I bet you thought I was trapped under a mountain of yarn during my fiber organizational mission. Almost. Thank god Poppy was there to save me. Once I was able to get a look at all my stash, I was able to see that organizing by fiber/time of year was my best choice. All my wool related yarns went into one bin, and the cotton and misc yarns went into a second. I also decided to keep a third bin which would continue to house all of my remnants and singles.
I figured I'd put out some guidelines for those crazy enough to take on this project.
The first step is always the hardest. Step 1 requires admitting to yourself you have a stash so large, that in order to keep it manageable, it should be organized into like groups. Now that you know you could have gone across the world if you haven't spent all your money on yarn, you are ready to organize. Just put the block off a weekend day [or a month and a half, depending on the stash size] and get ready to make it all better.
1. Pull all of your yarn out into the open. Even those yarns that you hate to admit you have. Yes, I'm talking to you, bright green acrylic eyelash yarn. And those yarns that would cause your partner to drop dead if they found out the price point for a 50yd hank. Try to recall all of your hiding places and write yourself a note to bring home the yarn you keep at work.
2. Place all the yarn in the most inconvenient place in your home [optional depending on house to stash size ratio] . This could be the kitchen table, on the couch, in the middle of the hallway. The inconvenience of having to hurdle bins and bins of yarn will be your motivation to finish the organization process as soon as possible.
3. Check it out! This is the time when you remind yourself of all the yarns that have been hidden away. Open all the bins, bags, drawers, suitcases, space bags, pillowcases, etc and see what lurks within! I'm sure you'll be surprised and inspired by what you actually have!
3 1/2. Do not be seduced by a newly discovered yarn. You will find some gems. Trust me. Don't be lured in by this yarn. It will try to seduce you with its soft hand, and its deep color. It will convince you that you have to find a project for it immediately. Don't let it play you! Ravelry will be there when you get done.
4. Separate the keepers from the chuckers. Depending on how long you've been holding a stash, you may find that you have outgrown some of your yarns or maybe you finally realized that yellow really does make you look jaundice. It's time to pull those yarns from your collection and destash or trade for yarns you'll use!
5. Figure out your organizational style. Now that you have all of your keeper yarn before you, it will be easier to figure out your organizational style. Maybe you want to organize by color. Of fiber. Or finished project. Or quantity. Or maybe a combo of two! Organize by what fits your style and your stash.
6. Channel your inner Librarian. This is the fun part. Organizing! Sticking it all in bags and labeling. I can't say enough about how awesome those vacuumy space bags are. You will be amazed at how much space you have when you yarns are properly vacuum sealed [I found that I have quite a few balls of yarn that are on cardboard cylinders. These I put all together into an old zipper bag my comforter came in since vacuum sealing wouldn't do much].
It would also be a good idea to have a computer with your Ravelry stash page pulled up at this point. As you organize and group your yarns, you can be sure that your online stash reference guide is up to date also.
7. Store properly and label! However you decide to store your stash, be sure to make sure it's kept safe from all the things that mean to do it harm: moths, cats, dogs, dust, little children with dirty hands, other knitters, etc. And don't forget to label your newly organized stash so when you have to find those 10 ball of Rowan Calmer you don't have to destroy all your hard organizational work looking for them!
8. YAY! You're done! Stick your newly organized yarn back into its proper hiding place and call it a day!