We’ve all been there before. You pull up in the parking lot and shed a lonesome tear of remorse as you realize you didn’t remember your reusable bags. 🤦🏽♀️ You’re not alone.
The key to successfully always having your own bag is to create a solid system of habit.
What works for Sustainable Sally isn’t a guaranteed fool-proof system for you (and vice versa).
So feel free to experiment around with the following systems to help you remember your reusable bags like the eco-super hero that you really are.
Hey, not all superheroes wear capes.
But if you do, high five. That’s freaking sweet.
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Return your bags back to your car as soon as you are done unloading them.
Just make it a part of the putting groceries away process.
First, the frozen and refrigerated food. Then, the pantry stuff. And finally the ocean saving, landfill thanking reusable bags.
Set a timer.
For those of us who suffer from shiny object system and might just possibly end up spontaneously making avocado toast with lemon pepper before all the groceries are even put away— set a timer.
Set a timer ⏲ for 5-15 minutes (hey, I don’t know your life) from the time you put your groceries down.
When the alarm goes off, that’s your cue to return your reusable bags back to your car.
Set your bags in front of your door.
Like, literally in front of your door. 🚪
It’s hard to miss a large pile of stuff on the floor as you’re walking out the door.
In fact, you’d have to consciously step over the bags or kick them out of the way to make it through the portal of exit, aka the door.
Engaging in such behavior would qualify you as a bag abuser and not a bag user, in which I would wonder how in the world you ended up reading this incredibly helpful blog post about how to remember your reusable bags in the first place. 🤔
If you live with others, this system might not make you the most well-loved and tolerated roommate.
The next system might be of better help.
Place a reminder on the door.
Get creative. Get crafty. Just be sure to get something on your door or door knob that’ll remind you to grab your bags the next time your headed you to car.
Try something like a:
- good ol’ sticky note
- scrunchie around the door knob
- doorknob hang that says, “Hey there you fabulous creature you, remember to grab your reusable bags!”
Make it a team effort.
Get your family and/or partner involved in the world-saving mission to remember your reusable bags when heading out for a shopping venture.
You can try getting your cat involved but I can’t promise they will actually help or even care the slightest bit.
Spice it up by making up the greatest, and most best song in the world— that is dedicated to help you remember your reusable bags.
🎤 Sing it with me: “Phoooone, wallet, keys, and toes, keys and toes – and BAGS! Phoooone, wallet, keys, and toes, keys and toes- and BAGS!”
Have plenty of bags.
Having at least two sets of bags is a great system to set you up for rebelling against plastic success.
Have a bag o’ bags in the trunk of your car so you never are caught in a pinch without a tote.
Keep a set of bags in your car, in your partner’s car, in your purse or backpack, etc.
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Buy or make reusable bags that you actually like.
By filling your arsenal of reusable bags with ones that you really like, you’ll naturally be more excited (and remember) to use them! 🙌
Here’s a tutorial on how to DIY a macrame market bag.
Likewise, here’s a tutorial on how to upcycle a tote bag from a pair of pants.
And for those of us who are sewing challenged, here’s a tutorial showing you how to make a no-sew tote bag. 😉
Keep a packable bag on you.
Keep a packable tote bag in your purse, backpack, fanny pack, satchel, or decently sized pocket.
I keep a packable tote in my backpack and in my purse at all times. That’s how I roll.
Afterwards, be sure to place said packable tote back to it’s home.
Put “Bags” at the top of every shopping list.
If you’re like me and keep a list of items to grab at the market on the notes app in your phone, this is a solid way to be consistently reminded of doing a bag check before leaving the house. 📝
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Take a bag in anyways.
We’ve all done it before.
We think we’re only going in for bananas, coffee, and gluten-free bread and then— BAM!
We’ve got basket full of deliciousness eager to go home with us.
Solution? Just take a bag anyways.
Why are single use bags bad for the environment? 🌎
- are used, on average, for a whopping 12 minutes.
- have a life expectancy of 1,000 years.
- never really decompose. They only break down into smaller pieces of micro plastics.
- kill about 100,00 marine animals every year. 🐬🐠🐙🐋🐢
- create more waste in the production process compared to that of plastic bags.
- take centuries to biodegrade in a landfill.
Guess how many plastic bags are used every year?
That is an alarming amount of zeros after that 4. 😦
The most sustainable thing you can do is remember to bring your own bags.