Most of us are using reusable bags for shopping (at least for groceries), but it can be tricky to even remember them. And then how do you store reusable bags without it looking like a pile of crap (sorry for cussing, mom)?!
How To Store Reusable Bags
Before we moved into our house in Sacramento, we kept almost all of our reusable bags in the trunk of our car. We’d bring them in, unload them, and then hang them on the back of the front door handle to take back of the car. This was also before we had a kiddo.
Once we moved into our house, however, I started to keep more of them inside – for quick trips to the market, or even to hold my reusable mug as I walked to the coffee shop in the afternoons.
To prevent our stash of reusable bags from overwhelming a space, however, I’ve really embraced having a bag or container of some kind to hold the bags.
At first I used one of those square jute bags. I liked that it had structure, so it stood on the shelf. Then I stuffed it with the bags – sometimes in an orderly manner, sometimes in the “I’ve got a baby and don’t have any time, but I want my home cleaner” manner. IYKYK!
So a structured bag is great for keeping it looking more together. Then I bought the farmers market basket seen in these photos to use for…wait for it…farmers market shopping! I quickly swapped out the jute bag for this and have loved it ever since. I feel as though it looks styled rather than just functional.
Any basket will do, honestly. And I’ve had great luck with finding baskets at second hand stores – usually just for a few dollars.
But if you have or really want a farmers market basket, it works well.
As you can see, I keep a fair bit in this basket. I have two empty egg cartons I take to the market to exchange at the market (when the chickens are laying happily that is)!
I keep my two jute bags flat and standing up on the side. And then I shove (yes, I admit to shoving) all the flexible bags and my produce bags into a single bag, so that I can take them in/out easily when I need to basket to go to the market!
It’s not an elaborate system, but it works quite well!
How Many Reusable Bags do You Need?
Oh nelly is this a question for the ages. At first, you appreciate the free reusable bags. Then you get quickly overwhelmed with them. Then you realize not all reusable bags are created equally – some are just better than others for you!
I get it! But the truth is, and you know it already, that at some point, you have too many.
Before anything else, I want to state here loud and clear that reusable bags are not meant to be disposed. All that is to say, that when one comes into your life, plan to use it to the end of time – or at least the end of its functional time.
Each bag type has a different number of uses before it truly is more sustainable than using a single plastic bag. This is because it takes a lot of energy and water to create a more substantial bag than the flimsy one it’s replacing.
For the sake of simplicity, however, let’s say that each bag needs to be used at least 150 times before it replaces one bag. Multiply that by how many bags you have. Yeah. So get reusing!
Are reusable bags even worth it?
I know you want to ask. And the answer is that OF COURSE they’re worth it, but you have to remember what’s needed to make it worth it!
So say no to extra bags you don’t need.
The exact number you need will vary on how much shopping your do per trip. Do you only need 2-3 bags per shopping trip? Even if you keep enough for a trip in the car and in your house, that’s 5ish.
We probably have 15 or so, spread out between our two cars and inside. It might be too many, but we aren’t buying any new ones and we aren’t accepting anymore either.
How Do You Remember to Take Bags to the Car?
Remembering reusable bags might honestly more difficult than how to store them. Truthfully, it will become habit at some point to grab them out of your car as you head into the market.
To get them back into our car, I always pop them onto our front door handle right after unloading them. Then I take them out whenever I head out next. Then we have enough just living in our car whenever we end up at the market.
If you do happen to head into the store without your reusable bags, however, just ask to have your groceries put back into the basket without bags. You can bag them when you get to your car.
In the Car
As for storing reusable bags in the car, I use the same idea as inside. I either keep them all in a single, larger bag in the trunk, or in a basket in the trunk that has all kinds of car things – bags on top, as we use them the most!