If you are anything like me, you hate to use anything only once. I hate to just throw something away unless I know it is completely used up and finished. This is especially true of those plastic shopping bags that seem to reproduce when you aren’t looking. There are many ways to reuse these.
1. Garbage can liners. All my little bathroom cans and office can have one of these bags. Most are white, and they look just like the little can liners you can buy.
2. Cat box liners. I don’t have cats but I hear the bags work great for this.
3. Fresh food bucket. When I picked blueberries this year, it was so easy to hang a bag over my arm and pick until the bag was full.
4. Car garbage bags. Keep some in your glove box and every time you clean your car out, you have a ready place to put the trash. Also, you can hang one on your door handle or gear shift.
5. A new bag. Here’s a LINK to instructions that show you how to turn bags into strips that you can then crochet into a new bag. The advantage is you use up a lot of the bags, and you have a new stylish waterproof bag.
6. Make a rug. Go here for instruction on how to turn these bags into floor rugs.
7. Dryer lint holder. I save my dryer lint in one so that when I go camping, or have a bonfire, I have a ready supply of dryer lint for fire starter.
8. Shoe organizer. When you travel, keep each pair of shoes in a bag.
9. Outfit organizer. When you pack for little kids, put each day’s worth of clothes in a loosely tied bag. Then, each day night, they put their dirty clothes in one bag, and the next morning, they get a fresh outfit out of a new bag. With all the clothes contained, there’s no danger of leaving anything behind and packing to leave is a cinch.
10. Dirty clothes container. When you travel, take a few to put your dirty clothes in. When you get home, you know exactly what is dirty and any clean clothes you have left over are still clean.
11. Wet swimsuits. Put your suits in a bag after a day of water fun. This is only if you are changing into dry clothes and then coming home. You do not want to leave a wet suit in a plastic bag for more than 24 hours because the suit can mildew.
12. Store your plastic bags. I use one bag to keep all my other bags in.
13. Seasonal storage. Put all your Christmas decorations in separate bags. Small items can be put in a bag, and then the bag wrapped around the item which provides extra cushioning. When you get decorations out in December, they will be unbroken and dust free. This also works for your decorative Easter eggs, your ceramic Halloween jack o lanterns and your Thanksgiving pilgrims.
14. Tool storage, car. Many cars have a place in the trunk to store the jack and the spare tire. However, it’s a good idea to keep a few other basic tools in your car and those can be kept together in a plastic shopping bag.
15. Tool storage, shed. In the shed, paint brushes and rollers can be stored in plastic bags, ready for their next use. Tie the bag shut so that dust and pests do not get on them and label the bag.
16. Donations, clothes. Many people go through their closet once a year and take old clothes out to be donated. Plastic shopping bags are just the right size for this, and they have convenient handles.
17. Donations, kids’ toys. Stuffed animals, small games, dolls, action figures, or kids’ books all fit well into a plastic bag.
18. Garden Helper. When you are repotting a plant, putting a bag down under the pot contains any dirt spillage and makes clean up easy. Also, plant cutting or shoots can be wrapped in a damp paper towel and then set in a plastic bag for easy transport to a new home.
19. Mixing bag. If you like to mix your own potting soil, put your components in a bag, hold shut and shake to mix. If you don’t need it all right then, you have a convenient storage bag for next time.
20. Plastic bags can be ironed together to make a thicker plastic sheet that can then be turned into wallets, or totes, or whatever your imagination and sewing skills can envision. HERE is a link for directions.
21. Packaging material. When I ship breakable gifts to friends, I use the bags to wrap the item and to fill the box. The gift is cushioned and now my friend has packaging material she can reuse.
22. Scarecrow accessory. If you have a garden, hanging some plastic bags on a line or posts scares birds away from your produce. Hang a few aluminum pie pans to and the flapping, rattling, shiny cacophony scares off all but the most determined feathered thief.
23. Shoe Booties. If you don’t have to little plastic covers for your shoes, you can use plastic bags tied up and over your shoes.
24. Craft Projects. Lay a bag flat as a place to mix paint for painting projects, clay for sculpting projects, or just a table cover for marker coloring.
25. Moving. Plastic bags are great to pack small items. More can be used as cushioning material for breakable items. In almost any case where you would use newspaper, you can use plastic bags for packaging material. Also, if you are packing items for long term storage, plastic will not rot or be feasted on by bugs as newspaper would.
26. Shopping bags. You can take the bags you already have to the store. Most bags can be used over and over. If you are embarrassed to use a Wal-mart bag in Target, just turn the bag inside out.
I hope this list gives you a place to start reusing your plastic shopping bags. Now, the best thing to do is to use these bags up and to limit how many new ones come into your life. Take your own bags when you shop so that eventually, you have a bag free home. What’s your favorite reuse of these shopping bags?