

  342. Gosh I wish I had even a closet to myself. I share with everyone, so stash is EVERYWHERE.
    I vote for the following in book/magazine organization.
    Group in 3 categories – discussion/story/humor, library reference, and patterns
    From there I organize by author.

  343. If you have *that* many, do like the library with a card catalog. -or- get those thingies that you put in the magazine that allows you to put it in a binder and put them by titles and year, or subject… My ocd could do this all day!

  344. Some thoughts:
    1. You did a great job on your bedroom so this too, in time, shall be good.
    2. Books – by topic, then maybe author and make sure one or two shelves are taller [Author is good but me, I don’t always remember the author of everything.]
    3. Consider measuring the door, the room and shelves in multiple spots for all. Ikea is probably fairly standard and consistent in dimensions… but your house? Based on what I have read in this blog (remember the new washing machine), I beg leave to think your house may not be so.
    4. Bright sunny walls or white to show off the colours of the yarn.
    5. Consider adding some good lighting if possible… though I know that may imply wiring which is frightening. (Maybe one of those battery powered closet lights??)
    6. Bins, baskets? Storage. Gadget storage?
    7. Get those holders for magazines. Worth it.
    8. An attractive glass jar/compote or two for lavender or buttons? And also to act as a bookend if needed? Maybe a narrow shelf in front of the window for that.
    Have fun!

  345. It’s a box room: “Many houses are built to contain a box-room (box room or boxroom) that is easily identifiable, being smaller than the others. The small size of these rooms limits their use, and they tend to be used as a small single bedroom, small child’s bedroom, or as a storage room.
    Traditionally, and often seen in country houses and larger suburban houses up until the 1930s in Britain, the box room was literally for the storage of boxes, trunks, portmanteaux, and the like, rather than for bedroom use.[citation needed]”. Thank you wikipedia.

  346. If I were organizing your books, I’d arrange them by subject & then title… I like having all my sock books together, all my how-to books together, all my kids-and-babies books together, all my humor (hey! Yarn Harlot books!) ones together… you get the picture.

  347. I organized my shelves roughly by 1. Shelf of Honor (EZ, Meg, Barbara Walker, Maggie Righetti, Clara Parkes), 2. socks (many, many books) and lace books (a smattering), 3. ethnic knitting, IK folk series, 4. technique/stitch dictionaries, 5. knitting humor (you know who figures prominently) and/or essays, philosphy of knitting 6. pattern collections like the One Skein, or a particular designer’s or yarn shop’s books, and then finally 7. all those books from the early 80’s that were the start of the flood, but didn’t age in synch with my taste…yet they’re part of my knitting history and I can’t part with them. HTH.

  348. Hi Steph,
    I know that getting stuff in Canada can occasionally be difficult, though it looks like IKEA has joined the great white north. Anyway, I’ve shipped cheap flip flops and M&Ms across the border, and I have an IKEA about 2 miles from work.
    What I’m trying to say is let me know if you can’t get a hold of one of those storage thingys and need someone to walk into a store, buy one, and post it to you. It would be an honor.

  349. I with you, Melissa W. I keep trying to organize by author or title, but the Interweave Press books look so pretty side by side. They keep tripping me up.

  350. I have adjustable shelves, 4 sets of 4 shelfs, above a built set of cupboards with a counter (a good counter ;-). One set has historical stuff, another has sewing/embroidery, one fantasy/mystery, and one knitting (why did I put the knitting one in the hard to get to place, behind the cutting out table? Dumb…I use that one the most! That room is getting rearranged, soon…).
    I put the shelfs at different heights, so that oversize books and magazine boxes have a place, short little books have a good place and ordinary sized ones have a shelf. Within, that, I group by topic, not author.

  351. If I had shelving space for my books it would be first by subject, then alphabetical by authors, and with a special section for my favorites/the books I go to most often.
    Granted, I actually have my favorites sprawled about the apartment, and the others mostly in boxes or on a shelf…

  352. ALERT! I have not read all the comments, but the ones I scanned all seem to be about *finding* a book. Let us not neglect the opposite task of putting books BACK, which is even more important in avoiding the hoarder’s otherwise inevitable fate. If you are the sole user of a space, you can organize books by category, frequency of use, things they remind you of, or whatever – no one can argue. But the flip side is that no one can help you put things away. Last I heard, you were planning on keeping your husband and daughters indefinitely, though the number of the latter in residence may vary.
    (Personal anecdote: I was once engaged to a guy who organized his music CDs by “the first letter of how I think of them.” E.g., albums by The Who were under T. When he merged in my classical music, I had to hunt before I found Gustav Holtz’s The Planets under P. I would have put it under H. There’s no right or wrong here – and not the only reason we called off the engagement – but a lesson that household members should agree on organizational logic.)
    I suggest that you divide your books into “big” and “small” by height, and plan shelving accordingly. Then organize them by author’s (or editor’s) last name. Anyone who knows the alphabet can re-shelve books wherever they fit, and you will have at most two places to look for them. Yes, this is a compromise, but a practical one for a woman who is an author herself.
    And if you’re going to secure anything to the wall, be sure that you’re anchoring into wood studs and not just plaster that can seem equally sturdy when you’re drilling into it.

  353. My husband swears by LibraryThing. It uses the ISBN numbers (I think)in an established framework which I’m pretty sure he said is what actual libraries use, and is therefore quite possibly the most OCD/perfectionist option available for arranging your books.
    Or you could go alpha by author. Or grouped into subject categories. Or by color of the spine/lettering. Whatever.

  354. Definitely by subject. You don’t want to have to look thru your entire library to find your favorite sock book do you? Put all the sock books together (they may breed true that way). Then by size of the book – looks much more tidy that way, and line all the spines up, so they’re all even. Alternate laying them down on one shelf on one side and standing them up at the other end of the shelf. Put a basket or jar of some fiber-related fun stuff between. Enlist the help of an organized friend & have a good time re discovering your treasures!

  355. As for the books, I’d group by topic. Socks together. Sweaters together. When we moved into our current house (which happens to also be my childhood home), I got the basement as my quilting space. It’s currently a disaster area. I’m hoping you’ll inspire me to get back to that mess. And yeah, it really is a mess. ::shudder::

  356. Terrific idea, and you absolutely will make it work. I still remember the fantastic makeover you did on the bedroom!
    And if the Ikea bookcases look like breaking the budget, how about adjustable shelving strips? You mount them on the wall, screwed to studs, then just hook in the brackets and put shelving across. It lets you use absolutely every square inch for storage, and gives you total flexibility with regard to shelf height.
    And I like Heather’s point that if anyone but you is using the space, you need an agreed-upon shelving methodology. (When my husband and I merged libraries, he was sorted by genre and I was sorted just into fiction and nonfiction. I agreed to convert…but whenever we have a book that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre slot, I make him decide where it goes!)
    But if you’re the only one using it…how would you want to look for the book if you were trying to find it?

  357. Anchor the Ikea to the wall. Buy the right anchors for your wall type. If you treat the ikea well, it will treat you well. We moved one of our ikea bookcases from the apartment to the house and then from my husband’s office down a flight of stairs to my office because i didn’t quite realize I had so many crafting books. 🙂
    I organize mine by size (so I can adjust shelves and get more in) and then loosely within that grouping, somewhat alphabetically by author/editor but I’m not strict on it. Series go together (I have a lot of japanese crafting books). I tend to remember what books look like so as long as it made it to the proper area… There are a few that are kept different, EZ/Meg/Barbara Walker’s are together on a separate shelf. I scored a nonfascimile copy of Knitting Without Tears a few years ago and that’s kept out of kitten reach.
    If you are using an expedit unit, I do suggest going for the hard plastic bins. My curious kitten has learned how to bat down my soft sided cubes (purchased elsewhere but they fit) and open the zip locks. He goes for the expensive stuff. Cashmere and alpaca mostly. I think the drawers they sell to go in are useless, there is quite a bit of space that is lost if you put them in. But they could be nice for needles and things..

  358. Subject, author, alphabetically by title (in that order).
    Sometimes author is subject, i.e., Zimmerman, Pearl-McPhee, Bordhi, but then,
    Bordi can be socks and felt (so two categories).
    But Lace books only represent one author on my shelves and Socks, too.
    But if you do it “right” and return when done, well, then, you’ll remember, like photographically.
    This information only applies if you are done acquiring books. Kindly disregard above opinion, too many variables to assess.

  359. Organize the books by color! it looks great and you pretty much know what they look like…besides, the subjects kinda blend at times, don’t they?

  360. I’d organize them by colour. I love when you can go to the blue book section, or the pink book section. It looks really cool and while it is a little less intuitive than alphabetical by author or organization by subject, it seems just as functional once you are used to it.

  361. I store my books by subject (accessories, sweaters, socks, general instruction, etc.). It doesn’t necessarily make them easier to find (let’s see…are mittens accessories or something else?) but I find it easier than memorizing who wrote which book. I’m sure, being the knitting goddess that you are, you don’t run into that problem, but I sure do! 🙂

  362. By however you think of that particular book! For me, it is usually by type, but some aren’t easily categorized, then by title….

  363. by subject. Come Nov 1, I’m seriously de-stuffing. Why oh why did I decide to collect salt & pepper shakers (years ago, I’ve quite outgrown it). Why did we keep everything from my passed-away in-laws house that was “too good” to give away? It’s going, ebay first, what’s left to goodwill.

  364. Knitting books: by subject, they’re reference books. Think micro-Dewey-decimal system. If I’m designing an aran, I’m not looking for my copy of Folk Socks.

