Organizing Plastic Bags

Organizing Plastic Bags, A blue plastic grocery bag.

Many homes have an assortment of plastic bags, from grocery bags to trash bags. It can be difficult to organize them all, so it may require some creativity. This is a guide about organizing plastic bags.


Video: Organizing Plastic Bags

This is a fun video with a solution for folding plastic bags to save space. It's a little labor intensive but the end result is neat to see.

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Solutions: Organizing Plastic Bags

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Tip: Use Soda Can Box to Organize Bags

A pop can box made into a bag organizer.The fabric tubes for storing plastic bags are useful and can be handmade instead of purchased. For those of us that are not as crafty with a sewing machine I have the solution. I use an empty cardboard fridge mate soda case that your sodas come in from the store. The hole that dispenses the soda is used for both loading your plastic grocery bags and removing.

To make it look nicer, I covered mine in contact paper that I had leftover from lining my cabinets. I also keep one next to any small wastebasket that uses the plastic grocery bags for easy rebagging. The dispensers easily stand on their own next to the wastebasket or because they are so light, they can be hung on the wall, fridge, etc. with a couple of self adhesive velcro pieces.

Be creative, one of the holders I covered in brown packaging paper or from a brown grocery bag and let the kids decorate it however they wanted. Very useful, costs nothing and is a great rainy day craft for the kids!

By Rebecca from Mechanicsburg, PA

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Tip: Storing Plastic Bags in Purse or Tote

I found that if I take a plastic bag and smooth it out and fold it up small, I can get several into a large prescription bottle which then goes in my purse or tote. You'll always have a plastic bag when you need one and you're away from home.

By Marti from Athens, GA

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Tip: Store Plastic Bags in a Garment Bag

I converted an old garment bag into a plastic bag holder. I put a clothes hanger in the hole of the garment bag and hung it on a hook in my garage. I zipped it up about half way and crammed all my plastic bags in it. The more bags I get the further up I'll need to zip it.

By txbetty from Lubbock

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Tip: Store Bags in Empty Tissue Box

With I store all my plastic bags in empty tissue boxes. Just tuck them in and pull them out one by one as needed. It's so easy to grab for lining garbage cans, dog walks, or any other fast thing I might need them for.

By Shirley from Bradenton, FL

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Tip: Why Store Plastic Bags?

In our frontier area, we are a long way from town. My problem with plastic bags is that there are just too many of them. After lining all my garbage cans with them, I hang one bag on the door and stuff the other bags in it.

When I make the long trip into town, I grab that bag of bags and take it out the door. When in town, I drop it off at the thrift store, the library, the farmer's market or the recycle bin at whatever of those four I stop at. My point is why would anyone want to store them? They are just plain in the way after they are empty.

My second solution to reducing the clutter of bags that find their way home with me from the store is to not use them. When at some grocery stores you can request paper. This I do. I can use it to start fires, wrap packages to mail, and haul out the burnable trash.

I have found that using those reusable fiber grocery store bags is not only a good way to bring home my groceries, but I also save 50 cents when I use them. I make far fewer trips back and forth from the car, and I can sort the groceries in them as I pack them. I put them one inside another and store them in my car for my next shopping trip. Simplifying my life is the best way to avoid a clutter of extra plastic.

By Leila B. from Brookings, OR

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Tip: Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

An easy way to store your plastic grocery bags is in an old, clean plastic milk jug. Most of these milk jugs have an indented circle on one side. Just cut out the circle and stuff in the bags. It will hold many bags and is easy to store.

By Jan from Gainesville, GA

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Tip: Store Plastic Bags in Paper Towel Roll

Keep all your plastic bags in an empty paper towel roll. This makes it easier to access them, and keeps them organized.

By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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Upcycled Plastic Bag Saver

Plastic bag holder made from a shirt sleeve.This is a great way to keep those plastic bags near by but contained. Use a large men's shirt sleeve!

Approximate Time: 1/2 hour


  • men's long sleeve shirt
  • sewing machine
  • whipped topping container 8 oz.
  • scissors


  1. Cut the sleeve off the shirt as high as possible and hem the end, about a 3/4 inch hem. Leave an opening in the hem for inserting the plastic strip.
  2. Cut the whipped topping bowl into about 1/2 inch wide strip. Round the short ends. Now you are ready to feed it through the hem, it should push through easily.
  3. Cut up whipped topping container.

  4. Next you will cut a slit about 1 inch from the end halfway up and on the other end half way down, this way they can intersect with each other and it keeps the plastic in a full circle.
  5. All you need is to complete sewing the hem up and attach a small loop for hanging.
  6. The bags will fall down into the sleeve cuff and you add new ones in at the top. I turned the cuff up after I buttoned it. Mine hangs in my pantry, it's so handy when I need a bag.

