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How to Use Ravelry to Destash

How often do you go through your stash? Have you ever found some yarn and thought "when did I buy that? And why?" Or maybe you bought some yarn a few years ago that you fell in love with back then but have fallen out of love with now. What do you do with yarn like that? Yes, you can donate the yarn or give it away, but there's also something else you can do with it: sell it to someone else. This is usually referred to as destashing.

Will Trade or Sell Tab

Ravelry makes it fairly easy to destash yarn. If you take a look at the Stash section in your Ravelry notebook, you'll see there are several tabs used to sort the yarn. One of them is "will trade or sell." To get your yarn listed as for sale, you first need to make sure the yarn is added to your stash. Then, edit the stash entry and under the Stash tab selection box, choose "Will trade or sell."

In the description area, list the details about the sale, such as how much you are asking, whether shipping is included in that price or if it will be in addition to the listed price, and any other relevant details (such as if the yarn has been wound into a cake/ball, if you have pets in your home or if you smoke, what types of payment you accept). You also need to include at least one good picture of the yarn. Here’s an example of one of my "will trade or sell" entries for the Notes section:

You have two options at this point: I think of them as actively and passively destashing.

Passive Destash

Simply do the above, moving any yarn you want to sell to the "will trade or sell" tab. Wait for people to stumble across the yarn and contact you about it. I use this option when I have yarn I'm on the fence about destashing. I figure that if someone else sees it and wants to buy it before I get around to using it, then the yarn belongs with the other person. But if no one ever buys it, I just might go ahead and use it. (Just make sure to remove it from your "will trade or sell" section if you do use it.)

Active Destash

Find one (or more) of the groups on Ravelry dedicated to destashing yarn and post on that group that you have yarn available for sale. Multiple groups are available for this, but two of the bigger ones are ISO and Destash of Yarn and Sell, Trade, or Destash. You can also go to groups about specific yarns (such as Malabrigo or Madelinetosh) if you have yarns to sell from those brands and find the thread in that group dedicated to destashing. You can even destash bags, books, or tools and equipment through groups dedicated to those items. (Note: In those cases, you just list what you have for sale on those groups; you do not create a stash entry for a book or a set of knitting needles as the Ravelry stash entries should be used only for yarn.)

Buying Yarn from Destashes

The great thing is that you can use all of the above to buy stuff, too! Wanting to get a set of interchangeable needles? You can look through the threads in the used tools and equipment group to see if someone is destashing a set. Want a spinning wheel? Try the Spinner's Marketplace.

For yarn, you can go through the threads in the yarn stashing groups to see what people are selling. Or if you know that you're interested in a specific yarn, you can go straight to that yarn in the Ravelry database. Click "yarns" in the top menu and search for the yarn you're looking for. When you're on that yarn page, click the tab that says XXX stashes (XXX is the number of times that yarn has been stashed).

On that page, in the dropdown box beside Status, choose "will trade or sell."

If anyone has listed that yarn for sale, you'll see it here. If you see an entry that you'd like to buy, click on it for the full details. In the top right corner, there is a button that says "send message."

Click that and it will open up a box for you to type a message to that Ravelry user where you can say you are interested in buying the yarn.

A few caveats about buying on Ravelry

1. Sometimes people move yarn to their "will trade or sell" tab and forget about having done so. They might use the yarn or find a new home for it and forget to change the status. Don't be disappointed if the yarn you're interested in is no longer available.

2. Sometimes people don't check Ravelry very often or were once active but are no longer. So if you send someone a message about yarn listed for sale and don't hear back, it might have been one of these people. It's best to just move along and try someone else.

3. These transactions are handled outside Ravelry (mostly through PayPal). Remember that Ravelry does not take part in these transactions nor does Ravelry have a system that tells you whether people are good buyers or sellers. Although most transactions go well, there are occasionally people who have bad experiences: sellers who've been paid but who don't send yarn, sellers who send yarn in a poor condition not described in the entry, buyers who keep promising to pay so you keep reserving the yarn for them but who never ultimately pay, etc. I used to participate in the destashing boards a LOT and these types of things were  extremely rare. But it's always good to go into a transaction with your eyes open. Use PayPal so you can use their system for bad transactions, and never pay for yarn or accept payment for yarn using the Send Money to Friends and Family option. (Yes, as a seller, no fees are attached, but by doing so, you give up all of your rights to protest the charges if the transaction turns bad.) Some of the destash groups do have feedback threads, so you can check there to see if someone has a history of being a good seller/buyer.

4. Make sure to read the rules of any group before posting about yarn you have for sale (or yarn you'd like to buy) and follow those rules.

Helpful abbreviations

ISO = in search of
FS = for sale
FT = for trade
DS = destash

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