PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson
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March 10, 2020

Farmers tend to accumulate a lot of tools—it seems to come with the territory. But organization isn’t always high on their priority list.

Do you have a toolshed stuffed with miscellaneous machines and hand tools? It might seem perfect to have a one-stop shop for everything you could possibly need.

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But your tools won’t do you much good if they’re poorly organized and never handy when you need them. In the long run, it will cost you a lot of time and effort. So here are some tips for organizing farm tools around your place.


Multiplicity Is Key

My father is a big believer in having the right tool at the right time for any job. He’s passed this belief on to me, too.

Organization is critical. You have to know where to find a tool when you need it. But there’s another layer involved—ideally, the tool will be right at your fingertips no matter where you’re working, and not sitting on a shelf in a shed at the other end of the farm.

Achieving this level of readiness is no small feat, and it may require owning multiple sets of tools. On my farm, every tractor has its own toolbox packed with the following commonly used tools:

  • Claw hammer
  • Multi-in-one screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Spare shear pins
  • Hitch pins
  • Ball hitches in multiple sizes

Safety goggles, a little rope, and a handful of screws and nails are usually included too.


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These tools stay with each tractor and ensure I’m reasonably equipped to deal with unforeseen circumstances no matter what kind of work I’m doing.

If I’m baling hay and a shear pin breaks, I’m prepared. If I’m mowing a field and come across a broken section of fence, I can stop and repair it.

I take the same approach with farm outbuildings. The barn, for example, is stocked with an electric drill, a screwdriver, a hammer, screws and nails, and random pieces of wood (you never know when you might need a 2×4).

The feed shed boasts similar stock plus a pair of sturdy pipe wrenches, used whenever the nearby yard hydrant needs to be disassembled for repair.

Keep Tools in Sight

But my attention to organizing farm tools doesn’t stop here—far from it, in fact. Back at my garage, shelves and peg boards prominently display general tools and supplies so they’re easily viewable and accessible.

Power tools are stored in their cases, spare parts are sorted into drawers, and instruction manuals for tractors and other machines are kept together for quick access.


Learn how, and why, you should keep and organize instruction manuals.


Meanwhile, groups of tools used for particular tasks are stored together in toolboxes so they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.

I have a toolbox organized specifically for repairing electric fences, and it’s packed with screws, nails, bolts, drill bits, insulators, pliers, and wire cutters. It’s also got a hammer, utility knife, tape measure, voltage tester, and more.

A small shoulder bag (think Indiana Jones!) is stuffed with supplies for maintaining the deer fence around my orchard—zip ties, scissors, spare ground stakes, pink flagging tape, horseshoe nails, a hammer and some rope.

Does everyone need to organize farm tools with this level of detail? Maybe not.

But farmers are busy folks, and searching for the tool to make a simple fence repair can waste a lot of time on a jam-packed day. Keep your tools organized, and you’ll always have them at your fingertips, helping your farm run smoothly and efficiently no matter what circumstances arise.

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