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Organizing Plastic Bags

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.


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February 1, 2016

I just moved into my first apartment alone in 18 months. And I am a self professed plastic bag hoarder! I use them to ship things, line things, wrap things, and yes, carry things.

But, it's like they breed. Trying to stuff them into a drawer or another plastic bag seems counter productive.

So, my tip is get yourself one of these collapsible laundry hampers and simply hang it up in your closet. The rod is almost always removable from one end. If not, use two hangers hanging side by side. You can get these used or at the Dollar Tree.

I have about 400 bags in this one and I don't have to fold them or anything. I hope this helps!

Source: None. Just using my head for more than a hat rack.

Comment Was this helpful? 6
February 3, 20161 found this helpful

Good tip. I use tons of plastic bags when I empty the cat litter boxes, I have 2 hangers holding open a large plastic bag to put the smaller ones in, but I like the hamper idea better than what I was doing, thanks!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
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August 26, 2016

It feels good to let our artistic juices flow. It's stimulating to see just how many different ways we can approach a particular project. But usually, when we've had our fun, we have to admit; there's really just a few, if not just one or two best ways to do anything.

Plastic grocery bags can be stored a countless number of ways. But just how time consuming are those ways? Is the way they are stored aesthetically pleasing and are the bags easily retrievable?

As an experiment, I chose an empty Miracle Gro box for storing the bags. I was able to get forty bags in the box without any effort. With the opening being large, retrieving the bags was easy. As I had put the bags in one at a time, rather than several in a wadded ball, retrieving them was very easy.

Time is no problem, retrieval is easy. That leaves aesthetics. With the label removed from the box, a white canister is what you have. It would be appropriate for any kitchen counter top. As the box is made of vinyl, it is completely washable. It could easily be covered with washable contact paper to match your kitchen decor.

If you chose to store the box out of sight when not in use, it's size and shape are ideal. It can be stored upright or laid down on it's side. With it's tight fitting snap on lid, there's no worry about the bags spilling out. Handy? Yes, Ma'am.

Here is where you can use your imagination. There must be dozens of containers that would work just as well as an empty Miracle Gro box. The first to come to my mind is a large oatmeal box, although not as sturdy and not washable unless covered with vinyl paper.

If you come up with some good ideas, please post them here, so we all can consider them. I've run out of fertilizer boxes.

Many young brides chose to wear their hair in an 'updo' for the wedding. May I suggest: If you have enough time on your hands to see how many grocery bags you can cram into a pill bottle, instead, use that time to tat a lovely lace snood for some lucky bride to be. She will be ever so grateful, and you will have created a memorable work of art sure to become an heirloom.

Tatted snoods, those were the days.

Comment Was this helpful? 3
September 11, 20160 found this helpful

I wonder how many of you had to Google 'tatted snoods' to find out what they were. That's OK, you can blame it on your youth. If your memory doesn't go back any farther than pony tails and bouffants, you're still a youngster.

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6 found this helpful
November 14, 2011

In our frontier area, we are a long way from town. 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 to recycle.


March 12, 2009

You can help save wild birds and animals: When unwrapping bread, groceries etc., I roll up the plastic wrapping or bags that I can't reuse and then tie them in knots before binning them.


March 8, 20170 found this helpful

A storage tube for plastic bags made from bandanas.

Here is a handy way to store extra plastic bags that can easily be made from a common bandana. This is a guide about bandana storage tube for plastic bags.


9 found this helpful
December 18, 2010

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.


March 15, 20170 found this helpful

Plastic bag holder made from a shirt sleeve.

Here is one idea for making a plastic bag saver using the sleeve from a man's shirt. Repurposing and reusing all in one. This is a guide about making an upcycled plastic bag saver.


4 found this helpful
July 19, 2013

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.


March 3, 20162 found this helpful

Folding Plastic Grocery Bags

This is a guide about folding plastic grocery bags. Storing plastic grocery bags for reuse can be a challenge. They seem to require a better solution than stuffing them in another grocery bag.


10 found this helpful
July 12, 2012

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.


4 found this helpful
December 27, 2011

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.


February 23, 20170 found this helpful

A empty tissue box being reused to store plastic bags.

Reusing empty grocery bags is becoming the norm. There are many ways to store them until you need them. Using an empty tissue box is actually reusing two types of packaging and reducing waste.


7 found this helpful
June 9, 2010

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.


3 found this helpful
April 20, 2011

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.


January 22, 20170 found this helpful

A pop can box made into a bag organizer.

Recycled solutions to organizational issues are often thrifty and creative. This is a guide about use a soda can box to organize bags.


April 19, 2012

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


March 31, 2009

Plastic Bag Storage Tip

Ever 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.


June 16, 20052 found this helpful

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.


4 found this helpful
May 6, 2011

For storing plastic bags, one tip I liked was to use an unused jacket in your hall closet. Stuff plastic bags into the sleeve facing the door. When you need one, pluck it from the sleeve cuff. Nary a problem ending up with two or three.


1 found this helpful
December 27, 2011

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 can use smaller sizes.


March 24, 20091 found this helpful

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.


December 22, 20052 found this helpful

Instead of wadded plastic bags stuffed higgledy-piggledy, she 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.


January 16, 20051 found this helpful

Tie knots into the bags you throw in the trash. Department Store bags, dry cleaning bags, grocery store bags etc. This prevents little ones from playing with the bags. Therefore no danger of suffocation. By Chell


May 28, 20050 found this helpful

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.


October 15, 20080 found this helpful

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.


