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19 Insanely Clever Ways to Use Bread Bags

As you know—and only because I write about it so much—I may as well be president of the Artisan-In-Five fan club for how the book and method of making bread have rocked my world.

Back when I was first learning to do this (it is so easy), I decided I needed bread bags not only to store partial loaves, but also for presentation. Let’s just say that when you bake bread, you have a lot of friends.

crusty-homemade-bread

 

Turns out bread bags are quite inexpensive, purchased in bulk. And when I say bulk, I mean a case of 1,000 bread bags. I did. I bought a case of 19-inch, gusseted bread bags.

As I look back, I’m not sure what I was thinking. Apparently the idea of 1,000 loaves of bread ever coming out of my kitchen was overshadowed by a bargain-basement price on large bread and bakery poly bags when purchased in bulk. These slightly smaller bags are equally useful, for about half the price.

RELATED: Got 5 Minutes? Bake Bread!

While I continue to bake bread as needed by my household of two people, I use one, maybe two, bread bags a week for bread. But for dozens of other uses around the house? These bags are the best thing since, well, sliced bread!

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Store Decor

I fill bread bags with holiday and seasonal decorations like tree ornaments, strings of lights and pinecones. Because these bags are gusseted at the bottom, they expand to hold a lot. Plus, I can see exactly what’s in each bag and nothing gets mixed up.

Pack Shoes

I don’t like the idea of shoes touching clean clothes in a suitcase. Bread bags are the perfect size for a single shoe or a pair depending on the style and size.

Travel Hamper

I always pack a few empty bread bags in my suitcase for soiled clothes on my return journey.

Leak Prevent

Don’t you hate it when you open your suitcase only to discover the bottle of lotion or shampoo or even hairspray has managed to leak, explode or otherwise make a mess? Me too. That’s why I bag all liquids and lotions in bread bags, just in case. Even the smallest leak can make a mess of things and bread bags have saved my bacon on more than one trip.

Diaper Disposal

While my grandsons were in the diaper stage, I kept a stash of  bread bags handy to take care of soiled diapers before tossing them in the trash. Just drop the soiled diaper in, tie off the top and into the trash it goes.

On the Go

I keep a stash of bread bags in the car and boy do they come in handy to hold trash, to clean up a spill; to organize wet-wipes, tissues, charger cords, manuals and toys.

Paper Towels

I keep a roll of paper towels in my car—in a bread bag. The towels stay clean and can’t unroll.

Fridge Organization

I use bread bags in the fridge to hold everything from vegetables to cheese, meats and fruit. It’s so easy to just throw stuff in a bag, tie the bag loosely and pop it in the fridge. It’s visually appealing because I can easily see what’s in each bag.

Pet Travel

If you’re bringing your pets along on vacation, fill a bread bag with the food they’ll need instead of packing the entire twenty-pound bag.

Pet Clean Up

If you have a dog to clean up after when you go for your walks, a bread bag makes that chore easy, neat and clean. Use it as a “glove” to pick up the poop, then just tie it off and it’s all ready to toss when you get home. Use the same method to remove clumps from the cat litter box.

Crafty Bits

If you’re crafty, you know the tyranny of little things. Thrown into a box, it’s hard to find anything, which can lead to re-buying just because you can’t find what you need! Keeping supplies in a cloth bag is even worse because I can’t see what’s at the bottom.

I love bread bags for keeping balls of yarn segregated and all of the things I need in my knitting bag tidy and organized. Works like a charm.

bread-bags-for-more-than-just-bread.

I have quilt pieces separated, stacked and sequestered in bread bags. It’s so beautiful, I hesitate making the quilt because I’ll have to spoil my artful organization.

MORE Einstein Bread, So Easy You’ll Feel Like a Genius

Kid Stuff

My grandsons and I use bread bags for everything you can imagine from markers to puzzle pieces, socks,  sandals, board games and and toy parts. We keep precious things like rocks, leaves and twigs safe and secure in them, too.

Lunches

Now and then I still pack lunches and find bread bags to be so much handier than zip-type bags (cheaper, too). They just work.

Breading and Seasoning

Bread bags are perfect for breading or seasoning foods. Just put the breadcrumbs or seasoned flour into a bread bag, add the meat or vegetables, shake, and then proceed to bake or fry.

Gloves

I slip a couple of bread bags on my hands when mixing a big batch of meatloaf or cooky dough and even yes, even to form loaves of bread dough.

