15 Clever Ways To Repurpose Resealable Plastic Baggies Around Your Home And Garden

According to Statista, people around the world create 350 million metric tons of plastic waste each year, and that number is only expected to keep rising. The best way to do your part and stop contributing to the problem is, obviously, to cut back on the amount of plastic items you buy and use in your daily life. Sometimes, however, it can't be avoided, and you find yourself with a part of your routine or a choice at the store that you simply can't avoid. If you're looking for additional ways to reduce your plastic consumption, one of the most overlooked methods is to continue making use of your typically single-use plastic items by utilizing them more than once in creative ways.

Resealable plastic baggies are a mainstay of packed lunches everywhere, but they're good for a lot more than just hauling a sandwich to and from work or school. The fact that they're made of thin plastic means they're lightweight, waterproof, and clear. Further, the resealable top allows you to fully open and close the bag without having to use anything else, and they're fairly accessible, as they're not that expensive and most people already have them in their homes. All of these characteristics make them great for holding onto snacks in a lunch bag, but the possibilities certainly don't stop there. After you've used a resealable plastic bag for food storage, discover 15 unexpected ways to use them again around your home and garden.

1. Organize items while packing

If you've flown with a carry-on lately, you're likely already familiar with the TSA's policy on liquids. Along with limits on the size of bottles, they also require you to place your items in a quart-sized clear plastic bag. A resealable plastic baggie is obviously the perfect fit for the job, but they can also be used to better organize your other items when you're packing. Use a plastic bag to hold onto smaller essential items like medications, to better organize your socks and underwear, or even to protect the rest of your items from wet swimsuits that haven't gotten the chance to fully dry.

2. Craft an air freshener

Scent boosters can help freshen up your laundry and guarantee you're left with a pleasant scent for longer, but they can also help to bring a more pleasant smell to small spaces where you might not be able to burn a candle or set up a diffuser. Fill a plastic bag with scent booster crystals or beads, roll it up, add tape it to secure it, and poke holes through the plastic with a toothpick to release the scent. This little perfume pack can hide behind your computer at work, nix nasty smells in a purse or backpack, or even be slipped into stinky shoes.

3. Hold school supplies

If you want to limit the amount of items you have to carry at work or school, consider combining a pencil bag and a binder into one. Take a resealable plastic bag and tape or glue it into the back of your binder. Once everything is dry or taped in, you can use the bag to hold onto your essentials like pens, pencils, highlighters, and other supplies. The clear baggie allows you to see exactly what items you have with you at a glance, and the zipper on the top means you can easily open and close the attached bag.

4. Deep clean your faucet

If your faucets are looking a little worse for wear and need a deep clean, all you need is a bag of vinegar. It might seem a bit strange at first, but filling a plastic bag with vinegar and securing it to the end of your faucet or shower head with a rubber band can help disinfect the faucet and lift away stubborn debris. Let it soak overnight if possible, then give it a good scrub with a toothbrush after you remove the bag to help clear away any additional gunk it might have loosened up and remove any vinegar residue that might be lingering around.

5. Protect items while moving

Air bags are a commonly-used material when shipping out packages, but if you don't feel like shelling out money on store-bought packing supplies, try making your own. Plastic baggies can be easily inflated with a straw and sealed off by closing the zipper for a quick fix. Further, if you want to guarantee that they don't leak air or pop open, it might help to add some tape around the seal for an extra layer of protection. With this hack, you can even customize the amount of air in the bag, meaning you can slightly deflate the bag to better fit into tight spaces if necessary.

6. Keep finger painting mess-free

Need a quick and easy indoor activity that won't leave your house an absolute wreck? Try this mess-free finger painting hack. Put a few dollops of paint on a canvas or piece of sturdy paper, then slip it inside of a large plastic baggie. From here, you can spread and squish the paint around to your heart's content without having to worry about wiping down all of your surfaces, staining clothes, or making your hands messy. This is a great sensory play activity for young kids, but it can also make for a fun way to create some abstract art for adults, too.

