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I bring some plastic bags to my flat almost everyday. I do not throw them out, instead I reuse them on a daily basis until they wear out. But I have a problem organising them and I am yet to find a way to store them efficiently.

What I mean by effective?

  • I want constant insertion time. For example, container like this one has this property - all you need is to squeeze bag in it. Simple folding a bag is also perfectly ok with me.
  • I want random access to my bags. That's because there are quite a lot of different types of bags (tiny to large, easy to break to strong ones, etc.) and I want to get a bag I want easily and fast. The container from previous point does not have this property. If I want to get a bag from the middle or the bottom of it, I need to take out all bags above the one I want. That's just irritating and it's the drawback of the vast majority of bag containers.
  • I want to have all bags visible - that's similar to previous one, I want to see all the bags, so I can quickly spot and then take the one I want.

I thought of using a few containers, each one for different type of a bag, but after some time I discarded this idea - there are too many types and I would need to have ~10 containers in order to compensate for their drawbacks mentioned above.

I hadn't yet tried it, but I found an interesting video which shows a flag-like folding method. It seems to fit all my needs, but may be also quite time consuming. I would be more than happy to see some other ideas!

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    "constant insertion time"? You are such a programmer :) – Nate Jul 21 '13 at 6:02
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    The IKEA item you link to has holes you can pull bags through. Is that not random-access enough? It is better than my initial thought. – Elaine Hale Jul 23 '13 at 19:54
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    This question is borderline on-topic here, but since a majority of people here seem to like it we are going to allow it. – THelper Jul 25 '13 at 13:45
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    Truly random access is going to be difficult. Is pseudo-random access OK? – Evan Johnson Jul 26 '13 at 19:47
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    @user1234567 You could always just make the holes bigger on the IKEA item. It's polypropylene so you should be able to smooth out any rough edges with a flame or other heat source. – Evan Johnson Jul 29 '13 at 14:48
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I've had good success with the following system. All you need are two stronger plastic bags with handles:

Bag one: non-handled bags

  • 'roll and rip' style produce bags from the market
  • bread bags
  • ziploc bags
  • anything else without a handle

Bag two: handled bags

  • plastic grocery bags
  • mall shopping bags (think h&m or something — attached handles rather than one piece of plastic)

In a drawer: paper bags

  • old flour bags
  • paper lunch bags
  • anything else that will fold flat

I've been saving nearly every bag I use for over a year and have never struggled to find the right size/kind. Also the handled/non-handled breakdown works well without being over-organized. As long as you are using them and not just saving them, this should work for you. Also, a bag of bags stuffed into a pillowcase is surprisingly comfortable.

  • I ended using something very similar. Categorized bags by size and strength (big&large, medium, tiny) and used old textile bags as containers. I also tried to use the folding method from the video I linked to in my question and I must admit - once you get used to it, it's surprisingly fast. – user1234567 Oct 24 '13 at 14:01
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I push them into the gap between a cupboard and a wall, the cupboard is about 6 foot tall so there's plenty of space and I can put/take from the gap as I want. Maybe I'm a bit of a cheap skate but didn't want to buy something to solve this problem. Sometimes two come out, but hey, it's not difficult to pop the extra one back in. When I moved house, I had to select a different gap, so I push them into gap between washing machine and kitchen unit, not as tall (can't hold so many) but simple and effective.

2

You're smart to figure out a way that works for you to store & access your used bags. Without that they're not nearly as re-usable!

We use these strategies to cut through the clutter & make our bags more manageable:

Bring as few home as possible We keep reusable shopping & produce bags in a front closet so it's easy to grab on the way to the store. We keep 2-3 bags in each car for errands on the way home. Foldable or net bags can even fit in a tote bag, backpack or briefcase.

Store where you use them An example of this is a bunch of bags used as trash can liners stored under the in-use bag.

Group like with like For example, fold & stack paper grocery bags & slide the stack inside one of the paper bags. When the "holder" looks like what's inside it's easier to know where to go to get what you need.

Group by function We bring all our food bags to one drawer, rolled & stored in emptied boxes of that type (marked for re-use) or in marked tubes.

Bundle the bulk When any type of bag overflows its storage we put the overflow into a like bag & store in a holding area (top of a closet near our refuse station). When the current store is used up we bring out the bundle & put those bags in current use areas.

Share the wealth! If we have a lot we'll likely take a long time to use we find someone who needs a whole bunch & pass them on. Good candidates for that are farmers (need lots of produce bags & other small bags like newspaper bags); Small businesses (need shopping bags); School & volunteer groups (lots of different needs- check with your faves!). Local Freecycle and ReuseIt Groups are easy ways to find a taker.

This "The Yummy Life" blog post shows several of these in action. I loved her cardboard tube grouping idea & we use it for our food bags.

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Categorise the bags into a maximum of four categories.

E.G. "Standard Bag", "Large Bag", "Small Bag", "Strong Bag".

The bags must then be stored consistently in your clothes.

i.e. A "standard bag" must always be present in the front left-hand corner of your trousers. A "large bag" will always be present in the front right-hand corner etc...

So clearly they will not be visible; but this criteria will not be necessary as you will always know where they are.

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Something like this may work: https://genialne.pl/rolka-po-papierze-toaletowym/

The rolls take up a relatively small amount of space so you could sort by as many categories as you want and can keep a box/set in every room of your house. This could also be done with jars or pretty much any other container if you need something wider. If you need it to be aesthetically pleasing, you can probably find a DIY for that online pretty easily.

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