    By NoRulesArt from sunny FL

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Tip: Keep Extra Garbage Bags Under the One in Use

When one full bag of garbage is taken out, I replace it with a new one. I make sure there are 6 folded bags under the new one. I always have a full week of garbage bags without hunting for them when they have to be replaced. That way the bags are out of the way and ready for the next bag of garbage.

By Macie4 from Walnut Creek, CA

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Tip: Stuffed Animal to Hold Plastic Bags

In both my laundry/utility/mud room and in the kids' bathroom, I took a stuffed animal that at one time had electronics inside with a velcro closure on the back for replacing the batteries. The bear and dog had long since stopped working and they were headed for the landfill. I got the idea of cutting the battery box out and removing the stuffing in the body, leaving the head, arms, and legs fully stuffed. I then use the body to stuff full of plastic bags for the waste paper baskets and hang it on a hook on the wall. (For safety reasons, not for use with toddlers). Everyone, up to and including my teen girls, thought it was cute and it saves us many steps to get a bag.

Someone asked why save plastic bags? For trash liners, to stuff those slippers into when packing for an overnight stay, to keep the rain off that library book, to return the t-shirt left at the house last time best friends slept over, getting the cups and litter out of the car, wrapping that greasy part that DH is taking to the parts store to find a replacement, cutting in strips to crochet a reusable shopping bag, an emergency bib when feeding a friends toddler, to tie that dirty diaper up in so the whole house doesn't stink, to hang on the step ladder to hold cleaning supplies when washing windows or hanging curtains, to scoop the kitty liter box, to tie all the nuts/bolts/fasteners to the shelves you dismantled when moving, to hold clothespins when hanging sheets outside, cushioning material when mailing a package, keep a few in the car to slip your hand inside when checking the oil in the car or filling the gas tank to keep hands clean so you don't arrive at the office smelling like a gas pump, to take some tomatoes from the garden to a friend, etc. I find 1000 uses for those recycled plastic bags besides just bringing purchases home from the store.

    By slee15 [8]

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    Tip: Organizing Plastic Bags

    My Japanese friend held a garage sale just before moving back to Japan. I helped her tally the prices in American money. One customer bought many items, so I asked Megumi if she had any plastic bags to give out. She showed me a brown grocery sack full of them, but what a surprise!

    Instead of wadded bags stuffed higgledy-piggledy (like at my house), Megumi had taken each bag by the bottom and the handles and smoothed it to a thin, upright column. Then she had laid the brown paper sack on its side and placed each plastic bag inside, with the handles up. When I looked in the paper sack, I saw neat rows of handles. All I had to do was pull a set of handles and out slid a bag, ready for service!

    By Stef from Dublin, OH

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    Tip: Keep Grocery Bags By Your Door

    Leave a few grocery bags by your door. If you are working outside or forget something you can just slip them over your shoes so you don't have to take them off before walking across the floors and carpets.

    By Liz From Ontario

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    Tip: Sturdy Storage for Plastic Bags

    I use old Kleenex boxes or wipes containers to store my plastic bags. I try to organize them by size. For the kitchen, I need larger bags to fit my waste basket. In the bathroom or for recyclables (I use these to tote to the bins), I can use smaller sizes. In the car, I can use any size. These containers allow me to pop them out as needed without fumbling around. The wipes containers are very sturdy for getting thrown around in the car and last longer than the cardboard Kleenex boxes.

    By Susan from Elkhart IN

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    Tip: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    Plastic bag clutter? Quickly smooth the bag. Starting on one side, roll into a sausage. Now tie it in a single knot then tuck each end in. This takes up the space of a small baseball and is neat and tidy. A small container with a lid will keep them contained.

    By Joan from Ontario, Canada

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    Tip: Plastic Bag Storage Tip

    Plastic Bag Storage TipEver open the plastic bag cabinet or drawer and have them all "spring" out at you? I was condensing some today when I thought "I wonder how small they can get?" So, I rolled one from the bottom up so the air would leave, and when it was done, it was the shape of a long cigar. I then folded it in 1/2 and 1/2 again, and stuffed it in a spice jar. I actually got 3 in there! Now, I am not saying you have to put them in spice or medicine bottles, but you can fit a lot in ziplock snack bags, old coffee cans, pringles tubes, or just about any container that keeps them "corralled"! I hope this helps.

