Carrying a half-dozen plastic grocery bags down the street while cutting off the circulation in your fingers is no good for the environment, your health, or your fashion sense.
Food shopping is my favorite pastime, and I always carry my own bags with me in case the opportunity arises. A good canvas bag can improve your whole shopping experience. However, not all bags are created equal. Be prepared for any situation with my tips for choosing the best.
Bring large bags, in case you get inspired to make extra purchases. Large, standard sized canvas bags are 16”x13.” Carry two of these, so you can balance your load evenly. I especially love the bags that you crush into a ball and stuff into a tiny internal pocket.
If you can spare the money, shell out a little extra for a bag with pockets. It’s nice to have a space right in the bag for your wallet, sunglasses, phone, etc. It means you don’t have to carry a purse, and there’s a designated spot for your valuables so you don’t lose them.
There’s no need to wash canvas bags because they’re meant to get dirty. If something spills in the bag, rinse and turn it inside out to dry. Choose black bags because they hide dirt, while white looks grubby after a while.
Most canvas bags will last at least two years. They wear out in two places: the corners and the handles. You can reinforce the bag by stitching on extra fabric, preferably something tough like denim. I like to wrap the handle in electrical tape, and cover it with fabric.
Extra Bags for Small or Messy Items
Bring fabric vegetable bags like these, or plastic bags from other purchases. These can hold loose items like tomatoes, or wet ones like leafy greens. When I buy flowers, I wrap the wet stems in an old plastic bag. Both plastic and fabric veggie bags can be rinsed and reused many times.