Ever since the Government introduced the charge for plastic bags, I've found myself actually using them more not less. The main reason for this is that I didn't have a reusable tote that folded up nice and small and fitted easily in my handbag.
I did buy one on eBay, but it was a very cheap (i.e. £2) nylon one that very soon developed a hole in the bottom seam rendering it useless.
Ever since, for the last 6 weeks or so, I've been meaning to mend it, so that I can pop it in my bag and not be caught short, but just haven't got around to it. Consequently, we've paid for numerous plastic bags over the Christmas period and each time it has really irritated me.
Anyway, the other day, I decided to take a look on Pinterest for patterns showing you how to make a foldable tote bag and whilst in the process I came across a great hack for any existing ones I have. All you need is a small piece of thick elastic 6" long.
Fold the elastic in half and sew the open ends to the inside of the top of an existing tote, right next to one of the handles, making sure the loop points downwards and thus tucks inside the tote bag when you are using it. I sewed the elastic in by hand, back stitching and going over it twice for strength.
To fold up the tote, tuck the handles inside, then fold both sides in towards the middle 2" at a time until they meet and form one long roll. Then roll it up from the bottom of the tote until you reach the top, pull out the elastic and loop it over rolled up tote bag. It should keep it firmly rolled up whilst in your bag and if you can put it in a separate pocket, even better.
I now finally have a strong foldable tote to take with me for those unexpected purchases outside of my weekly shop and it didn't cost me a penny. I'm now going to adapt any other fabric totes I can find around the house.