Seed Binders: Easy Seed Organization and Storage

When we first dove into the world of starting our own seeds, it quickly became essential to find a way to organize all of our seeds.  And when we started to see how many seeds we had left over at the end of the year, the idea of storing them came up as well.  We created this quick and easy way to organize and store our seeds, using 3 rings binders and other items purchased at an office supply store!

1 Y - P1060203The first thing you need is a 3 ring binder.  We had a few left over from our college days, so we re-purposed those.  These are a 1″ size, but if I was purchasing new I would probably get 2″.

2 Y - P1060207We needed 3 binders to fit all of our seeds, but then we have 12 varieties of carrots (and a bit of a seed buying problem perhaps?).

NO P1060208

You will also need baseball card sheet protectors.  We found ours at our local Staples, but you can also get them online here.

4 y - P1060254

If you have a lot of seeds, like us, I would also suggest getting some tab organizers like these.

Y - P1060242Finally, you will need some small zip lock bags.  We use the ones found at the link, but I recently saw some at the Dollar Store as well.  As long as they are 2.5″x3.5″ or less they will fit in the pockets of the sleeve protector.

c y - P1060276So now that you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s really very easy to get set up.  First, grab a seed packet and a small zip lock bag.  Transfer the name of the seed and the year you bought it from the seed packet onto the bag.  You can be fancy and print labels like we did in the beginning, or if you don’t have time you can just use a sharpie like we do now.  Cut open your seed packet, empty the contents into the zip lock and seal it.

c y - P1060274Next, take your seed packet and cut out the picture on the front and directions on the back.  I try to keep it to 2.5″x3.5″ to fit in the pocket, but sometimes I have to make the directions larger and fold it to fit.

c y - P1060272Now place the zip lock bag with the seeds in the first pocket in the sheet protector.  Put the directions and the picture in the other 2 pockets in that row.  Once you have filled up the rest of the page with other seeds, put the sheet protector in your binder.  Rinse & repeat!

c Y - P1060214 If you have a lot of different seeds, I suggest using the tabs to organize your binder.  It saves a lot of time in the garden when you can quickly flip to exactly which vegetable/herb/flower seed you are looking for!

3 Y - P1060210Our seed binders have made our gardening much more efficient.  No more rummaging around searching for a hidden seed packet!  We are also saving money by not having to buy new seeds every year.  By storing our seeds this way, we are creating an environment which will promote seed viability.  The zip lock bags lock out moisture, being in a binder protects them from light and we store our binders in our basement – a cool environment.

If you are looking for a fast, easy and organized way to store your seeds, I hope you’ll create your own seed binder!

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About Emily

Mom to my amazing 3 year old daughter. Partner to my loving husband. Full time working architect by day. Gardner, Cook, Sewer, Crafter, Knitter, DIYer by night.
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6 Responses to Seed Binders: Easy Seed Organization and Storage

  1. How long can you keep your seeds when stored like this?

    • Emily says:

      Seed viability is a tricky subject. You can keep your seeds for many years, but as the years go by the likelihood of germination decreases. Storing in this manner helps to prolong the viability, but regardless after a few years your seeds will age to the point that more seeds are not sprouting than are. I use the chart here as a general guideline. However, everywhere I have read says that onions seeds last 1 year, but we have had excellent results with onion seeds we have had for 2 years. On the other hand I had 1 year old brussels sprouts seeds that had a 0/6 germination rate. I guess that’s why we love gardening so much, you just never know!

      • Thank you so much for that link! I’m sure that your method of storing/cataloging seeds will be much more successful than my shoebox of seeds in original, taped packets. I’ll have to take note of the germination rate and weed out my seed collection!

  2. Pingback: Thank goodness for seed catalogs! | garden4therapy

  3. SassySoil says:

    Thank you for this post. I have too many seed packages and have been storing them in shoe boxes after putting them in Ziploc bags to keep moisture out. I think I’ll give this a try. If you don’t mind me asking, how many seed packages did you have in hand when deciding to go for the binder storage/organization? I have well over 300 different seeds. 😐

    • Emily says:

      I think when we first made these a few years ago, we had probably 150 different types of seeds. When we started, we had 2 binders, but ended up adding a third as the years went on. At first I thought I would prefer 1 big binder (2″+?) with all the seeds in it. But now I actually like having them separated. One binder has all the seeds that I start indoors. Another is more of the cool weather crops, etc. We ideally have 3 seed types per sheet, but of course we sometimes make room for more as needed. It has really helped us to understand just how many seeds we have, especially when those wonderful seed catalogs come each winter! We are much better now about only buying a few each year to replace the seeds that are getting too old.

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