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November 23, 2011

Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays: 28 Day Challenge – Day 28!

It’s Day 28! Can you believe it? We are almost there my friends! Congrats to you for all the progress you made during the past four weeks! Woohoo!

28 days-simplify101-1
So we have one final challenge, and it’s just in time for any Black Friday shopping you may have planned.  Here it is...


Day 28:  Declutter and organize your reusable shopping bags.

Today’s challenge is a simple one that’s designed to deal with current clutter and prevent future clutter. (Gotta’ love a two-for-one challenge, right?) If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of using reusable shopping bags. It prevents the hassle of collecting the plastic bags inside your home and taking them to be recycled. Reusable shopping bags help prevent clutter inside your home, and they’re great for the environment as well. But, what happens when your collection of reusable bags gets unruly, and how do you make sure to remember to take your bags to the store with you? That’s what today’s challenge is all about.



Let’s start by talking about decluttering an overgrown collection of reusable bags. If you have too many, and feel it would be a good idea to downsize them, why not use the extras as donation bags? Set a bag in each closet in your home, and make it your goal to fill up the bags over the course of several weeks or months. When they’re full, donate the bag and the stuff inside. (Oh, wow, that’s another two-for-one! How fun is that?)


Okay, so for the bags you decide to keep, the real trick is to store them someplace so that your bags are with you when you’re at the store. The most effective solution I have found for this, so far, is to keep bags in my purse. But there was a downside. It meant having a super huge purse, like a purse so big that my family called it a suitcase (and I would literally run into people with my purse while shopping.) 


Plan B for my bags has been to keep a supply in the trunk of my car. I also keep a handful of bags in a bucket that hangs on hook on the back door of my house—the door I use every single time I go shopping. This works great!



So your challenge for today is to reevaluate your collection of reusable shopping bags. If you have too many, use the extras for donation bags. And then, create a storage solution for the bags you keep, so they’re easy to remember to take to the store.


I’d love to hear from you! How do you handle reusable shopping bags? Do you have a storage solution that works great for you?  And…are you going shopping on Black Friday? Thanks for sharing. And thanks so much for joining in this challenge! I hope you enjoyed it as much as Jennifer and I enjoyed putting it together.

Happy organizing!



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I have larger shopping bags in the car trunk for bulk buying, and a smaller folded one in my bag for little things I get on the fly. I use a small amount of plastic bags as bin liners.

as for the rest ~ pastic ones that stray into the house go back to the store for recycling, and any others get donated to charity shops to reuse at the till. I find I have to clear out every three months otherwise the stash overflows and clutters up my cleaning cupboard.


We use larger reusable bags for grocery shopping which I try to store in the car so they are there when I spontaneously stop to pick something up. I was running low on plastic bags which I use as garbage bags, so I got a bit lazy about bringing my own, but now I have to get back into the habit.

Several of our local stores now charge 5 cents per plastic bag, and in our closest big city, there is a bylaw that every store must charge for plastic bags. Some companies have foundations where they donate the proceeds to local schools for green projects or other causes. What is the policy in your neck of the woods?


Thanks, hannahk and Nancy for your comments!

Nancy, around here, there are no rules about bringing your own bags. There is one store I know of that charges for bags and doesn't provide any free ones. And one store that gives you 5 cents off for every bag you bring in. But I'm not aware of any regulations. I think it's a great idea though!



I wish more stores would charge for plastic bags or discount for bringing in your bags as this would motivate me to remember to use mine more.

I have been good at taking my bags to Sams Club that I bought from there as they are great in providing me fewer cardboard boxes entering the home that take up space and require going back out for recycling. They are the perfect size for Sams club runs and are sturdy and have great straps.


I wonder at what point does having too many recyclable bags make you wasteful?? I've bought some, I like various sizes for various stores. Sometimes you get free ones. And now I have tons of them. I usually grab them when I go into the store but you grab one since you just runnig in for 2 things, that turns into more and now they don't fit in the one bag you brought in. Or I grab a few and only end up buying one or two things. Hard to estimate how many you'll need. I don't always bring them into places I'm just browsing in since I don't want to pack them around while shopping.


Just a general comment to say thank you for this challenge. As this is the end of the thanksgiving weekend, I can say it really paid off. I felt ready for our house guests and that was such a good feeling. They even commented on how tidy and organized I am. But the best part of it all, is I feel so much better about my house. Thank you!

patti mc

I still save the plastic bags. My dad works as a volunteer in a food pantry. They reuse the bags to give away the food. They also collect the plastic bags people bring back to the stores... so thank you to those of you who do that:)

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