Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting Organized - Plastic Bags

I am going through something right now; not anything bad, I am just tired of looking at stuff.  It is like I want to spring clean but multiply that by 100. Have you ever had that? I literally spent 6 hours in my children's rooms just tearing everything out and only putting back what we absolutely love. I have cleaned, purged and organized under every sink in the house. Closets are on my next to do list...I can't wait. I am not sure what it is about but it is making me happier and I feel lighter.
So, this is not going to be an earth shattering post, but it will be helpful for those of you, who like me, seem to amass piles of plastic grocery bags. I honestly use reusable bags as often as possible, but it seems that they end up neatly piled in our mudroom after I put my groceries away but they don't make it to the car by the time I need them. So over months I am left with a kitchen drawer full of plastic bags.

What do you do to keep them neat and tidy and convenient enough to use them again? Well, I tested out the three technique that I thought were the best options I could find:
  1. Cleaning wipes container
  2. Kleenex container
  3. Folding into triangles
The first two I found as solutions on the internet and the third was taught to me by my mother-in-law.

In all three options I used 6 plastic bags just so I could easily compare how well they hold the same amount.
Cleaning Wipes Container
The first method I tried was to put plastic bags in the disposable cleaning cloths container. Someone on a blog did this and covered the outside of the bottle with pretty scrapbook paper. It really did look nice and I would have done this if I felt this was a viable option, but I really didn't. I have a hard enough time getting those cleaning cloths out without pinching a finger or scratching the back of my hand.
I literally stuffed 5 bags into the container and was quite surprised that it would only hold that many. I might have been able to cram another one in but it was tight.
There were two flaws with this technique. Firstly, I should have cut out the prongs that keep the wipes from coming out in clumps because it ripped the bags as they were pulled out. Secondly, the bags are next to impossible to get out from the bottom. The first 2 came out because I could easily reach them, the last few I have to get a chopstick out to bring them to the top.
I guess if you were really ambitious, you could lay the bags flat and then roll them up so they are similar to a roll of paper towels before putting them in. Honestly, this did not work for me. I have the scratches on the back of my hand to prove it too :)

Kleenex Box
The second method I tested was using a Kleenex box to house the bags.I didn't have any empty tissue boxes on hand, but I had purchased a Kleenex box cover for a future craft so I tried that.
I took my 6 bags and stuffed them into the opening. The container held them nicely and could have probably housed a few more. This isn't a bad option, but I don't think it saves that much space.

Triangle Folding Plastic Bags
My mother-in-law has always folded her plastic bags and I never realized how easy and space saving it was. You might think it is not worth the time (30 seconds per bag) to fold the bags but this is by far my favorite method to store/organize plastic bags.

You start by flattening the bag, tucking in the side folds.
 Fold the bag in half length wise so the handles line up. Some bags will have the handle in the middle, so you don't have to worry about lining them up.
 Fold it in half again.
 Make a triangle on the bottom by folding the one corner up.
 Flip the triangle up so the sides line up.
 Just keep folding and flipping that triangle....

 until you reach the top.
 Fold the handles over and tuck them into the opposite side.
 Easy are done. You now have a neat little triangle plastic bag.
 It is amazing size difference.
 Here are the 6 folder bags.
This is  my favorite solution! It only takes a few seconds to do each and it really does save a lot of space.

If I had to rank the methods, they would be in the following order:
  1. Triangle Folding
  2. Kleenex Box
  3. Cleaning Wipe container
Look at the size difference between the three methods. All hold 6 but look how small the 6 folded bags are.
I have used a long tube of fabric with elastic on both ends before to hold the bags, but it also really doesn't save much space. 

What do you do with your plastic bags? Give it a try to fold them and let me know what you think!

I will be back on Christmas stuff very soon! I did a great ornament with the kids yesterday that I can't wait to share.

