I know that reusable grocery sacks are just plain better. I love mine and am always bummed when I get to the store and realize that I left them home. (At that point I usually get paper) But recently, I was chatting with an unnamed friend and she mentioned that she's never used them - and said something like, "they seem so small - and when I grocery shop, I really want to grocery shop"
So, unnamed friend, this one's for you - and for those others who are blog readers and who also may have similar thoughts that may have caused you steer clear of cloth bagging it.
First, there is the issue of environmental stewardship. I'm not saying this to give anyone a guilt trip, I love all people regardless of their bagging preferences. But, I think we can at least all agree that if one person stops using plastic bags, primarily, there will be fewer plastic bags around and generally speaking, less plastic trash = better. Can you honestly say that you re-use your plastic grocery sacks at the same rate at which you obtain them from the store? What about the bags that tear and rip? There isn't really an easy way to find a use for those holey bags, unless you are particularly resourceful or creative. (CUTE!)
Second, when you use cloth bags, you really can get more groceries in per bag without injury to the groceries, the bags, or to you when you chase groceries down after a bag breakage, not to mention, it's healthier. Blood pressure, you know. Less stress because you're not dealing with broken bags and loss of circulation from heavy plastic bags cutting into your hands. OK - that might be a stretch. But the more stuff per bag is TRUE, and I have the photos to prove it.
Now, the following photos are not my best-shopping-trip photos, so please overlook the graham crackers and stovetop stuffing mix and instead direct your focus on the all natural dish soap, the milled flax seed, and the best vanilla ever that is worth every extra cent. The whole grain bread and peaches canned in 100% fruit juice are okay, too. What? The pictures are blurry? I totally did not do that on purpose.
Here you see one of my least favorite cloth sacks, but probably the most economical. This is the Walm*rt special, which I obtained for a mere 50 cents. It is full to the brim, but the handles start above the brim, so the groceries definitely do not interfere with carrying the bag. Which is a plus when you have bread on the top of your bag. Unlike the plastic sacks, the bread will remain unsquished.
Demonstrated here is my family's affinity for graham crackers. And it may or may not be my late night snack of choice. Anyway, the fact remains that even with two extra wide loaves of bread on top there is still plenty of room for more stuff underneath.
Yes, you might have to lean to the right, but you will then see the best vanilla available at the Midland Meijer. It is worth every penny. You will have to trust me, but this is a quality ingredient that makes a ton of difference in your vanilla treats. I am speaking here of rice pudding, especially. Or anything with butter. And vanilla. And sugar. Oh. Be still my taste buds.
So let's review. 3 boxes of graham crackers, 2 boxes of stovetop stuffing, 2 cans of peaches, a bag of milled flaxseed, 2 spice cannisters, a bottle of dishsoap and a bottle of vanilla all fit quite comfortably in my cheapie cloth sack.
And here is how it (doesn't) all quite fit into a plastic sack. It is hard to tell from the photo, but I filled the bag up waaaay more than I would at the store - I would be slightly freaked out that it would break and that is the last thing I need to be worrying about with 2 kiddos in a parking lot - chasing groceries. The corners were taut around the boxes, which often equals disaster.
So, are you convinced? Were you always? Would you like to give cloth bagging a try? It's easy - start small! Around here, stores have reusable bags hanging at the register for around $1 a bag - if you start with one and add one every shopping trip, before you know it you will have 6 or more bags to shop with! You can also make bags - there is a great tutorial here - and you can also buy them on etsy if you want something more artisty but can't sew. I do recommend that you get some with the box shaped bottom, which is why I love that tutorial so much.
Also, it helps me to unload the groceries and immediately return the bags to the van, as I am forgetful and do not need to add one more thing to the extensive list of items needed to leave the house with 2 small children.
What's that you say? You don't have 1 bag to start out with? Well, you have a chance to win one today! I'm giving away a reusable shopping bag with a Pampered Chef logo (woo hoo) on it to one fabulous reader! Just leave a comment with your feelings on cloth bagging, when you started or if you plan to start soon, and I will draw a name on Friday afternoon and send you a bag! US addresses only, please!
***THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Congratulations to Sandra, who wins a Pampered Chef logo reusable bag!***