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Aurelian

The dreaded inventory

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Ok, you wicked lot, I have finally decided to make an inventory of my herbs. This is no easy task, as they are spread out all over the damn house, in boxes, drawers, cabinets, some non-toxics in my kitchen, out in plain sight in certain cases, etc.

 

How do you guys keep this all straight? Is there a specific sorting method you use? I don't have a giant witchy cabinet, and my 'working room' is not suitable for the task right now, as it's being renovated.

 

Also, what do you consider too old for magical use? Seriously, I dread throwing my precious herbs out, some of these are incredibly difficult to find and have been gifted to me over years by my peers. I know all the hoodoo tricks to wake them up, blow life into them, etc.

 

Thoughts, lot?

 

Impress me, I hardly EVER start threads. LOL!

 

:biggrin2:

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I keep all mine in ziplock bags, properly labeled, of course. These are stored in two large plastic tubs, "A-L" and "M-Z", sorted by the common names I know them by. Yes, I still have to sort through the tub to find the appropriate bag but it takes much less time than looking all over billy hell.

 

Because all my herbs do at least double- if not triple-duty, I won't keep them beyond their medicinal use - generally a couple of years. My thinking is if they're not potent for cooking or medicine, then they're not potent for magic. Depends on the herb, though. I have cloves that are 5 years old & still pass the freshness test. I know what each of my herbs smells like freshly-dried (they all smell like something, you just have to train your nose) & when they don't smell like that anymore, they get composted.

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I usually don't go past a year, depending upon what it is. I'd say feel the energy off it, if possible - some stuff resonates longer than others.

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I used to have a ton of herbs... right now I have very few. I have just been buying what I need when I need it (if it isn't grown locally) in small amounts and using it. I do have a few things I use all the time for incense (including resins) and smudging, and those I have in little bags in a wood bowl on my kitchen table (along with my laptop, the cat's food and water bowls, a multitude of books, even more notebooks, a jar of pens and pencils, a ceramic jar with my earrings (I always seem to take them off at the computer, lol), a jar of different glues, several rocks, several candles in varying degrees of burnt-ness, a few bottles of vitamins... need I go on? lol)...

 

M

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I also keep mine in ziplock bags with little slips of paper inside with their names. The bags are sorted alphabetically in a big tea box(the kind that is divided in little sections) On the box lid I'll be attaching a list with the common name and the old herb names- like ,,eye of newt" ect.

 

Generally I test the dried herbs by crushing a little piece and if it still releases a strong scent it's still good in my book.

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I write directly onto the ziplocks. I love Sharpies. Whatever's not in a bag is in a mason jar.

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I use the "giant clusterfuck" method of organization.

 

Here's how it works:

 

Move house. Move again. Then, let your Muggle ex-husband pilfer through your stuff trying to pack and unpack then re-pack it. Then throw it in a barn, and let the witch sort it out. Pray the goats don't eat the mugwort or wolfsbane.

 

If you find something that works, share it, please! My shit is a hot mess, too.

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I think I'm going to have to go with MW's method of gigantic storage boxes, as well as smaller one for the banefuls. Double-ziplocked, in some cases.

 

I have to say, though, that there is a certain entertainment value in telling people not to touch my shit...."Oh, what's this?

 

...they go to open bag to sniff it...

 

"Powdered baneberries, D-con, and water hemlock ground together, you idiot! Put that back!"

 

Yes, I was about to use it, but even SOME witches have less than any kind of clue, even when you WARN them you're not a very nice witch!

 

Thx guys!

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This was very timely for me along the lines of what to keep as opposed to how to organize--I have a few herbs about 2 or maybe 3 years old that still smell and taste strong enough, so I hoped they were still viable. This thread help solidify keeping them.

I tend to have small amounts of most herbs, and use labeled small jelly jars (the really small ones, possibly 4oz??) to store them in a drawer away from the light. Oof, some of them? I'd hate to say how old, lol. ah well . . .

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I used to have a ton of herbs... right now I have very few. I have just been buying what I need when I need it (if it isn't grown locally) in small amounts and using it. I do have a few things I use all the time for incense (including resins) and smudging, and those I have in little bags in a wood bowl on my kitchen table (along with my laptop, the cat's food and water bowls, a multitude of books, even more notebooks, a jar of pens and pencils, a ceramic jar with my earrings (I always seem to take them off at the computer, lol), a jar of different glues, several rocks, several candles in varying degrees of burnt-ness, a few bottles of vitamins... need I go on? lol)...

 

M

I love the now very sharp image I have of your kitchen table. :)

PS Hi Michele!! Long time . . .

