Do One Thing

Reuse Your Plastic Bags—and Reduce How Many You Accumulate!

A pileup of plastic bags in your kitchen is A) not cute and B) a total waste of space. So let’s break down two ways to get rid of that eyesore, starting by corralling the bags you do have and then by cutting down on the accumulation (ooh, maybe even to zero).

Okay, let’s address the crinkly mound you’ve already amassed. One easy way to deal with the messy collection is to reuse an empty tissue box and turn it into an automatic bag dispenser. All you do is loop the bottom of each bag through the handle of the one of below it and stuff, so as you pull out a fresh one, the next one will pop up ready to be used for recycling or dog-walking. Another solution is to contain them in something like this, which adheres to the inside of a cabinet.

Moving on to the second half of this two-pronged attack: using—and obtaining—less altogether. Plastic bags can take up to a thousand (a THOUSAND!) years to decompose and are generally terrible for the environment. Erin Boyle, who makes minimalism look so good on her blog Reading My Tea Leaves, keeps foldable canvas totes or Baggu reusable bags in the bags she uses most, like her work tote and diaper bag. “I like having bags that are exclusively used for grocery shopping and are always with me,” she says.

Maybe you’re like, “Yep, I already carry a reusable tote.” Good for you! But there might be other plastic bags in your life you’re not thinking about. “Consider going a step further and stop using the plastic bags offered at the store to hold produce or dried goods from the bulk aisle,” says Fan Winston, the editor of Remodelista’s The Organized Home, who suggests subbing in these reusable cotton produce bags.

There you have it: a win for your home, your sanity, and the earth.