in which we talk about stashes and creating space

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Let’s talk about this stash thing, okay?

I don’t have a stash, exactly. I mean I do: I have yarn and fiber that I’ve purchased/ collected just for myself. There isn’t very much of that, actually; I’m really, really selective and I don’t like to have very much stuff. Owning things makes me feel twitchy, weighed down, and obligated: when you own things you need to keep track of them, take care of them, and in this case, use them, eventually. So when I started making yarn and fiber— years and years ago— well, things sort of got out of hand.

I started selling on Etsy over a decade ago specifically to avoid that issue of collecting— I liked making more than I enjoyed having. Much like spinning, once I’ve dyed something I frequently feel finished with a thing: There. That is complete. It should go to someone else now. (I love knitting handspun, just not my own- it always seems just a little boring, sort of “I’ve seen every inch of THIS already.”) And while I did knit with my own yarn, because it was free, and hey, that was awesome, I’ve always been more of a process person than a product one.

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Part of the entire process of dyeing and designing is making tests, though, and we don’t sell tests on the whole. I’ve also got a bunch of leftovers from closing the studio— just weird, random bits and bobs, odd little things. And balls of yarn with only 20- 30 yards used from when we used to make SG swatches— man, I still have old SG stock, it’s obscene.

Also: for the non- fiber types, there is this thing that seems to happen when people learn that you are a knitter and a spinner. Someone in their family will move into assisted living or pass on and they’ll show up to your doorstep with a couple of boxes of yarn, fiber, fleeces, or tools- or just yes, all four. Sometimes it’s a treasure trove, sometimes it’s just a transfer to Goodwill/ the dump, it’s always a crapshoot. You can try to tell people the value of what they have, show them Ravelry, tell them how it sells on EBay/ Etsy, but most don’t want the bother. I get it. I’m intimidated already by the task at hand.

So I’ve got a fair bit of that going on too, because I am a sucker and can’t say no to folks who are sad and have boxes or bags of their elderly relatives’ belongings. The good stuff I’ve kept, but at this point it’s just ridiculous. I’m looking at SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) beyond all measure, and I have no intention of winding up on Buzzfeed for that, please and thank you.

What else? Oh, also a few tools from teaching, and some bits and bobs from when I was first dyeing— bases that we just don’t do, that sort of thing. All things that just weren’t marketable via CY. All things that are eating up space in my house & life. Sam and I are looking at downsizing (I want to move deeper into the city, we both want to have even less stuff) but even outside of that, this is just… an occupational hazard, sure, but too much for me.

So: I’m going to do a couple of things to lighten the load. Some of this stuff just isn’t sellable in good conscience: it’s early dye work, or skeins that are a little weird, stuff along those lines— I’m not comfortable asking for $$ for them, so I’m going back to my roots and doing some Great Yarn Giveaways again. I’ll put up posts on the blog, ask folks to do something silly in comments, pick a winner and ask for shipping only.

For the rest of it, I’m thinking… Etsy? That’s probably the easiest way to go about it. I don’t want to clog up my personal Instagram doing this, although that might be a simpler/ cheaper way to go about things. I’m not crazy about Etsy these days, though. (Anyone out there sell via Instagram? Might be worthwhile to open a second account.) I know I don’t want to do EBay- the idea of bidding brings back that awful SG- update- rush feel; hated that then, hate it now. I’m looking to begin the actual selling off of stash next week, so if you have information, please send it my way— I’m taking photos this week.

  One thought on “in which we talk about stashes and creating space

  1. June 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I know lots of fiber artists that not only use instagram for advertising, but sell successfully there as well. Do it! I should’ve thought of this when I destashed last year.
    Agree on all points about keeping stash small. Smaller stash= nicer stash= happier me

  2. June 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I’ve sold off stash on Instagram. I used the same account I always do, and checked to see what hashtags were already being used (#stashsale worked well). It worked well enough that I plan to do it again, once I take more photos. It’s a nice way to get around the issue of people having to have an Etsy account in order to purchase something off of Etsy (same for eBay) and it’s also a good way to get it in front of a good chunk of the most likely audience for things like CY oddments.

  3. June 1, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I hate when people sell on instagram. I’ve had a lot of good luck selling off destash yarn on ravelry, and I suspect that if you loaded it all there and then posted in some of the FS/Trade groups there you’d get a lot of activity.

    • June 2, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you for this feedback— that’s really really important to me, and what I was worried about when I was thinking about selling via Instagram (and also why I was looking to make a secondary account). I’m leaning away from selling there- even with a second IG account, though— it just seems like more of a PITA than other options.

  4. June 1, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    A lot of Etsy sellers I know have moved over to Big Cartel – I don’t know anything about it, but it may be worth looking into?

    • June 2, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Hey, thanks! I’m going to check that out today.

  5. Karen
    June 2, 2015 at 2:26 am

    I don’t mind people selling on IG. Mary AKA Hellskitch created an IG account just for destash, called hellsdestash. It doesn’t clog up feeds for those uninterested.

    • June 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      I love hellskitch! Thanks for the advice. Instagram is still in the running- I could go the “first person to respond” route, but that gets frantic, maybe?

  6. June 2, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Oh boy. I have a ton of SG yarn to work through still, too, and I was a relatively broke grad student at the time it closed. I can’t even imagine how much you people who worked there have hanging around! I think a lot of people open up a second Instagram account for destashing so it doesn’t clutter your feed and allows people to follow the sale if they wish. I admit that I don’t really understand how exactly one makes purchases on instagram (seems like one would have to ‘claim’ it in a comment and then you would have to email everyone their own invoice? sounds like a pain) so I think Etsy would probably be easiest, even though they take a cut. I’ve destashed a fair amount of yarn through Ravelry as well. I bet if you opened a thread in the CY group you’d have no trouble finding buyers.

    • June 2, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      There are services that help you sell via Instagram, but you need to commit to those, and I’m not opening a storefront, I’m just destashing, so it doesn’t really make sense to go that route. I’m thinking Etsy is likely the best way to go, in the end, which seems so strange- and it isn’t the worst thing in the world, really, I was just hoping to keep it simple, not pollute up the rest of my social media, and not pay a ton of fees.

      What? I only wanted what absolutely everyone always wants! It’s a perfectly reasonable request. Why couldn’t I just find that thing? 🙂

  7. SandyK
    June 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Ebay does allow you to have a ‘shop’ and sell at fixed prices, so you can avoid the bidding frenzy. They do take a pretty big cut but you would get maximum exposure. Beware ravelry, the ISO and Destash board does not allow dyers to sell personal stash – if a mod recognizes you as a yarnie they will delete your post. 😦

    • June 2, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Ooooh- I didn’t know that about ISO and Destash on Rav. THANK YOU for the heads-up! I was seriously considering going the Rav route until you said that.

  8. June 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    I *just* set up a Square account yesterday so that I can sell some yarn and tools from my phone, and it’s looking like a good option. I can still use Instagram – post photo there, put link to shop in my profile to make it clickable – and people don’t need to have an account with PayPal in order to purchase. Easy setup, too.

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