  365. I like the Ikea bookcases – I have them in my office. BUT take totally seriously that they tell you to BOLT THEM TO THE WALL. They are not really strong enough to stay up when full, especially the really tall ones, without being fastened to the wall. I have the lower levels of my bookcases full, the upper levels are filled with lighter stuff, art work, knickknacks. You could put your fiber up top, or yarn up high, books down low….? just thinking….
    In my workroom, I have plastic bins filled with stash (fabric, yarn, a little bit of felting fiber, on the metal industrial shelves from Sams or Costco (I forget which). I put the lighter bins up top and the heavier ones down low. Then I can actually lift them out, too.
    I need to clean out again some more too!
    Cheers, have fun
    Nancy in Texas

  366. I’ve lived in lots of old houses, and I’ve had rooms like these. In the South (of the US), they were called “airing” closets or cupboards…and were used to store off-season clothing and to air out bed linen and clothes that had been worn recently…remember, bathing wasn’t a daily routine, and clothes were worn several times before laundering. They usually had a counter for folding or spot cleaning clothes, a window for fresh air-and usually an armless rocking chair (less space required) to sit by the window for handsewing, mending, and other “tending to” things.
    Oh, I would LOVE to have one now! My present house (100 years old) was built with indoor plumbing, so what would have been the airing cupboard was the bathroom……

  367. Oh my!! I can’t wait to see the result.
    I sort books mainly by subject matter if I can (kids,socks,sweaters) and then, honestly by the book size 🙂
    After reading the comments, I’m considering changing to book color.

  368. ! ! ! W O W ! ! !
    I would do it by subject frist then alphebetize by authour, at least that has worked for me in past…
    Bon Chance !

  369. I’d put them by general subject – books about a specific thing, say Victorian Lace Today and Folk Socks obviously have subject areas, while designer-specific or yarn company specific books don’t. So they’d go in the yarn company or designer area. Stitch dictionaries, general how-tos, fix-it books all have sections. It’d really depend on how your mind is organized though. Good thing I don’t own many books or magazines, that’s gotta be difficult.

  370. I always shelve my fiction alphabetical by author, but I have a habit of shelving my knitting books by size – fiction just doesn’t have such a wide range of shapes, I guess.
    You kick arse, darling.

  371. What a fabulous space it will be! I organize my books by subject: general how-to; lace, shawls; socks; sweaters from here, there, Aran/British/Starmore and the like; EZ followed by Meg; books with assorted patterns; baby; etc. Despite my library background, this system makes sense to me.

  372. Get the magazine boxes at Ikea and sort them by date and magazine. They also have shelving with doors.. glass or plain at Ikea. I got them and love them. They keep my stash, too.

  373. Best of luck with the project! Tear that wall paper down! As for the organizing, I would probably arrange by subject and then alphabetize within the subject.

  374. For safety’s sake, put the really huge, heavy, add-legs-and-it’s-a-coffee-table books on the lowest shelf. This also helps to stabilize the bookshelf, and the lowest shelf is the one least likely to sag under the weight.
    However you organize the rest of the books, put the ones you use most often at a height somewhere between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your head. If the door to this room is often kept open, reserve the sunniest shelf for the cat.

  375. I would put them by subject. I have quilting books done by author and I would much rather find it all together. the certain style Or pattern I am looking for.

  376. When I saw all the comments I was going to shut up and go away, but I just rearranged my books two days ago and I used the The Way it Seems Right to Me method, and it worked. I knew it worked when I realized (for the first time) that were two books that I had two of because I put them next to each other. In other words, what seemed like the right place to me was consistent. (For the record, general guides, like the Principles of Knitting, with pattern books, books by the same author together (I had several because I like that author), books by subject, and then loners (but now they had other loners to be with). It’s great. I guess I should check out Hoarders.

  377. Just finished watching an episode of “Hoarders” then was checking in on your blog! That show gives most (sane?) people the creeps! I sorted through all my clothes last week, and the basement is whispering my name.
    I have my weaving/spinning/knitting/dying/etc books grouped by subject, and then kind of arrainged by height to look interesting on the two large bookshelves. If I know the subject area to look, can usually identify a book by height, thickness and color/decoration on spine.

  378. Wow, I wish I had a little room like that. I currently store my stash in the laundry room and there isn’t nearly enough space. I think you’re going to have a great stash room when you’re done.
    I have quite a few knitting books and their not in any order at the moment, but I think if I ever get around to organizing I would put them in order by subject.

  379. (1) If the stash only takes up one room in your house (an admittedly small room, at that), then it’s not hoarding…it’s “collecting”. Breathe easy.
    (2) Lucky you to have a room that you can use now for such a noble purpose! I’m waiting for my college-age son to graduate and move out so I can turn his room into my own stash palace. Already know exactly how I want to “furnish” it. Shhhh, don’t tell him, please, he might get the wrong idea! 😉

  380. I must admit I winced when you said “Ikea”. We have had very bad luck with their furniture under duress. I hope you have better luck. Maybe we are just hard on furniture more than your average house?
    Can’t wait to see the no-longer loathed wee room. 🙂

  381. Congrats on your organization! My husband built a closet organization system out of mdf very inexpensively.
    I organize my books by size.

  382. Good Luck. I have the same aspirations for my stash room(s) This is becoming one of my favorite blog sites www dot zenhabits doc net slash start slash It is the counterbalance to ‘hoarders’

  383. You can’t go wrong with alphabetical. But I tend to like subject. All the sweater books,sock books grouped together. Yeah for you. It will be a hard job but so worth it. And when it’s done it’s done. You will fell wonderful. Good luck.

  384. Me, I sort mine by subject (mostly), like socks, sweaters, mittens, techniques, stitch patterns. Of course you’re in over your head, you’re a bit shorter than I am, so get a ladder!

  385. My books are alphabetical by author’s last name unless no author can be determined, then by publisher. My collection is small enough that it is easy to read all titles when I am looking for a topic or garment type and I have no idea about all of the authors’ names.

  386. knitting books love to be alphabetized, but sock knitting books, lace knitting books, etc should definitely each have their own sections. Can you usurp one of your girls’ rooms temporarily for your pile of books and yarn? Have you chosen a color scheme yet? Your “Self Imposed Sock of the Month” club should also have a prominant space to encourage the march of progress through your stash and pattern collection. The SISOTM has been an inspiration, and I want to match up my existing yarn to patterns now too.
    Here’s to you staying sane during the ordeal…
    (Joe should buy you beer, chocolate, and maybe hire a really good looking masseur for the duration)

  387. By subject. Seriously. If I wanna look up how to do increases – I wanna look in the knitting ref books. If I wanna make socks – I need to see the socks books.

  388. I know it makes absolutely no sense at all but my knitting books are organized by publisher. Possibly I did this because then I have the same size books clumped together. I do not remember how or why I decided on this method. My problem now is that I have too many knitting books for the allotted library space and have to reorganize the surrounding book shelves or move the knitting books out of the library all together.

  389. You must keep on… you’re in the midst of the part where it looks worse (OK, maybe A LOT worse) before it looks better.
    Focus, woman, focus!
    I’d group my books by subject, t’were it I.

  390. I did this same thing with my sewing room just last week. Ok, it took MORE than a week but it works now. I took all the loose stuff out, moved the furniture around to a better position. And then moved the stuff back in one sorted bin at a time.
    Some rules to consider.
    1. Cardboard BAD, plastic bins GOOD. Cardboard won’t stack right and go smaller rather than bigger. It won’t work if you can’t lift a full one over your shoulders.
    2. GET RID OF WHAT WON’T WORK. If you haven’t been able to make it work all these years it won’t work now.
    3. There are lots of people who want or need the stuff you don’t. Free the stuff you don’t like to live a better life somewhere else. Forget how much you paid for it. Think about being free of the obligation to something you don’t love.
    About the tiny room, maybe it was the maid’s?
    Really good luck with this. You can do it.

  391. Will you keep us updated? I love a good before/during/after. And my craft room is still a TOTAL disaster – my yarn is all neatly stored and organised, but all my miscelaneous stuff – of which, it turns out, I have a lot – is in a ginormous, disheartening pile at one side of the room.
    My books are by category – in my case that is sewing on one side, knitting on the other, but it could easily be socks, shawls, etc. And then, within that, by size. It was previously by colour, but it looked too messy and it was hard to find stuff. I tend to remember how a book looks and feels rather than who wrote it, etc. So, you know, I want that small blue book about socks, dammit, where is it?

  392. One step at the time, paint, then shelf books, by subject is what i would do.
    Use this opportunity to get rid of things you have not touched/looked at in years!!
    I am re-organizing also, gave lots of books to the library. Painted on Saturday.
    Will start putting book shelves(from living room0 there minus the books I gave away.
    This will be Wednesday on my day off ..
    good luck

  393. lucky you! i took over a room in the basement of my fourplex rental house – for which i pay monthly. its now a workroom/yarn stash room/sewing corner/painting/giftwrapping/etc studio.
    love it and had great fun furnishing it with craigslist ikea bookcases and a huge file cabinet (the office kind with long drawers for 50!) and putting up pegboard (highly recommend pegboard) and one trip to ikea for curtains (to hide the yarn bins) and get lamps etc.
    for stage one of the renovation of the space..
    i have since changed the computer position so that i sit on the other side of the table and face out and have organized the sewing corner (more pegboard !! yeah!)
    will update photos and post new link…

  394. forgot… i have magazines in files by year (oldest to newest) upstairs in my study. knitting/sewing/gardening books are in separate sections in bookcases outside study organized in sections and then alpha by author or title within.

  395. Oh Lordy. Books on shelves. I have one wall with floor-to-ceiling shelves, said shelves adjustable by as little as one centimeter. Stuff has still ended up crammed in there. Got another wall half full of magazines, soft-cover knitting pattern books, and so on. My husband says the metal pole that is holding up the floor from collapsing into the garage is bending. Book arrangement? What? Oh yeah~ pretty much by subject and then by size, because you can lay a couple of tall books horizontally on top of short ones. Sorry, not much help, I guess.

  396. This is technical. I am a librarian. You can skip over all this if you just want to shrug and shove the books in more-or-less order and move on. That is what I do with my knitting books, but I’d imagine you have more than I do.
    If you’re really serious, use Library Thing to help you catalog. It is worth the investment when you are an avid reader or book collector, because you can tell Library Thing where you store Knitting 24/7 and it will remember for you (if you put it back where it belongs when you’re done with it). There are many books out there to help you set up a home library. You don’t need them. All books classified as “the arts” go together in one big lump (for the most part) in a library using the Dewey Decimal System.
    Here is what I would do: Organize knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, weaving, etc. separately by subject, then by author. That way you’ll find all Nancy Bush’s pattern books together, even if some are about sock knitting and one is about Estonian lace knitting.
    If you want even more order, you can do what my library does. Books that are about the knitting lifestyle (like your books) go first. Then you have stitch dictionaries, then come pattern books. After that, crochet books, and so forth. You can even look up call numbers on library online catalogs if you want even MORE detail.
    You can also use magazine slipcases to keep your books divided by subject. Most knitting books fit neatly into these. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Set-Metro-Magazine-Files-Plastic/dp/B001EHIAVY/ref=pd_sim_dbs_k_5

  397. I would organize by impulse – must knit colorwork, must knit EZ, must knit lace, etc. so you can just start looking in that section right away and find what you want.

