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Keeping Track of Small Garden Tools

August 30th, 2010

I used to have a bad habit of carrying trowels around with me when I was gardening and leaving them where I was working. I often forgot where they were and when I needed them again, I’d have to walk around the garden looking for them, trying to remember when I had used them last. As much as I tried to always put them back in the garage, I just couldn’t seem to remember. I love my trowels and thus never want to lose them. Not to mention a good garden trowel is not a cheap purchase.

A few months ago I decided to put a bucket by the back door to keep my trowels and my cultivator in. After doing this I’ve been able to keep track of them. I find myself carrying my trowels back to the house with me and throwing them into the bucket. This has worked well for me and I have only had to look for my trowel once or twice since I started doing this. I also like that they’re right there when I walk out the back door. I no longer have to open the garage door and head into the garage to get my tools, I simply grab the one I need from the bucket and head out into the garden.

My mom has a similar technique, she has a bucket that she keeps trowels, forks, fertilizer, a companion planting guide and a few other items for gardening. She carries this bucket around the garden with her as she works and deposits back in the garage by the door when she heads inside. This means her garden bucket is always ready to grab when she heads out. This is a great idea if you have a covered area for your bucket. Since mine sits on the back porch in the weather, I simply leave my 4 garden tools in it. They can take the weather as can the old bucket I keep them in.

If you’re in the market for good quality small garden tools I would highly recommend The Rumford Gardener large trowel, transplanting trowel, and the cultivator. I purchased them many many years ago at Target, but they are now available on Amazon. They’re solid die-cast aluminum and they’re cast in one solid piece with a rubberized handle coating. They’re tough as nails and strong as an ox yet light enough to use for a long period of time. In my rocky tough soil they keep on going where a lesser trowel would have been bent long long ago. I also find them quite comfortable to use.

What techniques have you developed to keep your garden tools easily accessible and easy to find?

15 Comments to “Keeping Track of Small Garden Tools”
  1. Sue on August 30, 2010 at 5:27 am

    I’m so glad I saw this-I have this same set of hand tools from many many years ago. Though they are STILL in great shape, I had wanted to get another set “just in case”!
    I carry my tools with me in a small tote-but still ,occasionally, the garden “elfs” will hide one in the compost pile or under a plant and I have to search.

    Reply to Sue's comment

    • Susy on August 30, 2010 at 8:59 am

      They really are the best tools, I know I’ll have them forever if I can manage to not lose them in the garden.

      I have found spoons, forks and once a kitchen knife when sifting compost.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Konnie on August 30, 2010 at 8:09 am

    This is a good idea. I will give it a try, my small hand tools are always disappearing, especially my clippers.

    Reply to Konnie's comment

    • Susy on August 30, 2010 at 8:56 am

      My clippers I keep inside the laundry room with my gardening gloves. I have one of those shoe things with pocket than hangs on the back of the laundry room door, we stow all of our gloves, hats and my clippers in it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Kelly on August 30, 2010 at 8:41 am

    i have a spot right past where I walk to get into the garden that I hang them on the wall (soon to be a shelf, hopefully). In early spring when I’m planning and planting at the same time I toss everything into my harvesting basket and carry that around with me with my notebook, pencil, seeds, etc.

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  4. Mary W on August 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

    We have a five-gallon bucket with an exterior cloth organizer thing. Almost all of the tools go in there, except a great sturdy, sharp trowel that often ends up in a bucket of sand in the shed. Don’t really know why, it just lands there.

    Reply to Mary W's comment

  5. kristin @ going country on August 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I use a garden tote we got from the Nature Conservancy. It has its own nail to hang on inside the shop, and NO ONE is allowed to use my tools.

    That last one is the most important part, since the other members of my household are not at all to be trusted to put anything back where they found it. Hence, the outright ban.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on August 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

      Oh yes, I have my own little toolbox with screwdrivers, hammer, box cutter, measuring tape, etc and it’s not allowed to be touched by Mr Chiots. That way I know I can always find a screwdriver when I need it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Joshua on August 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I’ve never lost a hand tool in the garden, but I once lost the clips from an impact sprinkler. You know, the ones that set the ends of its arc? I found them at the end of the year when I was preparing the beds for winter, just laying there on top of the mulch. I looked everywhere for them when I lost them, and of course, they were nowhere to be seen.

    Reply to Joshua's comment

  7. risa b on August 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    We have these leftover hanging-plant baskets; I hang one in the apple tree by the main garden path every summer (it doesn’t rain in our summers, as a rule) for hose attachments, and another for trowels and garden knives. Just reach in as you go by.

    Reply to risa b's comment

  8. Susan on August 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Perfect timing! I have been looking for really good gardenting tools for a year. I have hand-me-downs, which are functional, but not “right” for my hands. I use buckets for everything – one for small tools, and one to drag around and fill with weeds. I read somewhere that a gardener put an old mailbox on the edge of her garden, where she stored her small tools. A great re-use idea.

    Reply to Susan's comment

  9. Sandy on August 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    The bucket is a great idea. I have the same bad habit of losing small tools. Right now, I keep losing small sprinklers. I’ll give the bucket try!

    Reply to Sandy's comment

  10. Stephanie Morimoto on August 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for the bucket idea–I’ll have to try that. I access my garden from French doors in my kitchen so might keep the bucket right inside near the door so I can also put my gardening notebook (where I track watering, fertilizing and harvesting notes) in it. Currently I walk past my garden and around the house, unlock the door to our mud room and grab everything I need. I often forget what I need and find myself making that trip multiple times!

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  11. Cathy on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 am

    My friend came up with the idea of putting a mailbox in her yard to put her garden hand tools and gloves in plus it keeps them out of the weather. These days there’s all kinds of mail boxs. I thought you may like this idea. Have a great day

    Reply to Cathy's comment

  12. Estelle on March 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Keeping these tools in a small bucket is such a great idea. You inspired me to get ly very own galvanized metal bucket last week to keep trcak of my own tools :)

    Reply to Estelle's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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