I woke up the other morning, knowing just 3 things:
1. I don't care what time it is, I want another 10 minutes!
2. I have a butt load of bags to fold.
3. I want to make a tutorial of said bag-folding.
So I skipped option number 1 and went straight for a combined effort on numbers 2 and 3.
Here is the before.
All the bags. Some bags are even inside of other bags.
All of the bags again, now all the bags are on their own, not stuffed inside of each other. This pile contains 70 bags. It takes up half of my festive-looking dining room table.
Now, here's the deal. My mom goes grocery shopping every Saturday no matter what; she gets a week's worth of food. My husband shops as he feels fit to get himself junk food, Pokemon cards, and energy drinks. I shop rarely to pick up random things my mom and husband have forgotten about. (In a text message: "Hey baby, can you pick up a can of orange spray paint for your mom?") Yeah.
We also have 6 cats. All indoors. I use all of these grocery bags as cat-litter bags. I do not use any bags that have holes in them. Even the tiniest hole can fit large portions of litter. And yes, I still double bag them to prevent holes and to help cover the smell.
See, shaking out the bag and holding it up against the light (in this case, a window) will reveal all the slits, tears, and holes. Right above the bottom crease of this bags shows a number of tiny holes. This bag is not suitable for cat litter.
So this bag will instead become the holder of all holey bags. Just by turning down the handles and edges, this bag will retain a container-like shape until you move it otherwise.
When sorting through bags, I automatically discard small bags. They are too small for me to reuse so I toss them into the holey bag pile, even if they don't have holes.
All hole-less bags get stacked on top of one another and flattened out as I add them to ensure they don't float off of slide off the rest of the pile.
Sorting is now done! All the holey bags got smooshed up and put into the main bag and all the hole-less bags are ready to be folded!
Start with a hole-less bag. I turn it this way only (probably) because I am right-handed. It honestly does NOT matter which side the handles are on!
Go ahead and poke your fingers into the bottom corners and flatten them out.
Also, take the time to smooth out the tops of the handles. It takes just an extra second to do this, and it'll be worth it in the end, trust me.
One side, all flattened and pretty! Do the same to the other side.
Now this bag is all flattened out. If you notice, the bottom half of the bag is not perfectly evened out like the top half is- that's ok. Unless you are a perfectionist or OCD, it doesn't matter.
Now fold the bag in half. I went upwards. Smooth it out to get rid of extra air.
Now fold it in half again. (Again, I folded upwards. The handle stayed on top both times.) Smooth it out.
Turn the bag length-wise. More smoothing!
Now take one of the bottom corners and turn it up. You want a triangle shape at all times. This folding method is called a flag fold and also a football fold for those of you who made paper footballs in middle or high school to flick at friends in an attempt to put each others' eyes out. (It also does not matter which direction you begin folding in, either!)
Fold upwards again, retaining a triangle shape.
Hold up! Stop everything! You've reached the handles! At this point, leave about as much length as you see here. --Unless you are folding a Walmart bag. Their handles are almost the same width as the double-folded bag and you can probably make one more triangle fold before stopping!
Fold the handle in half.
Fold the handle in half again. (Unless you are folding a Walmart bag and made the extra triangle fold, in which case you might only need to fold the handle in half just once.)
Fold the handle down to match the triangle shape. You should now have a bigger triangle, all together. See why I told you to take that extra second to flatten out the handles?
Lift up all those little flaps from the triangle folds you made until you reach the center. This is where you're going to tuck in the folded-triangle-handle.
The tutorial I learned this from used a pen to tuck in the handle. I have always just used my finger. You'll want to tuck it in as far as you can.
Tada! Triangle bag! You might want to press down on the triangle to get out any extra air, if you so choose.
Huge difference in size! A folded bag takes up WAY less space!
Even if you ball up the unfolded bags, those tidy triangles still take up less space!
Remember how I started off with 70 bags? Well, only 27 of them had no holes! Here is all 27 bags, nicely folded up! HUGE difference in space!
You can use the holey bags instead of bubble wrap if you are packing something. (Though you would use more, because they lack those amazing little stress-relieving bubbles.) You can also use them in small trash cans, but use only the bags with little holes as things like expired coupons or Q-tips can easily find its way out of a hole in a bag, someway or another. If you keep holey bags, you can always mark the triangle on both sides with a Sharpie or permanent marker so you know which bags have holes and which ones do not. Or, just keep them in separate (labeled!) containers.
This is the inside of my laundry room door. We have racks for foil and whatnot. Those two lovely white things are from IKEA (And they're like.. $2?) We keep unsorted bags on the left and folded bags on the right. I just toss the triangles into the top and they pretty much never go through the holes. You can just tug a triangle through the holes when you need one.
I keep 4 to 6 triangles in my car at all times to use as trash bags. I toss them into the bottom, mesh pockets of my neato backseat car organizers. (I have one each on the driver AND passenger seats.) My 6 and 5 year old daughters like to store Pokemon cards in the slits where CDs would normally go. (I also keep pens, pencils, tissues, and a multitude of napkins in there, as well. Along with travel-sized nail clippers, a normal sized hair brush, extra hair ties for my girls, a small Maglight flashlight, and a tiny phone book.)
Here is the outside of the laundry room door. My mom found these awesome felt stickers with little clips/holders. We put our restaurant coupons on them for anyone to grab if they want 'em. Also, a dry erase board to remind ourselves and each other of things. We also use the clips to hold mail that needs to be sent out.
And right next to the laundry room is a small bookcase with a small bulletin board over it. We keep even more coupons here, as well as important phone numbers and addresses that are not magnetized and therefor don't go on the fridge. Below is dry erase board-cleaner, and a cup of pens and pencils. We also keep various note pads there, upon which we write out the grocery list for mom to take with her on Saturday mornings.
The wall is multi-colored because we are in the process of slowly painting over the super old yellow with a lovely pale blue. Kitchens are hard to clear out, though, as it is the busiest room in the house!
But there you have it! How to save MASSIVE space by simply folding your grocery bags! I normally fold them while watching TV, but you can teach other people in the household to do this and fold 'em even faster. Hope this helps. :)