    By By Sandi from Salem, OR

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    Tip: Storing and Using Plastic Grocery Bags

    Take a large mesh orange or grapefruit bag that has a draw string type handle from your store bought produce. Snip a bottom corner of the bag off. Insert grocery bags or cleaning rags. It hangs where you wish as well as easy pull out from bottom corner. When it needs to be refilled, go from the top and refill as your bag empties. Beats all them plastic grocery bags from gathering up elsewhere.

    Also, I line an empty cat litter bucket with plastic grocery bags, Then with my extra bags in hanger bag, I place the daily dirty litter in A BAG, tie it shut and drop it in bucket and snap lid closed. I do that throughout week and the night before trash pickup, I carry the whole bucket outside for trash, air the bucket out, reline again for another week.

    RECYCLE! When it comes time to get rid of dirty kitty litter, remove bucket lid, tie the liner handles on bag shut, and throw out with the trash. Bucket with lid keeps out smell until disposal time. PS:

    MY litter box/bucket remain in the basement, and no one even knows I have two cats, no odors.

    By Lisa from Belle Vernon, PA

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    Plastic Bag Dispenser

    Plastic Bag DispenserEver figure out where to put those tons of plastic bags you get when you go to the groceries? Here's a cheap way to do it while teaching your young ones the value of recycling!


    • 4-5 cans.(Milk can size recommended so that your hand and the plastic bag just fits. Remove paper labels. Open BOTH sides. Make sure there are no sharp edges. File sharp edge if necessary.)
    • Paper clips
    • Alligator clips
    • Glue
    • Magic tape
    • Kraft paper, Gift wrapper and ribbon remnant pieces, other decors
    • Scissors

    Plastic Bag Dispenser


    1. Align the cans on top of each other. Tape one end to another so that it forms a long tube.

    2. Measure the height of the can between the upper and lower tab. Cut 4.5 rectangular pieces (depending on how many cans you have) of gift wrappers or Kraft paper with a height equal to the measured height. Do not worry about the lenth - you can cut it down later.

    3. Decide which paper goes on which can so that the paper design on them will look well.Paste the rectangular paper pieces around the cans, making sure that it is all covered. Cut the length where appropriate (for example, the design becomes concealed because of the length.)

    4. Decorate the cans with various stickers, ribbons and other decors. Key point is to place recycling-related phrases that you can point out to the kids in teaching a lesson on this subject.

    5. Place the alligator clips on the tube top side, as far away from each other.

    6. Tread the paper clips so that it forms a hoker. The Plastic Bag dispenser is noy ready to be hung - on kitchen cabinet knobs, on pantry door knobs or just about anywhere. Just make sure they are low enough for the young ones to reach - so they can do the stuffing in or pulling out of the plastic bags!

    One last tip: Segregate plastic bags that have holes in them versus those that do not have holes. Place them in different dispensers. Label your dispensers as appropriate so there will be no guessing needed which one is which.

    By Rela Ann

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    Tip: Onesie For Storing Plastic Bags

    Take a child's onesy pajamas with feet. Then sew up the cuffs at opening. If you want to, sew the upper arms where connected to the body of PJs. Then, attach a ribbon for hanging and you have a cute plastic bag holder by putting bags in neck area. You can then put this in your nursery or child's room for garbage and diapers.

    By CJ from Minot, ND

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    Tip: How to Make a Plastic Bag Storage Container

    Take a piece of fabric, fold it over and sew side. Hem each end leaving space for the draw string. Run a draw string at the top with a string to hang the container on a nail. Run elastic around the bottom and pull together. Put your plastic bags from the store in them. If you need one pull from bottom.

    By Carleen from Little Rock

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    Tip: Bring Bags on Dog Walks

    If you have a dog and need somewhere to store all the empty plastic bags for walks etc., put them in an empty Kleenex box by the door. They don't get in the way, and they don't look bad either. We keep one in the car too for trips to the park.

    By Amy

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    Here are questions related to Organizing Plastic Bags.

    Question: Storing Plastic Bags

    Where can I buy "storage" bags to put plastic sacks in?

    By Beth from NE

    AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


    Most Recent Answer

    By Laurie 08/26/2012

    An old tube sock will hold about 50 bags. I cut a small hole in the toe for dispensing. I also wad up about 4 bags in a toilet tissue tube and stash them in the car.

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    Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

    Archive: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    I like to save plastic grocery bags for the small trash cans in our house, and I had no place to hold them. I just could not see myself paying for something to hold these, that would be so ironic. Instead, I use a box that holds a 12 pack of can sodas, taped it up where I had to open it, and reinforced the opening where you pick it up by putting tape around it, and I ball up the bags and stuff them in. You will be surprised at how many it will hold!