  398. Um. I immediately thought “by subject!” because that’s how I have my books organized — but I have enough knitting books to take up about a shelf and a half of a teeny little bookcase. If I had as many knitting books as I imagine you might, I would organize them alphabetically by author. I don’t think any other method would keep your head from exploding — there are too many crossover books out there. Of course, I don’t know what you’d do with books by more than one author … Eeek. But congrats and best wishes on the space remodel. I am envious.

  399. I love all the tips, so many good ones. My fave is by color. You have to admit that the color of the cover is what is most easily remembered. I have to give credit to Laurie from Crazy Aunt Purl for the color idea.
    Good luck!

  400. The room could be a trunk room.. but I think it’s more likely that it’s the predecessor to an ‘office’. When phones weren’t cordless and didn’t have such great sound even though they had cords (doesn’t compute in my 24 year old mind), people liked to have small rooms to sit in apart from the noise so they could chat in peace. in smaller ‘antique’ houses, they’re usually just ‘nooks’ – enough space for a desk and chair, and that’s about it. You’re FANCY! 🙂
    And I arrange my books however the heck I feel like it. My knitting book collection is pretty small, but my larger book collection is… large. As an example, I have two shelves of old school textbooks. One is for happy classes, one is for sad classes. The sad classes shelf is second from the bottom, where I don’t need to look at it very often. The only books below it are ones that I’m embarrassed about… like a certain vampire series that shall remain nameless because I’m an english major and I’ll probably be kicked out of my university if it gets out!

  401. Also, I have a complete list of all books, magazines, and booklets on the Library section of Ravelry.
    So first I can check that to find out if I have a book. Then if it isn’t shelved where it should be, at least I know for sure I have it and can keep looking.

  402. Assolutamente d’accordo con lei. L’idea di un buon supporto.
    Condivido pienamente il suo punto di vista. Si tratta di qualcosa di diverso e l’idea di mantenere.

  403. Pretty much my whole house looks like that. Good thing – I live alone so no-one else sees it much. Bad thing – I rent so I can’t rip things out / paint things / screw things to the wall. However I organise my books roughly by subject, but also by author. It depends. For example, all the Kaffe Fassetts are together. Next to them is all the sock books. Below them are the vintage needlework, then there’s a spinning section and one for vintage knitting books (mmm, 1980’s sweaters) The stash is spread across most of the house. If (when) I move I will need a team of Sherpas and an articulated lorry.
    However I do have an IKEA virtually next to where I work. I’ve discovered that all the storage in the world doesn’t help if you don’t actually put things back in it 🙂

  404. I’d sort everything by color, including the books and magazines. It will look very tidy, though it might be a little harder to find things. But not harder than it is now! LOL

  405. Don’t know what the climate’s like where you are, but when my first baby was tiny, his room was heated.
    He got croup (a horrible hacking cough). The doctor said ‘turn off the heating’. We did, and the croup went away (heating dries the air and the dry air was the cause of the croup). We’ve never heated any of our bedrooms since then – we just use plenty of bedclothes.

  406. Finally, something I can comment on with relative comfort that my idea might be helpful to another humnan being!
    I keep my knitting books grouped together by the color of the books’ spine. No, I’m not on any medication, why?
    I tend to be a very visual person, and remember the spine and cover of all my books; when I want a particular book, I head to the section of the book shelf where books with similar colored spines sit, and most of the time, the book is where it should me.
    Other times I still have to search under beds, sofas, and behind desks; but my system still works here. If the books i encounter don’t have the color spine I’m looking for, i just leave ’em where they lay.

  407. “The difference between North Americans and Europeans is that the former think that 100 years is a long time and the latter think that 100 km (miles is you are a Brit or a US) is a long way”.

  408. Knitting books by subject and then alphabetically by author…as the librarian above suggests. I think I have a) spent too much time in libraries or b) am assimilating librarian-ness from my many librarian friends.
    Husband I are hoarders (electronics/DIY stuff and fibre respectively, sound familiar?) and lucky enough to have a largeish house – yet still my stash is crammed in all over the place, a spinning wheel here, a stack of magazines there, yarn in the sideboard etc. (and our so called ‘music room’ could be beautiful yet looks like…well…an explosion in a jumble sale. God knows where the piano will go when it arrives)

  409. By subject and then by author. I don’t tend to forget which books I have, but I have checked Ravelry while traveling to see the covers (I’m bad with names/authors). And since Rav lets you see the projects in a book, I can take notes right there. I just learned this trick this year so not all my books are on Rav, yet.

  410. As many others have suggested, I would (and do) sort first after subject (i.e. stitch patterns, socks, sweaters) and then alphabetically by author.
    I think we all have a little hoarder inside ourselves. Sometimes they get control and things turn bad, but I believe that the idea that stuff is a comodity and shouldn’t be parted with easily is in everybody, at least to some degree.
    I look forward to seeing what your stash room will look like afterwards. I believe it will be pretty and beautiful (afterall it will hold your beautiful yarn and fibre). Ahhhh… I’d love a stash room too!

  411. I imagine you wld use whatever method you use to search for them now e.g., subject or title or author. I like putting magazines in those boxes open on the top and 1/3 the front edge, keeps them neat. That room sounds like a dream, can’t wait to see it.

  412. My bedroom actually has 360 degree bookshelves and I organize by subject and then by author then by title (or order in case of a series).
    I also have one short shelf devoted to Loved/Meaningful books (three of yours are on that shelf) so I can easily grab them. Ideal for books you need regularly. So if I were in your position, I’d devote the tallest shelves to things you rarely need like crochet or sewing books that are organized by author. Then around your eye level, the books you use more often, patterns, manuals, etc.
    Lowest shelves should be the magazines you’ve gone through. They’re slippery buggers and having a year or two cascade upon your head once is enough incentive to put them near the floor. IKEA and other such places have handy upright boxes which can keep magazines tidy very well while still being easy access.
    The most important thing is that you create a system that will work for you. Don’t put the things you need the most up high because it’s convenient at the time. Create something you can use AND maintain. If you remember things by title, organize by title. If you can only ever remember the authors first name and nothing else, organize alphabetically by first name. This is YOUR space and your stash (which makes a broke uni student like me weep internally with jealousy by the way) so make it your world. Go for it, Harlot! You’ll make us proud.
    Can’t wait to see pics!

  413. Beat me, but I do like that wallpaper. Ok, I have an unreasonable liking for old, cute things. Which does not help a BIT when shopping for houses: “Yaaa, the basement is soggy and there’s mold growing in the kitchen, but the wallpaper in that room up in the attic is so adorable…” Oddly enough everything in this house is light, clean lines, mostly IKEA and no roses anywhere to be found. Am I channeling something weird whenever I enter an old house?

  414. I like that show more and more all the time! I’d like to sort my knitting books alphabetically or by author but realistically, they usually end up by size. None of the shelves I’ve ever used for the books are tall enough to allow something other than size. Having just moved into a larger place (after living in about 200 sq ft the last few years), the one positive move I’ve made with knitting books is to get them all entered into Ravelry so I’ll know what I have available. Now to do that with yarn …

  415. Sort your books like the library does, by subject then author. I did this a few years ago and have not lost a book since. I bought magazine holders and sorted by title and date which makes it easy to find a particular issue. I, too, watched an episode of hoarders and afterward loaded up three trash bags with 1)yarns I’ll never use 2) yarns no one will ever use 3) 30 year old sweaters that were not classic knits after all, made with yarn that should be forgotten (that was the ’80’s ). I felt much better!

  416. Good luck on your project!
    If I were to put all my knitting books neatly onto a shelf (or three) I think I would sort them by subject – with little dividers like you’d find them in libraries, telling you what subject group your looking at – and then within those subject groups I’d sort them alphabetically by title. That’s what I’d do with any non-fiction book. My fiction books are stored by author and then in chronological order. Well, that’s how they started out anyway. I ran out of shelf space years ago but the books keep an multiplying. (I won’t even mention the yarn!)

  417. My books are arranged by color. They’re pretty on the shelf and I really visualize the book by it’s cover/spine color anyway, so I can always find my book when I want it

  418. IMO: Patterns in hanging file folders (either in a file cabinet or in filing crates) or sheet protectors in binders. Magazines in those magazine boxes to keep them neat on the shelves. Books by topic (general, socks, hats, etc.). If you have way too many books on a single topic, alphabetically by author within the topic.

  419. I feel your pain. Honestly I do. My family and I live in an old house that dates somewhere near or prior to the civil war. I intimmately know the unique frustrations, including dirt that seems to have engrained itself in the very walls and orante woodwork around the house, of living in an older house. I’m fortnate in the fact that in my case, I’m the loving kid who hasn’t moved out yet because college is 15 mins down the road via public transporation and it’s my mom (who has ocd cleaning tendencies) that the house likes to send into periodic fits just for fun. We (being my sister, my mom, and I when my sister is home from college which she attends 380 miles down the road, Dad helps occasionally but his handiman skills tend to be limited to knowing which way of the hammer is the right one and works long hours that aren’t coperative to helping around the house) have tried over the years to approve the condition of our house. We have grand visions, dreams, hopes, and aspirations. What we get a slightly less bad version of what we had in the first place usually with a much better organization system that keeps the place semi-clean for a grand total of a week. What can I say? We have very Big Aspirations for our house and a very Small budget. What’s even weirder is that our house also has that weird little room that is to small for a bedroom, ill-located for a nursery, has a weird closet (which used to be a servant stair until some genius took out the stair, added some floor boards and called it a closet), no heating, a big window, and two very crooked doors (No counter or shelves thank goodness). It is also our “Sewing Room” built to house the sewing projects my mom never can get around to, the scrapbooking projects my sister swears she will do one day, and my small pretensions at a stash. We have grand plans for this room. So far, what we have accomplished has involved removing equally as ugly wallpaper that was found in your room (ivy, lots and lots of ivy, and 8 other assorted layers of wallpaper and paint), painting it, and adding a small table. It still remains a glorified junk room that seems to acquire randomn junk that we can never remember putting it there.
    That said, I wish you luck and hope you accomplish your dreams. (May you never end up with a slightly less ugly and slightly more organized room in your house hold renovations again.) If you can do it, perhaps we can too.

