Win a bunch of tools from Truly Garden and Loma Creek! this week in the Gear forum!
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How not to lose your gear...

 
Posts: 117
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
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Well this year my hubby made a garden tool wall so all the big tools have a place.  This has greatly helped in the "I can't find my tool" dilemma.  But the small ones!!!  Aside from putting a tile on them, how can I quit losing them???  All it takes is a couple if days and the garden has encapsulated them and they are gone til next year.  My favorite Hori Hori has gone missing.  Suggestions?
 
Posts: 71
Location: Southside of Virginia
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Hi Cris,

I use a bucket with a lid. That way I have them with me so I don't have to go back to get a different tool. Brightly colored paint on the handle helps me to spot a forgotten tool also.
 
Posts: 63
Location: OR - Willamette Valley
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My friend painted hers all bright purple or blue. It does make them easier to spot from a distance.
 
master steward
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We use the bright orange buckets from Home Depot.  The tools just get thrown in and we can carry the bucket to where we need to use tools. These are drills, saws, etc.

We also have the leather pouch type that goes on a belt.  It has its own belt so it can just be strapped on.  These are mostly screw drivers and wrenches.  The pouch has sections where these are inserted.

We once bought a pouch that goes on the bucket though we never found it handy.
 
pollinator
Posts: 359
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Get 5 or 6 of that tool you keep searching for... increase your chances of finding one, when and where you need it!
  • Add a basket to the tool wall for small tools.
  • Use baskets or pails anywhere to catch loose tools/supplies. (at least you know where to begin looking...)
  • Get a nice tool belt/holster/apron for the small tools. (and wear it.)
  • Take breaks when switching tasks to put away those tools and get the next tools. (also a time for bathroom/water breaks)
  • Discipline.

  • The struggle is REAL! I know that I know these things... but do I DO these things??? (it is a work in progress... but I feel like a goddamned superhero when I do!! ...so there's that.)

    I have read The Lean Farm by Ben Hartman three times!! LOTS of good ideas! It's beautiful and logical, but also involves re-training your habits and making difficult decisions to let go of what isn't helpful.
    There's a lot of efficiency/lost time to be gained back by having tools ready and nearby to where you need them (even if it means getting duplicates). It also makes it easier to put them away, instead of ALL at a distant location.
    And easier to get things done, because finding/fetching the tool is no longer an excuse... "HEY! the tool is right here, might as well just knock this out!"

    Identifying the problem(s) is always the first step... Not getting down on yourself for not following the NEW habits perfectly, all the time, every time is also important.

    Take some time to clean and sharpen your tools, oil them, and put them away neatly; then suddenly you have more incentive to keep them that way, instead of just leaving them in the field/back of the truck/in a pile in the shed.



     
    gardener
    Posts: 2832
    Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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    For a few things, like garden trowels, I literally get the dollar store kind in multiples (often they also turn up in quarter bins at garage sales) and stick them all over the garden.  These are never lost; they are just handy to some other project at the moment.

    Likewise I buy large tableware in stainless steel when it's less than a dollar: serving forks and spoons, mostly, the longer the better.  Ceremonial salad spoons are great when you can find them in bright stainless for no money.  I stick these in plant pots as stakes for unsteady young plants, but they make very handy digging tools that are easy to see and hard to lose.  And since they don't rust and don't have a place they are supposed to be, they're always handy wherever they are they are, conceptually, never lost!

     
    master steward
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    If I'm needing a bunch of tools somewhere, I stick them all in the wheelbarrow and haul them all with me. The last thing I want to do is get to the top of my hill to do some work, only to realize I need my rake or scythe! So, into the wheel barrow they go!

    For storing little tools, I just put hooks and the ones that have hooks sit on the hooks. The others often live in my wheelbarrow (I have 2 wheel barrows. I don't think one can ever have enough wheelbarrows!)

    The one thing I lose ALL THE TIME is my gloves! I take them off and shove them in my pocket and next thing I know, they've fallen out. It's also really hard to store the things. I installed a chain next to my door with clothespins to pin on the gloves, but they tend to fall off of that, too, especially since we also use the chain to hook our keys on.

    Anyone have any ideas on how not to lose gloves?
     
    Posts: 5
    Location: USA, WA, orchard country
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    @Nicole

    Toss gloves into the bucket or wheelbarrow, not the pocket or the ground. If you have long sleeves, gloves can be tucked there. If wearing a tuck-in shirt, gloves can go down the shirt front. :-)
     
    gardener
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    I expanded on the "small tools in a bucket" idea by installing the bucket in an old backpack that fits me comfortably (for pictures, go here - https://permies.com/t/116323/permaculture-upcycling/ungarbage/Gardening-backpack#946698)  This was a recent project and I'm finding it really useful and there's a hook in the garage that is its resting spot. It won't help with the big tools, but I'm less likely to loose those.

