When my kids were growing up, I was Mrs. Organization. Everything had a box, basket, or place where it was supposed to live. My junk drawers were organized, my pantry items all faced the same way, my garage was even shelved and stacked neatly. Of course, not everything found its way where it was supposed to be, but that was the daily goal.
Then one day it happened. The kids grew up and all my organizational genes died and I adopted a much more carefree existence. I am not saying that I have become a slob by any means, but I do spend a fair amount of time searching for things that should be easy to find.
On my homestead, however, I realized quickly how my carefree style was going to cause great failures if I didn’t get my act together! Not wanting to organize the fun right out of farming, I settled on 4 keys ways that I can enjoy my homesteading life without spending needless time cleaning up problems that being unorganized can cause.
This is the single greatest tool I have for my homestead. I found a cute little lemon-covered 2020/2021 planner last year and I used it to track everything on my farm.
I tracked when seeds were ordered, when seeds were started, when plants were transplanted out, where things were placed, when they should be ready for harvest, and how well they produced.
I tracked when chicks (and turkeys) were born, when chicks were processed or started to lay eggs depending on their purpose, and their final weights.
I tracked every expense for every part of the farm in this book. I tracked when trees and bushes were planted, when we got chips dropped, when the ACTUAL last frost date was and even the fertilizing schedule for the entire farm.
Then when that planner was done in July of 2021, I upgraded to the next planner and started the process all over again.
This may seem a little overkill to you. But think about the data that I have specific to my farm. I know exactly what I spent on the farm for the first year and what return I received. I know exactly what variety of seed was planted and produced well, where I got every seed, and so forth. I know how viable and strong the birds were that I got from each location I purchased so I know if I want to buy from that place again.
With this kind of planner, year after year, I can watch the trends on MY farm and see what needs to change and what is working. There is no book more specific to the success of my farm than these planners!
My Seed Containers!
Oh, the seeds you will find to buy! I bought and bought and…bought some more. But I was struggling to find a great way to organize all the seeds so I didn’t keep buying the same thing over and over. Then I saw someone who was using photo organizing totes to store their seeds and that was a perfect solution for me!
I headed to Michaels (with coupon in hand of course) and purchased three photo storage totes. The thing I like about the ones that I have is that they are clear and each inner compartment is clear as well. So, I don’t have to open each one to see what is in it. There were enough inner boxes in each that I have one for beans, tomatoes, lettuces…you get the picture.
I have one tote totally dedicated to flowers. They are my first gardening love and so they deserve their own tote.
With the other two totes, I have tried to break them down into cool-season and warm-season crops. However, that carefree mindset has struck them a little and so they are a bit intermingled more than I would like.
My Tool Shelf!
Or, I suppose I should say “shelves” at this point. There is nothing more frustrating than needing to prune a plant and you can’t find your small pruners. I know this to be true, because as I write this…I can’t find my small pruners! I was able to carve out a little space in my husband’s workshop to place a set of plastic shelves to store all the things! There is a space for each bag of fertilizer, all the row covers both for bugs and frost, little stakes, and so forth.
Admittedly, I still haul things all over the farm and leave them. So, while I have the system in place, I do need to get much better at using it.
My Animal Food Storage!
This may seem like a silly thing to add but I found out very quickly that it is quite a pain to store food in one place and have to haul it around to feed the chickens. When we first got our bird, for some reason it never occurred to me to store their feed in their barn.
One day I was fussing about having to continually haul heavy feed bags back and forth across the yard. And it hit me, “Dummy, leave them in the barn!”. So, I got a large storage tote and now their feed, snacks, and grit all live in the barn in that tote. Nothing can get to the feed and it is right there when I need it!
Organization is a key ingredient to a successful homestead…at least for me, it is. These 4 tools have made my day-to-day homestead chores so much more enjoyable. Let me know what tips and tricks you have used to make your homestead more productive and organized!
Now…if I could just find those small pruners!