Archive for January, 2011


Paper or Plastic

January 18, 2011

Paper or Plastic? 5 Ways Paper Sacks Can Help You Organize

Before I write anything else, I want to say that I greatly prefer reusable bags for shopping, rather than receiving a new bag at the checkout. But if you forget your bags, you might need to answer the “Paper or plastic?” question. I have found so many uses for paper bags in organizing projects that I realized it was worth sharing.

In general, paper bags are perfect temporary containers. They are structured and stand up on their own, they are sturdy enough to hold lots of weight, they won’t be missed if they are given away, and they can be labeled quickly with a permanent marker. Many of them even have handles for easier transporting, and they fold completely flat for easy storage. Here are five ways that I use them in our work:

  1. Papersack2 Paper bags are great for collecting donation items. We tell our members all the time to create a “Donation Station” in your home and stock it with paper shopping bags to gather up items you’ve already decided you don’t need. When you have filled up several bags, it’s time to put them in the car and take them to Goodwill® . You can find your nearest donation center at (Also use the nifty Donation Impact Calculator there to find out how your donations helped people find jobs!) No worries about getting your “good” containers back either.
  2. Use paper bags for “Elsewhere” items. While you’re sorting in a particular space you will inevitably find things that belong “Elsewhere.” Instead of interrupting your project to put those things away, gather them in a sack and write the name of the room where they belong right on the side.
  3. Fill paper bags with items you want to give to others. If you find several dresses you’d like to give to your sister, or toys you’d like to give to your nephew, make a sack for each person, write their names on the side, and keep on going with your project.
  4. Protect surfaces while you sort. If you need a work surface and you don’t want to scratch up your nice table, grab some paper sacks, cut them apart and spread them out. It’s better than newspaper since it won’t transfer ink.
  5. Use paper bags for extra recycling. When organizing a home office you’ll probably find plenty of paper to recycle and quickly fill up your bin. Paper sacks provide quick and easy overflow containers and can themselves be recycled.

There are many other great uses for paper sacks other than organizing, such as serving as book covers and liners for various needs. PLEASE do not use this article as an excuse to hoard paper sacks, however. Give yourself a reasonable limit of a number you can expect to use, something like 10 bags, that will not take up a lot of space or start attracting insects, etc.

What are your favorite ways to use paper sacks to help you organize? Anything I have missed? Share in the comments!

Credit: This is one of my favorite bloggers – Lorie Marrero – ENJOY!

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