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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to organize those plastic bags

A year ago when I moved to Sydney I thought it was pretty awesome that there are garbage & recycling bins everywhere & that the shops make you pay for plastic bags. It's also something that I wish would catch on back in Canada. S and I bought a bunch of those canvas bags for our groceries and I figured we'd leave them in the car, use them every time we shop and get good use of them. What isn't awesome is that I'm pretty sure we've never actually used the bags for groceries since the day we bought them.

Let me tell you what we do use them for:
-To hold our clothes pins & laundry stuff
-To hold S's ridiculously huge collection of Japanese comic books because we don't have a bookshelf & I'm sick of finding them in every room of the house
-To hold all of my wrapping paper, ribbon, tissue paper and gift boxes
-To hold all of our stuff that we take to the park when we have a picnic or a BBQ (ie: table cloth, cutlery, garbage bags, metal tongs, paper plates, cups etc.)
-To hold K's baby stuff that I intend on selling but haven't got around to yet

As you can see I have been using my canvas bags for pretty much everything else but shopping. And in doing so we have been throwing money away and collecting so many plastic bags that I am up to my knees in them. Literally. These are the garbage bags that I pulled out from under my sink today:

In being lazy & thinking I would get around to organizing it 1 day we've been shoving them under the sink until the cupboard was full to the brim. Today I decided I had better tackle this problem for my own sanity. 

I sorted my bags into 3 piles: 
-1 for the small produce bags that will be perfect for holding stinky diapers 
-1 for the regular plastic shopping bags that we will continue to use in our garbage cans
-1 for the bags that are too big or awkward & will be taken to the bin outside the grocery store to be recycled

I then "knotted" my plastic bags so they look like this:

Here's how you do it:
1. Squeeze out all the air from your plastic bag & flatten it
2. Twist the plastic shopping bag around your hand & put the end through the center hole
3. Continue to do these 2 steps to all of the plastic bags
4. Store in a large bag until needed

That's it. It's super easy & when you are done all of those bags will be neat & tidy & take up much less space. Here is what the plastic bags at my house now look like:

Much better, no? How do you organize your plastic bags?


  1. Remember ever playing football on your school desk with a folded up sheet of notebook paper, flicking the triangle (football) back and forth thru finger goalposts? Well I found a site on line that reminded me of that and now when I have the time I fold my left over bags into triangle,they take hardly any room and I try to keep one or two in my purse and one in my pocket when my daughter and I walk around the neighborhood.

  2. We just use the ikea bag holder
    We are a lot alike: we own lots of shopping bags ( seems we have the same policy over here in Canada) but end up paying for plastic bags 'SIGH'
    Recently I squished about 8-10 grocery bags into a ziplock bag: and leave it in the trunk& use when we do groceries

  3. We stuff them one at a time into an empty tissue box


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