Paint Equipment

A bread bag is the perfect shape and size to slip over a paint roller when I need to take a break but the job is not yet done. I wrap rollers and brushes tightly in individual bread bags to hold until the next day—no need to wash them out. The next day I just unwrap the roller and brushes, throw the bags away and we’re good to go.

Since making this dubious purchase quite a few years ago, I’ve come to the conclusion just about everything around my house is better thanks to my now-half-empty case of disposable bread bags.

Vacuum Seal Liners

I use my FoodSaver every day, or so it seems. Bags for vacuum sealing are pricey, so I reuse them as many times a possible. What I hate is having to wash them. So I don’t. I use bread bags as liners so the vacuum sealing bag stays clean. Wrapping ground beef, for example, in a bread bag first then dropping it into a vacuum seal bag keeps all the juices sealed inside the bread-bag liner. Works great!

Compost

If you have a backyard compost, keep a bread bag on your kitchen counter to collect the fruit and vegetable peelings and various other food remnants throughout the day.

Wet Storage

Bread bags are the perfect size for holding wet swim clothes after a day at the beach or lake.

Make a Plyarn Rag Rug

I saved the best for last. While preparing this post, I remembered my grandmother cutting up bread bags to make “rag rugs” for her kitchen. I loved them—probably because I loved her and thought anything she did was amazing. Her kitchen floor and door mats were waterproof, colorful and fun to walk on.

She’d collect bread bags (and ask her friends to save them for her, too). When she had enough she’d cut them into long strips of  “plyarn” and then crochet them the way she’d crochet rag rugs out of strips of fabric. Sometimes she would make a rug from all clear plastic bags, and it would turn out all sparkly like ice!

Want to give it a try? Check out this video that will walk you through the process.

By the way, it took about seven years, but I did manage to go through that entire case of 1,000 bread bags; I’m now working on the second case. I like these large 19-inch bags because they are so versatile. However, the 15-inch version bread bags are equally useful, and even less expensive at about half the price!

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7 replies
  1. Patricia Stariha Roy
    Patricia Stariha Roy says:

    Great post, as usual, but how about this?
    For many of your uses, I re-purpose the plastic bag that the newspaper carrier uses to protect the paper every morning. I get 14 per week, for free, (she double bags…don’t ask me why). I use them for doggie-doodie, packing shoes, liquids, and wet clothes…basically everything you mentioned EXCEPT bread..not big enough! While they are not see-thru, all the time, I like that for the dog……and shoes, and wet stuff, and, and, and……

    Reply
    • Bonnie Colcher
      Bonnie Colcher says:

      I use the plastic bags I get in the produce section for almost all of Mary’s ideas. I also recycle the ones I don’t use.

      Reply
  2. kddomingue
    kddomingue says:

    I have a Foodsaver also and you’re right….the bags aren’t cheap! So, your idea about using the bread bags as liners grabbed me by both eyeballs so to speak. But I have a question. When you make your bags, how long do you start them out as? Since you must cut off an end to open them to get out the whatever you sealed out, you end up with progressively smaller bags. So I’d love a tip on how long/large to start with. (I know it’s not rocket science but it’s the small things in life that trip me up, lol!)

    Reply
  3. Jan Jones
    Jan Jones says:

    Ok, I’ve got one more use for you. As kids, we used to slip a bread bag over each foot before putting on shoes or boots and going out to play in the rain or snow. Helps keep your socks dry, even if your boots aren’t waterproof.

    Reply
  4. Mary Keil
    Mary Keil says:

    I slipped a quarter of a cut watermelon in a bread bag. I don’t have a container that the watermelon will fit in, but a bread bag worked great

    Reply
  5. Jacqueline in Atlanta
    Jacqueline in Atlanta says:

    I was in a farm CSA this summer and they packaged every different type of veggie in a different plastic bag. I ended up with 3 sizes. They have air holes in them, so they would not work for all of the above uses, but I just rinsed them out and saved them. I use them in the frig to store vegs and fruits, but I am constantly finding new uses as well. One reason I like them, at least sometimes, better than zip top bags, is that the zip top, not being flexible, keeps me from being able to fold the bag in half vertically. I don’t have that problem with the CSA veg bags. Also, like Patricia Roy, I save those newspaper bags. I only get a paper on Sunday, but I get 2 bags every time, so even if one is dirty or torn, the inside one is usable. Makes great pet pickup mess bags when the grand dogs come!

    Reply
  6. Vicki Tavana
    Vicki Tavana says:

    I also use clear bags for baking potatoes in the microwave (used a bag with a logo and now have a permanent logo on the top of my microwave, lol)

    Reply

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