Friday, February 21, 2014

paper bag lady

Do you get paper or plastic bags at the grocery store? I tend to get paper for a few really good reasons. Both bags get reused at our house, but more often the paper bags do. When I can remember, I try to take them back to the store with me.

Here are 10 great ways we reuse paper bags around the house, the top two being my favorite that I use on a regular basis (especially at Christmastime making tons of cookies).

1. Cooling sheets for homemade cookies. Forget the cooling racks, paper bags are so much better! They catch all the grease from under the cookies and all the crumbs stay in one neat little spot so it's easy to fold up and throw out. I find that I have more room to lay out paper bags than I do cooling racks.

2. Weed blocker. In spring I make my husband bring me truckloads of new mulch. But before we lay down the mulch, I put a single layer of cut paper bags down. The weeds can't grow through the paper bag, it disintegrates for the next year and you won't be pulling weeds all summer long. Repeat. Simple!

3. I ship a lot of packages from the house and try to always use the paper bags instead of buying envelopes. Paper bags are durable and perfect for this. You can also use it as gift wrap and let the kids color all over it.

4. Fruit baskets! If I ever have the time I really want to try this, it's so cute!

Credit to
5. Protect work surfaces at arts-and-crafts time. Slit bags up the sides, spread them out flat, and lay them across any table or surface your kids are getting creative (i.e., making a mess) on. I also have a vinyl table cloth I put out for this sometimes. Just wipe it down!

6. Place unripe peaches, plums, avocados, or green tomatoes in a bag. The closed bag traps ethylene, the natural gas released by the ripening fruit (while still allowing a little ventilation), which helps it ripen faster. I either find hard avocados or overripe avocados at the store so I tend to buy the hard ones and use this trick to have them ready for our meal that week.

7. Reuse around the house for small garbage cans and recycling. I keep an upright bag in the house for all the paper products and then every Wednesday, it goes right into the recycling with no separating.

8. The obvious, take them back to the store the next time you shop. Do that until they break.

9. Give the kids to use as a place mat at dinner time so they can scribble and color all over it like you would at a restaurant.

10. Use as decoration to make things like flowers and wreaths. Here's Martha Stewart doing her thing again.

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