With Ziploc Bags, Size Matters

When people ask me what my favorite organizing product is, I think they are surprised by my answer: Ziploc bags.

I’m actually brand-agnostic, so I use the term Ziploc to mean any sealable, transparent bag. One of my favorite things about them is their transparency. When we store things in opaque bags or boxes, we think we will remember what is inside, but much of the time, we just don’t. I can’t even count the number of times a client has been surprised by the contents of an opaque container.

I keep four sizes of Ziploc bags in my kitchen: gallon, quart, sandwich, and snack. While I use them all with food, I use them for many other things as well. Most of my clients have one size in their homes, maybe two. I find that having a variety of sizes will ensure that you can store things most efficiently.

When I’m helping clients organize a pile of stuff, I frequently ask them to bring me a Ziploc bag of a certain size. Here are some ideas for what you might use them for:

  • Gallon: good for keeping the manual and cables together for a specific device.
  • Quart: good for keeping note cards and envelopes together.
  • Sandwich: good for storing open packages of hardware, such as picture hooks or nails.
  • Snack: good for storing business cards.

Many brands of bags have a white strip on which you can write the contents with a marker. If your brand doesn’t have it, add a piece of masking tape or a label if you need to identify the contents. For example, if you have a lot of electronic cables, you can sort them by type, put each type into its own bag, and label the bag (such as “USB-C to Lightning”). Next time you need a cable, it will be easy to find the one you need, rather than wading through a drawer of tangled cables.

Just today, I found a Ziploc bag very handy. I had a dentist appointment scheduled right after a client appointment to which I had brought my lunch. Not wanting to go to the dentist with food in my teeth, I brought along a toothbrush and a package of floss. It turns out that a sandwich-sized bag was the perfect size for these items. They stayed clean in my backpack and the bag prevented my backpack from getting wet.

If you don’t have multiple sizes of bags, you can always store things in a larger size than what you really need. But this creates a lot of extra bulk and becomes a deterrent to using a Ziploc bag when one would be the best solution. I guarantee that if you start keeping multiple sizes, you will find a use for all of them.