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Tip Tuesday – Trash the Tote

Be honest: How many “bags of bags” do you have? In my 17-year career as a professional organizer, I’ve found that tote bags seem to multiply on their own, and they often become a huge crutch for my clients.

As this recent New York Times article states, it’s hard to refuse a tote. Many are giveaways, inexpensive, festooned with logos, and made from durable canvas. Most bag collections stem from rebuying at the grocery store, having forgotten the bags you already have at home.

Don’t get me wrong: I have ONE “bag of bags.” I use it for occasional outings and it’s only about 3″ wide. Then I have three sturdy canvas totes that I religiously keep in my car and bring in with me when I grocery shop.

It’s great to put things in a fabric bag to carry out of the drugstore. But bags become clutter when they are used as receptacles in the back of your closet. We have found totes filled with unopened mail, out-of-season clothing, outgrown toys, and expired groceries. It’s important to remember that totes are meant for TOTING, for taking things from here to there. Totes are not meant for storage.

So get those old bags out of hiding and sort through their long-forgotten contents. You will be glad that you did! Then go one step further and donate ALL of the extra totes! Libraries, food pantries, and schools are happy to take them. Keep only ONE “bag of bags” and as many totes as you would use for a big grocery trip.

Finally, know you are in good company. In 2018, Gretchen Rubin made clearing out her tote bag collection one of her “18 tasks in 2018” as it was such a big project! Will you make it one of your tasks before back-to-school season? Let us know!