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.
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?