There are various ways to organize seeds, but I like this filing system from The Seed Keeper Company. With this system, seeds can be organized alphabetically or by month of planting or harvest. Kylee Baumle/Paulding County Progress
There are various ways to organize seeds, but I like this filing system from The Seed Keeper Company. With this system, seeds can be organized alphabetically or by month of planting or harvest. Kylee Baumle/Paulding County Progress
There’s a movement among us. Living with less has captured the fancy of many of us who live in the land of plenty. We don’t just have plenty, we’ve got way too much stuff.

A blog I’ve followed for years, The Art of Doing Stuff, is written by Karen Bertelesen, a former TV host and avid gardener. She recently said this, “January’s the month we all lose our minds and feel the need to take control of our stuff.”

This involves an obscene amount of purging, resulting in bags of stuff being donated to charities, bags of stuff being sold at garage sales, Poshmark, and eBay, and bags of stuff being kicked to the curb. We want some of it out of our sight so badly that we shred it or burn it before it ever even makes it to the curb.

As an avowed collector of stuff (did I just admit to that?), I welcome January for just this reason. That, and thumbing my way through the seed catalogs. Heaven knows it isn’t for the sunny, tropical weather we typically have.

Last week, I binge-watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Marie is the current darling of paring things down to only keeping the things that “spark joy” in your life. Marie is just darling, period.

So far, there are eight episodes available for watching and I have learned something from each one of them. Mostly, I learned the same things over and over, like how to fold stuff, but that’s okay because I can be slow to catch on sometimes.

You should see my clothing drawers now. All of my shirts are folded up nice and tidy, in neat little packets, all stacked on end from one side of the drawer to the other. Those drawers are downright beautiful. For now.

It was rather cathartic, this purging and organizing thing, and I felt really good as I tidied up one drawer after another. And then I got to thinking maybe this would work with my garden stuff. Because it didn’t take long for me to accumulate a lot of garden stuff, just like the stuff in our house.

Because I’m a garden writer, I’ve probably got more tools and gloves and pots and stuff than most, but I’m willing to bet you’ve got your own stash that could use some organizing, too.

Now Marie starts out the same way I do when I’m organizing things. I generally just take it all out and start with empty drawers or shelves or closets. Every little thing that was in or on them is in a pile, awaiting its fate.

Do I need 15 pairs of hand pruners? No, because nine times out of 10, I pick out my favorite pair (I’ve got a couple of favorites) to use. The other ones I’ve kept as back-ups, for when I can’t remember where my favorite ones are at that moment. To be fair, I’ve been given most of the pruners for review or as swag when attending gardening events, and I’ve given a few pairs away, but they don’t all spark joy for me, so I’ll be finding new homes for some of them.

And then there are the gloves. Same deal with those – I seem to have collected various types of garden gloves, but I have my favorites of those, too. I won’t get rid of the extras though, because unlike pruners, gloves wear out rather quickly. I’ll just fold those up the Marie Kondo way and I’ll probably be able to fit all of them in one small drawer, instead of them being thrown about and stuffed here and there.

Next, I’ll tackle the pots. I’ll dread doing that most of all. I mean, can you really ever have too many pots? Clay, ceramic, plastic, cement, metal, and the trays and liners and hangers and … okay, I guess you can have too many. This will be fun. NOT.

I have about as many trowels as I have pruners. Same reason, except I don’t think I’ve ever bought a trowel in my life. Companies really like to share their trowels. I’m not as picky about those. As long as it doesn’t bend in our Paulding County clay, I’m good with it. Maybe everyone will get a trowel from me in their stocking next Christmas.

I’ll move on to the other garden tools, like hoes and shovels and those odd ones that I can never remember what they’re called. You know, like my forky thing. That’s what I call it, but I'm sure it has a proper name. I just don’t know what it is. When I ask my husband to get my forky thing for me, he knows just what I want, so we’re fine.

I’m not even going to discuss the seed packets I’ve got stored in boxes. That’s in a class all by itself and goodness, you just never know when you’ll have a hankering for growing red cotton or parsnips or 27 kinds of tomatoes. You just never know.

January really is a good time to clean up your gardening act, since you can’t really get out there and dig in the dirt anyway. Put those seed catalogs aside and tidy up your trowels. It will be so much more fun replenishing your seed stash, knowing everything else is ready to go when it’s time to plant them.

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