    Nicole Alderman wrote:

    The one thing I lose ALL THE TIME is my gloves!

    I actually sewed a couple of stainless steel clothespins to a piece of webbing that my belt can slide through. We get them from Lee Valley Tools and they're awesome. When the gloves are clipped on, I rarely loose them, and if they're damp or muddy, it's better than getting a damp pocket. (http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=69724&cat=2,42194,67373) I'm thinking I may sew a couple onto my bucket backpack, but for the moment I've just been tossing "in use" gloves in the bucket, and a spare pair's in a pack pocket zipped shut.

    I agree with all the suggestions for making tools bright and obvious! I used to have a piece of bright rope through my dandelion fork (which I use for transplanting dandelion roots to the chicken run among other weeding chores) because it was *always* getting lost despite owning 4 of them!
     
    Posts: 102
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    Repurpose / reuse. I salvaged a few feet of 1½" PVC and the silverware rack out of an old dishwasher. I mounted them on the wall just inside the garden shed, so they can be reached from the door. Now my small gardening tools are easy to find and easy to put away.

     
    pollinator
    Posts: 1877
    Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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    I don't like the Paint on a small wooden clean handle… until I find a Paint I would trust!
    And as I never Paint, I have no left-over any way!
    i just don't want to use toxic stuff, and I don't want to have a red palm when I work in the garden!

    I  have tried a piece or colored tape, but it ends up going away. Meanwhile, it worked and it was what I had at hand. (still a bit more of plastic stuff…)
     
    Cris Fellows
    Posts: 117
    Location: Youngstown, Ohio
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    Kenneth Elwell wrote:[list]Get 5 or 6 of that tool you keep searching for... increase your chances of finding one, when and where you need it!



    Kenneth, So much laughing with the first line!  But I have done that on small scale.  But there are some darned helpful recommendations in your list and I am going to probably try all of them, and read the book.  
    To be quite honest, thus was a post to try to win me a Fokin hoe, did not expect to get real help!!!  Thanks a bunch everyone!
     
    Jay Angler
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    Cris Fellows wrote:

    To be quite honest, thus was a post to try to win me a Fokin hoe, did not expect to get real help!!!

    Ahh... the Law of Unintended Consequences. It doesn't show up in the permaculture manuals, at least not under that name, but in my opinion it is what permaculture is all about. Just as a "guild of plants" is greater than the sum of the parts, I think a "guild of tools" can be the same. People are less likely to hurt themselves and will work better both physically and mentally if they have the right tool for the job and don't waste an hour looking for the dang thing.

    That said, I'd love to try this tool also, so your original aim is honorable and at least you've owned up and told the truth! I will have to put it on my Winter Solstice wish list, as I'm not likely to be lucky enough to win one. Hopefully, those that do, will continue to post pictures and examples of what they've found it useful for, and hopefully the handle will be long enough that loosing it will be difficult!
     
    Posts: 101
    Location: Hamburg, Germany
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    Jay Angler wrote:

    Nicole Alderman wrote:

    The one thing I lose ALL THE TIME is my gloves!

    I actually sewed a couple of stainless steel clothespins to a piece of webbing that my belt can slide through. We get them from Lee Valley Tools and they're awesome. When the gloves are clipped on, I rarely loose them, and if they're damp or muddy, it's better than getting a damp pocket. (http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=69724&cat=2,42194,67373) I'm thinking I may sew a couple onto my bucket backpack, but for the moment I've just been tossing "in use" gloves in the bucket, and a spare pair's in a pack pocket zipped shut.



    Oh.  Oh wow.  That's fabulous.  I'm always dropping gloves, and I have lots of extra clothespins.  (Not as cool as yours, but available and just sitting on a shelf taking up space.)  Thank you!

    As far as smaller tools, when we bought the cottage it contained an adorable 60s-ish dinette set.  Eventually we repurposed most of it elsewhere, but one bench sits right by the front door out of the rain.  The seat lifts up, and that's where gloves/trowels/clippers live.  However, I'm admiring the PVC pipe + dishwasher basket for some things that don't make sense there.  Thanks as well to T Melville!
     
    Something must be done about this. Let's start by reading this tiny ad:
    holiday shopping for 2019
    https://permies.com/t/128446/holiday-shopping
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