How to Declutter Shopping Bags in 3 Easy Steps

Photo of reusable shopping bags on a white background
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

The other day I looked at my rather large collection of plastic and reusable bags and thought…”Why are there so many?”

I don’t know when or how it happened, but there were just TOO MANY. It was time to declutter my shopping bags. 

Because I know I’m not the only one who could use a quick and easy step-by-step to conquer my shopping bag clutter, I created one for you!

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1. Assess and Sort Your Shopping Bags

The first step to declutter shopping bags is taking stock of what you’ve got. 

Start by gathering all your shopping bags from various locations in your home. Grab all: 

  • Reusable bags 
  • Tote bags
  • Cooler bags 
  • Paper bags
  • Plastic bags from the grocery store

Next, assess their condition. Start a discard pile for any bags that have holes, tears or appear on their last legs. Only keep bags in good condition. By setting this rule, you’ll (hopefully) be able to pare down a bit. 

Keep similar types of bags (small bags, large bags, canvas reusable totes, etc.) together. 

​Donate, Reuse or Recycle Extra Shopping Bags

Photo of knitting supplies in a canvas tote bag
Photo Credit:

You may have excess shopping bags you don’t want to throw away, but they take up too much space. Not to worry! Consider these ideas:

  • Donate reusable grocery bags to your local donation center. This gives perfectly good bags a new home and helps others who care about the environment.
  • Reuse single-use plastic bags throughout your house. I use them for trash can liners in my bathroom waste baskets. I also use them for kitty litter removal. (Got dogs? Use them for poop pickup!)
  • Turn a large reusable tote bag into a diaper bag, use it for pet storage, use it to store knitting or craft project supplies, use it to haul gardening tools…the possibilities are endless.
  • Recycle plastic grocery shopping bags. Most grocery stores have a bin near the front door to collect used bags for recycling. This helps prevent plastic bags from ending up in landfills.

Sort the remaining “good” bags you’ll keep for shopping into categories. You might have a category for those reusable bags that you use only for meat or poultry. You might sort them based on size. This is up to you.

2. Choose the Best Shopping Bag Storage Solutions

Once you’ve sorted your shopping bags, it’s time to find them a home! You’ll want to choose solutions or containers that are easy to access and fit well in your storage space. For example:

Use a large storage bin or basket 

Got a spare bin or basket lying around the house? They are perfect for storing canvas bags in a pantry or closet.

Utilize hooks or hangers to store bags

I love using the back of my pantry door for easy storage! Install a Command hook and hang tote bags on the back of doors or use a hanger inside a closet for easy access. If you have hooks for purses or coats near your garage or front door, you can hang bags there as well.

Install an organizer in your car trunk 

A car trunk organizer is one of my favorite storage solutions! I use one to organize all of my son’s sports gear, my reusable bags, my groceries, etc. It’s the best.

Use a plastic bag dispenser 

Photo showing plastic grocery bags stored in a large clear plastic snack container
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

A plastic bag dispenser makes it very easy to retrieve a bag any time you need it. I kept it simple and reused an empty Costco snack container (above).

An alternative to my free solution: Amazon has great dispensers for plastic grocery bags. You can keep one under your kitchen sink for easy access.

Use a hanging organizer in a closet

Another great way to organize your shopping bags: use a hanging organizer! Place a stack of bags in each cubby. You might assign one cubby for canvas bags, one for cooler bags, one for large bags, etc.

Try drawer organizers

Photo Credit: Organizenvy

A drawer organizer can work for shopping bag storage. Place one in a spare drawer and fold or roll your bags before placing them in the drawer. This works just like socks in your dresser!

Install an under-shelf basket

Maximize that empty space under a shelf in your pantry, garage or kitchen with an under-shelf basket. These are so easy to install — the arms just slip right over your shelf. Then simply fold your bags and stack them neatly inside the basket. 

Store your bags in larger bags

This is a super simple idea that works great! Simply fold all of your smaller bags and store them in one or more larger bags. Then hang the large bag on a hook or place it in your car trunk. 

3. Organize Your Reusable Bags for Easy Access 

Arrange your shopping bags within your chosen storage containers for easy access when needed. Think about the most efficient place to store them. This might be different for each category of bag.

For instance, you might keep reusable shopping bags in your car trunk or the garage. You can store cooler bags with handles on a hook on a pantry door. 

File-Fold Shopping Bags for Storage Bins

File fold reusable shopping bags and store them in a bin or basket.
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

I love the Marie Kondo method of file-folding! It’s so efficient, neat and tidy. It’s simple to file-fold reusable shopping bags. Here are the steps:

Place the bag on a flat surface. Fold the straps down.

Photo of a green reusable shopping bag on a white background
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

Fold each side into the middle. 

Fold the bottom and top halves toward the middle.

Photos showing steps to file fold a shopping bag for storage in a bin.
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

Store the bag in a bin with the folded edge facing up.

Repeat with the remaining bags.

Label Your Containers

If you know me, you know how much I love labels! I highly recommend labeling your containers for quick identification. This helps you and everyone in your house remember where the bags go.

That’s it! Just three simple steps (and a ton of great ideas) to declutter and organize your shopping bags once and for all. I hope you’re inspired to tackle this project.

Let me know how it worked for you. Happy organizing!

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Last update on 2024-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API