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Shopping Bags

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And now for two more fantastic birthday gifts from my mother in law. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I live in the vast irony between obsessing over having reusable shopping bags but then forgetting to take them into the store. So now I have a ton of plastic bags that are horrible for the environment and I’ve also purchased a bunch of (really nice) reusable shopping bags that live in two piles: one in my trunk and one in The Hubby’s trunk…. and never get used.

I also want to state that as a pet owner and mom I still find a lot of needs for those terrible plastic grocery bags. I feel guilty – yes, seriously, I feel guilty – whenever I use them, but if you’ve ever been on a long outing and had to deal with kids’ clothing after it’s been urinated and defecated all over, you know why most moms carry some plastic bags around with them all the time. And cleaning up after your dog? Yes, there are bio dog bags, but they are still plastic. And expensive. Not really a great solution. My goal in the future is to find an acceptable alternative to plastic bags – something I know will break down in a landfill, but is super cheap (or free!) and available in large supply. I’m on the lookout now, so hopefully there will be a post about this in the future.

In the mean time, here are a couple short-term solutions:

# 1 Until I save the world by finding the perfect solution to the plastic bag crisis, I am storing my plastic grocery bags in this neat holder made by my lovely mother-in-law. Why is it important where I store them, you ask? Because they were exploding out of an old Shiner Beer box on the floor of our pantry which is already covered in crap and is dirty and difficult to clean because it’s, well… covered in plastic bags. That’s right, it is nothing but class at our house. This is a cute, economical, space saving DIY project for organized freaks like myself. Although I didn’t make this myself, I know it’s very easy to do if you know how to measure, cut and run a straight stitch on a sewing machine. You can make it out of scraps to save money and reduce waste. The hardest part will be running the elastic through the top and bottom rings, but I promise you can manage. Through the magic of Google, here is a link to another blog called Make It and Love It with instructions on how to make this yourself. SAVE THE PANTRY FLOORS!

#2 Meanwhile, I never remember to take my reusable bags into the store with me. I am SURE I am not the only person with this problem. They sit in my trunk and I forget about their existence until I am checking out, at which point it is too late. Enter guilt trip over wastefulness. So when my mother-in-law ALSO got me a Whole Planet reusable shopping bag for my birthday (did I mention she’s great?) I was thankful, but also skeptical of my own ability to actually use the darn thing. Her pitch that it’s small enough to keep in my purse was nearly lost on me, because I stopped carrying a purse 2 years ago. Buuuut, that did get me thinking. Although the purse bit didn’t apply to me, I thought maybe I could utilize the wisdom to help me anyway.

Here’s what I thought: If I can’t carry it with me, I can put it someplace where I’ll see it and remember to use it before I hit the checkout lines. I stuck it in my car dash. I’ve already used it twice. And since it’s small I just clip it onto my wallet while I’m in the store. I’m also hoping that having that one bag where I can see it will remind me to grab my other bags on the rare occasion when I make a large trip.

Perks of this bag for busy moms like myself (in addition to the size): the stuff bag and the shopping bag are sewn together so you are much less likely to lose either one; it’s a super light weight fabric in an over-the-shoulder design, which is handy for handling your wares and your little ones simultaneously; and, if you’re into all that “share the wealth” kinda stuff Whole Planet puts $1 of the bag purchase toward a microcredit for an impoverished community.

If you love to sew here are a couple links to patterns for making your own shopping bags:
DIY Grocery Tote
How to Make a Morsbag

I do want to throw in a reminder to wash your bags, people. If you use them, you should wash them. Stuff, especially produce, meat, and people’s hands, is dirty. Let’s spread reduction of consumer waste, not e-coli.

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