Folding Plastic Shopping Bags

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Organized 31 - How to Fold Plastic Shopping Bags
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I’ve been slightly obsessed (just ask my family) with controlling the plastic shopping bags that find their way into our house.   We use cloth bags when we do a lot of our shopping, but still end up with quite a few plastic shopping bags.  No problem, we use them to line the smaller trash cans in our house.  The problem comes with neatly containing those unruly plastic bags. 

Last summer I repurposed a clorox container to hold the plastic bags.
I made 2 containers, one for the linen closet upstairs and 1 for the laundry room downstairs.
a decorated wipes container
a decorated wipes container with plastic bags in it
The problem is that the bags get tangled in the containers.  The link in my original post explains how to fold and roll the bags up together so that they’ll dispense when you pull them out.  It was nifty, but took too much time to roll new bags up with the old bags.  We ended up just shoving the new bags into the container and just grabbing whatever bag was on top when we needed one.
I’m not so crazy that I worry about how the bags look inside the containers, but they were often difficult to pull out or you’d pull two or three out and then have to shove them back into the container.  Maybe it’s because my 3 children use these bags the most when they empty the trash cans.  Maybe it’s the gremlins that come out at night.  Whatever was causing the trouble, it was bugging me (said with slightly clenched jaws).
My dear neighbors and friends, Susan and Charlotte (and they’re sisters), always folded their plastic bags up into neat, compact little footballs.  I helped them one time long ago.  At the time I thought it was a neat idea but a little over the top. 
In my frustration,  I decided to give it a try in our house.
a plastic bag on a brown table
Lay the plastic bag out flat on a table.
folded plastic bags on a brown table
Fold it in half lengthwise and then in thirds.
folded plastic bags on a brown table
And fold the final third over.  Smooth the air out of the bag.
folded plastic bags on a brown table
Starting at the non-handles end, make a triangle.  If you’ve been in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or an honor guard and have flag folding experience, you’ll know exactly how to do this.
folded plastic bags on a brown table
Flip the triangle over and then up and then over again until you reach the top of the handles.
a blue arrow pointing to a hand showing how to fold plastic bags
Tuck the ends of the bag into the opening on the triangle.
folded plastic bags on a brown table
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 Here’s where the tucked in handles went.
Once you get the hang of it, it only takes a few seconds to fold a bag this way.  It’s worth it because I can fit almost twice as many bags into the container and they don’t get all tangled up when you pull one out.  I think it’s worth the few extra seconds when I put the bags away to save seconds of frustration later when I need a bag and have to fight to get it.  So, I’ve officially joined Susan and Charlotte and don’t think it’s so over the top any more.
More folding ideas:
How to Fold Socks 4 Different Ways - Organized 31
Organized 31 - How to Fold Jeans

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  1. Oh this so reminds me of folding the flag in girl scouts! I roll mine up in a ball but will have to try this method. They are so handy to reuse!

  2. I have a much simpler method than that. Take the bag, and hold it in the middle at the bottom. Just run your other hand down it where it is a small column. While holding it at the bottom, just wrap it around your finger till you only have a small ball. Then, using empty garbage bag boxes, store them until needed. Using a self-adhesive wall hook, and an empty bag, you can create a storage place that hangs on the wall. Simple and quick.

    1. Jacqueline, definitely sounds easy. I like that you recycle the trash bag box to hold the plastic shopping bags.

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