Woman Holding Black Leather Bag

The perfect grocery bag to stash in every purse

The dream: trotting up the winding wrought iron steps to your townhouse with a bag of groceries tucked under your arm, a fresh baguette peeking out the top gently nestled next to a fresh bouquet of lilies and a cold, slim-necked bottle of Pinot Grigio.

The reality: schlepping up the endless staircase in the heat with your hair coming out of a hastily-tied ponytail, with the straps of your bag digging into your wrist and the contents of the precariously-stuffed bag threatening to split the flimsy seems and crash onto the pavement below.

I’m glad that most stores have done away with one-use plastic bags. In principle. No, I am! Really. But all these years later I still find myself caught short when I make an impromptu trip to the grocery store. I don’t always have every step of my daily itinerary planned out, you know? Maybe I had an extra half hour and decided to pop into the grocery store after doing an online return at the mall. But that doesn’t mean I’ve hauled my reusable bin along with me. Do I go back across the parking lot to the car to get it? Meh, not worth it. But most of the reusable thin bags I used to keep in my purse were pretty flimsy, and did not like when I awkwardly jammed even a few days’ worth of groceries at the checkout.

I’m now fully converted to this brand of reusable bags: Chicobag. This is because they squish down (no painstaking origami folding!) into an attached bag (nothing to lose!) with a drawstring (no Velcro to get caught on stuff!). Plus they have a built-in carabiner, weigh next to nothing, and have super-reinforced seams. I have stuffed some really heavy groceries into these and they make nary a protest. I keep at least one of these in every purse and work bag, and always feel a bit like a magically prepared, organized Mary Poppins when I pull one out.

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