I Want This + Vanity + Wearables

Wishlist: Tote bags forever.


1. K IS FOR BLACK / Just My Type tote
2. Leah Goren / Black Cat tote
3. Baggu / Duck Bag
4. Whitney Museum / New Identity tote
5. Andrew Neyer / Tote Bag™

Last night I went to dinner with Evan and our very cool friend Rena, and we were discussing (in the context of Evan’s guitars) at what point a “collection” becomes a “situation.” I believe the number Rena proposed was 12, which means that I have indeed surpassed the point of having a tote bag collection and amassed (several times over) what really can only be described as a tote bag situation. I’m not sure how this happened, exactly. It definitely wasn’t intentional. As someone who pretty much always prefers the un-fancy things in life when it comes to wearables, tote bags just always seem to be the right answer. It’s easy to double (or triple) up if you need to, they’re perfect for carrying manuscripts on the subway, they don’t add extra weight to your load, and you can toss them in the wash when they get grimy. They also satisfy that ancient desire to silently express oneself to strangers through printed slogans, something I otherwise miss out on as a non-wearer of tee shirts.

A question for the ages for those of you with tote bag situations: How do you store them? I presently have five or six tote bags hanging from coat hooks and door knobs at any given time, and the rest are folded in half and stashed in a bin in the closet. This isn’t ideal, though, since I can’t easily access the ones on the bottom and many go forgotten and unused as a result. My tote bag-loving friend Lisa keeps hers on a long, horizontal hook, which seems pretty smart to me (I’d need several several hooks, though…)! I wonder if there’s not an even more practical solution I’m not thinking of, though. Any ideas?


1. Hansel From Basel / Zig Zag shopper bag
2. Atheist Shoes / Ich Bin Atheist tote
3. Lee Coren / Black screen-printed tote
4. Fieldguided for Summerland / Wild Heart tote
5. Lazy Oaf / Garfield tote

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  • Reply Berry May 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    If you have the space, a free standing coat rack is a great place to store and display favorite totes.

    I use totes in place of plastic grocery bags, and I like real canvas ones, not the the wussy “recycled stuff” ones that fall apart after 10 uses. It’s not a situation if you use them, right?

  • Reply maria May 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    what if you roll them like you roll t-shirts in a suitcase and put them in drawer or a large box? you could see all of them at once and if you roll them in a way that the slogan or special feature of each one is recogniseable i think it would be a pretty decent solution. Of course you could have a couple of boxes – since you have a situation – and divide them by colour or something.

  • Reply jaclyn May 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Oh the totes! I have mine in a bin in the closet but I’m pretty good about rifling through once in a while so I know what’s in there. I’m thinking a long, like EXTRA long wooden rack with pegs in a row could be a nice way to display a tote bag “situation”. It’d be like a functional art installation.

    Anecdote: I had this tote and in a fit of purging before a big move, I donated it to a local goodwill shop. Then a few days later, I’m driving down the road and I see a girl carrying the tote and I immediately wanted to cry and scream out of regret!

    I honestly contemplated turning around and offering to buy it back from her….I’m in a teeny little town so I just know it was the same one and that she hadn’t ordered it herself.

    Never again! I will now hoard all the totes for all of eternity!

  • Reply Joanie May 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    My tote bags are project bags and all are full. I keep them on an over-the-door multiple hook thingy.

  • Reply Jules May 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    My problem with the hook is that the ones in the back get as neglected as the ones at the bottom of the closet–at least in my case. I like the rolled t-shirt idea. Do you have a lot of closet space? Simple S-hooks on a rod would be a great, easy-access solution. Perhaps not the most elegant, but it’d be functional.

    • Jules May 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      What I was talking about: http://blog.shoppingdonna.it/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/cinture.jpg

      It’s the Ikea Grundtal and matching S-hooks. You could just hang the hooks on your regular closet rod if the diameter is small enough, or buy the Grundtal. I’d hang the grundtal rod from the closet or cabinet ceiling, but my closets have sliding doors.

  • Reply maggie May 2, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I have several situations at my house – a candle situation, moccasins situation, magazine situation…it’s a little crazy. But hey, we all have our things, and I always think it could be something worse. At least those adorable totes are easy to store!

  • Reply kim May 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t really own tote bags 🙁 but OMG i want that zig zag Hansel from Basel one!

  • Reply stef May 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I just hang mine on a standard hanger in my closet. It’s definitely storage, not display, but 5 or so on a hanger works well. Easy to see, easy to access.