  420. I often shop for secondhand Ikea stuff on an ebay-like auction site. Very good for supplementing stuff from Ikea series that are no longer in production. So you might try Ebay, Craigslist and anything local that you know of. Posting a ‘looking to buy’ also works well (and prompts others to de-hoard, extra karma points there).
    Books, I’d say by subject (knitting, spinning, dyeing etc) and within that alphabetically by author (my mom was a librarian).
    that TV show isn’t aired here in the Netherlands as far as I know. Thay mey want to look into that, I could sure need a nudge…..

  421. Books-by subject, yarn-by weight. And I try to acquire bookshelves with shelves that can be “flipped” every few months as they sag. (Can’t currently afford the kind actually made for books. When people talk of having too many books (serious hording aside) I always think of an article about artist Edward Gorey. The magazine name long forgotten by me, the pictures of his home–white walls, dark woodwork and books. Books filling floor to ceiling book cases. And stacked along the sides and back of furniture doubling as tables. With his “rag doll” style creatures sitting here and there. Just remember, you’ll organize it now for convenience. But you do need to periodically rearrange everything. It’s inevitable.

  422. I arrange books by size then genre then alpha by first author. Magazines by Title and then issue.
    Size is important for optimising book-density (get the shelves spaced exactly one book apart).

  423. It’s going to be wonderful. I can just picture it. All of your stash (or what fits in there) in a way that you can find what your looking for before you decide not to knit the project any more.
    Hoarders. Yep – after that show I definitely want to organize, but still not dust. 😉
    I like organize my books by stitch dictionaries, socks, hats/gloves/mittens/, etc. or by author (like EZ’s books I have all together).
    I’m wondering what color the room will be? A shade of green I’m thinking. 😀

  424. Magazines are shelved by title, by issue. Each shelf section has a label showing which magazine is onthat sectionof the shelf.
    Books are in two sections – technique and stitch dictionaries, and general. Techniques are shelved by genre (lace, fair isle, etc.) and general are shelved by author.
    As books and magazines come in, the patterns I think I would like to make are copied and filed in a basket by gauge.
    My friends are amazed at how quickly I can find anything they are looking for.

  425. Wow-looks like you tapped a nerve:) I like to sort by subject-much easier to go right to what you need that way.

  426. I orgnize my knitting books by subject (sweaters, socks, lace, you get the idea) and then by title within those subjects. Good luck with the renos!

  427. Hey Steph, The IKEA bookcases are great. I bought the plain simple white ones which you can also buy glass doors for. Less than $100 for a floor to almost ceiling case with 2 glass doors. That way you can keep the stash enclosed (no dust, etc) but you can still see it and enjoy. I only bought new glass knobs for the doors at Home Depot because the ones that came with the doors were ugly. good luck!!

  428. Great project! I’m envious. I’d love to have a 5 x 9 space like that. As for the books, I organize by subject: if I want to knit lace, for instance, I want to find all my lace books at once, without having to remember the author’s names for each book. Kind of like the nonfiction section of the library.

  429. I have a floor to ceiling bookcase filled with most of my needlework books. One shelf is needlepoint, crewel, cross stitch (from the ’70s), the rest is knitting. The books are by 1)subject & 2) author; e.g. all lace knitting books are together, all stitch pattern books,all sock knitting, all kid stuff, all Alice Starmore, all EZ etc. Then, some shelves are holding Vogue Knitting (since the ’50s), the old McCall’s Needlework, even some old Workbasket and others. Part of yet another bookcase has all my Knitters’ mags and lots of oversized knitting books. The best part is I can usually put my fingers on whatever publication I’m looking for. And, clearly, this is NOT hoarding–more of a research center!

  430. I am with you, Stephanie! Every once in a while I go through a ‘clean and purge’ attack. You can do it! It feels so good afterward. As far as book organization, I would go by subject personally. To each her own. Enjoy this process. You will unearth some great treasures!

  431. I personally like the wall mounted shelves (standards, brackets, boards). If you have walls that allow for a good anchor, they hold a lot of weight and can be tall or short shelves. They don’t touch the floor, so you don’t get the “how did so much dirt get back there” when at some point you have to move the shelf. You can also run them from wall to wall with no wasted space.
    Sorting: reference together, muse subject. This might be socks, sweaters, shawls, or lace, color work, cable, or baby shower gift, quick gift, etc, or most likely a combination.

  432. Wellllll, Stephanie, we live in a 140 year old house, also. In Illinois near the Mississippi River, none, and I do mean NONE of our bedrooms upstairs had heat! No of the do NOW! We just got used to it 🙂 Nothings better than to run downstairs in the morning towards the register! I’m redoing my stash, too, as my preggers daughter is moving in this weekend. 🙂 I’d put ’em by subject, just seems like if I’m making socks, I’d like to find the sock book in a hurry!

  433. Definitely by category, as I have reached my early 40s and now and then have those moments of “I can clearly see the book I need in my mind, but what’s her name again?????” I certainly can figure out the appropriate category in this situation, but name – forget it.

  434. Yes, Hoarders does fascinate, I do get inspired to organize after an episode. I am also in a 100 year old house, with not a lot of storage space, so I have a lot of clutter, please keep us posted on your organization project, maybe I will OAL!!

  435. My knitting books and magazines are sorted first by magazine (all Interweave in one magazine organizer-thingie from Ikea, all Vogue in another, etc. If I have accumulated enough that they don’t all fit in one magazine-holder thing, then they get archived in a storage box- also matching, also from Ikea.) Books are arranged much more vaguely; it’s harder to sort those properly, there’s always so much overlap in what’s in ’em.

  436. Go Stephanie!
    I would organize the books by type, by the way. Put all the garment books together, put the mittens (or if there’s not a lot of mittens, put all the “accessories” books together), sock books together, spinning books together, etc. Alphabetical by author wouldn’t make sense, since they’re all about knitting, and same applies to alphabetical by title.

  437. By subject… That’s how the library does it…. When on maternity leave I took the opportunity to purge and clean… As I always told my husband when he walked in on a project like this… It always gets worst before its better!

  438. Bravo for your brave post, Stephanie. Thank you for letting so many of us, myself included, know we’re not alone letting things, well, pile up a bit.
    After all, we’d all rather be knitting than cleaning . . . or organizing, or whatever.
    I’m inspired to think about doing the same.
    That’s because I can think about it and knit at the same time. Now, if I actually DO it, well, we’ll see . . . but at least I’m thinking about it.
    In the meantime, thank you for carrying the flag. Keep on keeping on.

  439. By subject (socks, stitch dictionaries, sweater patterns, etc.), then by author within each section.
    Also, shelf labels are a lifesaver for me, since I’m prone to forgetting what categories I used.

  440. That’s so clearly the perfect yarn room for you that I don’t know why you have taken such an unreasonable dislike to the poor thing. A nice little rocker by the window to knit in…what’s not to like?
    I’d organize by subject because fat chance I would ever remember the author’s name or title of the book but I would remember that it’s a SOCK book I’m looking for!

  441. Organize your books by subject! That way, you can find the one you want even if you can’t remember the author’s last name. 🙂
    My house – the ENTIRE house – is an absolute pit because both me and my husband are really bad at keeping things organized. I’m actually VERY organized, but if it doesn’t stay that way, I get overwhelmed and everything goes to hell. My husband is a major hoarder and refuses to organize in any way outside of his haphazard system of old cardboard boxes. We don’t even have kids yet. I’m working on getting things organized around here, but again, I get overwhelmed easily. I can’t wait to see what you do with your little room – maybe it’ll inspire me!

  442. I’ve been gone a long time but re-discovered your wit and wisdom when I found “Free-Range Knitter” for a $1.43 on Kindle for PC, what a deal! Anyway, I’m glad I am. I must admit I love the periwinkle blue with pink and blue roses wallpaper and can envision the teensy room lined with floor to ceiling shelves lined with books arranged by SUBJECT and a lovely old table in the middle with a slatted chair with a knitted pad to match to sit at and enjoy them.

  443. In sympathy with many of the other comments, I suggest organising them based on the way you think of them. Make up your own categories so that you (main audience for the resulting organised library) will find things where you expect them to be.
    My own library is rather small (perhaps 100 books including a very small number of knitting books). I purge every few years, giving away things I’ll never read again or don’t have sentimental value or are outdated (i.e. travel guides that don’t have loads of my little notes to myself). My books are clubbed together as follows:
    – Books I read for book club,
    – books that are in the queue to be read,
    – poetry,
    – knitting,
    – travel books,
    – books I love with a passion and cannot part with,
    – and finally books that are too large or oddly shaped to fit on the shelf with their category
    Looking forward to seeing the results of your labours!

  444. I’d sort the books by size and maybe color – just in a way that looks pretty, not in a way that’s otherwise organized.

  445. you know my instant answer was I’d store by subject and then I thought about how all my books were really stored and it’s by height. However if they’re the same height and subject I’d put them together (wait a sec I do that with authors too).
    Hmmmm. do whatever makes you happy.

  446. It sounds like your little room was originally built as the “trunk” room for the house– the space where the homeowner’s trunks and cases would reside when not in use. It was a common space in homes around the turn of the last century. We recently bought a century old home in Ohio for my daughter who is attending graduate school there and it has just such a curious tiny room — with a window too! I love the connections to the past that older homes bring us.

