The Best Ways to Store Seeds

Organize your future garden with seed storage ideas for all types of containers

Seed storage idaes

Dori OConnell / E+ / Getty Images

If you’ve collected the seeds from your summer garden, the fall vegetables will soon have a bounty of seeds to save, or maybe you have excess from planting earlier in the year, you might need some good seed storage ideas. Those seeds represent a bounty of food and foliage for the next planting season so you'll want to store them properly so they aren’t lost or damaged before you need them. Here are some of the best seed storage ideas and containers to ensure that your seeds remain viable and organized.

  • 01 of 09

    Pillbox

    Use a pillbox to organize your seeds

    Recreated

    Sometimes you just need to take a second look at the things around you to see them with new eyes as a creative seed storage idea. Look for items that have sleeves or compartments to slip in envelopes or small spaces for handfuls of seeds, as well as spots for labeling.

    pillbox is a good choice when you have a small amount of a wide variety of seeds and need a storage box with compartments. Use separate pillboxes for different areas of your garden—one for your cutting garden, one for veggies—for easy planting later on. Don't forget to clearly label each box with its contents. 

  • 02 of 09

    8-Track Case

    8-track case for seed storage
    Country Living

    Upcycle another oldie but goodie for a large seed storage container: an old 8-track case that can hold envelopes perfectly. A cassette tape storage case would work just as well as a great way to store seeds.

  • 03 of 09

    Photo Album

    Use a photo album to store and organize seeds
    Via Ozark Mountain Family Homestead

    If you need a more compact method of storage, a photo album might be one of the best ways to store seeds. Simply slip packets of seeds into the photo sleeves. You can also include notes about the seeds and arrange them in order of planting time. Include real photos of your landscaping to track progress (and inspire new ideas) season after season. Once it’s filled, you can slide the album right onto a shelf until next year.

    Seed storage photo album from Ozark Mountain Family Homestead

  • 04 of 09

    Filing Cabinet

    DIY Filing system for seed storage
    Chiot's Run

    If you have a massive garden, to organize your seed storage a filing cabinet approach may be best. Those plastic three-drawer shelves or a repurposed nightstand can serve this purpose for larger quantities, or a recipe box might work for fewer. With a filing box, you have room for labels and information for each category of seeds.

    Organized seedbox from Chiot's Run

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Photo Case

    Photo organizer as seed storage

    Throwback Road

    This handy photo organizer, which houses several 4x6 plastic containers, can double as seed storage. Each sleeve could contain quite a few packets. You could group them by type of flower or food, time of planting, or family.

  • 06 of 09

    Organizer Made From Old Boxes

    DIY a divided organizer from old cereal boxes
    Raised Urban Gardens

    For the crafty and creative, anything can become storage. Making your seed storage containers can be helpful as you can customize the organizer to be exactly what you need. Bonus: repurposing materials like old cereal and snack boxes means you'll spend next to nothing on the project (which means you can spend more money on your garden next spring!). 

    This tutorial takes an empty cracker box and empty pudding-mix boxes to make a handy compartmentalized storage container. Not into DIY? You can pick up similar organizers online or at your local big-box retailer. 

    DIY compartmentalized storage container from Raised Urban Gardens

  • 07 of 09

    Organizer Made From Foam Board

    DIY seed storage from foam board
    Vegetable Gardener

    Looking for a sturdier solution? Use foam board—yes, the popular medium used in many school science fair presentations—to create a custom seed storage box. This project has a more "finished" look to it and would stack well when stored in your garage or attic. 

  • 08 of 09

    Mason Jar

    seed packets in mason jar
    rfarmer/ Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0

    If you're looking for an efficient, airtight seed storage container, consider the simple mason jar. Storing seed packets in a jar allows them to be easily sealed and you can even include silica packets if you’d like. It’s easy to find a place for jars, and larger jars can hold quite a few envelopes of seeds. Again, you can group them by any category you’d like.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Plastic Baggies

    using plastic baggies to store seeds
    Empress of Dirt

    Plastic baggies can also make an effective seed storage method, stored right in drawers or baskets. Your gardening notebook can be kept in the basket along with anything else you need to know or have for an organized planning and planting season.

    Plastic baggie seed storage from Empress of Dirt

    There are numerous ways to store seeds. From the elaborate to the simple and everything in between, the important thing is to choose whatever will be workable for your organization style. Whatever it takes to keep those seeds and have a beautiful, fruitful garden year after year.

FAQ
  • Is it better to store seeds in glass or plastic?

    It doesn't matter if you store seeds in glass or plastic as long as wherever you store them, the containers are completely dry and the storage area is dark and cool.

  • How long can seeds be stored?

    Seed viability depends on the plant. Some seeds last longer than others even when stored in the best conditions. It helps to know how long seeds from a particular plant can be saved. For example, spinach seeds can last a year while tomato seeds can last up to five years. Stored seeds can generally last one to five years in ideal storage conditions.

  • How do you store seeds long-term?

    If you are not going to use seeds for a few years, it may pay to freeze them to keep them viable. Many seed banks like the freezing method. The seeds must be thoroughly dry and stored in a completely dry plastic container.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Seed Viability. UCCE Master Gardeners/Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California.

  2. How Long Do Seeds Last? Cornell Small Farms/Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.