Reusable Bags

Reusable shopping bags are everywhere these days. You're given polypropylene totes in checkout lines, you receive canvas slings for swag at events, and many makers and retailers use drawstring sacks when wrapping their online orders. While it's wonderful that we're no longer requiring and disposing of endless plastic bags, it can be a bit tricky for those of us living in a small space to find a practical place to keep the bulkier, reusable totes. Since these items come into play nearly every day, I thought the topic warranted a post. Here's how I deal with reusable bags and food wraps at the Cottage. Below, I've provided information on the styles I love, were I store them, and how I go about giving some away.

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I have three groupings of reusable bags at the cottage, and I organize each category differently, based on their sizes and how I use them:

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  • Market Baskets - I use these for the bulky or heavier duty items-- laundry detergent, beverage cans, oversized branches, beach towels, weekender bags, etc. These stay on display via a coatrack, either inside or on the stoop, depending on the weather. I also hang them on the walls as functional decor from time to time.
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  • Canvas / String Shopping Bags - I have these in multiple sizes, and I use them for everyday groceries and errands. Canvas Shopping Bags - I keep these folded up in a wire, wall-mounted bin. Another bundle of bags stays in the car, and we keep a few in the base West's stroller. 
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  • Reusable Bee's Wrap + Sacks - I use these as often as possible in lieu of plastic wrap. They're ideal for sandwiches, baguettes, loaves of bread, and for preserving the freshness of almost anything other than meats. I roll these up when they're not in use and place them in a wire mesh vertical file/folder basket mounted magnetically to the side of the fridge. (Such baskets work well affixed to the inside of kitchen cabinet doors, too.)
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  • EXISTING PLASTIC BAGS - Organizing existing plastic bags in easy-to-reach spots requires minimal time and cost if you simply repurpose select household items. For example, you can always recycle a used tissue box or canning jar to keep shopping or pet bags at the ready:
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When (and How) to Give Reusable Bags Away - First off, I love the 4 or 6-compartment wine bags from the grocery store. As my mom pointed out, they're a handy way to safely store (and tote) sandals and flats. For this reason, they are usually the only "freebie" bags that I keep.

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The SWAG and retail totes never stay in the Cottage for long. The minute they're empty, I challenge myself to load them up with donations, or I use them as gift wrap for outgoing presents. This can be an effortless way to keep track of how much you're bringing into your home, vs how much you're clearing out.