Conquering Seed Packet Clutter

I have a confession: I am a messy gardener. I have been gardening for decades and I have been collecting seeds all along my journey. I have attempted to organize before. But invariably, half way through the season my carefully cataloged seed packets are a big honking mess.

The big honking mess.

I have tried different ways to organize my seeds: seed variety, plant family, spring/fall, flowers/herbs/vegetables… Always in separate zip locks and then in a big gallon bag by season. No matter what I do, at the end of the season, I have completely jacked up whatever current “system” I started the previous spring.

I was beginning to wonder if I had some sort of organizing handicap. I can organize my house. I can organize my life. I cannot organize my seeds. At least, not on a permanent basis.

Some of these pictures are very old. I don’t have antique seed but I do have antique photos!

Last year, I put all of my seed start dates in my phone’s calendar. I even put in the reseeding dates and plugged it all in for yearly reminders. My alarm would go off, I’d know it was time to plant something and then the struggle to find everything I needed would begin. So, with my calendar reminders: I have started something that works! Yay!

This year I am trying two new things, to go along with last year’s calendar idea.

One is: I am reorganizing my seeds (AGAIN!) But this time: I’m organizing into start dates to match my phone organization calendar dates. This is what I’m hoping happens: phone calendar reminder goes off, I get my date organized seed out and wander into my garden prepared.

Two: (and this is a big change) I will organize my spring seed storage into an easy to access photo album, with the plastic sleeves full of seed, by date of planting, to match my calendar reminders.

I used cellophane tape to add removable handwritten tags to each sleeve.

For my summer planted seeds (which I have more varieties of and the seeds tend to be physically larger) I’m getting a photo organizer box.

Pretty sure I can’t fit those into an album and have it close.

So! OMG! I may have actually done it! Organized, and hopefully: it stays organized!

Look up seed storage ideas in your search bar. I’m not alone! We are all struggling with this very same issue. Most advice out there was not as good as what I was already doing (where I’d separate plant categories into plastic baggies and then separate those into gallon bags by season) and I’m totally frustrated with that old system!

Yes. This is my spring plant date. I have a super long season here in South Texas. It’s my summers that are hard to grow plants in, 8b/9a.

I know we could all use a little (or a lot) of help keeping our gardens running smoothly. I hope this helps. AND Please, please, please! If you have a better way: let me know in the comments. But I really think I may have cracked this nut!

Super tidy simple spring system. Right in there with my favorite books! So much better!

Some tips after having done this: don’t get a super cheap photo album. The photo sleeves will tear as you pull seeds in and out.

You probably won’t be able to close a small photo album all the way.

Find one with a wide bound area, preferably a three ring folder with sleeve inserts.

4×6 sleeves

Make sure you have 4×6 sleeves and not 8×11 sticky paper with plastic covers. Those won’t work.

Look up your vegetable plant dates from your county extension (type your county’s name and “extension”), find your vegetable start dates and print that out.

From mess to organized! I have my plant dates on the paper in the right side of the photo. Having a printed list was really helpful. I rewrote it before I started, and I was able to group them by date rather than in alphabetical order.

Also unless you are: absolutely 100% sure you won’t ever grow a vegetable, make space for the seed packets. (I’m currently out of Kohlrabi seed and I can’t find my Collards. But, I made space for them when I do get the packets.)

Cut out the extra sleeves to make room for what you put in there (leave a few blank pages when you do this so you can add other seeds if you need to.)

I put cellophane tape on the pages and marked categories with magic marker on the tape. That way if I reorganize I can just remove the tape and change out the label.

Lastly, buy some tabs for paper file folders and mark the dates for planting on them.

Two year update: this is the way to go! I eventually replaced my small photo album with 4×6 photo sleeves that fit into an 8×11 binder.

The sleeves fit perfectly in a 3 ring binder and the seed packets are organized. This system has saved my sanity. Even if I grab seeds and leave them out so I can tape them closed for storage, they each have a place to be. Eventually they find their way back to the binder in the correct order and store neatly on a bookshelf. I recommend this seed storage idea whole heartedly. Much, much better than anything else I’ve tried.

So far I’m super happy with this! Good luck and go get your hands dirty!


6 thoughts on “Conquering Seed Packet Clutter

  1. Great idea to organise your seeds. Mine are just put in two tins. One for flowers and one for vegetables and these are both in the shed. There is something about thumbing through seed packets to find the one you need. Your idea saves time and is far more organised.

  2. Wow, I’m seriously impressed! Mine are in a big plastic bucket with a lid on it and I just about manage to scribble dates opened/planted on them! 🙂

    1. Yes, seed packets are their own level of crazy chaos! I tape mine closed after I use them for the season, if they aren’t resealable. So it takes some time to get them put away, but so far, this system is working well for me. Thanks for coming by! I appreciate the comment!

  3. Love this idea! I plan to do a vegetable garden next spring, I will start organizing this way from the get go! Great idea! I am just really getting into plants and gardening, so this is great advice, thank you!

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