  447. single page patterns in a binder. Two binders for me, many more for you.
    Multi-page patterns in the pockets of paper pocket organizers- like the ones schools ask for, with the spine of brads in the middle, for binging in papers. Bound in papers are about whatever project, but not usually any. Just multi-page patterns stacked in the pockets. You still have to flip through, though.
    Magazines in those cardboard boxes for magazine storage. One box per title, although there is one of miscellaneous. I keep the low end facing out, rather than in. I’ll switch it later, when I put labels on them ( for later, read never)
    Books; by category. Except the category for the shelf is on the left side, a different in the middle, and a different on right side. It’s more by “tone”- designing knitwear is on the same shelf as designing clothing, while eighties patterns are with cookbooks, history of knittings are with other historical books, and martha stewart crafts are with scientific textbooks. It’s an eccentric system to Dh, who organizes his books by library of congress order, but my books are talking to each other. you wouldn’t want to be at a party talking to someone dull and droning, now would you? I’m not sure that you want to talk to a purveyor of acrylic neon sweater designs, either? So your book is in design, where your book can talk with Ann Budd and Norah Gaughan.
    best of luck. Your renovations are usually spectacular. I look forward to your blog posts.

  448. In my experience, you should organize your books in the way that you think of them. For example: if, when you want your Folk Socks book you think of it by title first, not by author…then definitely organize by title.
    But a dual leveled organization is always a plus. First by subject, then alphabetically by title (that’s how I’d do it)

  449. My basement was like your storeroom until my best friend/other sister yelled at me. I went to Ikea and bought a bookcase that has cubicles instead of straight shelves and sorted the yarn and fiber into it. It doesn’t all fit, but most of it does, and I can finally find what I’m looking for! I have 3 72-inch (189 cm) high bookcases and have sorted the books and magazines into them; they are sorted first by subject (costuming, bobbin lace, embroidery, spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting) and by subcategory in knitting (socks, lace, kids, how-to and stitch dictionaries, one-skein, designer patterns) and within the categories/subcategories alphabetically. Does it show that my mom’s a librarian?

  450. Oh subject, definitely subject. I’m telling you that when you want to make a cute baby hat, you do not want to remember the last name of the person who wrote “baby beanies.” You just want either a hat section, or a baby/kid section. Seriously.
    You can do this, and it will be fun and very gratifying. Extremely. And that wallpaper is loathsome, which I wouldn’t dare say, except you already said it. 🙂

  451. I have avoided watching Hoarders because I don’t want to know how close I am to that edge. 🙂 In any case….I would put the reading material together by subject [what other folks are calling category], and magazines together by publisher and year. IKEA has lots of those wonderful magazine holders for cheap — either the basic cardboard or the more substantial …um …fiberboard stuff that comes in colors. That’s what my magazines and the books that are tall and thin go in. Unlike bookcases, the magazine holders would be easy to get across the border or even a pack in a suitcase every time you’re out of town in a location near an IKEA… Good luck!

  452. My best friend has a storage room off her garage which she has dubbed: “The Room of Which We Do Not Speak.”
    (Except, really, she organizes hers about once every year, so it’s pretty un-unspeakable.)
    Books? By subject, loosely. That’s the way I do it: socks, baby projects, design… each gets a bin in the Ikea square-unit shelving.
    Have fun and hang in there – it always looks worse before it gets better!

  453. Good for you, Stephanie! Hoarders has the same effect on me – I watch it and the next day I’m on a whole wild Clearing Out tear.
    As far as the books, I would recommend creating categories: Socks, General, Stitch Guides and Technique, and then a few other categories according to what you have the most of and use the most often. For example, I imagine you’d have a category for stranded mittens, a category for lace and/or shawls, baby items, and probably a few other categories as well. And then alphabetical by author within those categories (your mind seems to keep track of designers better than mine – if it were me, I’d go alphabetical by title).
    Good luck! I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures of the final result! I may be hoping they will help inspire me to get my own “craft corner” (aka heap of crafting stuff piled around like pretty garbage) in order as well. grin.

  454. I would sort my books by subject, just as I would do my individual patterns. Magazines would go alphabetical by title and then chronological. And I imagine that the inital clearing out of the room is overwhelming (I mean, now you have to clutter other parts of the house with all the stuff when the room is being revamped), but it will be worth it. Good luck!

  455. Sounds like it was originally intended to be a boxing room, which I usually translate as storage with a twist – you also store the storage materials there.
    Size *COULD* be an office if someone lived in a rowdy house and needed to be alone a bit.
    And I think the book/printed mater organizing will come to you as you work. Personally, I’d have one area, probably by author, for reference books. I might do magazines by issue number. The rest would probably be by dominant subject: socks, winter garments, baby stuff.

  456. I have a room like that – I use it for storage of linens, wrapping paper, stuff like that. I try to keep everything in containers to maintain some level of order there. Works most of the time.
    Books need to be sorted by subject, e.g. socks, baby stuff, sweaters. magazines sort by title, further sorted by issue #. I can’t wait to see it when it’s done!!

  457. I had an uncle who was a hoarder, and every time DH thinks I have Too Much Stuff, I just haul out pictures of my uncle’s place. That being said, I am anxiously waiting for some construction-type stuff to be done before I can take over my son’s former bedroom for my fibrey acquisitions. Like you said, if that TV show doesn’t spur one into action, nothing will.
    Good luck with the redo- nothing like wallpaper and a painted ceiling to inspire a room-gut.

  458. My housemate and I watched Hoarders and decided her boyfriend is one. However, as a person whose books are totally out of control right now and whose yarn stash is stowed in several places around the house, who am I to talk? The books just need shelving and weeding, but oh, how I would love to be able to consolidate my stash! Right now it’s in two small chests of drawers in the basement and on shelves behind the bar we are meaning to tear out and in plastic boxes under my bed and in an odd corner of my bedroom, with sacks of more yarn piled on top of the boxes. And that’s just the stuff I remember. What I covet are two four-drawer units my dad refinished that used to be stands for greeting card racks, which I would like to subdivide (the drawers are deep) so I could keep like yarns together, but Dad & my stepmom are using them for sweaters. I would rather have my Dad and stepmom than the four-drawers, at least most of the time, but I still covet them. As for organizing, I imagine your collection of knitting books, etc. is vast enough to warrant sorting by project (like socks) then author or company, with a “general” category for books that have more than one type of project in them. I would also recommend anyone organizing books of any kind read the book Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman at the same time – her humorous essays will break the monotony or desperation or whatever you feel when you are confronted by piles of unorganized publications.

  459. By subject. And I can tell you right now, one room is not enough. Even a much bigger room. Trust me on this.

  460. For what it’s worth, I too have my knitting books organized by subject. Occasionally, though, I have to organize by size, because not all my shelves are the same height, and I prefer to have the books standing up rather than lying down. As for magazines, I have them in (roughly) chronological order in those cardboard magazine holders, labelled by magazine, and I have one for ‘miscellaneous’ knitting patterns and booklets. Single-page patterns and/or downloaded print-offs are in binders according to subject,too, on a closet shelf. 🙂

  461. I am much more likely to remember what the book *looked* like that the specific title or author, so I am a fan of color-coding the bookshelf. It looks way better, since it isn’t a random collage of colors and shapes, and I’m more likely to be able to find “you know, that one with the blue cover with yellow swirly text on it”.

  462. That flower wallpaper is what my parents put up in my room in the mid-eighties, no trim though. (to make it more grown-up for a preteen girl) It’s amusing to see again. Good luck with your organizing.

  463. I think I was an anal librarian in a past life. I organize first by subject, then by author, then by size, so that all my little books don’t get lost amongst the big ones. Then I have the magazine pile which is organized by company and date. Then the roving pile of knitting books scattered around the house which are usually out because of a renewed interest in a particular subject…. it never ends.

  464. I’m a librarian but I don’t put my books in Dewey Decimal order. I put group them in a way that makes sense to me and how I use them. My first section is techniques and general knitting (e.g. Montse Stanley’s book, Barbara Walker’s books) then I arrange them in sections of lace, mittens, hats, Alice Starmore, fair isle, aran, etc., then collections by a specific designer if they don’t fit elsewhere. What’s left over that doesn’t have a category that I would recognize or use I either shelve by size (!), alphabet or random!!
    It’s important to use a system that makes sense to YOU, not one that make sense to me or Dewey!!

  465. I agree with the people who think that that room is what it is–a Victorian version of a walk-in closet. As for the books,I only have one shelf full,so I arrange them by size-I find it is easier not to lose the small ones when they are mixed in with the large ones.

  466. I sort my books by size so that they look pretty on the shelf (low to high on one shelf, high to low on the next). But I suspect you may have a few more knitting books than I do so that probably isn’t helpful when you are trying to locate something specific.

  467. Funny you should ask. I recently shelved all my knitting books. I put pattern collections on one shelf, traditional knitting techniques (such as Fair Isle, Aran, etc.) on another; lace books on another shelf, socks on another and stitch dictionaries on another. I also had a shelf of misc. books that just didn’t fit anywhere else.

  468. I’d go by subject, as that’s the way I think about stuff. I just moved to my very first bought (and paid for – no mortgage) home and as I was unpacking the (disgustingly high number of) boxes of non-craft/knit/sew books that make up my “real” library, I opted for sorting them topically – classics, history, theology, novels and bios, anthropology, dance – and it’s a huge improvement over my prior methodology, which was basically “can it fit on the shelves somewhere?” I’m thinking I’ll do the same when the crafting room is finished; handyman is putting in the floor in the not-quite-finished garage this week, then there will be framing out and finishing a little laundry room/storage in one end and I will be able to have stash, wheels, art supplies, fabrics, sewing and serging machines, cutting and work tables all in one sunny place.
    I can hardly wait to see how you come out of this project. You did such a great job on the bedroom remodel that I have faith it will be exactly what you envision!

  469. I also live in a house that’s over 100 years old and have the same love/hate thing going. I recently tackled my dark, dirty barely used basement. My dream was to organize my (very modest) stash so that I could actually see and enjoy it. Mission accomplished. I kept it simple (altho there was a detour thru some foundation reinforcement to make sure the house doesn’t fall down). Bought some wire basket modules from Ikea and once I threw out all the crap I don’t really use/need, I had room for a little home gym. So now when I’m cranking away on my elliptical trainer, I can gaze lovingly at my yarn and dream about projects to come. My best advise is: hang tough – you’ll be soooo happy when it’s done!

