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How to Make the Most of Reusable Shopping Bags

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My husband affectionately refers to me as a bag lady.  It’s true.  I have an obsession with bags.  It doesn’t matter that I have dozens of canvas totes, I’ll still accept the free one at the family expo because 1) I forgot to bring one of the bags I already own and 2) I’m sure I’ll use it again.  Also, as an aspiring Wondermom, I like to do my part to save Earth.  Consequently, I have reusable bags for all the stores I frequent.

a lady carrying a purple reusable shopping bag with title text reading How To Make The Most Of Reusable Shopping Bags

Tricks To Help You Remember Your Reusable Shopping Bags

As many of you might know, the trick with reusable bags is that you need to remember to bring them with you in order to reuse them.  After forgetting mine more times than I can count, I finally figured out a few tricks to help me use all those reusable bags I keep accumulating.

  1. Keep a handy purse pouch so you always have at least one bag with you.  Keep the pouch in the same pocket where you keep your wallet so you will remember to take it out when you are checking out.  Okay, if you don’t already have one, yes, I am actually recommending you obtain ANOTHER bag.  However, I use my purse bag every time I shop so it has replaced my need for anything other than reusable grocery bags.  Click here to see one.  You can also find similar pouches at Pier 1 Imports.
  2. For your larger shopping trips, you can replace several bags with these from Amazon or these from reuseit.com.  I love these bags because they hook right into the shopping cart.
  3. After you finish shopping, promptly return your bags to your car.  If you don’t want to do that, place them right by the door so that the next time you get in the car, you remember to bring the bags with you.
  4. Since I keep my bags in my trunk, many times I would still forget to bring them into the store and wouldn’t want to go out to retrieve them after I started shopping.  To avoid this, on the top of your grocery list, write in large letters (preferably in bold color) REMEMBER BAGS!  This way, when you double check your list at home, you will remember to put your bags somewhere in the car that you won’t forget them once you get to the store.  For me, this is on top of my purse.
  5. Still afraid you’ll forget your bags in the car?  Go here to request a free reminder window cling for your car.
  6. Don’t just use your reusable shopping bags for shopping.  We use ours for our library books, as sleepover bags, as Sunday school book bags, and as totes for supplies to keep us entertained in the car or at all-day sporting events like wrestling tournaments.
  7. After you’ve figured out which bags you plan to use regularly, use the extras to hold donations until you can deliver them.  You can hang them on your children’s closet doors so they can put the clothes they outgrow into them instead of tossing them on the floor, putting them in the hamper, or cramming them under their bed (my kids’ favorite tactic).

How To Wash Your Reusable Bags

One final note, please remember to wash your reusable bags, especially your grocery bags.  For instructions on how to wash them, click here.  If you have other tips on other ways to use reusable bags or how to remember them, please share them in the comments.  As I mentioned, I still have dozens that I can’t bear to part with so I’m eager to find reasons to keep them.  🙂

10 thoughts on “How to Make the Most of Reusable Shopping Bags”

  1. These are such good ideas. I have to admit I have not made the switch over to reusable bags yet, but perhaps I should think about it.

    • My new obstacle is remembering to hand the cashier my bag before they start bagging. Twice in the last week, I had my reusable bag hanging on my arm as the cashier started to load my purchases into the plastic store bag!

  2. We have been using reusable bags for a few years now. The grocery stores around here often will take some money off your bill if you bring your own bags.

  3. Thanks for these tips. I am a lot better about using these bags now. I keep a bunch in my trunk for supermarket runs. I also have separate bag that I keep for places like CVS…when I am just getting a couple of things. I’m kind of obsessed with these bags!

  4. I love this article! We only use reusable bags, in fact I have the one in your picture! I got it in Australia (notice the land care australia logo?). Are you Aussie too? Your blog is great – we seem to have similar styles. You might like my most recent post: http://www.thespruiker.com/walk-more/

    • Laura, I’m sorry to say I am not Australian. Just a coincidence with the pic. I have a plug-in that I use to find and cite pics so it was the first reusable bag I found there. Just checked out your site. Love it!

  5. I want to build a whole house out of these reusable bags. My favorite is when I have a bag just full of bags. It makes me all tingly thinking about it!

    • Danielle, I have two bags full of bags in my trunk! One for grocery bags, another with other shopping bags. Too funny.


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