Easy DIY Seed Binder (Organize and Store Seeds Cheaply)

This Easy DIY Seed Binder tutorial is NOT sponsored and was written based on our honest experience as a mom and dad growing an urban homestead!

Organizing garden seeds doesn’t have to be frustrating.

We went from using a seed storage box to a binder and found that it made a world of a difference.

seed binder

It’s easier to find exactly what we’re looking for now and love that we can rotate through seeds based on packaged dates more efficiently.

I’ll share our tips for creating the best seed binder for your buck plus:

  • what size book and plastic sleeves to choose for the best seed binder
  • how to organize your seeds most efficiently
  • other garden seed storage organizer ideas
  • tips on what to do for homemade seed packets
  • what I’ve learned about how to store seeds without molding

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used throughout this post. You can read our full disclosure here.

Easy DIY Seed Binder (Organize and Store Seeds Cheaply)

Before we switched to a binder, we used a plastic bin as our garden seed storage organizer.

We found that it took up a lot of space though and seeds would easily get disorganized.

That said, if you’re looking for a more long term storage solution, this is a great way to do it.

We now use our “seed book” to store seeds we’ll be using in the near future and save the plastic bin for more long term seed saving.

I’ll talk a little more about that later on.

What is the best way to store seeds?

I like using our binder to store a lot of seeds for upcoming use!

This method really helped us get organized this year – we planted more varieties of different crops and focused on using seeds according to their sell by dates.

Using a binder is a great way to store seeds cheaply by using materials you may possibly already have lying around at home.

I really like having a garden binder!

garden binder

How do you store seeds in a binder?

To store seeds in a binder, you’ll need a few things in addition to your book:

  • individual seed storage
  • trading/business card plastic sleeves
  • pen/marker to make notes
  • method of organizing your seeds

You may also want to pop in a planting guide for your zone and/or print front and back covers if you’re using a clear view style binder.

Putting it all together

First, you’ll want to place them in either little paper or plastic packets and/or purchase packaged seeds first.

Next you’ll need to get either business card sleeves or photo sleeves depending on the size of your packages.

I like to store both regular sized packages and bulk seed packets in my seed binder.

For standard packages, you’ll want to get at least a 9 card plastic sleeve – you can fold them in half this way and even store packets back to back (which turns your 9 package holder into storage for 18 packages).

Bulk seeds will need a bigger size like this one to fit them into your binder – you’ll only be able to fit two in here because the packages are so big.

You could also get these ones so you can store most commercial seed packages as they are without folding them – they’re two by two and cost a little bit more but some people prefer them.

Choosing a 1.5″ or larger size will make for the best seed binder – you can get these ones in some really cute colours to give your binder extra personality.

You can see how full mine is at this size when we have bulk seeds in there!

I’ll either upgrade to a simple 3″ size binder and add some tabs later on (I think it’ll be perfect for the amount of seeds we like to store) or add another 1.5″ sized one and store our seeds according to growing seasons.

diy seed binder

How to organize your binder

I chose the most basic approach for our binder and went with alphabetical order for our first year doing this.

You could also organize by:

  • packaged date
  • sell by date
  • planting season
  • colour
  • opened/unopened seeds

You could also create separate books and do a vegetable seed binder, flower seed binder, etc.

best seed binder

More gardening tips:

Can seeds be stored in airtight containers?

Yes, storing your seeds in airtight containers will help keep them dormant and extend their life.

Make sure that your containers are completed dry before storing seeds in them!

If you want to fill them with seeds, use small mason jars, if you’re making and/or using paper packets to store seeds, you could either use larger mason jars or place them in plastic bins with latches to keep them dormant for longer.

I like using bins since they’re easy to stack this way.

What is the best container for storing seeds?

If you prefer to use a container to store your seed collection, clear bins like these are a great option.

I like being able to see what’s inside of my storage containers so I can easily find what I’m looking for and sift through their contents.

The latches on these are also easy to open and close but they create a nice seal to keep things like dust and moisture out of your seed storage box.

What are the best seeds for long term storage?

Here are a few of our favorite seeds to store long term.

Long-Term Seeds (3 to 4 years)

  • Bean
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew
  • Kohlrabi
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Sunflower
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Watermelon

Longer-Term Seeds (5 to 6 years)

  • Basil
  • Cucumber
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Radish
vegetable seed binder

How do you make homemade seed packets?

You can easily make your own DIY seed packets using just a piece of white paper, a paper towel, or a small zip-loc bag if you intend to use your seeds within the next one or two growing seasons.

This is how I started!

How do you store seeds without molding?

Saving seeds properly comes down to how you wash and dry them.

Here’s what I do:

  1. place seeds in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly
  2. once you’ve rinsed seeds well enough, fill up a small glass of water
  3. let seeds soak overnight in your small glass of water to help remove any sticky stuff that doesn’t rinse off easily the first time around
  4. you’ll notice that some seeds float to the top of your glass – these are non-viable so toss them
  5. pour your seeds from the glass into your fine mesh strainer and rinse them one last time
  6. from there, grab a piece of paper towel and layer it on top of another
  7. open the top paper towel like a book and pour seeds from strainer evenly on top of it (you want to avoid them being stacked on top of one another so the paper towel absorbs as much moisture as possible)
  8. fold the top paper towel back over the seeds and pat dry
  9. if your top paper towel is extremely wet at this point, you might want to consider swapping out the top sheet with the one on the bottom (we put it below to absorb any extra water that leaked from the top sheet and to prevent it from sticking to you counter) or another if that has completely soaked through
  10. open your paper towel “book” and gently use your index finger to scrape any seeds stuck on the wet paper towel towards the spine
  11. close your paper towel and hold it with the spine down as you pour its contents onto another clean dry piece of paper towel or cloth
  12. fold that paper towel or cloth in half and either label the paper towel with the name of your seeds using a sharpie or place a note on top of it to let others know in your household what it is! The last thing you want is for someone to toss your seeds after all of your hard work – trust me!
  13. leave your seeds to dry between the paper towel sheets or cloth for 5 to 7 days, stirring the seeds with your index finger daily to ensure even drying
  14. if your seeds still feel wet after this, you’ll want to repeat steps 10 to 12 again until all seeds are thoroughly dried
  15. after that you can either store your seeds in a small plastic bag like these ones or a homemade paper seed packet – be sure to label what your seeds are and the date you saved them!
seed storage

Easy DIY Seed Binder: Final Thoughts

Your seed storage binder can be as fancy or as simple as you make it.

All you need is:

You could also pick up these seed storage sleeves.

I didn’t get them because they weren’t available when I was putting together our binder but to be honest, they store fewer packets and are slightly marked up because they’re being marketed as garden seed sleeves.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to “upgrade”.

It really comes down to aesthetic versus capacity – while one option allows you to store up to 200 packs of seeds with beautifully displayed packages, you can fit up to 450 packages with the other option for slightly less.

What kind of seeds do you need to store? Have you tried saving your own yet?

Let us know!

Happy organizing, friend!


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