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Fabric Totes: Think Outside the Grocery Bag

Written by contributor Nicole of Gidget Goes Home.

By now it’s probably second-nature to take our bags in at our local market, and maybe we’re even starting to remember to take them in to Target or other shopping locales. Using reusable/fabric bags for groceries and shopping is a great way to make a positive environmental impact, but there are actually a lot of other great ways to use these totes as well! Let’s look at a few more ways to use the infamous reusable bag (and at the end you’ll find some helpful resources)โ€ฆ

Photo by rhousewright

Library Books

A basic tote is the perfect way to bring home your literary bounty. We usually use a freebie bag from the zoo, but a homemade version would be an even prettier way to carry around reading material.

Cloth Diapers

Still using plastic grocery bags to bring home dirty diapers for the wash? There’s a special type of reusable bag that will be your best friend! A wetbag is made out of PUL waterproof fabric that will seal out the smell of a diaper better than a plastic bag and will cut out your waste as well.

PJ Organization

I love Amanda Soule‘s idea in her book The Creative Family for keeping track of kids’ pajamas. She suggests a personalized tote bag for each kid that they can keep their PJs in and maybe even a goodnight book as well. You can see a cute example here.


We’ll be talking about the DivaCup more on Simple Organic in the near future, but if you already use one, you may want to make an extra fabric bag for it. A simple drawstring version with the finished dimensions of 2.5″ x 4″ would fit the bill perfectly.

Photo by {| h.e.a.t.h.e.r |}

Tidying up the Room

Just recently Rachel at Small Notebook had a fabulous idea for using tote bags at home. She keeps one hanging on a wall hook in each room in her house for quick organization/storage. I love this idea for last-minute clean-up of mail and paperwork in a small home.


Do you have other suggestions for reusable bags? Please share!

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Kara @Simple Kids

    “She blinded me with library science” ๐Ÿ™‚

    How cute are all of these totes?

  2. Carrie

    I have a bag that I like to take with me to doctors appointments. I keep all of my “waiting room” projects in it, a few school books for Kiddo and a water bottle. When I am done with my appointments I put all of my new medication and “Dr. giveaways” in my bag to take home.

    When I get home I just empty out the bag and hang it in my closet for my doctor appointment.

  3. Karen, aka Mom, aka Yaya

    Love these ideas! How about a cute reusable, handmade tote as the wrapping for a ‘birthday’ or ‘thank you’ gift and then it serves as an additional gift!

    • Nicole aka Gidget

      I like to do that too, guess I learned that from you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. shana

    i love my diva cup . . . well, actually not too much lately since i’m 8+ months pregnant it hasn’t gotten much use for a while. but i still love it!

  5. AllieZirkle

    I laughed this morning as I realized, I use a reusable bag to store all my other reusable bags!

    I often take a reusable bag to a potluck with a reusable container inside which I use as a doggie bag for leftovers.

    I also like to use the flat bottom reusable bags to sort transactions in a shopping cart if using coupons, rain checks, etc or even shopping with a friend. This keeps items better separated for easy check out.

    • Jaimie

      Ha, I also use a reusable bag to store my reusable bags :).

  6. Jaimie

    Oh my. The “library science” one is TOO cute! I almost need to get that for my library science friends and family.

  7. Casey

    I keep one filled with books, crayons, coloring books and such in the laundry room, so we can just gab it and go when we’re headed to appointments, practices, or other places where I need to keep a child entertained. I keep one hanging from a hook in the trunk of my car to hold reusable grocery bags and a few emergency supplies. We also keep one around each child’s doorknob to hold pajamas for the night (from Amanda Soule’s idea), so they can tote it to the bathroom and hang it there, to keep the pj’s dry and ready for the end of the bath.

  8. Emily@remodelingthislife

    Thanks for linking my totes. I was reading in my reader and then “hey! those are mine!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I recently made one and gave a friend a bottle of wine and some fresh homemade ciabatta bread as a gift in it, with the tote as part of the gift and she was over the moon.

    They are so addictive to make and so fun to use for a million things. I use mine for going to the pool or beach, all around everyday stuff, groceries, and of course what started it all – the school tote for my daughter.

    • Nicole aka Gidget

      you’re welcome! love your gift idea, too- sounds delish.

  9. Kathryn

    We have a reusable bag for our library books, too! Our library gave them out during summer reading, and they’re a special material that can be decorated with markers and crayons. Our daughter asked me to draw a picture of our whole family going to the library, and she colored it in.
    And we love our cloth-diaper wet bags. I bought two when my daughter was born; she’s been out of diapers for almost 3 years now, but we still use them regularly. They’re great for toting wet swimsuits, muddy clothes, etc.

    • Nicole aka Gidget

      Yes, I forgot to mention that! I have another one I use for bathing suits!

  10. Sandra Lee

    Totes are one of my favorites. I love all these options. I’ve used a tote to hold my underwear when I lived with shelves but no drawers. Worked perfectly!

  11. Mark

    Coolest library bag ever ๐Ÿ™‚ My kids would love that.

  12. Jelly Roll Fabrics

    Love these totes – I’ve been meaning to find a reason to make a bunch of strip-totes, it never occurred to me to use them for grocery totes! Love it.

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