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Bag Lady

To know me is to love, and accept, my abhorrence of waste. I’m constantly on the prowl for ways to reduce, or eliminate entirely, the amount of things we toss in the garbage. This means loads of recycling, making abundant use of Craigslist and Freecyle for unloading used goods, donating to thrift stores, and reusing and repurposing whenever it makes sense.

Plastic bags are one item in my waste purging mission that drive me batty. We’ve completely removed any need for them at the grocery store, and frequently turn them down when shopping for household or personal items. That said, I find that I can’t avoid them entirely. Many things I use and rely on come in plastic bags. So, while I can’t get away from them completely, I can do something about them when they’re in my possession. Things like the plastic bags that bedding for the chicken coop come in get emptied and recycled, while reusable storage bags, like those pictured above, get washed, rinsed, dried and used again and again (and again and again and again, to their death!!!).

I’m stoked about the new wooden bag dryer we picked up recently. It’s made locally by Branching Out Woodworks (we picked ours up at the Amazing Savings on South French Broad Ave.). Hubs gave it a coating of chocolate brown paint so it would blend in better with the laundry area where we placed it. He attached it to the wall yesterday (it comes unassembled; you secure the dowels with wood glue and then attach it wherever you want by driving the screws-which are provided-through pre-drilled pilot holes in the base).

This dryer is a serious upgrade from my previous bag-drying set-up, which simply involved inverting bags onto the ends of the upright ironing board or over a large vase above the utility sink. Now I’ve got something both functional and attractive to look at. This bag lady couldn’t be more thrilled!

13 Responses to Bag Lady

  • Hey there fellow bag lady! In case you didn't know…You should check out these folks, They recycle pretty much everything impossible to recycle. RCB's school sponsors a terra cycle program so we are able to unload a lot of unnecessary throw aways. Also, Asheville Greenworks,, recently sponsored a local event to collect all things impossible to recycle. They even took some of damaged our kayaks. Soooo, when your bags have no bag life left you can still potentially recycle them.

  • I'm a bag hoarder too – why throw them out when there's so many great uses for them? I do take the bags from shops though since we use them to line our bin. (Shame face) 😉

  • Grace says:

    I haven't had a lot of luck recycling baggie type bags. I usually find a hole in them once they've been used. Love the bag dryer though, 'cause I still try.

  • Sarah says:

    I, too, am a bag bag hoarder. I picked up a counter-top bag dryer many years ago which, with time, was used until it could stand no more. Recently my mother picked up another stand identical to the one I owned so I can carry on with my wayward ways. My aunt has a tactic similar to your old practice: she hangs hers from the light fixture over the kitchen sink with clothes pins.

  • Allison says:

    I had no idea such a contraption existed! I usually hang mine on spoons or other utensils in the dish drainer. Must do some googling now… :)

  • Stacy says:

    Girl after my own heart…you should see my ziplock drawer – it runneth over with reused and washed bags. And reused foil too! :)

  • CallieK says:

    Years ago my grandparents (who lived through the depression)used to wash and reuse plastic bags and as a teenager that was so embarassing to me! Now of course I do the same thing- I dry mine on wooden spoons standing in the utensil jar on the counter.

  • lisa says:

    Oh my gosh, what a timely comment for me! I have lately become really obsessed with throwing as little as possible away, and I find that since I compost food scraps and recycle everything else, I tend to have a garbage bag full of plastic each week. So I am trying to reuse plastic bags as much as I possibly can, and have a weird twinge of anxiety each time I do throw one out. Glad to know I am (hopefully) not alone!

  • Very clever! I've been working on phasing out all usage of plastic bags (except ones for holding trash), and thus have become a hoarder of glass jars! When my mom visited recently, she was downright horrified to see that I only had a few (re-used) plastic baggies in the house, and she secretly placed boxes of ziplocks in one of my kitchen drawers upon her next visit. I think she thinks I must be suffering from plastic-withdrawal or something 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    I reuse plastic bags in the kitchen as much as possible but do line the TRASH trash can with them…and the dog waste. What do folks do with that? The chicken poop can go in the compost. Dog waste gets bagged and trashed. So I need a regular supply of plastic bags for that…

  • Sage says:

    Awesome! I showed the picture to my hubby and he's going to make me a similar rack with some old dowels and lumber that's been lying around. My current system is to wash the bags and put them on top of anything that isn't moving!

  • Bee Girl says:

    I love this contraption! I have a million bags, too! I usually turn them inside out, wash them and then hang them up to dry in our pantry. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done :-)

  • Margaret says:

    I love it! You should see the faucets in my sink right now, covered with bags! I think I need a bigger laundry room…
    Two in the Nest