The holidays, birthdays, and house parties are a time to give to others, but they also present an opportunity to give a little something to yourself—freedom. Freedom to walk away from your insurmountable pile of reusable totes. The thing is, no one else wants more damn totes either, so you have to be sneaky about it. You need to give the totes away in a way the receiver can’t refuse. The best way is to present them as part of an otherwise generous gift.
I first started gifting totes because I needed extra packing material for the Christmas cookie tins I shipped to friends and family. I was running low on paper packing material and turned to my overflowing bag of bags. (You have one of these too: a reusable tote bag full of more reusable tote bags.)
It turns out totes do keep cookie tins from sliding around. Neatly folded, or bundled around the main present, they looked like part of the package, and provided a buffer when getting tossed around. Use them to help ship any holiday parcels this year—hopefully to a more loving home. If the recipient decides to throw your former tote out, then they’re the monster who hates the planet, not you. (While this is most convincingly done with “nice” looking reusable bags, you can do it with the shoddy corner store ones too. I’m clearly not here to judge.)
If you still have more totes, use them to pack anything you’re bringing to a party. When you head out to any work potlucks, Thanksgiving get-togethers, Christmas mixers, or New Year’s Eve celebrations in the next few months, seize the opportunity. Transport your wine, booze, food contributions, bag of ice, whatever, in a tote you hate. The same goes for if you’re travelling to see family with presents: Why not pack all of the wrapped gifts in those big blue Ikea bags you have too many of? Arrive at the shindig and thoughtfully present your donation to the host. Don’t pull out the contents, just graciously hand over the entire bag. Party hosts, don’t despair: You can get rid of your excess totes, by using them to pack up leftovers to send home with guests.
Do you normally run cookies or cakes over to your neighbours during the holidays? You know what to do. To put a little extra polish on any tote, wrap a ribbon around the handles. To sell it even more, tie a gift tag around the handles, and write the host’s name on it to seal the deal. That is your tote bag now, friend! With some consistency, you should be able to shake your holiday tote weight before Jan. 1