How I stopped hoarding reusable shopping totes and reclaimed my closet space!

This is the follow-up article to Top 3 Most Neglected Home Cleaning, which actually spurred more questions about reusable shopping totes. While researching the topic I was forced to take a good look at my true needs. I am actively trying to reduce my household clutter, only keeping items I really use and pass on those things I do not use to others who will actually use them. I want to share with you now how I recently stopped hoarding reusable shopping totes and reclaimed my closet space!

In my previous article Top 3 Most Neglected Home Cleaning, I compiled information I thought was important in the decision of choosing the best reusable shopping tote. If you didn’t read the article, here is the link. In that article I promised to write a follow-up after I figured it out for myself.
What I learned from writing that article is that I had never taken the time to determine my expectation for the totes I used and what application it was needed, I just kept “collecting” bags.

I really only need three or four bags yet I own two dozen or so. I received one after giving a donation, two were gift bags, several from promotional giveaways and a few as actual gifts. Reusable totes seem to be the new business card in many areas now. A couple years ago I agreed to would stop taking the “free”totes at local events and festivals. I knew I needed to stop “hoarding” totes but now I need to stop and figure out how many I really use and why.


Grocery store.
use my favorite basket. This basket works exceptionally well because it allows me to place items horizontal instead of staking everything on top of each other. I get sooooo many compliments on the cute bag.

One large cold bag.2 Most of the items we purchase here are refrigerated and frozen items. THis bag works great. I place it in my truck, throw few ice packs in, and off to Costco we go. At the store, we roll out our entire purchase in the cart then load it into this bag. Super easy. No extra box to bring home and have to compost or recycle.


One large cold bag. We are regular co-op shoppers in my household and know that each pickup can be very different. Some weeks we get everything we ordered, others weeks not so much; so we tend to always take a large bag. Currently that is a beat up heavy duty beach bag with handles and a zip top. We have been using this bag for over 10 years! It is fraying and recently popped a hole so it is one I released from my ownership in exchange for using the large cold bag listed above. I mention this beach bag as a memory jogger for you. Maybe you have a great sturdy beach bag that will work great! Pull it out and use it regularly, not just for surf and sand.

Clothes/Hardware/All Other Stores.
I always like to take a reusable tote in a store with me “just in case”. I have a handy, cute and colorful bag that folds up real small and fits in the back compartment of my driver’s seat in my car. It is easily accessible for me in that location and so colorful that I can not miss it. It had a couple zip pouches on the outside of the bag, giving me places for smaller or more delicate items.

Travel Bag.
I like to take a small cotton tote bag with me in my luggage. I received it from American Express for Small Business Saturday when I had a brick & mortar store. The size is perfect, not too big; not too small.I have used it on trips for shopping, dirty clothes bag, impromptu pool bag and shoe storage.

Produce Bags.

I prefer not to take extra plastic bags when buying grocery items. I have an old microfiber lettuce bag 4 that I use for loose product buying. I leave it in my car and have used it for bread loaves, fruits, veggies and small cans like tomato paste.


How can that be! I own many more than 6.
The result is now I can accurately see what my needs are in order to avoid taking plastic bags from the store.

Did I forget something?
Please let me know if I did. Two brains are better than one. 🙂

Prior to writing this article, I donated several bags but now I see I have more donating to do which freed up one shelf in our entryway closet. With the additional donations I will be making, I reclaim two MORE shelves that have been filled with shopping totes for way too many years.

Thank you to the person who asked me about reusable totes. I was curious to know which one was best and now I can honestly say, I know which is best for me.

Do the same for yourself, you DESERVE that closet space back!

If you have a shopping tote hoarding problem like me, then I hope this articles helps shed some time on how we can get over it and keep what we really need to use.

If you don’t have too many reusable shopping totes, I hope one of the bags I mentioned above is helpful for you.

Well, I shared my personal needs for reusable totes.
What are yours?

You can also get my E-Book: GOING PLASTIC FREE ROOM BY ROOM to help get started on this conscious living journey room by room

I would love for you to share your comments here.
Angie Ringler





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