The Packing Hack That'll Recycle An Item Taking Up Space In Your Home

There are a ton of pricey items to help keep your clothing and other belongings safe from damage while you travel on vacation or business trips. You can spend a lot of money on things like shoe bags, separate containers, packing cubes (those are definitely worth it), and so much more. After all, no one wants to get home after a wonderful trip to a shampoo bottle that has exploded all over your souvenirs — or muddy shoes from a beautiful waterfall trip that ended up tracking dirt on your crisp new shirt. 

Sure, you could buy bags galore or protective coverings for everything. But what if there was a great item you almost definitely have in your home that is seemingly multiplying in your kitchen cabinets? This item is probably driving you crazy in its numbers — and unless you have enough cats with litter boxes to make you use them often, it will be replenished until it overflows. That item? The humble plastic grocery bag, as tells us. There are so many uses for it in travel that you should have that bag cabinet cleared out in no time. 

Packing your suitcase

The most obvious use for plastic grocery bags during travel is as a wet bag. Perhaps you decided to take a last-minute dip in the hotel pool without thinking about that eight-hour flight you have coming up in a few hours. Maybe you got wet in a rainstorm on the way to the airport. Having a few plastic bags around can keep those wet items from damaging anything you need to keep dry or wetting the rest of your clothing. (If you want to keep these wet things smelling great, pack a few fabric softeners in there with the wet items). It's even a good idea, as suggests, to throw a few in your beach bag when you head out so you can change right there, instead of later in your hotel room. 

Plastic bags are also a great way to transport your shoes without getting everything muddy or germy. Maybe it's best not to think of what you might have stepped in, but it keeps everything else in there from getting gross. Try stuffing them inside shoes as well to keep their shape (though socks can work just as well). 

It's also a great idea to use plastic grocery bags as a place to put dirty laundry. That's especially helpful if you tend to be an over-packer and go home with some clean laundry as well as dirty. 

Protecting your things

Plastic bags (both grocery-sized and larger ones) are also great for protecting other things. You can fill them with some air and tie them off to act as bubble wrap around things like wine bottles and other fragile items — or wrap them securely, stuffing more around the item. This can also help keep liquid off the rest of your luggage if the worst happens. Even things like prints can get an extra layer of protection. If you've purchased a clothing item or purse/wallet that's been freshly dyed, a plastic bag can help keep the color from crocking onto other things. Also, you can wrap your toiletry bag in a plastic one to create an additional barrier in case something leaks.

Keeping a few of these bags in a rental car for garbage can keep you from getting cleaning fees when you turn it in. Plus, if you're a really intrepid traveler and end up at a hotel with questionable carpets, plastic grocery bags can keep your feet safe from germs. All of this and an empty kitchen cabinet, too? Not a bad deal.