Two years ago, I finally decided to part with the ugly plastic box of tools that I'd been carting around since college. I'd keep the tools, but their carrier needed an upgrade. With a limited budget but an unlimited yen for anything that shows some sign of age, I found a vintage turquoise tool box that was both nice to look at and practical. When my dad came to visit my apartment a few weeks later, he laughed when he saw my new tool box. He had two just like it sitting empty in his workshop, he told me. And I could have them.
Photos by Erin Boyle.
What do the contents of your tool box look like? Show us by uploading a photo in the comment section below.
We'll blame my dad's colorblindness for the fact that his tool boxes aren't just like this one, but suffice to say, I currently own three vintage tool boxes. In our tiny apartment they're perfect for organizing all of the tiny things that there aren't cabinets or closets to keep tidy. Last weekend I did a major overhaul of the boxes, taking everything out and rearranging the contents. By the time I finished, I'd designated one as my gardening tool box.
Tucked under the couch, it's within reach whenever I embark on a garden or flower project. Having all of my gardening supplies in one box now means I don't have to pull out each box searching for the proper tools.
Newest additions to my collection include a Dewit Garden Hand Shovel ($25.90 from Kaufmann Mercantile) and Gardener's Goat Skin Work Gloves ($29 from Womanswork). The gloves are soft and supple, and most important, they actually fit my small hands. As for the trowel, it's a major step up from the soup spoon I'd been using.
The contents of my tool box are particular to my personal urban gardening needs. I had to compromise and keep a few non-gardening specific tools in there too; real estate is a precious thing in 240 square feet. Among the tools above is a canvas bag for foraging finds, leather garden gloves, Japanese scissors, pruners, hand drills, a trusty trowel, and various bits of wire, tape, and twine. My Victorinox SwissTool ($124 from Swiss Army) is also included, invaluable in a small apartment or anywhere.
The top tray of my tool box holds all of my tiniest tools. The pair of pruners above was purchased in a hurry from a neighborhood hardware store when I lived in Providence, Rhode Island. The historic building where I did my graduate work has a garden designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and when I got permission to take clippings from the yard's flowering quince, I knew kitchen scissors wouldn't do the trick. One day I might upgrade to one of these beautiful options, but for now, this pair is the best tool I have for clipping spring branches.
Even though I keep a separate box with craft supplies, I decided to leave some paper scraps and a pen and pencil in the upper tray of this box so that I have them on hand to make labels or jot notes as I work.
Below deck, I keep my larger tools like my scissors for flower arranging and my trowel. Extra seeds and garden gloves also make their home here.
And finally, the dram vials that I sometimes use as small wall vases are also snuggled in the bottom of the box for safekeeping.
Any urban gardeners out there? What are your must-have tools?