Cardboard can hide bugs, pick up moisture, get squishy and then even mildew. Here's how to keep your bags organized without the cardboard.

Organizing Bags without Cardboard

Cardboard can hide bugs, pick up moisture, get squishy and then even mildew. So we try to get as much of it off the boat as possible.

Some things, though, are hard to store or organize without the cardboard box it came in. Plastic bags and wraps fall into that category.

On our boat, there’s an oddly-shaped little storage area just opposite the galley. Initially, I piled all the boxes of wraps and boxes in there, but — as always — the boxes soon picked up moisture and started to mildew.

Suddenly, it hit me: why not use some of my “trash” to organize the area (all these were scavenged either from our trash or the marina dumpster “giveaway” area)? I did this about six months ago and have to say it’s working well. Actually, just from an organization standpoint, it’s better than the boxes — I can just reach in and grab what I need, and now I have places for my used bags, too (keeping them in the easiest place to grab means that yes, I do reuse more than I use new).

You may not an odd little place exactly like this, but hopefully this might spark an idea for something that you can do in whatever space you have on your boat.

In amongst the new and used Ziplocs, I also have a section for my bag seals (kind of in the middle) and my reusable silicone lids (hidden in the photo) — both of these items have helped me to cut down tremendously on the number of Ziplocs I use as well as the aluminum foil and cling wrap. Read about both these products in the links at right, or just see them on Amazon here: bag seals and silicone covers.

For my long-term stocks of bags, I now take them out of the cardboard box and put them in a Ziploc of their own. Several boxes of quart bags go into one gallon bag, the gallon bags get consolidated in a 2-gallon and the 2-gallon bags will fit in one of their own. Rolls of trash bags will fit into gallon Ziplocs.

Cardboard can hide bugs, pick up moisture, get squishy and then even mildew. Here's how to keep your bags organized without the cardboard.

Not only does this get rid of cardboard and keep the bags cleaner, it also considerably reduces the space they take up — I can get about four boxes’ worth of bags in the space that just one box took up!

Cardboard can hide bugs, pick up moisture, get squishy and then even mildew. Here's how to keep your bags organized without the cardboard.

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28 Comments
  • Amber Amodei
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    Oooh I love this idea, Carolyn!

  • Jon Combs
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    I switched to a similar system in my home a few months ago,

  • Jon Combs
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    The taller continent gave me quicker access without having to move boxes to get to the desired size. We don’t have space for that system on our boat so I store the supply of bags flat in a larger zipper bag and lay that bag on top of other books and charts in our “library.”

  • Charlotte Caldwell
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    Great idea. Thanks.

  • Kathy Orr
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    Great idea, Carolyn. Don’t know why I didn’t think of this years ago. We have the same bag seals and silicone covers, and I love both.

  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    I always throw the box and put a rubber band around them. It’s the foil and saran wrap that take up room.

    • Donna Coulombe
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      That’s what I do too with the bags – I also take the foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper out of the boxes and cut with scissors when I use them. It’s all kept in a little drawer in the galley.

    • Jan Bogart
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      I like that idea, though me cutting plastic wrap sounds like disaster…lol

    • Mary Deyo
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      I also use rubber bands around bags – though some of the bands are starting to break with age. We don’t have room to store several boxes’ worth in an easily-accessible location, so extras sit next to the water tank…

    • Jan Bogart
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      We lived on our S&S 40 ‘sloop for yrs. Built in ’46…very little room. She was very pretty. Now we are trawler trash, and live on a private dock in Puerto Rico. A lot more room, but we call this boat The Big Pig!

  • Cheryl Bular
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    Such a genius you are. I have a gizillion keepie coolies from boat shows to put to good use besdes keeping bottles from clanging together. No carboard on our boar ever

  • Paula Richard
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    How do you store aluminum foil, plastic wrap etc.? I have yet to come up with a good system.

    • Charlotte Caldwell
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      That is my question too. I have eliminated all the car board from the bags but not plastic wrap or wax paper.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      Wax paper we only use for epoxy projects and just took a roll out of its box and put in a plastic bag with the epoxy supplies. I rarely use foil, but I do have one box standing up behind the bags — I use the silicone covers far more, and they’ve made it so that I never use plastic wrap.

    • Charlotte Caldwell
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      Wax paper is so good for cheese

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      Unfortunately, with Dave’s milk allergy . . . no cheese.

    • Pamela Dakin Harwood
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      Anyone using Bee’s Wrap onboard? http://www.beeswrap.com/ (available on Amazon)

    • Dolores M. Ik'Nal
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      The Boat Galley could you link your silicone covers? that is a great idea!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      Dolores M. Ik’Nal Sure! I linked to them in the article, but here’s the link again: http://amzn.to/2iwC2dA

    • Dolores M. Ik'Nal
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      The Boat Galley thought they were different than the ones I got … Thanks!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      Can’t see them in the photo, but those are the ones I have (I took the link from my orders in Amazon) 🙂

  • Mary E Dixon
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    I put our bags in shoebag I hung in qtr berth.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

      Another good way to do it. Love the different ideas, since every boat is laid out a little differently and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Sherry Stewart Haught
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    I use the plastic Lay’s Stax potatoes chip containers for mine. I use them for Ritz crackers and cutlery too .

  • Debbie Willis
    Posted at 27 December 2016 Reply

    I am in Mexico and (actually) found 8 3/4″ x 10 1/4″ sheets of aluminum foil at one of the larger markets. They lay flat with no cardboard box or roll. The sheet is very useful for a lot of things – good and no-good alike. (I also have my plastic bags out of their cartons and in a drawer where my cloth napkins are. Note that I use cloth napkins to reduce our trash/footprint.)

    • Barbara Lowell
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      they have these folded in half at Dollar Tree … just throw the box away! Remember to re-use when you can.

  • Marie Holmes
    Posted at 28 December 2016 Reply

    I love the idea of putting the bags in a bag. I’ve been using the rubber band method and it’s not all that efficient. The rubber bands break down over time.

  • Linda Stevenson
    Posted at 22 February 2017 Reply

    I slit the lid on an empty plastic coffe can several times (large size) and use that to store plastic grocery-type bags. (We also use back packs instead of plastic grocery bags when able). Also, we take rolls of bought trash bags and place them at the bottom of the trash cans. Then when we pull a bag for collection, a fresh bag is right there where we need it.

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