How should I neatly store reusable bags in my trunk?
July 19, 2011 11:13 AM   Subscribe

If you store your reusable grocery bags in your car trunk, how do you store them?

Right now I'm doing the "stuff all bags in one bag" system but I don't like it. My bags get all mangled and they end up strewn all over the trunk of my car anyway because I go digging for the insulated one or the one that holds wine bottles or the extra-big one or the special one that gets me a 5-cent discount and I set the whole thing in disarray. I also often end up bringing in the wrong quantity of bags because I can't easily get another bag free from the tangle, or I just grab them all in desperation, so I'll end up with 12 bags on a 2-bag trip or 4 bags on a 12-bag trip. Annoying.

So, do you have a good method of storing your reusable bags in your trunk that's reasonably compact and that ideally allows you to get at individual bags fairly easily? (I also carry around an umbrella stroller and a car emergency kit in my trunk, plus it fills fast when I run errands, so neat and compact is preferred.) Purchased, kludged, or crafty solutions are all fine, though I'm more sewing-crafty than, like, welding crafty.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Once I am done grocery shopping, I give the bags a good shake (to get out all the loose bits like onion skins for example).
Then I fold then up in half and just stack my bags in my back seat (they are all canvas not the stiff recycled plastic kind).

If you are the crafty kind, then attach some sort of mesh bag (with elastic) to the wall (like this) of your trunk. Then place the folded (untangled) grocery bags in there and pull out as many as you need.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 11:24 AM on July 19, 2011

Yeah, I fold and stack mine, too. Maybe slide the stack into another bag, to keep them all together but still let you pull out the number or specific one you want?
posted by dorey_oh at 11:37 AM on July 19, 2011

I have a box from the grocery store that I use like a file cabinet. Fold bags flat and store bags edge up.

I got the perfect box by cruising up and down the grocery aisles while stockers were stocking and asked for the just-emptied box of the perfect size-- wide enough for the widest bag, but no too deep, for easy access. Mine holds the 10-12 bags I haul around.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:42 AM on July 19, 2011

I have two largish folding storage boxes in my trunk. One holds bags, the other holds my emergency kit. The beauty of the folding boxes is that if I do need more space I can quickly fold them down flat, creating more space at the price of organization. Mine are similar to these but not milk crate style.
posted by chairface at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2011

Similar to everyone else - when we empty them out in the house, we fold them and then hang them on the doorknob until the next trip to the car. Then in my car they get filed like in a filing cabinet in a Large Utility Tote.
posted by librarianamy at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2011

We used to stand them up in a cardboard box in the trunk, but then I found these trunk trays at Container Store. Now we just lay the bags flat in the tray, which makes it easier to find the one(s) I'm seeking. Plus, small things purchased on errands can go in there as well, keeping them from plummeting around in the trunk while driving.
posted by DrGail at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2011

I have a bungee cord that threads through the handles, and both ends hook on to some of hte metal structure on the upper part of the trunk. The hanging pile of bags is in the way when I want to put big stuff in the trunk, but then I just hook the bungee to itself and throw the wad of bags in the corner of the trunk or in the backseat.
posted by aimedwander at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2011

I use those big black binder clips. One on each side to hold together a stack of 9 grocery bags. I also tuck the handles in, because they look neater that way, but I'm a bit neurotic about such things.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 12:46 PM on July 19, 2011

They all get crammed inside the insulated one, because its sides are stiffer. Then at the coop they all get dumped out in a pile by the register. It's annoying, but it makes certain everyone knows you're using your own bags.
Actually, one thing that helps is that our collection is almost all similarly-sized rectangular plastics-based bags, so putting the minimal effort into folding helps a lot--on a good day they slide neatly into the cooler bag. The cloth bags go to the farmers' market with us.
posted by Mngo at 2:07 PM on July 19, 2011

I replaced all my mismatched one-off bags with 5 identical insulated bags so the only decision I need to make is how many bags to bring into the store rather than which bags+how many. I store them in one of the bags (doesn't matter which one because they are all the same) which is held against the back of the trunk with a bungee cord.

I totally get what you are saying re: 'this one has the pockets for bottles and that one gets me a few pennies off' but in practice, I felt these minor advantages were outweighed by the hassle of finding the special bag when it was needed.
posted by jamaro at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2011

What about storing them in one of those metal or plastic racks that people use for holding files upright on their desks? Then you could see them all at one time and they'd stay tidy.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 3:34 PM on July 19, 2011

I use a canvas collapsible cube. The bags are folded in half and filed in the cube. I have another one that holds emergency and picnic supplies- I like the cubes because they're small (about 12-13 inches all the way around) and they don't tip over easily.
posted by dogmom at 6:28 PM on July 19, 2011

This is a bit of a digression but if the "5-cent discount" you are referring to is at Target, they will give you a discount for any brand bag. It doesn't have to be a Target one, so grab whichever you like.
posted by Famous at 8:16 PM on July 19, 2011

I fold them and put them into a bag. Keep odd bags (insulated, what have you) seperate.
posted by Kurichina at 8:05 AM on July 20, 2011

Response by poster: All my bags are odd bags. :) I think some form of cube and/or the binder clips are most likely to work ... and I have some of those Target cube drawers upstairs holding toddler toys so I can experiment with them before deciding. I can probably make some quick-grab sets with binder clips and store them all in the cube. (Like "two insulated and three regular grocery bags, with one produce bag," clipped together for the grocery store, and then I can grab an extra bag and a wine bag if I know I need to buy a lot of stuff and some wine.)

(And I thought about getting myself a matched set but my husband is hella hard on the bags, always overloading them, and he keeps actually tearing them. So I've just got a mishmash of random bags, many of them free, since I don't want to bother replacing ones I paid for over and over. He DOES have his own bags, they're just always all torn up and mashed away in places he can't find them, so he helps himself to my better-organized and better-maintained ones when he can't find his. *eye roll* This is also why sticking them in another bag isn't optimal -- not only do I tend to make a mess of that, but he makes an absolute catastrophe of it and is always mashing things back in the bag so even the folded ones end up a mess. I'm fairly sure I can convince him to just throw them back in the trunk and let me put them away later if I have an actual organization system.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:12 AM on July 20, 2011

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