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Reusable Bags I'll Actually Use

Reusable shopping bags are probably old news to many of you. In fact, over on the bulletin boards, our online community members regularly stage bag swaps. But I've been trying for some time, with limited success, to use them on a regular basis. More often than I would like to admit, I forget them at home, because I prefer not to have my hodgepodge of loose cloth sacks sliding around in the back of my hatchback at all times.

When I read about the Olive Smart Sack over at Cool Mom Picks, I thought: now I have no more excuses. Their brilliantly simple idea? A set of six large cloth bags that compress into a small stuff sack. When neatly stuffed, the kit is just the right size to sit in the cupholder of my car (or my glove box, or my satchel). Since the bags are quite large, a set of six is ample enough to cover most of my weekly grocery shopping trips.

At $39, the 6-bag Smart Sack is a small investment that will make a huge difference in reducing waste over the course of a year. If you're on a budget, they also make a 3-bag Half Sack for $24. I also like the $5 ChicoBag Original bag, which packs down into a palm-sized stuff sack that fits in a purse or clips to a bag with a tiny carabiner. Buy 4 of these, and the fifth one's free.