How to Stay Organized in the Garden

| Prepare, Video

Getting more organized in the garden starts with having the tools that you use most often close by and easily accessible — because there’s nothing more frustrating than needing that one tool and not being able to find it. In this video, I’m sharing simple ways to get more organized in the garden.



My potting benches are convenient places to spread out seed trays, tools and plants while I work. They are also a good place to lay out your garden tools and identify what you use most often. Once you’ve settled on the most important tools, next is coming up with a way to keep them conveniently standing by, whenever you need them. 

The Best Containers for Small Garden Tools

There are two criteria for a container to store your go-to garden tools and supplies: It has to be big enough, and it has to offer protection from the rain.

An extra-large mailbox is just the thing for most hand tools. It’s a good size, and it sheds water. I got mine for around $36, and it was well worth the small investment.

The other option is a plastic storage tub. These come in a variety of sizes, so find one that’s the right fit for your garden and your needs. However, while a storage tub will keep the contents dry, the downside is that the top of the lid is going to hold water. Just be sure to dump the water after rainfall.

Between my big storage tub and my big mailbox, there is plenty of room for the things that I need access to all the time. 


A big plastic tub with organized gardening suppled

A big plastic tub with a lid is great for bulky items. Water may pool in the lid, but the contents will stay dry.


Tools & Supplies to Keep in the Garden

While my garden mailbox is principally used to store tools and supplies, let me suggest off the bat that it’s also a great place to keep your phone while you are in the garden. If it starts raining, you won’t need to worry about your phone getting wet, and if you’re doing dirty work, your phone won’t get filthy.


Storing a phone in a garden mailbox

My mailbox is a convenient and safe place to store my phone while I work in the garden. I don’t have to worry about the phone getting wet or dirty.


Two tools that I use all the time are my pruners and my soil knife. It’s nice to know that they’re right there when I need them. My precision snips come in a close third. While I am working with these tools, they stay on my hip, and when I’m done, they go right back in the mailbox.

You should also have at least one pair of gardening gloves standing by at all times. I keep several, so I always have a backup or a pair to share.


Tools in an organized garden mailbox

While I am working with my pruners, soil knife or precision snips, they stay on my hip, and when I’m done, they go right back in the mailbox.


In addition to my main tools are a number of important garden accessories:

  • Velcro tape: To support tomato vines, peas going up a trellis or any other plant that could use them, I have a roll of velcro tape. This tape can be cut into the lengths you need and then used again and again.
  • Surveyor’s tape: To identify projects that I need to get to later, I use surveyor’s tape, or flagging tape. That way, I won’t forget.
  • Marking tags: For identifying seedlings, I use plant tags with a UV-resistant marking pen, which has ink that doesn’t fade in the sun. Having these handy ensures I can always identify what’s planted where.


Plant tags and a UV-resistant marker

Plant tags and a UV-resistant marker are great to have on hand when putting plants in the ground or potting taking cuttings.


Safety Items to Keep in the Garden

Keeping items for your comfort and safety in the garden means not having to break your momentum and run back in the house when you need something. That’s why I always have these in the garden:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Bug repellent
  • First aid kit (band-aids, antibacterial cream, hydrogen peroxide, etc.)

More Go-Tos to Keep in the Garden

In my large storage tub, I keep a variety of useful items that I pull out a little less frequently than others but are still super-convenient to have within reach:

  • Small plastic pots: You don’t want to go searching for a pot after you’ve taken a plant cutting. Keep a variety of sizes on hand. 
  • Potting soil: Fill those pots with good-quality potting soil that you keep with the pots. You only need a small bag.
  • Watering can: I do most of my watering with drip irrigation and soaker hoses, but when I am mixing liquid fertilizer, I need a watering can to disperse it.
  • Fertilizer: Whatever your fertilizer of choice is, whether granular or liquid fertilizer, it’s great to have close by.
  • Measuring spoons: You should never guess how much fertilizer you are applying. Keep an assortment of measuring spoons of different sizes with the fertilizer. 
  • Soil thermometer: When sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings, it’s good to know what the soil temperature is. A soil thermometer removes any guesswork.


small plastic pots with cuttings

When the opportunity strikes to take a cutting, it’s convenient to have plastic pots handy in various sizes — and potting mix too.


How to Organize Tools That Don’t Live in the Garden

Long-handle tools like rakes and shovels will be easier to find when you need them if you pick one place in your landscape for them to live. Rather than dropping tools off just anywhere, always return them to the same area. This will save you time and the frustration of searching.


Long-handled tools

Rather than dropping tools off just anywhere, always return them to the same area.


What solutions do you have to stay organized in the garden? Let us know your keys to success in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 046: Organizing Your Gardening Life

Episode 109: Garden Safety: When Shortcuts Have Consequences

Episode 210: Non-Negotiables for Summer Success in the Garden

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Tomato expert Craig LeHoullier joins me in leading this course on how to grow healthier, productive tomato plants and how to overcome tomato-growing challenges. 

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Growing a Greener World® 

Corona® Tools – Video sponsor and Brand Partner of

Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we would get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us. None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, Greenhouse Megastore, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Wild Alaskan Seafood Box and TerraThrive. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

0 Responses to “How to Stay Organized in the Garden”

  • Gardzen G says:

    Seed trays are also one of the most convenient tools to start planting.

  • Gene Deerman says:

    I listened to this podcast when it dropped and loved that you share the idea for a mailbox in the garden:) Since then I discovered T-post Mounting Plates! Nifty metal toppers especially designed for T-posts (just fit over the top) with a square platform so you can bolt (usual use) bird feeders. I’m using one to mount a butterfly puddler, another for a mailbox, and a third for fruit slices to attract pollinators. Way easier and movable way to put up stuff in the garden! thanks for the great discussion!

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