Have a great day,


  1. I've been folding my bags exactly like that for a long time and love it! Sometimes I store them in ziplock bags, other times they are thrown in the bottom of trash bins that use these bags, tuck a few in my purse, glove box in the car, drawer at work, etc. We also have a bag of bags in the bathroom with the kitty litter box and right above that sits one of those Tupperware bag holders. My preferred method is the small triangles. It's actually quite relaxing to grab a bunch of bags and fold them!

  2. I'll have to try the folding method. Thanks for showing us how to do that. As much as I love the wipes containers, I struggle with getting scratches on the back of my hand as well... it's nice to know there's a more reasonable solution.

  3. I used to put them all neatly into a box, but my family kept throwing them just beside the box. So now we have "a bag of bags"....not pretty but at least everyone will put their bags in.

  4. i have a very quick method. Takes about 6 seconds. Hold the bag by the handles. Run your hand down the bag, gently squeezing to flatten & get all of the air out. Then, starting at the bottom, wrap the bag tightly around 2 fingers until all you are left with are the 2 handle straps. Insert the bag, which should now be about the size of cracker, thru the straps to hold it all together. I have one of those bag holder thingies hanging in my pantry and I put them in it. It holds a ton more when they are wrapped up neatly like this and they are easy to throw into your purse for an on-the-go trash bag to keep with you.

  5. I do mine like Amee however then put them all in a "botique" tissue box. I have one in every bathroom in the house and 2-3 in a kitchen drawer that I recycle out when others get empty. Toss one in the car, the camper or wherever. Holds ton of bags and I guess if you were creative, you could cover the box with something pretty.

  6. My sister and I used to tease our mom for doing the folding method, but, really, it saves so much space!

  7. This is a great method and I shall be putting it use soon! I've nominated you for a 7 things about me award :) can't wait to hear what you share! check it out here!

  8. I used to do the same and thanks to this post I finally STARTED on the never ending pile. I had enough after 25, but hey its a start isnt it. Only about a 100 to go...or so;) I followed ur good example and shared this space saving technique on my blog too:)

  9. I love this method of bag folding! I have a cupboard that's sole purpose is to hold plastic bags. I went through and folded them, and now i have a whole shelf free! :) Thanks for the awesome idea!

  10. I do have a cleaning wipe container in my van, but I did not stuff the bags in. As you pointed out, stuffing them takes up a lot of room, and folding them a lot less room. I followed the directions on this site:

    and I was able to fit a WHOLE lot more than 6 bags in my container.

  11. Great idea, glad you're not just tossing them; but better would be to decline those plastic bags and use a re-usable bag. I have a couple of cute small fabric ones (these are from Pier One, but similar can be found elsewhere) that my sister gave as stocking stuffers. They hold as much as the plastic ones & fold up small. I keep a couple in my purse.

  12. Wow perfect! Thankyou so much!! Already tried it and its just great:-)

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  27. This sounds a pretty good method of getting plastics well organized. Will try to put them into practice as well. Nice share!

  28. Another good way is when you have an emoty 2litre soda bottle...cut the bottom part off...keeping the rest of the bottle as long as possible....screw lid off bottle but keep it. Grab a bag by handles...flatten it down and roll it up til left wuth ha dles..put it down into bottle with handles hanging out the them up and out the lip of the spout and screw lid back on bottle. You can either do that individually like that, or yoy can link the bags by threading the bottom of each bag through the handles of the next one behind...line them all up this way on ground or table abd start at the bottom of last bag..roll it up tight or get the handles 1/4 of the way uo bag, fold it up from the bottom a couple times..leaving handles loose..keep folding all bags together in 1 long daisy chain and place inside the bottle...the bag that would come off first..thread its handles through spout as mentioned above and screw lid back onto bottle..or you can leave it off..doesn't matter...then when you need a bag just grab the handles, youll have a bag, the next one willrbe brought down and out a bit to reach easily when you need another one and you can store quite a lot inside the bottle which yoy can also hook onto the back side of your pantry door where there is normally space between door and shelves...leave you room in the cupboards that you didnt have before and keeps them easy to reach at all times!

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