0 found this helpful
January 18, 2012

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.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 18, 20120 found this helpful

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

By Beth from NE

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20120 found this helpful

You can fold several of the plastic bags into small squares and store them in you pocketbook. Then if you forget to bring your own bags into the store you can use these. once folded they take almost no space. you could keep them in a little change purse.  ld-a-Plastic-Bag

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 23, 20091 found this helpful

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. I came across a handy dandy way to store them until you need them. On the sides of each gallon milk jug is a nice round circle just right to cut around. Cut one of them out, making the hole large enough to get your hand in or out. Then, as you collect those pesky bags, just stuff them one by one into the jug. They will come back out easily, one by one just as you put them in. A bottle holds dozens of bags. Hopes this gives you a way to free yourself from that mess of bags.

By Signaler from Bellefontaine, Ohio


Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

This is a great suggestion. I'll have to make some to keep under our kitchen and bathroom sinks. I just wanted to add that there are good places to get rid of extras- if you have so many that you'd never be able to use them all. Around here the doggy parks and many neighborhoods have "doggy poop stations" with bags for cleaning up after the dogs. Many of the bag holders at the stations are "refillable", so you are helping out your neighbors and cleaning out your cupboards at the same time! (05/22/2007)

By marina12

Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

YES, I AM A TREE-HUGGER! OK? Now: To avoid dealing with all those hateful plastic bags, use cloth bags. If you don't have any, get them at yard sales and flea markets - they cost about a dollar or so. Or just go retro and ask for paper bags. Cloth bags are great because they are washable as well as reusable. On the other hand, the old-fashioned paper bags are completely biodegradable - unlike the plastic ones - and some have handles, too. If you think the paper ones aren't strong enough, ask for double bagging. They can be re-used many times for all kinds of shopping (keep them in your trunk).

I recycle magazines and newspapers and office paper in the beat up paper bags. These bags and paper are re-made into other products, including more paper sacks and food packages. Plastic bags are made with petroleum which we are paying outrageous prices for now and they do not "disappear" for generations!

I hope you will at least try my methods for awhile. Maybe you will want to become a tree-hugger, too. (05/22/2007)

By hsorbits

Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

Thank you for this idea. I have so many of these and refused to buy that cute little cloth holder at Walmart that cost a fortune ( I thought anyway). We tried cloth bags and they got dirty and had to be washed or could never be found. My hubby refused paper bags because he believes bugs come into the house on them. These sound wonderful and would fit right under the sink. Thanks so much. (05/23/2007)

By jazzbird719

Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

I store all my plastic bags in an old blue tin trunk my mother rescued from her parents' farm many years ago. This is a way of just putting what I have to good use. (05/23/2007)

By gurth

Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

I use my own bags (cloth, back pack and whatnot) when I go grocery shopping. The only time I ever have plastic bags is when I buy more than what will fit in my bags and then I store them under my sink in a paper bag and use them for garbage bags Oh yeah, and I get $0.05 per bag I use in savings at the store. (06/03/2007)

By Jennifer(the Java Junkie)

Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

I have been told that cockroaches love the glue that is used to make paper bags. I don't know if it's true, I've never seen one of these bugs, but I'm not taking any chances. Just recycle the plastic bags at the store they came from. (09/13/2008)

By Sandy/Pittsburgh

HERE'S ANOTHER IDEA - Milk Jug for Organizing Plastic Bags

I organize plastic bags in an empty "Kleenex Boutique" tissue box which is much less bulky and takes less space than a big milk jug. They hold about 100 plastic grocery bags and the boxes are much prettier than a milk jug and you are recycling a paper product, too! They pull out just like a tissue! Isn't that convenient!

I also reuse "Kleenex Boutique" tissue boxes - the really pretty ones, and recycle as gift boxes. They hold socks, underwear, coffee mugs, food products, and so much more! I've been doing this for years and my friends and family love the idea and have now adapted the idea in their own lifestyle. I'm sure that there are other things these pretty & sturdy boxes could be used for. What ideas can you come up with?

Remember: Revive, reuse, recycle!

By Pat M

Comment Was this helpful? 1
April 14, 20170 found this helpful

This gets my "thumbs up!"

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April 20, 20110 found this helpful

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 (putting the handles together and lining up the bottom of the bag). Now fold again--you have a long skinny piece. Starting at the bottom of the bag, fold in thirds (like you fold a flag) until you get close to the top (where the handles are.) Secure the end (handles) into the opening that is created by this method of folding. You have a neat little triangle to store now instead of a big puffy mess of plastic.

These are easier to grab out of a basket or bag than a wadded up mess of plastic. I have a three-tiered wire mesh hanging basket in my pantry--the smaller folded bags go in one basket and the larger ones go in another basket. When I need a trash can liner, I grab the right size bag--no more searching through all the bags to get the size I need.

By Glowgirl from Watertown, WI


Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

I have a large stainless steel stock pot that I no longer use and store all of my bags in it and top it with the lid. It holds a lot of bags and looks neat. (10/22/2007)

By Lilly

Storing Plastic Grocery Bags

I found an old stretched out leg warmer in my sock drawer that is no longer wearable. (I got this idea from a post above using a tube sock) I made a drawstring for hanging at the top (insert plastic bags through here) At the bottom I made another drawstring using a narrow piece of elastic. (Don't make this too tight) Insert your hand through the bottom hole and pull out a plastic bag. (10/18/2008)

By Shirl

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

June 9, 20100 found this helpful

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


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

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

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

October 25, 20060 found this helpful
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