The Heart of a Stasher

Nearly everyone stashes yarn -- it certainly takes a lot of self-control to only buy when you're ready to start a project, to finish that project before you buy any more yarn, and to pass up a deal.  More self-control than I've ever had, anyway, and more than most, if the stories in A Stash of One's Own (edited by Clara Parkes) are anything to go by. 

 Could this actually be the world's biggest yarn stash?    Image by Mochimochi Land

Could this actually be the world's biggest yarn stash? 

Image by Mochimochi Land

But we can stash other things, like knitting patterns, which Shannon Reed writes about at Slate.  I don't stash patterns exactly the way she does, but I can definitely relate to the feeling of collecting way, way more patterns than I will ever be able to knit.  I buy knitting magazines because I am worried they'll go out of print before I can get to the patterns in them.  Never mind that the garments are more likely to go out of style before I'll have the time and/or inclination to knit them!  And digital patterns -- forget about it!  I've got a hard drive full.  Even though they don't take up much physical space, there is a lot of digital clutter there, as they're not organized and not easy to search. 

Reed has a pretty forgiving view of her pattern-stashing habit:

Looking through knitting patterns asks the least of all: to daydream of a world in which I have time to knot string enough to cover everyone I know and love.

I think I need to take a harder line with mine.  At heart, I'm just a big stasher -- a hoarder, really.  I'm always saving stuff just in case.  But lately, I'm just not ok with storing a whole bunch of stuff "just in case" I might have time to knit it one day -- it really just comes down to prioritizing what I make space for, whether that space is physical or digital (or mental, for that matter).  I think I need to cut down on the pattern-collecting, and I also need to better organize what I have. 

Maybe a Dropbox or Google account would help with the digital side of things, and Jen over at Grainline Studio has a post of how she does that with her sewing patterns.  Evernote is another good option (read how one knitter does it).  And for the physical patterns, I have hanging files and binders for the loose patterns, magazine files for the magazines, and most everything is documented in my Ravelry library so I have a crude way of identifying which patterns I own in a printed format.  Ideally, I'd have everything in one place, like everything digital (which seems more logical), but that might mean more work in either scanning the printed patterns I have or buying digital versions.

How big is your pattern stash, and how do you organize it?