7. Preserve paintbrushes

If you're looking for a DIY paint hack that will allow you to pause your painting job but pick it back up in a day or two, consider preserving your brush or roller rather than going through the arduous process of washing it and putting it away just for it to get it dirty again. Simply place it in a plastic baggie and remove as much air as possible. If the bag is large enough to fit the entire brush, zip it in, but if the handle sticks out, grab a rubber band and wrap it around the base of the brush to prevent hair from entering.

8. Use as a makeshift funnel

If you need to create a funnel in a pinch, there are plenty of different methods you can use, but a resealable plastic bag is one of the simplest ideas out there. Take your plastic baggie and fill it up with whatever substance you need to transfer. Cut a small hole in the corner, making sure that the hole is smaller than the opening of your container, and then use this opening to more precisely fill it up. It's best to err on the side of caution here — you can always cut more, but a hole too large may lead to a mess. 

9. Utilize as a hands-free phone holder

If you're looking for a way to watch a television show or movie on your phone without having to hold it with your hands, try making a phone holder out of a plastic baggie. This is perfect for plane and train rides, as it can easily be secured to the tray table on the seat back in front of you, but it can also be used when you're at home. As an added bonus, the plastic bag protects your phone from water, so you can use this hack to watch videos in the shower, bath, or even just as you're hand washing dishes.

10. Create a segmented organizer

We deal with a lot of little miscellaneous items on a daily basis, and keeping track of them can be a major struggle. To help make this process a bit easier, try creating an organizational book out of resealable plastic bags. Take several plastic bags, then stack them in a pile. Fold a piece of paper over the bottom of the bags, then staple it to essentially create a spine. From here, you can fill each zippered "page" with whatever items you want — crafting supplies, crayons, fabric scraps — to keep them both accessible and organized on a budget.

11. Remove gum from the carpet

Gum is commonly used to help freshen your breath and occupy your mouth throughout the day, but all of its positive qualities seem to fly right out the window the second it ends up tangled in your carpet. This sticky substance is notoriously impossible to remove, but with the help of a plastic bag, you can significantly raise your chances of success. Fill your resealable plastic baggie with water, then place it in the freezer until it's frozen solid. Place the ice pack over the gum for about 10 minutes and you should notice that the gum lifts much more easily once it's cold.

12. Germinate seeds

Starting your own seeds is a great way to get more involved in the growing process, and there are plenty of different methods to take your seeds from dry in the package to sprouted and ready to plant. One of the simplest only requires two things: a damp paper towel and a resealable plastic bag. Sandwich your seeds between two layers of damp paper towel, then place them in a baggie. Keep them somewhere warm, and you should notice your seeds beginning to sprout over time. If the paper towel begins to dry out, simply give it a spritz of water so it will stay damp.

13. Ward off animals in the garden

Many people love to eat fruit, but they're not the only ones, as animals also enjoy snacking on fresh produce. While there's certainly nothing wrong with this in the wild, it can get quite annoying when you've been working hard to cultivate a crop only to have your progress cut short by a hungry animal. To help give your crops an added layer of protection, place a plastic bag over them just before they ripen. This will allow them to continue growing without the risk of being eaten by a rabbit, deer, or another critter.

14. Protect car mirrors from ice

If you know there's a heavy freeze or snowfall coming up, it can be helpful to protect your car beforehand so you don't have to do as much work the next time you need to drive. Covering up your windshield with a tarp will help to prevent it from freezing, and covering your side mirrors with large resealable plastic bags will help do the same thing on a smaller scale. Wrap them up and zip the end shut to seal your bag over your mirror right after you get out of your car, then simply unzip and slip them off before you drive again.

15. Make paint cleanup easy

Painting is one of the easiest and most fun ways to both create a work of art and transform your existing furniture and home décor pieces, but it can sometimes feel like the cleanup is more effort than the actual project. To help cut down on how much washing you have to do, consider squeezing your paints into resealable plastic baggies rather than directly onto a palette. This way, you'll have access to your paint, and when you're done, you can either close up the baggie to use the paint again or simply toss the bag in the trash.