Have you promised yourself that you’ll start using reusable shopping bags from now on, only to find yourself standing in line at the grocery store with the bags neatly folded in a drawer at home? Join the club! In our convenience-oriented society, it’s not always easy to remember the good things we intend to do. Switching from paper-or-plastic to reusable tote bags for shopping is one of those things that seems easy enough to do – but often fails because we’re so used to our pick-up-and-go lifestyle. If you’re trying to make good on your commitment to leaving this planet cleaner than you found it, these tips for an easier transition from plastic grocery bags to reusable shopping and tote bags can help you stick to it.

Buy Enough Reusable Bags

This may be the number one rookie mistake for people transitioning from store-provided bags to bringing their own bags. Most people underestimate how many bags they’ll need. The right answer is nearly always “more!” If you’re doing a week’s shopping for the typical family of four, you should probably have at least five reusable tote bags with you for packing up the groceries. (That’s one of the reasons we love these adorable fruit shaped shopping totes. They come in a package of five, and they’re cute to boot!)

Keep Your Tote Bags in the Car

Get in the habit of keeping five or more reusable tote bags in your car instead of storing them in the house. After you unload your groceries, either run them back out to the car or put them right beside your car keys so they go out with you the next time you do.

Keep Reusable Grocery Bags in Both Cars

If you’re lucky enough to be a two-car household, keep a stash of tote bags in each car. That way you’ll never find yourself at the register with the bags in the other car… and you can both practice responsible bagging!

Toss Them in Your Purse

Another reason to love the LA Pop Design Expandable Tote Bags is that they scrunch up small to fit into a tiny tote bag of their own – just the right size to toss in your purse so they’re always with you. This is especially handy for those who don’t drive to the grocery store. If you bike, walk or cab to the store, you can also make it a habit to pop all of your reusable grocery bags into one bag, and keep that one by the front door, ready to grab when you head out to shop.

Put Your Reusable Bags on the Belt Before Your Groceries

Never have that awkward “No, thank you, I brought my own bags” conversation again. Simply place your empty grocery bags on the conveyor belt before you start unloading your groceries at the register so they get to the bagger before the cashier even asks.

Remember to Wash Your Bags

Your reusable shopping bags are kicking around your car, in the trunk and in your purse. They’ve held all sorts of food, and as unsavory as it is, they do collect bacteria. Do yourself and your family a favor and toss them in the washer once a week or so to make sure you’re not spreading that bacteria around.