Simple Way to Organize and Store Seeds

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Having an well organized system for keeping seeds will save any gardener time and money. After much research I’ve figured out this simple way to organize and store seeds for next season.

It’s taken me only 3 years to realize just how badly unorganized my seed stash really was.

I love seed packets but even more so, I love planting them in healthy soil to watch them grow and become gorgeous lush healthy vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Getting my seeds organized was on the list, but I just seemed to never get around to it.

seeds organized in a DIY seed storage container

For years my stash looked like this. I was in need of a seed packet organizer / binder or something! But I just never got it done.

plastic container full of disorganized seed packets
Disorganized Seed Storage Container

Finally getting flustered when planning my spring time garden seemed to take forever because I had to sift through looking for specific seed packets. And increasing the risk of missing some or even worse, not sowing them when it was time.

Having your seeds in one place and well organized will make planning for garden season a lot more enjoyable. I figured it out the hard way.

Being an avid DIY’er and an overly frugal spender when I looked in the store for ideas and online I found this awesome 4×6 photo storage box which would make a perfect plastic seed storage container, but I decided to DIY my own seed organizer.

Other great products I found is this awesome seed storage binder , this cute seed storage diary and these Miron Violettglass Containers that block UV light. Of course I went to Pinterest for inspiration for DIY and found some really great ideas. Here’s some container ideas I found gardeners and homesteaders are using.

Frugal DIY Containers For Organizing Seeds

Depending on the size of seed stash you have, you can use all kinds of different storage containers.

Mine is not as large as others, nor do I have a big area to store one large container, so I chose to use plastic shoe boxes. I did make sure they had locking handles just in case it was dropped.

If you have a larger seed stash, I would recommend you use a large Rubbermaid Storage Tote and keep it under the bed.

Best Frugal Way to Organize and Store Seeds

How To Categorize Seeds

Once you decided on a container, you’ll need to decide how you will categorize them to keep them well sorted and easy to find.

  • Alphabetical – Just like the old card catalogs (if you are old enough to remember them) Basil, Beans, Carrots, Corn etc. in alphabetical order.
  • Category – Seed packets organized by family – Brassica’s, Beans, Greens, Flowers, Allium, Root Vegetables, Herbs, etc.
  • Planting Date – Some gardeners like to use dividers and divide seeds by the dates they should be planted. February, March, April, etc.
  • Age – Seed packets have dates on them representing the use by date. So your dividers would be marked, 2018, 2019, 2020, etc.
  • By Season – Cool Season, Warm Season, Flowers- Annual/Perennial, Herbs

Dividing by season makes it simple when planning for a spring or fall garden. This article, Planning For and Planting a Fall Garden will equip you for preparing to extend your garden season beyond spring and summer.

I decided to store my seeds alphabetically. So I labeled my divider tabs with the name of the vegetable or herb on it. I have only 3-4 varieties of a specific vegetable so I will be able to keep them in order by age as well.

plastic shoe box with labeled dividers clearly organizing seed packets
Simple to use seed organizer in alphabetical order

This way I will not risk missing them or missing the ideal planting dates.

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Easy to Make Dividers to Sort Seeds

To simplify your seed storage container even more is to use homemade dividers that can be labeled.

To make the these, I folded a worn out manila folder to fit nicely in the plastic shoe box and then used it as a pattern to cut the other dividers.

old manila folder used for making dividers in a DIY seed organizer

Then used a combination of some old scrap cardboard and labeled each one with a red marker so it would show up well. Of course, if you own a Brother label maker, this would work well too.

recycled cardboard tab dividers for using in a handmade seed organizer box
Recycled cardboard for seed organizer dividers

Once you’ve labeled your dividers, just place them in the container and insert seed packets in front them.

Where Is The Best Place To Store Seeds?

To keep seed viable, they should be stored in an airtight dark area with a consistent temperature of 32°- 41°. The ideal place would be in the refrigerator, but this is not realistic at our house.

They do need to be stored in a cool, low humidity dry location out of direct sunlight. So keeping them in an unheated garage is not a good location, but a basement would be. But if you have no basement, a bedroom closet, in a cupboard, or even under the bed will work too.

We don’t have a basement, so my seeds are stored in the closet in our spare bedroom/craft room/canning room. It’s the extra room in the house that catches everything.

Can You Store Seeds In The Freezer?

Yes, you can. But before they are frozen you need to make positive they are completely dry. If not, they can suffer frost bite in the freezer.

But if you are storing them for less than 6 months, til next season, then storing seeds in the freezer is really not necessary. Seed storage banks are trying to store seeds for years and freezing them is necessary, but for the ordinary gardener, a dark bedroom closet will work just fine.

Can Seeds Be Stored In Plastic Bags?

This is one of those questions that is answered differently according to who you ask. Many gardeners including myself have used plastic Ziploc bags, old baby food jars and canning jars.

These containers prevent circulating air from entering the container, but the drawback is if the seed is not completely dry, the lack of air circulation will cause the seed to ruin.

If you use plastic bags or Mason jars for long term seed storage, be sure to add silica gel packets to safeguard against moisture.

A better choice to store seeds in if not completely dry is paper bags or paper envelopes. These are the paper envelopes I use.

So there you have it. This frugal seed organizer storage box works great and cost less than $3.00 to make. It’s a much better price than paying for the commercially made expensive ones from the store.

Will this be the year you finally organize your seeds? If so, how will you be making your seed organizer?

More DIY Gardening Tips to Save Money

Yield: 1

DIY Seed Organizer & Storage Box

seed dividers labeled in a seed organizer

Easy to make seed storage organizer for any level of gardening. No more thumbing through or looking for lost seed packets

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $3.00

Materials

  • 1- plastic shoe box with lid
  • Recycled thin cardboard
  • Recycled manila folder

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Red Sharpie Marker
  • Pen or Pencil for tracing pattern

Instructions

  1. Fold recycled manila folder, with tab up, to fit the width of plastic shoe box
  2. Next using scissors, cut fold lines on folder to make pattern
  3. Lay pattern flat on sturdy recycled cardboard and trace - make a many as you need
  4. Using scissors, cut out each divider
  5. With the red Sharpie, write the name of the seed on the tab
  6. Place inside box and sort seed packets accordingly

Notes

Tabs can be sorted by alphabetically, categories, planting dates, age, etc. Do what works best for you.

seed packets alphabetized in a DIY seed organizer

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2 thoughts on “Simple Way to Organize and Store Seeds”

  1. Amazing idea – thank you! I did this according to your instructions and it’s way better than the store bought one I was planning to purchase. Organized my seeds by “Start indoors”, “Spring Direct Seed” and “Summer Direct Seed,” with dividers for types within each section. So pleased – first time my seeds have ever been organized!!

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