I decided I would be more productive knitting if I knew where my yarns were and what I had, instead of spending time searching for the right yarn for each project.
I had several plastic bins with coned yarn under the basement stairs. Plastic to keep any unexpected flooding out, and under the stairs to keep the yarn away from light sources to prevent fading. In order to find a particular cone of yarn, I had to move each bin, take the lid off, look inside, and then if the yarn was not in that bin, move the bin again to allow me to look in the next bin. Even though the bins are translucent plastic, I find that I am not always able to determine what is inside by looking through the lid, especially if the lid is covered by another bin.
I found a great shelf unit on Amazon.com - it has the right size between shelves to allow the plastic bins to slide in. Each shelf unit holds 8 bins.
I did not realize until I started this project that, with recent acquisitions, I now had more than 24 bins (some with fabric, not all yarn) until I started stacking the bins on the three shelving units. No wonder I was having trouble finding the yarn I wanted! For the present, I am going to limit myself to 24 bins for yarn. I won't buy any more yarn until I use some of the yarn I already have, to make space.
Fabric will have to be addressed at a later date.
I labeled each bin with a 2-digit code - a letter to indicate which shelving unit, and a number between 1-8 to indicate which spot the bin occupies on the shelving unit.
Next, I started the inventory. The first night I tackled two bins. For each cone of yarn, I take a picture and upload to Ravelry's "stash" tool. Ravelry has fields for yarn colorway and color category, weight, name, manufacturer, date purchased, dye lot, cost, and a field for text entry of comments. Easy, because each bin had about 5 cones. Last night I completed the third bin.
I found some yarn in last night's bin that will be suitable for my final project for TKGA's Knitting Machine Master's program, Level 1. My primary mission is accomplished! But I still want to continue the inventory project.
I think I now can appreciate the acronym STABLE - STash Acccumulation Beyond Life Expectancy.