Some of you might only know me from this blog, or perhaps my podcast.
But if you know me in real life (and some of you do), one thing you’d notice is that I rarely go anywhere without at least one bag on my shoulder or crossing my body.
How many I carry at once depends on what I’m doing. You might be seeing me right after work. Or going to a clothing swap. Or going to work out. Or lugging groceries … you get the picture.
Which leads me to today’s post.
My name is D, and I have a bag hoarding problem.
I have a number of fabric/reusable bags in various stages of use or disrepair. But my real problem lies with my collection of plastic bags.
But D, you ask, you do know you can recycle plastic bags, right?
Um, why yes, I do. But I hold on to plastic bags, because you never know when they’ll come in handy (and not just for disposing items).
I recently decided to do a bit of cleaning and discovered just how many bags I’ve saved for such occasions:
Believe me when I say that this photo doesn’t fully show the scale of my “little” problem.
There were bags within bags, shoved into other bags, crammed under my desk, balled up in one of my closets.
I’d been putting this task off for months, simply because it’s so time-consuming. But about two weeks ago, I got tired of it.
So I pulled up my sleeves, pulled out all these bags, and got down to sorting.
I started with the obvious: recycling bags that have holes or have disintegrated over time.
(Something I learned: over time, biodegradable plastic bags pretty much become plastic confetti that gets everywhere.)
Then, my floor covered in plastic, I made piles according to size and shape.
Another thing I learned:
I’ve spent a lot of time at Popeye’s Chicken — and I do mean a LOT. It’s a dangerous habit and I need to watch myself.
After arranging the sea of plastic into something a bit more orderly, I went from pile to pile, counting how many of each I had in total, and then cutting down those piles by at least half, but usually much more. So if I had, say 30 bags, I tried to limit the pile to between 10 and 12.
The only exceptions to my arbitrary rule were shopping bags big enough to line my garbage cans, and clear produce bags I could use for organic food scraps.
I also had some big sheets of plastic (former dry-cleaning garment “bags”), which I stored in case I need to paint or re-pot something. (You never know!)
I’m sure there’s a faster way of doing this. But to make any headway, I chose to do it this way, because seeing what I was doing as I was doing it helped make the task a little less overwhelming.
I spent maybe an hour and a half, two hours at most, but I think I made a decent-sized dent.
The shopping bags meant for garbage cans were stuffed in a small cardboard box that will act as a dispenser. (This was something my mom did in her previous home.)
And after a few trips to the recycling bins in the basement, I felt a small sense of accomplishment.
That is … until I went to store a couple chairs in one of my closets and found this:
See? I told you I had a problem.
Having run out of steam, I shoved it in a corner out of mild frustration, but I did tackle it last week.
We’ll see how long this period of reduced-bag living lasts.
What “problems” or tasks have you put off, and are going to tackle this year?
It could be on your spring cleaning to-do list, or perhaps it’s something that’s been hanging over your head for months, and you’re finally going to do something about it.
Let me know in the comments, if you have time!