  470. I laughed reading this post
    My stash is in my “utility room” stored in huge plastic tubs………….along with tools, camping gear, boxes I never unpacked from my move 2yrs ago, quilting supplies, etc
    Hoarders makes me itch to clean house……..but NOT to tackle the utility room.
    I figure one stuffed and overflowing room in the house does not a hoarder make (PLEASE GOD!)
    I have to tell you………….what if it went the other way?
    I took a knitting class Sunday. The lovely girl teaching the class HAS NO STASH!!!!!!
    She buys what she needs for her project. (note here I said project…..not projects)
    As she gets close to finishing, she buys what she needs for the next project!
    Now that is just SICK if you ask me!!!!

  471. I’ve never seen Hoarders, but apparently I can watch episodes on-line. I’m kind of scared.
    In my new place, I am planning on using my second bedroom as a workroom/stash room, but it is taking careful thought, as it still also has to function as a guest bedroom on occassion. It’s taking time. Good luck with your own reorganisation!

  472. I store my knitting books by subject, but the shelves in the bookcases aren’t adjustable so I have one section of smaller sized books by subject and one section of larger ones. I’ve found that since I organized them, I can usually quickly find what I want and get on with the knitting so while it’s a pain to do, it is definitely worth the effort. The room looks like the sewing room we had in my old house. Good luck with your remodeling. I remember the wonderful job you did with your bedroom. I know this will be another great job!

  473. i recommend organizing books by subject (socks, sweaters, misc., etc) and then alphabetically by author or title, whichever suits you best. 🙂 since i’m reorganizing my yarn stash and my wife’s book stash, i’m intrigued to see how this all plays out. mine will have to be done over a couple of weeks. i hope yours goes faster. good luck!

  474. I group books by subject, and within each subject, alphabetically by author. Just happens to be what works best for me. Hope your tiny (or not so tin) remodel goes well! We’ve all been there – sending positive thoughts your way. 😉

  475. My magazines are supported holders which make it easy to read the date. The holders give them support so they don’t flop and curl. I put patons booklets in holders too. The books are lined up on a shelf and the needles are in fabric cases in a huge drawer. All this is in one big armoir. My stash is in 2 rubber maid bins and some extra large ziplocks behind the sofa bed…shhh!

  476. Subject. Sock books are on that shelf, spinning on that other shelf, magazines in magazine boxes by title (IK, Knitters, Vogue Knitting, Threads, Fiber Arts, etc.). Plastic bins must be truly transparent (remarkable how hard that is to find). Label label label. Those humungous ziploc bags are great for my stash of as many colors as possible of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride. Transparent over-the-door shoe bag a superb way to store/display sock yarn: http://roberta.typepad.com/robknits/2009/12/obsessed-with-socks.html My absolutely proven true rule: it all has to be visible.

  477. Oh, Steph… Hoarders R US! I’ve been contemplating these same issues. I will be selling my house soon and moving into an apartment, so I’m going a bit against my grain trying to bring order out of chaos. As far as books go, I’m currently sorting out the ones I don’t need anymore to be taken to Powell’s. The ones I’m going to keep will have these categories: EZ, Stitch Dictionaries, Lace, Socks, The Yarn Harlot, Anna Zilboorg, etc.
    Same task with my cookbooks, gardening books and several other categories.
    Wish me luck. I’ll be watching for your vision!!

  478. Never seen Hoarders… don’t need to… my mother is living the dream. So I know exactly how it gets that way, and have vowed to never let that happen at my house.
    Fast forward to life with toddler 🙂
    Seriously though, good on you for taking action! I can’t wait to see how it looks afterwards.

  479. Good luck! You can do it. I would sort my books by subject then size. Currently my knitting library isn’t very large compared to some so I sort by size.

  480. I am SO glad I am not the only one watching this show!!!!! My friends think I have lost my mind, but I have indeed been absolutely sucked in. And, yes, I also jump up and start cleaning my home after the show ends. Here in Alaska, that’s pretty late at night to be running the Hoover and it freaks my husband out big time!!!

  481. Haven’t seen Hoarders only the ads, but it looks depressing. I think there must be mental health issues going on there…at least most of the time.
    I was recently picking up some extra furniture on a budget and found a lot of those Ikea shelving things for Free or really cheap on Craigslist. If you get it for free or really cheap you could probably hire a wheelchair taxi to help you move it. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  482. You think that’s bad? You think that’s Hoarding?? You should see the rooms where my mother keeps her stash. (Shouldn’t write that here, she’ll read it and thump me.)
    Really, it’s not so bad. You can do something lovely to that little room.
    Incidentally, 5′ by 9′ sounds piddly for a room, but UK houses often have these little box-rooms, and are often the ‘baby room’. My son sleeps in a room that size! By the counter, and the wallpaper, I’d imagine someone used it as a sewing room?

  483. for cheap or even Free Ikea shelf thingies, try Craiglsist. When you get them for free you can afford to hire a wheelchair taxi to move them. You wouldn’t be the first…..

  484. I always start by organizing my books by subject, but then end up putting them in size order. The tallest ones to shortest ones. I really don’t mind reading all the spines to find the book I want and it looks the most orderly to me. Good luck with the room redo.

  485. Ohhhhh, this is the focus of my life right now. My darling mother died a month ago and her house was stuffed to the gills. One of my friends kindly mentioned that Mom wasn’t the worst kind of hoarder, at least there were no animal feces or carcasses. Ewwww. But, she kept everything. The whole lot of us are pack rats and I’ve been fighting the tendency for years. So, I’ve hauled at least one bag of nonsense to the Goodwill every week. Which brings up the whole “why do we buy so much stuff if we’re just going to give it away?” argument. Regardless, purge, baby, purge.
    I organize my knitting books by subject.
    Good luck to you!

  486. Magazines by season – definitely.
    Books pretty much by category. This occasionally also means one partiular publisher has several similar books that also look similar so it doesn’t matter if the title is similar (for me, Fitted Knits and French Girl Knits are a constant mix-up visually…)
    Individual patterns in magazine boxes, queue at the front in likely order of possible attention, done at the back.
    How do people organise all the stuff in your computer patterns file?!! Need to get that one better organised!

  487. Good for you! You will be SO happy when it’s done. We have a craft room (I knit/crochet, DH sews) and it was totally out of control earlier this year. We finally tackled it together (and came out of it with our marriage intact) and it’s the best.room.ever now.
    I don’t think there’s a wrong way to go with book organization. Whatever works for you, as long as you’re consistent. My patterns in my pattern binder are by item type (eg, clothing, accessories, knitted toys, etc.)

  488. I recommend sorting books by author/designer and magazines by title and then issue. This has helped me immensely. I also feel that titles are less important than the designer. When I think of Teva Durham I think of her first, not Loop-d-Loop. I also think of her body of work because everything is together on my shelf. Also, if you are putting your magazines on the shelf it’s good to stock up on (acid free) magazine holders. They keep the magazines way nicer within the bookshelf. Some of my Rowans are kinda weird now because they don’t really want to stand straight in mass. However, the ones in the fancy cardboard holders are in much better condition. Hope my input helps. Also, if you are going to do all this work and put all this time into organization, for the Love of Ravelry put your library in Ravelry. It is one of my absolute favorite features. No more paging through ancient, abused magazines unless I want to. Have fun the benefits will be worth the work.

  489. Oh dear, That looks way too familiar. Out of curiosity watched Horders last night. I am not there (or at least I don’t think I am there) but this requires some serios organization time for me.

  490. Not sure how helpful this is, but put the books where you would expect to find them if you were going to use them. Sounds obvious, but I’ve been on a massive cleaning frenzy lately, and I keep having to rearrange my cupboards because things aren’t where I expect them to be. Broadly speaking, you end up with the things you use least at the back and the things you use most at the front.
    Oh dear, now is probably not the time to say I’m a librarian, is it?

  491. Good luck with the room. I have a lovely office for knitting books & stash but you may have inspired me to commandeer a mostly unused coat closet for non-fiber related craft supplies. Thus freeing up shelf space in my office for more knitting books (I am running short of room).
    My books are arranged, by title, in roughly alphabetical order (i.e. all the A’s together but not broken down any further than that). I have had them like this for two years and it is really working for me.

  492. Alphabetically by author. Closest thing to the Dewey Decimal System you can have. Well, it basically is the system, if all your books are in the same genre.
    Good luck!!

  493. I so wish I could be there with you to help you. I am OCD with cleaning and painting. I live in a split level home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, etc – I have lived here 9 years and have painted every room 3 – 4 times over already. I just love to paint. Nothing like a fresh coat of paint and nice curtains – (about all I can afford) .
    Now I love to organize as well – My book shelf – is organized by subject – lace, socks, accessories, – so much easier to find what I need, also you can organize the subjects once together , alphabetically – *accessories, baby, lace, shawls, socks, blah blah blah
    Cannot wait to see what you do with that space!

  494. We just got done renovating the kitchen in our house, and I can tell you, it gets much, much worse before it gets better. And after it’s done, all you’ll say is “Why didn’t I do that sooner?” You’ll forget about all the interim mess.
    I store my books alphabetically by author. I’ve also indexed them on a spreadsheet I downloaded to my phone so I can always have the list handy. Ask me how many times I’ve bought a book I already have…

  495. It’s best if I NEVER post a photo of my work room in its usual state…sorry to say it resembles my bedroom when I was about 12 years old. It would require an Excavation to make it pleasant to anyone else.
    As for the books, I shelve most books by genre (sub-genre in the case of knitting books, yes?) and then by author’s or editor’s last name.

  496. Don’t ask me why, but I organize my knitting books by height! It sounds weird, but I usually go to my magazines for ideas, and those are obviously in order by date and title. So, when I feel like looking at my books, I get the joy of surprise and amazement because I didn’t remember that I had a book on… It’s all brand new to me!

  497. The best thing about the room is, and always will be, the door. I completely agree with the principle of keeping it all contained in one space. Its a good idea…
    in principle.

