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  • Writer's pictureCathy Borg

Repurpose Plastic Bags for Tricky Packing: 9 Organizing Tips for Moving

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

When packing for a move, repurposing plastic bags is a versatile and cost-effective solution. From big to small they almost do it all!

Here is a question for you.

"When are sandwich bags not used for sandwiches?

"Almost always when you are in the professional organizing business!"

As professional organizers we use plastic bags in a myriad of ways.

You can use small or medium reusable plastic bags to organize:

  • bills and other paper work,

  • children's small toys, blocks and game pieces,

  • jewelry,

  • pairs of socks,

  • matching bathing suit tops and bottoms

All with the humble re-sealable plastic bag!

play dough toys contained in resealable bag
Organize children's small toys, blocks and game pieces!

photo credit: FamiliesGo!

They are also particularly handy when packing for a move. You can use them to:

  • Keep small pieces together that you can see in the bag.

  • Fill them with air, and they provide cushioning in packages that aren't quite full.

  • Place contents of kitchen and bathroom drawers in large zip top bags. It’s so much easier to unpack when all the small drawer items are together. Plus using clear bags allows you to see everything inside immediately.

travel size hair products in resealable bag
Keep travel cosmetics together in clear bag!

photo via pinterest

  • Keep track of small hardware when you dismantle furniture for a move. Use resealable bags for screws and other hardware for each piece of furniture. Tape the bag to the item to prevent loss.

resealable bags holds screws and other hardware
Keep track of hardware for furniture!

But let's not confine our exploration to the small. Large garbage bags are useful for much the same reasons as the sandwich or mediums sized bags. They have the added advantage that they can hold much larger items. We recommend that you use white garbage bags. They are easy to write on with permanent marker and you won't mistake them for garbage.

Smiling women holds up white garbage bag
White garbage bag for packing!


Use garbage bags to carry inexpensive clothing and shoes with flat and soft heels. Pack linens, tablecloths, sheets, blankets, towels, socks, soft toys, and non-breakables into bags. They also offer protection for certain items on moving days.

You'll learn to repurpose garbage bags in the following ways:

  • Use Bags to Pack Non-hanging Clothes, Towels, and Linens.

  • Use Bags to Pack Hanging Clothes.

  • Use Bags to Pack Bedding.

  • Use Bags to Pack Teddies and Non-breakable Toys.

  • Use Bags to Move Plants.

  • Use Bags as packing material.

  • Use Bags as an extra layer of protection on electronics.

  • Use Bags to Pack non-hanging clothes, towels, and linens. Pack large bulky clothes like sweaters and sportswear and sports gear in bags. Place towels, and linens in garbage bags. Fold them first before packing in the bag so it will be easy to put away after your move. *FYI a 56 gallon trash bag holds about 40 pounds of weight. Sometimes using thicker stronger contractor bags are better for heavier weight.

  • Use Bags to Pack hanging clothes. Use garbage bags when you are moving an entire wardrobe. No need to take clothes off of their hangers to fold in a box or suitcase, slip them into a bag. Gather together four or five hangers of clothes. Pull the trash bag up from the bottom, up to the hangers and secure the ties around the neck of the hangers. The bags will protect your clothes and they are ready to hang when they arrive in your new home. (For delicate and or expensive clothes, do use a wardrobe box. Be sure to use garment bags or garbage bags to protect them while they hang inside the box.) If you have a clothes rack, you can use this in your moving truck to hold your clothes. If not, leave the bags loose; transport in a car or fold the bags in half (or roll them) and tuck them into a moving box.

White garbage bags hold wardrobe contents
Use garbage bags to pack wardrobe!

photo via pinterest

  • Use Bags to Pack bedding. Large bedding items like quilts, pillows, bedspreads, and more tend to take up a lot of room. Why waste a whole box for one blanket! Trash bags can help you pack these items. Be careful you don't trap moisture in with the bedding. Pillows and comforters take up a ton of room. If you are not using them for padding in a packing box then put them in a labelled garbage bag instead. There’s no reason to waste a more expensive, protective box on these items.

White garbage bag packed with pillows, comforters
Use Bags to Pack bedding

photo via pinterest

  • Use Bags to Pack teddies and non-breakable toys. It's faster and easier. Grab a bag. Write on the bag or label with masking tape. Pack up your kid’s room by tossing all stuffed animals and non-breakable toys into a labeled garbage bag. It will make it easier to locate these items later on when your little one is in need of entertainment.

stuffed animals, non-breakable toys in clear bag
Use bags to pack non-breakable toys!

photo credit: ziploc

  • Use Bags to Move Plants. Avoid getting dirt all over your car or truck by enclosing your plant in a garbage bag. You may keep the plant in its pot. Place the bottom of the plant or the pot inside a trash bag to keep the dirt contained. When you arrive at you new home, carefully remove the bag to safeguard the plant and avoid spilling any dirt.

  • Use Bags as packing material. Garbage bags can take the place of packing material as padding in a moving box. Fold or ball up a bag and use it to fill in any gaps between items so that they don’t move around in transit. Additionally, when you get to your new home you can smooth the bags out and use them for taking out any trash. For extra protection, cut a garbage bag to fit inside the bottom of the box as an extra insulator. This is important especially when you’re moving in bad weather.

  • Use Bags as an extra layer of protection on electronics. Wrap up electronics such as TVs, printers, and speakers. Garbage bags are great for keeping out moisture, dirt, and debris. Use them like you would plastic wrap. They will provide an extra layer of protection before boxing them up.

Computer wrapped in plastic bag
Extra protection for electronics!

photo via pinterest

Repurposing plastic bags for packing has many advantages. Garbage bags are cheaper than cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Thus a good solution where appropriate. You also can squeeze them to fit into awkward spaces in the moving truck. As well, they offer protection in inclement weather. And like their smaller cousins the sandwich and medium-sized bags, they are reusable. Finally, you will most certainly get a second use out of them when you’re setting up at your new place.



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