May 26, 2010

My Number One Minimalist Knitting Tip: Put Your Knitting Away When You ’re Done With It

I do most of my knitting while sitting on our family room couch. I knit while we watch movies and/or television at the end of our day, relaxing into the click of the needles and the growth of the projects thanks to all those knits and purls. I keep all my yarn, needles, notions and projects upstairs, however – stashed away in our office with the computer and the awesome grey chair.

Over the years I’ve had quite a number of cases, bags, and even baskets to help corral my knitting while it’s in the family room, but if I’m honest all these “solutions” have ever done has been to keep the knitting in the family room at the end of the night. If I’ve got a basket sitting next to the couch, I’ll throw my knitting in it sure as my favorite day is Sunday.

Having all these bags, baskets and storage boxes leads to knitting finding its way all over our house – something I’m definitely trying to avoid now that I’m living a more minimalist existence. Part of keeping this from happening was corralling all my knitting into one room, but I had to make sure it always ended up back in that room since I was knitting on the couch as well as in the office.

Enter my Knitting Box. I’ve had this small green box (and two more just like it) for several years. It’s been used to house a variety of junk, and has now been repurposed as my knitting box.

The concept is simple. I put whatever I’m knitting - including all needles, patterns, and my notions bag – into the box. I then carry that box downstairs with me when I want to knit on the couch. At the end of every day, I carry that box back upstairs to be stored in the office with all the other knitting supplies.

This simple choice, so similar to the Fly Lady’s “shine your sink” mentality, caused a mini-breakthrough for me. No longer am I struggling to control the knitting creeping that always seemed to happen. I always know where my current knitting project is, and I have everything I need to complete it on-hand, so there’s no digging around last-minute for DPNs or a tape measure. It has, quite simply, revolutionized my productivity and single-handedly kept my knitting life under control.

The key to this? Putting the box away at the end of the night.

Having the knitting box was simply the tool – what makes it work is the commitment to cleanliness I’m discovering I have. All the tools in the world won’t help me keep my home clean and pared down if I don’t have the commitment to keeping it that way.

I’m excited to start applying the “put it away when you’re done with it” mentality to other areas of our home as well – the remote controls, errant cords, daily mail, etc. I’m betting this rule can be applied to every room, and almost every situation!

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