By Barbara Kessler

Bags drive me crazy. You’ve got the dozens of plastic or paper grocery bags that accumulate at home each week. Fast food bags, shopping bags, drugstore bags. And those stiff little boutique bags (sometimes those actually come in handy).

So what are we doing with all these conveyances? Ours are stuffed into a laundry cabinet — until they start pushing their way outward, creeping vermin-like through the crevices to remind us that we could be using that cabinet for something useful. So we find other places to stuff the overflow, temporarily, until some task relieves us of a few bags. But our household demand will never, ever catch up with the supply.

So wait a minute. Rather than stuff, let’s snuff them. I figure most of the bags people are handing me I don’t really need. So at the fast food window I simply decline the bag. This garners some funny looks, but hey, they don’t want to give me any more catsup than I need either. Which is fine.

Frankly, most of my shopping doesn’t require a bag. If I’m at a shopping mall, I probably already have one big bag, so I can turn down almost all subsequent bags. Which leaves the grocery store. Here I can’t quite picture getting to the car balancing apples on my arms like a trained monkey.

Fortunately, there are people who’ve been fretting this bag issue for longer than me. The founders of ReusableBags.com decided a few years ago to wage war against needless baggage — specifically the hundreds of thousands of plastic grocery store bags flying out of supermarkets (before blowing around your local park or getting snared in your shrubbery) every day. At their site you can buy a variety of tote bags to use at the grocery, from mesh bags to the Acme 1500 workhorse bags that fold into their own tiny pouch that’s just 2x2x3 inches and will easily fit in your glovebox or purse. (The 1500 stands for the estimated number of grocery bags you’ll save.)acmebag_bagw_pouch.jpg

Reuseable Bags also sells beverage bottles, lunch thermoses and lunch bags to help you minimize trash buildup from juice boxes and lunch bags. They sell large, fashionable totes for bigger shopping outings, wheeled totes, tote sets and funky recycled items like coin purses made in the Philippines with used juice box foil wrap.

As they say in therapy, get rid of your baggage.