Before you read the title of this post and judge me as a person who has it all together and can teach you disorganised people how it’s done, let me make things clear: I’m not that organised, and nothing highlights how much of an adulting amateur you are when you become a parent. I mean, I’ll sometimes leave my own clothes on the floor, and now I have to teach someone else to put their clothes away neatly! It’s hard. However, I’m not totally hopeless, and one thing I do keep sufficiently organised is my knitting needles (straight, circular, and double-pointed) and crochet hooks. My system is not demanding at all, and yet it works. I’ve been organising my needles like this for nearly five years and it hasn’t failed me yet. Here’s how I do it.
My Low-Effort Needle Organising System
I have four cardboard tubes where I keep my needles. They’re travel tissue boxes with beautiful designs on them. You could use Pringles tubes covered in nice wrapping paper or scrapbooking paper, or anything that’s roughly the diameter and height of a standard drinking glass (if you’re putting crochet hooks in there, make sure the tubes aren’t too tall to reach in and pick up a hook. Cut down the tubes if they are too big). The tissue boxes I used were called Kleenex Tubes and I’m not sure if they’re still available, but these tissue boxes are very similar in dimension and look like they have beautiful designs. Remember you can always cover them if you don’t like the design on the tubes you’ve chosen.
They are organised by size, but maybe not how you’d expect. That is, they’re not organised in small, medium, large, giant, or something like that.
Instead, I have one tube which contains needles whose size (in mm) ends in 0, for example 3.0mm, 4.0mm, etc. I have one tube for needle sizes ending in 0.25, one for those ending in 0.5, and one for those ending in 0.75. Each tube is labelled (simply with a marker or a basic label, but you could make a pretty label if you like), and needles are simply popped in there.
Why Organise Needles This Way?
It’s actually really easy to find the needles you’re looking for when they’re organised this way, simply by eyeballing them. Why? Because all the needles which are lumped in together are noticeably different in size. Say you have your .0mm tube, and you’re looking for a 3mm needle. The closest size to 3mm in the same tube is going to be a full mm or more different in size, so it’s easy to pick out the right size. I don’t know about you, but my needle collection includes quite a lot of needles which don’t have any indication of what size they are, so organising my needles in this way helps for quick identification. I’ll usually verify quickly with my gauge if I need to. If you’re interested, the gauge I use is Birch brand and available at Spotlight stores in Australia. This one made by Ladaidra is not the gauge I use but it is very similar.
Had you instead organised your needles by putting similar-sized needles in the same container, it’d be hard to tell apart the sizes just by looking at them. That would lead you to use your needle gauge excessively as you try to find exactly the size you need.
But What About Crochet Hooks, Double-Pointed Needles, and Circular Needles?
Well, just chuck them all in the tubes with your straight needles. Secure your sets of dpns with a rubber band to keep them together. Stick your circular needles in point-first with the nylon string hanging over the edge or tucked neatly into the tube. Or keep circulars in the little plastic sleeves they came in if you feel like it. I used to keep my circular needles in a pocket-book-sized expanding file, but I found the tubes to be better for them. This way they’re more easily accessible and they’re still sufficiently organised.
So there you go: my lazy organiser’s needle organising system. Not too fancy, not too picky, but organised enough to make my life a little more efficient. What do you think? Do you organise your knitting needles differently?
One thing I haven’t mastered (like, at all), is how to organise my yarn! How do you do it in a way that works? By weight? Colour? Material? I would love to know how others organise their yarn so that I can try out something that will work for my not-too-organised self. Leave me a comment!
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