Organizing Bags without Cardboard

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

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

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  1. Oooh I love this idea, Carolyn!

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

  3. 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.”

  4. Great idea. Thanks.

  5. 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.

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

    • 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.

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

    • 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…

    • 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!

  7. 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

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

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

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

  11. 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 says:

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

  12. Marie Holmes says:

    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.

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