  • Reply Marissa May 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I have mine around my bedpost but I’m really liking the rolled up idea! I love the round up too! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Bridget May 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Ah totes….I am forever looking for high quality canvas totes for bringing to the farmer’s market or the grocery store. Washable and strong.

    I even thought it’d be fun to buy my family strong canvas totes with a logo I designed for our cabin up north, just because, and I’m having the hardest time finding a source of high quality not-going-to-fall-apart-quickly bags. A travesty.

  • Reply Leaca May 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I have a tote bag obsession/problem like so many others. I do not store them in one place and I am pretty organized but when it comes to tote bags I’m a HOT MESS. So I am interested in a solution for storage as well. I really like the long hook idea but I would have to buy more than one long hook. Ugh!

    My current storage situation…

    1. Door nobs in the entryway
    2. The car and the truck….and daughters car (just in case)
    3. Cedar chest
    4. Garage
    5. Random hooks throughout the apartment (I like seeing them)

    OK…today is the day. I might be conquering this issue. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply Kaitlyn May 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    My house had closetmaid wire shelving in all the closets, like so

    So I took cheap plastic shower curtain rings which snap closed, and I hang them on the outer edge of the shelf and I can flip through my bags like clothes when I pick an outfit!!

  • Reply RTBoyce May 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    OK, I confess my household has numerous “situations”; I will not go into detail, as it is too angst-ridden for this lovely, sunny spring day. And yes, one of them is our totebag situation.
    Instead of setting up a long hook or some other egalitarian solution, I have a multi-pronged approach:
    * A tote with a rolled-up tote inside it, poised for shopping on foot. This is hung ready to go by the door.
    * In the car (our weekly grocery shopping is done by car), we have a tote with another five rolled-up totes inside.
    * An overflow totebag solution which is a large storage basket.
    If I weary of these arrangements, I rummage through the basket and swap out more pleasing totes.
    Also, I admit I am curious about how you organize your tools. I myself have again resorted to totes: I have separate bags for plumbing, electrical, and painting, apart from general tool storage. It is SO convenient to reach into a closet and pull out an appropriate set of specific items for a task, all contained in a tote.

  • Reply Donna Vitan May 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I definitely have too many totes when my boyfriend remarks ‘Not another one?!’ when he sees me sneak one home.

    My only problem is never having it on me because then I have to buy another when I go shopping. I’d rather spend an extra buck so I don’t have to use plastic bags.

    I just need to remember to stick a really small, foldable one in my every day bag.

  • Reply brenda aka gardenbre May 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    just saw some t-shirts folded and placed like file folders in a drawer – I’m thinking now that bags in a bin might be easily accessed stashed this way. I’ve been storing my bags inside one another and that’s not helping my situation come to think of it …

  • Reply mj May 4, 2014 at 8:07 am

    maybe clear pockets, like over-the door shoe storage pockets that can hang nicely away in the pockets, but if each one is folded in a similar way you can make a visual pick from seeing a whole lot of them at once, plus keep them clean/ off the ground…

    • mj May 4, 2014 at 8:08 am

      oops, should be ” over-the door shoe storage pockets that can hang nicely away inside a closet”…

  • Reply Malia May 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Like Stef, I use hangers. I hang the bags so a few are on either side of the hook. The hangers are on an extra bar in my closet, hanging below my blazers. Anything that won’t fit there goes on an over-the-door rack inside the closet door. It’s a pain, and I often forget to do this, but I also try to rotate the bags on the rack seasonally, since otherwise they do tend to get forgotten, as you mentioned.

  • Reply Melissa May 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I use one of those hanging canvas shoe organizers to store our totes and it works brilliantly (and also keep spare compact umbrellas in there too). I stuff one or two totes in each shoe cubby and can easily pull them out before shopping.

  • Reply Heather May 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I use a tie/belt rack for my pants but it would work for totes too.

    Maybe a double sided one like this:

  • Reply Catherine May 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    For her birthday, I gave my mom one of your Society6 totes with the Redoute print. It looks great and she loves it. 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 May 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      That’s so nice to hear, Catherine! I’m happy she likes it. 🙂

  • Reply hannah June 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I use the coatrack, (and over the door rack, and shelves, and on the floor when filled, and wall hooks, and…)

    Hmm…I guess I have a SITUATION, too 🙂

    Repurposing a VERTICAL wall rack seems like a nice way to display and hang the bags and make them into an everchanging art piece…

    Here is one I would consider repurposing

    or simply build a vertical wood rack with funky hooks or old knobs…to display the multitude of bags.

    ..maybe a few alongside each other for really big ‘situations!’

    I apologize if anyone else here suggested that in his or her comment already ..I didn’t read all of them!

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