    By Billie

    More Ideas:

    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    How about placing some of the extra plastic bags in the bottom or the small trash cans around your house. Then, when you fill one, there are others to use right away! (02/28/2005)

    By Sandy

    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    I also use plastic grocery bags in my smaller trashcans. I used to keep some in the bottom, as the other person suggested, but sometimes wet stuff goes thru a small hole or the side of the bag slips down the inside & leaves a sticky mess on the unused bags in the bottom. What I do now is store the bags close by in empty tissue boxes that are too pretty to throw away. They are perfect for this purpose. They hold a bunch of bags & the box doesn't take up much room. If you use the long type tissue box, you can set it upright on its end & it won't take up much table/counter space. I keep one in each bathroom & in our truck. (02/28/2005)

    By AuntDarween

    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    You can also use an empty milk jug by cutting an opening on one side of the jug. I have a home daycare so I use a lot of bags and I use clean empty cat litter containers. It works out well. My parents bring in bags too and I have several backups. This works out well for me. (03/01/2005)

    By acope

    Taming Plastic Bags

    This is how I keep my plastic bags tamed. First, lay flat then fold in half, then in thirds, smooth all the air out then grab the bottom with one hand and the handle with the other. While you are holding the bottom of the bag, start winding the hand with the handle toward you around the fingers holding the bottom, until it's all wrapped up except a small part of the handle, then slip the handle over the wrapped up bag. Awesome! (03/08/2005)

    By Ruby Barke

    Create a Bag Holder From a Milk Carton

    I clean out my empty gallon milk jugs and when dry replace the lid. I then cut a hole about 2-3 inches on the upper half of the jug then another slightly larger towards the bottom. As I get all those plastics bags from shopping I check to make sure they are intact (no holes or tears) then tightly wrap them around my finger (to press out any air). Then put it into the top hole in the jug.

    The milk carton holds an unbelievable amount of plastic bags and when your ready to reuse one you just pull one out from the bottom hole. I've labeled my jugs according to size of bags, small, medium and large, that way I don't have to pull out a bunch of bags looking for just the right size.

    I do craft fairs occasionally and yard sales, and this works great for recycling all those bags and I'm able to give customers a bag to hold their goodies in. The handle on the jug makes it easy to hold also. (03/16/2005)

    By Debbie

    Grocery Bag Storage Tip

    Here is tip is for all those plastic grocery bags we seem to accumulate. I save them because they are great for when I clean out the cat box , but didn't have a place to store them till I hit on the idea of using a empty tissue box. now I just stuff them in the empty box and store the box away on my laundry room shelf It holds a lot of bags and looks much neater, too. (03/22/2005)

    By Mamaboo

    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    I use a tube sock with a hole cut in the toe portion (03/22/2005)


    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    I use a fancy plastic bag (from a nice clothes shop!) to squash all the ones from the supermarket into! (sad but true!) Then remove them as and when! (03/22/2005)

    By Julie UK

    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    If you have a litter box, more than likely you store the litter in the same room. I saved a large litter container and cleaned it well. Then I cut a baseball size hole in the front center and keep it stuffed with bags. It stands right beside the litter and litterbox, so it doesn't stand out. (03/23/2005)

    By suzi homemaker

    RE: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    Use an empty oatmeal tube canister. Cut a small hole in the bottom for the bags to come out. Of course decorate to fit in with your decor and nail up to the wall in your pantry or laundry room. Put bags in the top and pull them out one by one from the bottom. (03/25/2005)

    By frumom

    Archive: Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

    If you are like me, you come home from stores with two or three items in a plastic bag and so many plastic bags, there aren't enough cabinets or drawers to put them in.


    Archive: Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

    Just a little tip for all the plastic bags everyone gets these days and I store mine in gallon milk jugs. In the center of the milk jug is usually a design like a circle, I cut the circle out then cut the handle in half just by slitting it in half. The reason I do that is then I can hang up the jug and when I get bags, just shove then in the hole in the milk jug. You will never believe how many bags a gallon jug will hold. It's great.

    Also if you want, you can slit the handle as for the bag tip then cut a larger hole in the center of the jug and then hang it on your clothes line and store all your clothes pins in it. I usually poke holes all over the milk carton so if it rains, it will leak out and the clothes pins won't start rotting. And this tip didn't cost you a dime.

    Source: My imagination.

    By Barb from Birchwood, WI

    RE: Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

    This is the very best tip I've seen in ages! Thank you for sharing your idea! (04/24/2009)

    By Cyinda

    RE: Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

    I do the same thing and keep one in the vehicle, and use the bags for garbage. We also have a dog that travels with us, now we have bags for doggie cleanups. (04/25/2009)

    By gollyg

    Archive: Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

    Here's a great way to store your extra plastic bags such as the ones you get at grocery stores and other stores. Fold the bag in half lengthwise.