20 Ways to Reuse Old Plastic (and Paper) Bags

Turn them into trash bags for the car, wrap drinking glasses with them when moving, and more.

Photo by Tria Giovan

Plastic Bags

1. Use them to dust off out-of-season shoes and out-of-favor stuffed animals stored in the closet.

2. Make parachutes for action figures to heighten the adventure at playtime. Cut out a square from a bag, and poke a hole in each corner. Cut four pieces of string (or dental floss) at least a foot long and loop one through each hole, tying a knot to secure it; tie the other end of each string around the toy.

3. Keep bags in the glove compartment to use as trash bags on road trips―or, if you have kids, trips just down the road.

4. Donate them to food pantries, libraries, day-care centers, or hospitals that take them.

5. Use them to stuff pet beds or throw pillows that have thick fabric covers.

6. When packing a suitcase, use them to keep shoes from soiling clothes and dirty things from clean ones.

7. To protect small outdoor plants from frost at night, cover them with bags and tie the handles tightly around the pots. Be sure to take the bags off in the morning.

8. Wrap drinking glasses and other fragile items when you’re moving. A layer of three or four bags around each piece provides enough protection and won’t leave nasty newspaper ink or annoying pieces of Styrofoam all over everything.

9. Cover your car’s side mirrors and windshield wipers if you park outside in winter and you won’t have to scrape ice off in the a.m.

10. Protect work surfaces at arts-and-crafts time. Slit bags up the sides, spread them out flat, tape them together, and lay them across any table or surface your kids are getting creative (i.e., making a mess) on.