Skip the Plastic: 4 Tips to Help You Start Your Cloth Bag Habit.

ripe banana in white knitted bag
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Often when I’m using my reusable bags, a cashier or shopper will say to me, “I wish I’d remember my cloth bags when I went shopping.”

Been there. Said that.

As with any positive behavior, you’re trying to turn into habit, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a while to find your cloth-bag groove. But I know you will. And soon you’ll be toting your cloth bag like some sort of cloth bag rock star. Need a little nudge? Try these simple tricks:

  1. Keep Them Where You’ll See Them – Are your cloth bags buried in the closet? Unless you’re shopping on the closet floor, this is not helpful. You want to make them as visible and convenient to grab as possible. I keep my bags on a hook by our back door. Some people like to keep them in their car (I tried that for a while but I kept forgetting to put them back in the car after I emptied them). Got a plan to go grocery shopping in the morning? Put them by your wallet/phone/purse the night before.
  2. Add it to Your List – If you’re a list maker, put “BRING BAGS” on the top of your grocery list. You may not check it before heading out the door, but the very act of writing it down (or putting it in your phone) will help you remember.
  3. Find Ones You Love – Let’s face it, you can have 800 reusable bags and all the good intention to use them, but if they all suck, you’ll leave them at home, so find ones you like. For general grocery shopping, I like a good boxy bag that stands up on its own for easy bagging. If I’m walking to the store to just pick up a few things, I prefer a looser one with a long shoulder strap.
  4. Treat Yo’ Self – Set up a little reward system. If you remember your bags, buy yourself a little treat while you’re at the store. No bags, no treat! (Side note: Some argue that treats don’t help form habits. If they don’t motivate you, consider it a treat for the planet.) If your store offers a bag discount, ask for it in change and collect it in a jar at home—those nickels add up!


If you don’t think shopping with reusable cloth bags will make an iota of difference, consider this: When others see you do it, they might be inspired to do it too. And what if so many people start doing it, the grocery store stops offering plastic bags all together (applause, applause!

If you forget your bag, don’t beat yourself up (just pick paper over plastic) and give it some time. Before you know it, you’ll have this habit in the bag (sorry).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s