If you're tired of untangling your thread before every cross stitch project, it's time to organize it. Before you even start sorting the thread, decide which thread you no longer need. Then, come up with an organization method that works for your space and makes sense for you. You might organize your thread by color or wind it onto bobbins to save space. Play around with storage solutions until you find your fit!
[Edit]Sorting through Your Thread
Throw out the thread you no longer use. Gather all of your cross stitch thread in 1 place and discard any strands that are too short to use in a project. You should also get rid of thread that's faded or seems weak when you pull the ends.
If you use weakened thread for your next cross stitch project, the seams are more likely to rip, which damages your work.
Separate the thread you want to keep into project piles. Once you've removed the thread that you know you don't want to keep, separate the thread you're going to save into a current project pile and a future project pile. If you have more than 1 cross stitch project going, make a pile for each.
Having all of the thread you need for a project in 1 easy to access space saves you time.
Donate excess thread that you don't want to keep. If you have excess thread that's still in good condition, but you don't like the brand or you know you won't use them, ask local community centers or schools if they can use the thread. These groups can use them for their own classes and craft projects.
Group the thread by color, project, or thread number. Before you choose a storage solution, get an idea of how much thread you have to store. Organize the thread by color, project, or the thread number listed on the thread paper.
For example, you might group all of the green thread in a large pile, the purple thread in another pile, etc. If you're sorting by number, you might make a pile of threads between 300 and 400, 400 and 500, and so on.
[Edit]Winding Thread onto Bobbins
Buy bobbins and a bobbin winder. Go to a craft supply or sewing store and buy plastic or cardboard bobbins. You'll need 1 bobbin for each skein of thread that you want to store. Then, buy a handheld bobbin winder tool to make winding easier.
If you can't find these supplies at your local craft store, check online.
If you don't feel like buying a winder, you can wrap the thread around the bobbin by hand. This works best if you only have a few skeins to wrap.
Snap the winder onto a bobbin box and unwrap a skein of thread. Get out a plastic bobbin box that has individual compartments and snap the base of the bobbin winder onto the side of the open compartment. Then, peel the paper label off of the first skein of thread that you want to wind.
You can write the color number directly on the tip of the bobbin or trim the paper label and tape it to the back of the bobbin.
Place the thread around a wide jar and push the bobbin into the winder. Although you can keep the skein of thread loose as you wind it, it may tangle so put it around a sturdy jar or container to keep the threads in place. Take a bobbin and insert it into the bobbin winder.
Since the bobbin is secure, there's no need to hold it in place while you're winding.
Thread the end of the thread through the tip of the bobbin and wind it a few times. Pull the end of the thread onto the bobbin and push it through the diagonal slit at the end. This catches the thread so it doesn't come undone. Turn the bobbin winder handle a few times to get the thread started on the bobbin.
Ensure that nothing's placed between the thread and the bobbin winder or the thread may catch.
Wind the thread faster to transfer the entire skein to the bobbin. Use one hand to turn the handle while your other hand holds the thread that's being wound. Guide the thread across the bobbin so it winds evenly.
It's alright if your bobbin is a little bumpy or uneven, but you may lose storage space if you can't neatly stack them.
Remove the bobbin and store it in the plastic compartment. Tuck the loose end of thread into the other diagonal slit at the end of the bobbin. Then, place it into your storage compartment according to color or number. Wind as many skeins as you like.
[Edit]Trying Different Storage Methods
Place thread into bags before putting them in totes for a quick storage solution. If you're short on time and just want a fast way to keep your thread separate, get out a box of sealable bags. Place as many skeins or bobbins of thread as you like into each bag and label the outside of the with the thread's color number. Then, put the bags into plastic totes or shoe boxes.
Organize the bags of thread by color, project, or thread number.
Keep in mind that if you're placing more than 1 skein of thread into a bag, the thread is more likely to tangle.
Put the skeins into plastic storage cabinets to store lots of thread. Purchase cabinets with shallow drawers from craft supply shops for a lightweight, cheap storage system. Slide out each drawer and fill them with your thread. Then, make a label that tells what's inside each drawer and attach the labels to the front of the cabinet.
If you fill an entire cabinet, you can fill another one and stack the cabinets.
Avoid stuffing the drawers too full or you won't be able to find the thread you need and the skeins may tangle.
Place thread into a flat storage container with dividers for easy traveling. If you need a portable storage solution for just 1 project, buy a clear container that's divided into small compartments. These are usually sold to store beads, but you can place 1 or 2 skeins or bobbins of thread into each compartment.
The divided compartments prevent the thread from sliding around and getting tangled.
Tie skeins of thread from the bottom bar of a hanger to store thread in a closet. Untwist a skein to make a giant loop of thread and find the knot on the loop. Cut through all the threads so you have a long strand and it in half. Place the bottom bar of a hanger over the folded end of the thread. Then, gather the other end of the thread and bring it up through the folded to form a clove hitch knot.
You can use a plastic, wooden, or metal hanger to store your thread.
Hang 10 to 12 skeins of thread depending on the size of the hanger.
Slip the thread skeins into clear binder sleeves if you're short on storage space. If you don't have room for cabinets or plastic containers, buy a binder and clear specialty binder sheets from a craft supply store. Each sheet contains about 5 horizontal compartments so you can slide in a skein or bobbin of thread into each section. Then, clip the binder sheet into the binder and store it on a shelf or under the bed.
However you decide to store your thread, keep them out of direct sunlight, which could fade the colors.