A bag of bags. A box of boxes.

A box of boxes. This is enough for me.

A box of boxes. This is enough for me.

I never met a client who didn’t have a stash of plastic bags. Or paper grocery sacks. Or empty boxes. Or all three. Heck, I have them too! These are some of the easiest things to accumulate in one’s home to the point of ridiculousness.

Organizing isn’t just about making things look nice and tidy. It’s about being able to find what you need when you need it. And that gets more and more difficult the more stuff you have. To a large extent, organizing is about setting limits.

Organizing isn’t just about making things look nice and tidy. It’s about setting limits. Click To Tweet

Just exactly how many plastic bags do you need? It depends…what do you need them for? (I need them for scooping litter boxes.) Same for paper sacks. (I’m accumulating them slower and using them less often.) And boxes. (I do still occasionally mail a package. And sometimes items that are fragile, or have lots of pieces, are best corralled into a box before donating.)

A bag of bags.

A bag of bags.

But I limit the number I keep. I nest them and pack them semi-tightly. Many plastic bags can be easily scrunched into another plastic bag. One open paper sack can hold a number of folded-up paper sacks. Small and medium boxes can be nested and kept inside a large box.

Same goes for tote bags. And gift bags. And luggage. And purses.

Once you have decided how many of something you really need, and containerize it, it’s much easier to let the rest go. You will rest assured that there will be a box, bag, or tote at your disposal whenever you need it, and you can recycle or donate the rest.

If you get a new box, or tote bag, that you really like but it won’t fit inside your existing box or tote bag, it’s time to let go of one that you never use or don’t like as much. Just don’t let your containers overflow and start a new pile of clutter!

How many bags, boxes and such do you have at your house? How many do you need?

Please share with us in the comments below!

Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Sarah Soboleski on July 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I have a stash of all 3 too! I really only keep about 3-4 paper grocery bags with handles as that’s how many will fit on the hook I’ve designated for them. I keep about 2-3 boxes that nest in one another for potential mailings. The plastic bags tend to pile up as I save them until I can return to the store for recycling. Great reminders to limit our accumulations.

    • Hazel Thornton on July 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Sarah! I also mentioned tote bags, gift bags, luggage, and purses. What other examples can you think of, where the limiting container can be a like item?

  2. Moreen Torpy on July 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Oh Hazel, you’ve touched a nerve! I have plastic bags carefully coralled in a dispenser that I use for garbage (the bags, not the dispenser) that I sometimes bring groceries home in. This is when I go into the store for one item and come out with several and my recyclable bag isn’t big enough. Sigh.

    No boxes, however I do have a collection of larger bags that I use to take donations to the collection places.

    I keep the handbags, tote bags and purses to the minimum but still could probably let some go. The ones I use regularly are hanging on Command Hooks on my wall. 🙂

    Luggage is nested and stored between trips.

    Maybe it’s time to do another purge.

  3. Janet Barclay on July 18, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I found a bunch of paper shopping bags in my office closet, which I must’ve tucked away because they seemed too “good” to throw out. Since I NEVER go looking for a paper shopping bag, I bit the bullet and put them all out in the recycling. And of course, I’ve never missed them.

  4. Olive Wagar on August 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Great reminders, Hazel!

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