Rudey's Room

My Favorite Reusable Bags

“Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago.”

– Erma Bombeck


I’m one to re-use a gift bag or box.

In fact, I think most of our gift bags simply reside within the two sides of our family. They circulate from birthdays to Christmas to what have you, and eventually your bags return to you.

I like that. Round and round they go.

I’m on board with the reusable and recyclable to reduce our footprint.

In Chicago, #BYOBag has been at play for years.

If you weren’t grocery shopping for the week, you’d wave your hand with a “Eh, I don’t need a bag.” You’d smile and get on your merry way with with your sixer, Lärabar, and toothbrush.

Maybe you’d even have your own bag.

It was the goal to bring your own bag into the store.

I tried and averaged about 45 percent. Mostly because I’d get inside the store and midway through shopping realize that my reusable bags were in the car and my girls were more than crushing a bag of Goldfish. Instead of turning back to Go, I’d succumb and add another set of bags to my carbon collection.

The 45 percent of the time I remembered, I felt huge satisfaction and no shame.

I’d even be able to donate some small change to a school garden. Win! This is because if you didn’t need a bag, some stores would offer a donation to their cause du jour.

Effective February 1, 2017, the system changed. If you’re bagless and need a merchant to provide the plastic, you pay a premium: It’s .07 cents a bag.




The initiative is incentive to start carrying bags of your own.

I’m behind the idea.

I have the bags. They’re tucked in compartment in the back of my car.

I’ve had them for years. Yet I’m not sure that the regulation has changed my behavior. I’m better than I was before – my percentage is probably 75 versus 45.

That progress, for sure.

Yet I can attest that more times then I’d like to admit I still walk out of Target and the local corner store with my arms full. Or I’ve had to pay the .07 cents because I’d bought more than I could carry.

I’m sure it’s just a habit I need to instill. I need to commit: Exit car, open hatch, grab bags.

When I do remember, I know that I feel happier carrying these bags.

I keep them in my car alongside the stack of Instacart bags I’ve built up from avoiding the grocery store. The Insta bags work fine, but I prefer the arty travel look of the Loqi bag.

I just love pulling them out of the car and slinging a couple over my shoulder. It makes me feel a lightness and for that sensation alone, I’m all for it this bag.

Plus, they hold up to my abuse. I’ve stuffed my Italy bag to the brim with a Bien Dit teacher addition, an expandable of student work, a lunch sack, a water battle, a couple LaCroix, and workout clothes. The seams lasted close to two years before they started to pull apart. The bag never ripped, but it aged and is now reserved for gentler use. (It still works for my gym shoes and workout clothes alone).

In the Lollapalooza picture above, I’m carrying the Italy bag. It’s my second one. I loved the first one so much I bought another one.

I discovered the first one on this trip to Italy at an open-air market and it was actually my introduction to the Loqi bag.

After this lunch …



… my friend and I wandered the streets on the Grand Canal in Venice and bought matching bags. This was the start of my love affair with this bag and it holds so many memories of our trip together. I’m transcended to our time in Italy when I carry that bag.

There’s that, along with the fact that the purchase comes with a small, matching zipped bag which stands in well for a coin/credit card purse.

So yes, these are the bags for all of your errands, but they’re also fun for gifts or as a way to say thank you to friends who help you on your path.

I was aiming to share some pics of these bags – I think I have 10 – and asked Veronica to help me out. I asked her to take a picture of me with one of my favorites.

I thought you’d appreciate her take …

In class 10-year-old fashion, she took her selfie instead … hehe.




I teased her, “Veve, can you aim for the bag this time?”

Take two.




She got the bag.  I was hoping for a bit of me.




Third take. She got me – with a bit of a WTF look.

Oh well.


Do you have a favorite bag to use for grocery shopping and the like? I would love to hear about it in the comments.



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