How to Organize Paper Bags: Effective Storage Solutions

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Over the years my collection of all types of bags has grown – paper bags, plastic bags, canvas bags, tote bags, gift bags – you name it. Ironically, it has gotten to the point where these bags (which are supposed to be storage solutions) have actually become clutter in my storage space.

Today I want to talk about how to organize paper bags in particular. Finding creative storage ideas for these types of bags is challenging because they come in a wide range of sizes and can be quite bulky even when empty.

I use a combination of a few plastic bins in my basement and a storage crate in the garage to keep my paper bag clutter organized – which we will take a closer look at. But we will also explore other alternatives so you can find the right solution for your space.

collection of paper bags on a white background

Step 1: Sort All Your Bags by Type

Chances are that you bag collection is a bit of jumbled mess (this is a judgement free zone – because my bag collection gets that way too!).

If you have all of your plastic bags, paper bags, reusable shopping bags, etc. all piled together, take a minute and sort them by type.

Be sure to separate the paper bags from all the rest – because those are the ones that we are going to organize today.

While you are doing this, toss or recycle any bags that are damaged, that you don’t want, or that you don’t have any future use for.

This step is very important.

First, narrowing your pile down will make it more manageable.

Second, this will help you determine how many bags you have and the size and type of storage solutions you will need.

Step 2: Categorize Your Paper Bags

The second step is to take the paper bags that you sorted in step 1 and divide them up by category.

This step is also important because you may not want to store all of your paper bags in the same place.

For example, you might keep paper grocery bags in the garage so you can take them with you to the market on your next shopping trip.

But you might store a fancy paper bag alongside your wrapping paper in your craft room, basement, or spare bedroom closet.

3 Types of Paper Bags

To organize your paper bags – it helps to divide them up by similar attributes.

In my mind, paper bags fall into 3 categories:

  1. paper grocery bags
  2. paper shopping bags – the kind you get at clothing stores or even when you order take out food
  3. paper gift bags

Use these 3 categories to sort your collection of paper bags, or create different categories that fit your needs.

Step 3: Find an Ideal Storage Spot for Each Type of Paper Bag

Instead of storing all of your paper bags together in one location, determine the ideal location for each category of paper bag. Typically the location you choose should be based on how you use the bags.

For example, I tend to wrap presents on a big craft table in our basement, I keep cute little gift bags (and even plain gift sized brown paper bags) with my gift wrapping supplies in that location.

Step 4: Find Paper Bag Storage Solutions That Work in Your Space

Plastic Bins and Crates

collection of paper bags in a plastic crate

I find that large plastic bins and crates make the best storage containers for paper bags. They can accommodate a sizable collection of all different shapes and sizes of bags.

It may seem a little extra but it is a good idea to label each container so you can easily identify its contents. I use my Cricut Joy machine to create vinyl labels in a big chunky font.

But there are many different methods to store bags if bins don’t fit in your space.

Hanging Storage

If you don’t have too many bags you can use hooks to store bags efficiently.

Hang a few cup hooks the wall in your garage to hold multiple bags and keep them neat and accessible.

The downside is that you will need to remove all the bags off the hook to access one in the back.

Another option is to use a hanging fabric storage tower and group bags by size into each section.

Door Organizers

Door organizers are a great way to utilize vertical space.

You can hang an over-the-door organizer on the back of a closet or pantry door to store bags – which are usually great locations for your workflow.

Magazine Holders

Magazine holders can also be repurposed to store paper bags. You can use one that is a hanging style or a freestanding unit.

Simply fold the bags neatly and place them inside the magazine rack.

I have one that I made in shop class way back when in high school. Since we don’t receive too many magazines these days, this would be a great way to put it to good use.

Step File Organizers

Similar to a magazine rack, a step file organizer is another creative way to store paper bags.

Simply fold the bags to fit inside the slots of the organizer.

Command Hooks

If you want to hang your paper bags but do not want to damage your wall, you might consider using Command Hooks.

While these are not very long, you can probably manage to hang a few on a larger Command Hook – and you can always use more than one.

How I Organize Paper Bags

2 plastic bins with gift bags and paper bags in them

For my home, I store my most used paper bags in a plastic crate in my garage for easy access. This crate contains shopping bags in a variety of sizes as well as grocery bags.

These are bags that I use on a daily basis:

  • as reusable grocery bags to take with me when I go to the store,
  • to collect donations of items that I am decluttering from my home, and
  • for packing up good homemade cooking to send off with my adult children when they come to visit.

In addition, I keep two large plastic bins of paper bags in the storage area of my basement.

One is for smaller bags that are suitable for gifting along with other gift wrapping materials like gift boxes, wrapping paper, and wrapping tissue paper.

Another plastic bin is for the overflow of paper shopping bags that don’t fit in the crate I keep in my garage.

Whenever my bag collection gets too large for these three locations, I know it is time to pare it down and recycle the bags I don’t want.

How Do You Store Paper Bags?

The best way to keep your paper bags organized is to

  • sort through them,
  • categorize by type,
  • locate them in strategic areas in your home,
  • choose appropriate storage options, and
  • periodically cull your collection so it stays manageable.

Whichever storage method you choose – plastic bins, hanging solutions, or some other option – the goal is to avoid opening your closet to an avalanche of paper bags.

Happy organizing!

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