  498. By subject, that way even if I don’t remember the exact title I can still find it, and I almost never remember the author. Mags are title then date with the special issues put in at about the right time. Rather than alphabetical I put my favorite first and at eye level, always easy to find. With the slip covers that cover the bottom, I have a big sticker with the title and dates. Easy to find at a glance. And it only took me about 5 years to figure it out lol.
    When cleaning or re-doing it is always worse before it gets better. And yet I’m still amazed by how much worse it can look before it gets better.

  499. I got the entire first season of Horders from my library on DVD. I’m so glad I don’t have cats.
    I gave to the proper places hundreds of bars of hotel soaps, plastic ware, toys, and knitting and quilting books, fabric, and about 100 balls of yarn that I could never use in my lifetime or the next.
    It’s weird, traumatic and others can use these things I’m sure.

  500. I group my knitting books by subject first (socks, lace, technique, humor(!), baby, everything else) then by author alphabetically. I intersperse my stash with the categories (i.e. my sock yarn stash is on the same shelf as my sock knitting books. Works like a charm.

  501. I organize my books by topic first (socks, lace, sweater, misc.), then by author. I’ve yet to figure out a good enough method for the magazines and pamphlets though.
    Are you going to paint the entire room, or just the walls? I seem to recall that you swore to us all a few years ago that you were never ever going to ever paint another ceiling….

  502. You should arrange your books in whatever way makes sense to YOU. But as a librarian, I can’t help pointing out that all of the world’s great classification schemes are subject-based. Subject, and then alphabetical by author’s last name within the subject (or sub-subject, or sub-sub-subject…).
    Same thing for periodicals. But since most of your periodicals (or all?) are knitting-related, just go by title. Feel free to separate the spinning, though!

  503. I sort my books by colour. I don’t always remember who wrote them, so author’s out, but I always remember what they look like.
    Good work on this. To quote the Richard Simmonsy dude from Kananaskis:
    Stephanie!! Stephanie!! Stephaniestephaniestephanie!

  504. Subject, deffinitly. You will more likely look for a book on “lace” than you will look for “The Giant Book of Lace”.

  505. Wow a room for your stash, I would love that. Keep going your idea sounds great. The books I would file by subject, that would be the only way I would find anything.

  506. Good for you! I love organizing and de-cluttering, it always feels so good. I’m sure your little room will be wonderful when you get done – it’s just that in the meantime, it often has to get worse before it can get better.

  507. OK, so I obviously need to watch Hoarders so I can get into that cleaning mode. I have a room about that size, perhaps a bit larger, that suffices as stash, sewing, office, book space. Needless to say, it does none of those things very well.

  508. Every time I see an episode of Hoarders, I am motivated to get rid of something. My mother died recently and the auction person who came to get ‘things’ said, “It looks as if your mother saved every fly she killed.” I’m determined not to leave ‘stuff’ for my children to have to deal with. Have fun with your space. I’d arrange the books by subject. Sock books together, shawl books together, baby books….etc.

  509. The books should definitely be sorted by subject. I managed a bookstore for over 10 years and let me tell you from experience..you will never find anything if you do it any other way. Also you should alphabetize it by subject as you go with the general reference books that don’t go into any one subject shelved at the beginning. You can get real picky and alphabetize the books within the subject by author, too.

  510. I think you’ll be fine, and this will turn out incredibly well when you’re done. As for books and magazines, here’s my ideal way: subject first, then alphabetical by author. Because that’s how I look for them – when I want socks, I look for sock books first, then I think about which specific book I want. Magazines by title and then in order by date, in those magazine boxes that keep them from sliding down into slippery piles. I still haven’t entirely settled on sorting stash by weight first, then color or by color first, then weight. Sigh.

  511. Books: alphabetically by author.
    Magazines: alphabetically by title.
    Stash: by fiber, then by weight.

  512. Well, I wonder if you will get this far in your emails. My books are shelved exactly like my friends. He is a librarian. One day I asked him how his books were organized. He replied — together. Yea, it is a lovely system.
    You can also read Anne Fadiman’s article titled Marrying libraries. It’s the first chapter in, ExLibris. It might inspire you to get organized.

  513. Since I was OCD enough to put all of my mags & books into Ravelry, my few books are on top of my bookshelf, and my mags are stacked by title/date.

  514. I love a house project – esp. one that isn’t in my house! I’d arrange the books by size, because knitting and craft books are all different sizes. I’m pretty sure you’ll know exactly where there all are, regardless of how you organize them. Size will look good on the shelf and inspire you to keep things tidy. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the finished room!

  515. By subject although some knitting books will be hard to separate out like that. I’ll bet your stash room will be envied by many when done but it is going to take time–lots of time. Can you paint over wall paper? I think you have to remove the paper and any residue glue…

  516. The room was probably a Box Room. It would have been used to store summer things in winter and winter things in summer, and any odd piece of stuff that you weren’t ready to part with. So a stash room is in keeping with the original use of the room.
    And I’d group the books by category – socks, hats, cardigans, totes, scarves, et cetera.

  517. Organising books – I’m a teacher librarian, so absolutely by category – general knitting and crochet in 796.43, knitting patterns in 796.432, crochet patterns in 796.434, history of knitting in 746.4329, spinning in 746.12, felting 746.0463, dying wool in 667.33. Of course serials (magazines) are shelved in order from oldest to newest.
    Am I getting a little carried away?

  518. I’d start by patterns made and those I’d like to make and then by socks/shawls/baby things/hats, etc.

  519. OMG – we watched the same episode of hoarders! I spent the last two days pulling closets apart and cleaning, tossing stuff and organizing. Granted my house was never and will never be like the Hoarder houses – the show is a excellent motivator to clean out the linen closet

  520. Congratulations on the plan! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?
    I keep my knitting books mostly organized by subject/topic, as in all of my sock books are together, then organized by author. That’s how I think of what I need the books for, as in I’m looking for a sock pattern for xx yarn, let me go straight to my sock books and sock pattern binder (those are organized by fingering or sport, then by designer). Think of how you would most likely search or need the info contained in the books and organize accordingly — it mostly matters that it makes sense to you and you remember how you organized them. Godspeed!

  521. My daughter got me a book called “Buried in Treasures” for my birthday. It’s been a great help in dealing with the mass accumulation of the contents of a 4 bedroom house, a 3 bedroom house, and my mom’s 3 bedroom house, which she’d lived in for 50 some-odd years. All of these were transferred here 5 years ago into a sizable house, four of whose rooms we can barely walk into despite disposing of over 10 TONS of excess prior to the moves. The 3 bay garage has never been used for cars. In the past two weeks, kind friends have helped me clear out and dispose of the contents of one bay, which is now a dedicated dye studio, and another bay lost a third of its contents. Most was recycled or sent to Goodwill. My supposed ‘studio’ upstairs is this fall’s post-festival project.
    That being said, I organize by favorite authors, (Zimmermann, Walker, Bordhi, Budd), and general categories, (humor, socks, general, baby/child, accessories, techniques).
    Also, I highly recommend the folding wooden stackable bookshelves like those at Staples. I have 4 sets in the house, and use 2 at shows. I’ve never had a collapse, though I’ve had to shim them in certain locations. The top shelf yields room for unwieldy tomes, even in my low ceilinged home.
    Good luck! I’m sure your abode will be in order prior to mine.

  522. I have my books done by subject/author.
    groupings of “pattern” books, stitch dictionaries, technique books, and then sub sorted by author.
    have fun, you will love it when you are done!

  523. When our roommates move out, I get the smallest guest bedroom to turn into my crafts room. I cannot wait!
    I would arrange the books alphabetically by subject. My goal is to eventually have MY bookcase set up by Dewey decimal system, but then I am one of those geeks who alphabetizes my spice rack.

  524. Organize by subject. I did and it’s a lot easier to live with and locate what I want, quickly.
    Does this mean we’ll finally get to see your stash??!! It’s going to be beautiful. Good luck with the project.

  525. Organize by subject. I did and it’s a lot easier to live with and locate what I want, quickly.
    Does this mean we’ll finally get to see your stash??!! It’s going to be beautiful. Good luck with the project.

  526. Mine are in category first (Fair Isle, Gurnsey, Stitch Dictionaries) then by author. Works for me.

  527. The last time we moved I got “room of my own” and treated myself to two beautiful, solid wood book cases at the resale shop.
    The real books got shelved by category; the downloaded patterns got plastic sleeves and ring binders, the kind that allow you to slip in a label on the spine; and I bought matching plastic magazine containers for my old booklet/pamphlet patterns. Those are separated by category also. I got enough of them (Target) to do my magazines, those by title.
    The yarns are unfortunately stuffed into two large boxes on the closet floor. As they are odd sizes, not nice new skeins anymore, they would be visually disturbing to have out. But the boxes are for wool and not wool, so I know what I can mix together in a project.
    Best of luck. Hope you’re pleased when it’s done. Don’t be afraid to keep tweaking after you think it’s “done”. Nothing is ever designed perfectly the first time around.

  528. I sort by subject.
    The show Hoarders does scare me. I’m not sure if it is genetic to hoard but most of my siblings are hoarders. I feel I can become one too, if I let my guard down!

  529. My knitting (and crochet) books are organized by topics. Or how I know my mind would seek for them.
    Most are topical: socks, shawls, fair isle, etc. Others by singular author or publisher: Zimmermann, Bliss, Rowan, etc.
    I basically tried to organize them in a way that I knew I’d expect to be able to find whatever it is I’m looking for. Something that would make sense to my own brain.
    Usually works (until my brain thinks “out of the box” and says somtehing like, “Oh I want to knit that. I’ll put that pattern with the yarn I want to use for it,” then the body walks away and forgets about it for years).

  530. I keep all my knitting books (which is a pathetic amount – they fit on a 2×2 section of shelf) on one shelf, organised by HEIGHT of all things.

  531. I’m dying to know how this turned out!!!
    I’d organize them by subject, then by author, if I was blessed with enough where it would make a difference.
    Good for you for tackling it!

  532. Stephanie….sort and store the books by size. It’s the only way for a visual person who is working with fixed shelving. I always remember what a book looks like..shape is the first thing you see.

