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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Free Bags

Free Bags
Free Bags
Free Bags

This weekend, I found the Mother Lode of bags, all sorts of bags. I snagged 10 for myself.
Today, they are hanging in the sunshine. None smelled musty and 7 were new, never used. You know the stiff feel of unwashed canvas?

Method and Purpose
I attempted to categorize these with numbers on each so you could see for yourself. But, the numbers are not clearly visible. Number 10 is the one hanging below the other.

This blog is not just to show off my "new" bags. I want you to see what you can have for free or cheaply. The woman said everything was going to dumpster, to take all you wanted.

I took only ten bags.
You cannot see most of the numbers, so just count. Remember, number 10 is hanging below.
From the left of the photo:
1-new, lightweight cloth
2-new, canvas
3-new, sealed in bag, canvas, coated inside with heavy vinyl, zipper top, inner zipper pocket, bottom stands
4-new, canvas
6-new, canvas
7-new, still folded, soiled on a corner
8-new, canvas, coated with heavy vinyl inside
9-new, with child's name inside
10-(bag hanging underneath) washed, but looked new, canvas

Original Sources
Maybe you have friends in these industries, jobs, positions. Maybe you can ask if this friend has an abundance of bags. Ask if you can trade a jar of jelly for bags. Work it out.

These originally came from teachers, schools, colleges, Mother's Day Out, #3 from a cruise broker?, an electric coop. I also have these from banks, neighborhood watch, insurance, etc.

These were free to me. I left one bag there, strong, sturdy, roomy, and with something gooey on the inside. Don't think I took all of them or only the good ones, leaving undesirable ones behind. I was there two hours after the freebie giveaway. Others had picked over the bags before me.

Oooops, found another that go with the 10 above.

Last week, I found more bags when out and about.
I forgot how I came across these bags or where. After dark, I brought them in and had to photograph them on a chair. All three are heavy canvas. You can plainly see the sources of these bags.
All three were in good shape, no soiling or excessive wear. The top one was new. Maybe all three were. At a yard sale I never pay more than a quarter for bags.                            
Cute and Matching
That's what you want? Why? Think it over. But, if matching bags is your desire, of course, you can buy them. But, WHY? These are useful. Some have never been used at all. Unless a bag has an unethical-to-me logo, I will use it. Yes, I prefer them without stains. That looks grody unless I put the stain there!

Maybe you can sew and make cute, matching bags? Or, you can made bags from jeans or another sturdy fabric. That works.

Your turn
Where is your best source of bags? Do you ever carry an assortment like I do? Actually, I believe I have a matching set of some of the school bags, all gathered from different yard sales, attendance of conferences in which I participated, free boxes at different places.  


  1. That's a lot of bags, what do you use them all for if you don't mind my asking?

    I have a few *green* bags that I use for groceries but it sounds like you have a lot more than me. I'd be interested in hearing how others use theirs, if it wasn't just for shopping.


  2. Since I loaned a niece my luggage, for travel I now use a smaller bag for toiletries, blow dryer, etc., and a book bag I got free for signing up for a bookstore card I use for packing clothes. My cotton string bags that I bought for grocery shopping I also use for clothes shopping etc. (They will hold up to 40 lbs.) If I were gifted with a surplus of bags, I think they could be used as gift bags, filled with stuff for kids at college, etc.

  3. Barb,yes, that's a lot of bags, and I found another one I got, so that makes an even dozen. I will use some of them in the car to bring food into the house. It is impossible for me to bring anything to the door and up the stairs because of a herniated disc. My canvas bags are packed more lightly than most. I actually have the back of the kitchen door lined with many hooks and store things in them. Some are just given away. When I send food home with a friend who helps me, I use a canvas bag. He returns the bag. I kept losing or not finding together my drill, extension cord, and pack of bits. So, now they all reside in one bag. A really pretty nylon bag hangs behind the bathroom door with all my socks. Another is used to get everything to the car--dvd to return, granola bar and Coke,letter for mailbox, maybe a sandwich so I don't stop for fast food,just the six things I somehow manage to drop on the way out. I used a dozen bags plus dish pans and such to hold the 150 lbs of pears I picked one year, 25 lbs pecans I picked up, bags of potatoes I transfer from the plastic bag...just anything!

    dmarie, Some of my past bags were more luggage styled. The one with the zipper on top and stands would be great for a change of clothing and a few toiletries. I did use a bag last Christmas to give food to a checker at the grocery store who was hungry because she could not afford food. I never thought about just using them for gift bags. Thanks for that idea.

  4. A friend of mine uses them to hold recyclables: A couple for newspapers and then one apiece for steel cans, aluminum, glass and plastic.
    I wrote a guest post for about thinking outside the (plastic) bag. The piece includes a link to making your own grocery sacks, as well as some other ideas. If it's kosher to post the URL, here goes:

  5. I don't mind you posting a URL here. Oh, I forgot. I have metal hangers in one canvas tote bag. I got them from a friend because in one venue only metal clothes hangers are allowed...sort of a yard sale/market type event in a huge warehouse. I put twist ties on the hangers so they could not breed and stored them in a tote bag. There is one bag with doll clothes I made to sell and now give to my two granddaughters on their birthdays and Christmas.

    Anytime I am sorting bills, magazines, anything that can get unsorted, I start using canvas bags to contain my stacks. Of course, a box or large plastic bag is where the throw out, sell, and thrift store items go.

    Just think of bags as bins, drawers, or shelves. They just have straps on them. Oooops, I have a bag for gloves, too. See how useful canvas/cloth/nylon bags can be?

  6. At the Commission on Aging seniors can shred for free. After I rip my name and address off everything, I can compost the mail and shred the important data. I keep items for shredding in a bag. The bag holds everything and comes back home....good bag!

  7. oh, this conversation just gave me an idea for how to use the one canvas bag I have that is too freakin small to carry much of anything. A clothespin bag! For 28 yrs., I've been using a bag I sewed out of scrap material onto a bent coat hanger & the bag is now worn through in places. I will cut off the handles of the little canvas bag & sew or even safety pin it onto the hanger! :)

  8. dmarie,
    Success like this (your sudden idea) happens through virtual brainstorming, obviously. My blog is not about how to pay off a cc bill or increase income. But, the little ways we find to not spend counts! Then, money does not dribble out of our hands. It can dribble into paying bills. Seriously, the constant dribbling of money seems so inconsequential until we add up the disastrous results. Not spending for new is a very good idea when there is so much lying around that is already manufactured, inexpensive, free. Saving money and the environment often go hand in hand. I need a clothes pin bag, so I now know how I am going to acquire/fashion one without spending a dime! Thanks for the idea.

  9. I,too, have a bag too small for much of anything. In that bag I place a quart fruit jar for a friend when I am giving him something to take home. The bag is narrow enough that the quart jar will not fall over. It is sturdy enough (unlike plastic) that it will not break under the weight of the full jar. Yes, he brings it back!

  10. I revamped my clothespin bag:
    thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Great "new" bag. Thanks for sharing that picture on your blog.


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