Although many people are not a great fan of WalMart, I am. Well, not a fan exactly, but I do admit liking it and a great deal of our budget money goes there. Now, if you don't like WalMart, I'm sure you can go to a few other stores like Target, Staples and may-be even CVS to follow my advice. In fact, at the end, I'm going to give you a very simplistic way to follow my advice by doing it by hand.
Sheesh! What could this be leading up to? Why the new necessary, the little zippered bag!! My experience is mostly with WalMart, but I started noticing these little zippered bags in two different departments of WalMart: Health/Beauty and then in Stationary (the place where pencils,pens,erasers, sticky notes are stocked). In Health/Beauty, the bag stocked is the one I have to the left of my writing. It is clear (that blue card with the plane comes right out) and it has a black zipper. From what I hear from travelers, this is ideal. I bought it for my latest stint in the hospital (because I finally decided my little zippered baggies were not a very green decision and I didn't have a piece of Tupperware or Rubbermaid the right size) and it easily held all my necessities and it was very easy to clean.
The zippered bags in the Stationary Department were made of a synthetic material, I think nylon, were longer and came in bright neon colors. I didn't buy one because I hadn't had time to mull about them yet, but they did seem to be very sturdy and because they are synthetic fiber, I imagine they wash and dry very quickly.
So what is the big deal about these bags you ask? They are little more than cosmetic or pencil bags and we've all seen those before. How did this ever deserve a blog entry?
Think outside the box! Don't think of them as pencil cases or toiletry bags; think of them as purse (pocketbook if you'd rather) bags! Okay, stop yawning or your face will freeze that way.
Picture this, your period (Aunt Flo is due, menstruation or the curse, whatever your preferred name for it) is due to start. What do you do? Stuff a tampon or napkin into your purse and be embarrassed every time you open it in mixed company? Or do you buy one of the neon bags that I've mentioned, pre-pack it with a napkin or tampon (or two), a travel pack of WetOnes, and a little bottle of Midol (Pamprin, whatever your pleasure.) Then every time you're near that time, put the bag in your purse, and you're ready to go. When that time is over, take it out and store it until it's needed.
How about coupons? Clip the coupons you need, store them in the bag. May-be even include a small notebook to write your shopping list on. When you go shopping, bring the bag with you. When you're done, store it in a kitchen drawer. Probably the junk drawer, everyone seems to have one.
Is someone in your family in a "health circle?" I was in one last year; it seemed like I was always being admitted to the hospital. Why not pack one of these little zippered bags with necessities like a new toothbrush and cover (the toothbrushes I got at the hospital fell apart in my mouth), deodorant, mouth wash, body wash and some powder. Then just store it in a knapsack, and it's ready when needed.
Are you going to a destination that will take a few hours to get to? Or may-be you'll have to stay a few hours. Pack one of these zippered bags with aspirin/acetaminophen, wet wipes, antacid, something to settle the stomach (pepto), tissues, a protein bar or snack bar, hard candy (lifesavers), lip balm. Then you are ready for just about any eventuality that can make you miserable, and it just about impossible to take care of while traveling (or in a doctor or lawyers office).
Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head and I'm sure you can think of plenty of others for your lifestyle. The basic idea though is to have these little bags pre-packed so that they are ready to grab and go. If you have to scout around for items that should be in them, pack it and then go, the magic (convenience) is gone.
I've made these little bags before. This is my simple way of doing it. First decide how long and wide you want the bag. I usually want it as long as the zipper I have for it is. I take these measurements and add about an inch. I iron out the fabric, which is usually Daddy's old jeans that I've already cut the back pockets out of. I then take this (usually a square) fabric and iron the raw ends over,(and I do it hard, sometimes I even use starch, I don't want the raw edges working their way out) then inside out, I saw the wide edges closed, leaving a little at the top unsewn. I sew the now neat edges of the top,to the inside out, zippered close, zipper. I was inordinately afraid of zippers for the longest time until I just did it. There, simple, just about free, zippered bag; the size you want it!
So, why not just buy a box of Great Value, plastic zip bags? Good question, considering each of these zippered bags costs about the same as a box containing 30 plastic bags (roughly, under $3). First, I'm trying, and I really encourage you also, to try to stop buying and using plastic bags. (I have a blog about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that you must read) Second, these bags will last much longer than your box of baggies will, so in the long run, you save money and the environment; It's a win/win situation. Third, these bags, for the most part, are not clear, so you do get a bit more privacy to the things that you pack in them.
Pictures used on this blog belong to WalMart and Modella. They are not my copyright. The link below goes to the pictured clear bag above so you can read about it if you wish. I could not find the bags I found in the Stationary section of my area WalMart on their website, so I couldn't show them to you. Sorry!