  533. When I was househunting in the UK, rooms like this (too small for a bed) in Victorian houses were called box rooms, intended for storage, but in later times used for kids’ bedrooms, and in the modern era converted to darkrooms, offices, etc. You’re using yours for its original purpose–storage! (doubtful the Victorians were storing yarn and fiber, though.)

  534. What an inspiration. I have a room that needs desperate help – my laundry/craft room. It even HAS storage, all taken up by years of stuff. My goal is to clean it up and I believe the rest of the house will follow, since most of the clutter in the living room is craft stuff.
    And I would sort knitting books by height, just because I always seem to know what SIZE the knitting book I’m looking for is.

  535. Does every knitter have an equally creative partner? My bloke has the UK equivalent magazine – Everyday Practical Electronics magazine, but otherwise the rest is the same, including the Acoustic Design books!
    Definitely books by subject – socks (largest shelf), lace, colour work, cables, baby stuff etc.

  536. I record episodes of Horders & then watch then when ever the house starts getting that cluttered look. So far this year I’ve gotten rid of 3-4 33gal bags worth of stuff & a huge carton of old toys.
    I group my patterns & books a few ways. First I divide stitch dictionaries from all other books. Those are grouped by what I use most. Then I separate the one-skein & the quick knit type books & keep those on their own shelf grouped by type & then author. After that I keep a few oft looked through books next to the stitch dictionaries. Then the rest is grouped by subject & within that is alpha by author.

  537. Sort the books by subject, which will be very useful when you need a particular sock book but can’t remember the name or the author. Don’t think of how they will be useful now – think of how they will be useful when you’re looking for a particular pattern, etc. That is when organization becomes really key.
    Hoarders makes me clean house in a desperate, sweaty panic.
    You can do it! Go Stephanie!

  538. By subject? Color? Author? Really? I use the time-honored hoarders’ technique of organizing by geographical location! 😉 New books on the ottoman, not so new in the stack by the end table, brand new ones may even still be out in the truck…

  539. I think I would organize my knitting (etc) books first by subject, then alphabetically by title. This supports both the ability to search within a particular project type for inspiration, and to zero in on one book you know you want.

  540. you are not alone! your post brought a huge smile to my face and about 15 minutes of pure laughter…i went through the exact same thing about a year ago; reorganizing my knitting stash/mess. only problem now…i still have to get to one more room and do it all over again!
    as for the knittng books…i sort them by knitting subject (i.e. socks, babies, cables, etc.).
    can’t wait to see pix of the finished closet/room!

  541. Books by subject definitely. Except for Folk Socks. Put a chain on it and chain it to the bookshelves. That book likes to wander for some reason. Mine continually wanders off when I need it.
    I still think it hasn’t forgiven me for doing the heel wrong on the Ukranian socks and showing it to Nancy Bush.

  542. First, this post made me cry, and then it gave me hope. I think I need to tackle my stashroom/office this Saturday. I also think I’ll go for a long trail run beforehand and maybe afterwards too. Or just beer beforehand and afterwards?

  543. I organize my books by subject, or at least at one point I did, then when I pull things out I never put them back in the right place so that organization long ago is since lost.

  544. YIKES!
    With all these comments I am sure mine is a duplicate, but I can’t not, for obvious reasons, comment.
    Librarian that I am (the reason) Sort the books like any reputable non-fiction, first subject, (socks, etc.) then author, and if you have more than one book by the same author and subject (cookie A?) by title. And if you are really anal, or a librarian, or related to one, alphabetize the subjects too. YOu should see my fridge!~
    BTW I have two Billy (IKEA) bookcases in my office and I absolutely love them.

  545. I learned about books the hard way, via cookbooks. Had many cookbooks 1.5″-3″ thick, and only 3 recipes used. Spend a small fortune copying the recipes I wanted from many books. The books copied from went to the used book store, and copied recipes went into the recipe file.
    I order books by subject, period.
    I put pamphlets in a rectangular basket. (I don’t have so many pamphlets)
    I put single sheets or doublefold sheets in plastic protectors, in LARGE 3-ring binders, with tabs by subject or whatever makes sense.
    Magazines are 50% ads, and do not store well, so I cut/tear the patterns I want and put them in plastic protectors/3-ring binders.
    Buy IKEA bookcases that have backs to them. Not all of them do. I think Billy (see above) comes with a back, but look at it, and if there are cracks or damage on the back, find another set.

  546. I like to sort my knitting books by author. That way, if I know that there was a Debbie Bliss pattern I was interested in, then I’d be narrowing down my search area to one location.

  547. I have a room almost exactly the same size – always have used it for my knitting stuff. 2 bookcases with knitting books arranged by subject – socks, general knitting books, afghans, etc. I bought 8 clear plastic bins with 3 drawers each at the discount store and arranged
    my yarn by type. I also bought magazine holders (the ones that stand up) and put all my knitting mags in there on the shelf. A few binders and put all my loose patterns. I love going in that room – if i have a bad day, i go in and look at my yarn or books and the whole thing makes me happy! You’ll love your new room!

  548. It sounds like that room could have been a water closet, where they kept the chamber pot. (Not sure about the no-heat and big window.) It’s about the right size, though.
    And as for knitting books: First by subject, then by title. Then you’ll know that Folk Socks is in the Sock section, before the sock books that start with G and after the sock books that start with E.
    And now, I need to read your latest post, so I know what happens next . . .

  549. I (ahem, my husband) organized mine by size. And he stuck a flower pot of my circular/dpn/straight needles in the middle of the shelf. Very pretty.

  550. I have a shower curtain of that border print! LOL
    Yes, when the kids leave is when we get our lives back and can start focusing on what we want. My kids have flown (sort of, one is in college), and dh is getting one romm (the smaller one, he volunteered!) and I get the larger one. He will have a place for his music to mp3 station. his Disney stuff, etc. I will have room for my stash, books, sewing machine, etc. I have been rearranging it in my head for weeks!
    Once you clean it out, you will have a great time organizing it.

  551. My knitting books are on the shelf by size, material (whether or not they are hard or soft cover), and colour. It’s a system that makes sense for a knitter, don’t you think?

  552. I would sort the books by subject (actually, I have done so) and then by size within the subject. I know of someone who is a hoarder…and she’s a psychologist, if you can believe that! I have never seen her house, but a mutual friend told me in confidence that that is why I am never allowed to go to their house. Just thinking about it makes me want to go home and throw things away.

  553. I agree with you on Hoarders, it always makes me clean. I organize my books by subject.

  554. Love this project and these posts! (I so need to super-organize my part of the studio, the second bedroom). I keep the local weavers guild library, and someone had attempted to sort things by category when the collection was either half this size or stopped halfway through; when it came to me I organized it by author name. It just takes up two IKEA Sven bookcases, the magazines and sample 3-ring notebooks filed double-deep.
    Our personal fiber library is less-well organized and in a couple of places – lots of the knitting related stuff on the back porch near Lise’s desk and stash, as appropriate, and the spining/weaving stuff in here.
    I love but find wildly impractical the suggestion above about sorting the books by color – a bookshop in San Francisco allowed a student group to come in and sort their store that way for a month; it was pretty cool looking, and would drive me crazy with not being able to find things…and separating different colored different editions of things I have two of would just be painful! Pretty, but not utilitarian enough for me. I can live with that MustbeUseful streak.
    In any case, congrats on the room remodel, and for going the wise course of painting right over the wallpaper. Only, please: put a glove on that hand before you dunk it in paint, that stuff’s toxic when wet!

  555. Honestly? I’d arrange them by color. It’s pleasing to the eye, and I tend to remember “Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Almanac is green.” Maybe you’re not quite as weird as I am.

  556. P.S. I watched HALF an episode of Hoarders and had to get up and clean. Got all itchy. Makes you see your house in a different light, doesn’t it?

  557. In one of your books, you list all the different categories of books knitters should have in their library. I’m working from memory here, but I seem to recall that some of the categories were: pattern books, stitch pattern collections, inspirational knitting books, books that talk about knitting.
    Good organization takes advantage of the way your brain thinks about stuff so that you’ll remember what your organization system actually is. So, since you’ve already come up with a mental way of categorizing books, why not make it your physical way of organizing them, too?
    And then within the categories, maybe sort by author?

  558. Weighing in on the book organization: I have mine by subject and mostly in one room, but I also have a bookshelf in my work area for my favorite, most-used or currently-using books.
    Good luck on fixing up that room! I’m currently in the midst of a big project to change over my basement work area from bookselling storage space to fiber arts studio. It’s going well, but will never be featured in one of those articles about artists’ studios!

  559. I just arranged my 7 bookshelves at home by subject and then within the subject, by color. The cookbooks begin with white covers, go through brights through greys to black covers. The novels, history, smocking, quilting, knitting, spirituality, and reference are by topic and they pleasingly arranged by color. I borrowed this technique from a friend whose studio is beautiful.

  560. I generally keep my knitting books by topic: traditional and folk knitting, technique books, pattern books, humor, knitting history, trends, etc. and usually alpha order within each section. If I have a lot of books by the same author they get their own section, like Elizabeth Zimmermann or Barbara Walker.
    OI bet that little room was once someone’s sewing room. Thus the window for light and the counter.

  561. Your little room probably used to be called the “Box Room”. People used to store their large traveling trunks in there when they weren’t traveling – esp. if they didn’t have or couldn’t get them into an attic. It didn’t need heat because that would just encourage mice and insects to take up residence in the trunks. I have lived in a few places with a box room and they are perfect for libraries because the lack of heat doesn’t bother books.
    Oh, and about sorting books – I work in a small corporate library and we often think about sorting the books by color – people are always asking for “that red book” or ” the green book”.

  562. I had to laugh when I saw the wallpaper in your stash room. We’ve been in our house two years and still haven’t torn down the stupid, flowery wallpaper in our hall bathroom. I can’t stand it, and every time I use that bathroom I think, “we really need to get rid of this wallpaper and paint this room,” but we haven’t done it yet.

  563. We had a room like this and it was always called the Dark Closet because it had no windows. There was where the seasonal clothing went
    I’d sort by interest level! With EZ and Clara Parkes and Alice Starmore, each having their own sections, and Interweave books having their own section (cause they’re all the same size). I’m a bit of a scattered organizer!

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