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Besides cullinary herbs, I really don't keep much around. Some herbs can be hard to come by here, so I generally try growing what I need, the weather is temperate enough that I can have most things growing all year. That said, I tend to go for small zip-lock bags, or I'll reuse small spice jars. I have a collection of pretty little bottles, but they don't seal well enough to store herbs in. To keep track of what I have I keep a list in a notebook, just saves going through drawers to find if I still have that thing or not :P

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I doubt that anyone would be impressed with my storage. I use the purloined letter method, lots of repurposed jars muddled all together and labelled on masking tape. Only the baneful stuff even gets its own cabinet, not because I would mistake the label (I have excellent handwriting) but because they demand a certain amount of respect. So yeah, a clattering of clean jars for storing and steeping. Our kitchen has a breakfast nook with its own eastern window and tiny radiator and since six won't fit in for breakfast, it's where I keep and prepare a lot of our hebs and things, and raise bread. What ought not go in the kitchen stays in the bedroom until I have time to set the garage in order.

 

The one neat thing I do have was my grandfather's innovation, a gardener who installed glass shelving in front of, not below but rather right across the width of, several windows. It's extraordinarily good for all manner of uses, and I also grow certain potted plants on them.

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I have a largish cabinet shelf dedicated to supplies and use repurposed jam jars and tupperware for most of the herbs; though truth be told- some are preeeetttty old and probably should be given the toss- along with those charcoal blocks for burning stuff.. which I will never use.

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I have a largish cabinet shelf dedicated to supplies and use repurposed jam jars and tupperware for most of the herbs; though truth be told- some are preeeetttty old and probably should be given the toss- along with those charcoal blocks for burning stuff.. which I will never use.

I never use them either! They end up in a heap in the bottom of some forgotten drawer, making a black charcoal-y mess. Now I don't feel so bad... :blush:

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Those charcoal blocks are awesome for loose herbs. Years ago I had picked up brass stuff from the craft store (I think I paid $3 for the biggest one) and filled it halfway with playground sand. It's a great base for the charcoal.

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It depends on the herbs really, water soluble trace chemicals tend to go stale more than oils. Magically? I don't know for sure. I just recently did a massive inventory of many things including magical items and realized that sometimes it can be haphazard to just discard them so I tried to hold on to them or use them if it's a plant or something.

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Those charcoal blocks are awesome for loose herbs. Years ago I had picked up brass stuff from the craft store (I think I paid $3 for the biggest one) and filled it halfway with playground sand. It's a great base for the charcoal.

How do you use them inside without asphixiating yourself?

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I will most likely be getting rid of a large amount of my herbs. I don't use that many of them regularly enough to keep so many in jars. I am getting ready to move into a much smaller place. Going from 2,540 square feet to just under 1,200 square feet. I am also losing my own private room for storing my witchy items. So I will be scattering a lot of the older and less used herbs to the winds and thanking them. I will probably only keep a few specific herbs that I use the most. (mugwort, mullein, wormwood, rosemary, lavender, jimson weed, belladonna, chicory, and corn meal)

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How do you use them inside without asphixiating yourself?

Oh it's fine indoors-- IF you are speaking of those little round charcoal hockey pucks, that you use one at a time for burning resin and whatnot. Regular charcoal chunks like for cooking on a grill? No! Do not do that! That would be bad!

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I let it burn to a cinder outside on the porch before I brought it in. I've used charcoal briquettes for the grill in a pinch. Tossed it on the grill, got it hot and when the white ash formed, thru it in the brass container and in I went.

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I just stick those little incense burner charcoals on the stove till they're good an glowing. The chemicals in them won't hurt you, they're not concentrated enough.

 

But yeah, don't use the charcoal grill stuff!

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I just stick those little incense burner charcoals on the stove till they're not an glowing.

 

Now that's a freakin good idea!! Here I've been struggling with a lighter/matches all this time! DOH!

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For Hoodoo purposes/spellwork, I'll keep them longer than I would for medicinal purposes of course. I still think they're potent enough for use in certain spells. Some herbs get stronger when they're dried and some weaker. If you have some herbs that you've had for a while that you don't want to part with, look it up and see if its components are stronger or weaker when dried. That might help you make a decision, idk?

 

As far as inventory, LMAO! Holy shit you should see my kitchen. I'm not sure I can find actual food in the cupboards anymore! Yikes! For medicinal herbs I keep them in the kitchen in airtight containers, especially bc I use them more frequently. For herbs I use more for magical (Hoodoo) purposes, I keep them separated by action (i.e, love herbs, prosperity herbs, hexing herbs, etc.) in smaller plastic baggies, always making sure to keep as much air out of them as possible, like closing the bag as soon as I pull the herb out for example. I keep those herbs stored in several different boxes (usually separated by action again) that fix inside two of my working drawers in my dresser.

 

You could always test the herb by holding it in your hand and seeing if you get a strong "feeling" from it. Kind of like holding a stone or something that just buzzes w/power.

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