Perfectly Practical #82 - Brown Paper Bags

Brown paper packages tied up with string, this is but one use of these handy things...

Have you noticed that they don't ask, "Paper or plastic" anymore at the grocery store?  In fact, the only store in town that I know still has paper sacks charges a nickel per bag!

I remember as a child using the grocery sized bags to make puppet type masks.  They were the perfect shape for dressing up like a robot.  I often had my lunch in a paper bag as well.  Besides those two obvious uses, what else can we do with paper bags?  I'm glad you asked.  :)

You can use them as:
  • Odor Remover - Crumple up a paper bag and place it in the back of your refrigerator.  It will absorb any foul odors.  You could even put a drop or two of essential oil or vanilla extract on the bag to help make the fridge smell fresher.
  • Car Mats - My family used to use the larger sized ones over the car mats so that they would not get soiled.
  • Wax Remover - Remove candle wax from the floor by placing a paper sack over the wax area and ironing over with a low iron.
  • Invitations - Someone threw my parents a Paper Shower before they got married and the invitations were on paper lunch sacks.
  • Book Covers - We used to have to cover our books for school and I often used a grocery sack to do that.
  • Gift Wrap - Much like newspaper, paper sacks (even at $.05 a piece) are a frugal alternative to expensive gift wrap.  And this way, you can personalize the wrapping any way you'd like!
  • Fruit Ripener (is that even a word?) - You can take under ripe fruit and place it in a paper bag to ripen.  We do this with tomatoes and peaches.
  • Luminaries - You can make luminaries for various holidays.
  • Makeshift Basket - See how Kristin at Fiskerelli Bellies made a simple basket from a grocery sack.
  • Crafts - Cut in strips to show children how to weave placemats (remember those from childhood?) or use in place of craft paper in other projects.
  • Compost - If nothing else, put paper sacks in the compost bin or shred it and put it in your wormery.
This is part of We Are That Family's Works for me Wednesday.


  1. I do love paper bags. There are two stores that offer them around here, and I request them every time. I'd never heard of the refrigerator trick, but I'll be trying that out. Thanks for the link up, too!

  2. Howdy Ms. Kristen! You are very welcome for the link. I love interesting ideas for repurposing stuff so that was right up my alley.

  3. I love this! Thanks for sharing!

    The floor mat suggestion reminded me of something I learned from my dad... that if you have to get in the car with muddy shoes to turn the floor mat over and use the rubber/plastic side. Much easier to clean!

  4. Great list! I made those paper placemats as a child out of construction paper; I never thought of making them from paper bags. And I didn't know about the wax remover; my son loves candles, so I'm sure we'll need that tip at some point!

    I linked to this article in my big list of ways to reuse things.

  5. Small brown paper lunchbags are great for popping natural popcorn in the microwave.

  6. Howdy Ms. Shorty! Thank you for sharing that perfectly practical tip from your Dad.

    Howdy Ms. 'Becca! I remember those construction paper mats as a child as well. Our teachers use to laminate them so that they would last longer. Thanks for stopping by and the link up!

    Howdy Ms. Jelli Bean! I totally forgot about being able to pop popcorn in a lunchsack! (Probably because we don't have a microwave.) :) Thank you for the reminder.


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