The Upside Downside of Trash Bags

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The Upside Downside of Trash Bags

Posted by Vivian McNeil on

Checking my garage storage shelves yesterday to see what I needed at the supermarket, I noticed that we had overbought both clear trash bags and black garbage bags over the last eight months. Because of the pandemic, we worried that supplies of trash bags would be depleted and along with my supply of paper towels and toilet paper, many of the boxes of bags are laying around waiting to be used. Yes, I am still diligently using the heavy-duty plastic outdoor trash bags to line my outside garbage cans and keeping them super clean and sanitary. I even got compliments from my garbage man about how clean my trash cans are staying. Since I am still at home most of the time, and only venturing out for important errands like, the dentist, doctor and of course the supermarket and drug store. Who would have thought I would look forward to going to CVS? 

I remembered from the past that I used my trusty trash bags for other household duties and decided to put them to good use once again. 

1. Great Suit Bags 

Although I have a well-sealed closet door on my walk-in closet, dust tends to accumulate on unprotected clothing and shoes. Since being locked indoors, my husband’s suits have been sitting idly gathering dust. We mostly hang around with the same casual clothes day in and day out. For us, most meetings are on the phone, not so much on Zoom. Some of my husband’s suits are zipped into the garment bags that they came in, but other suits, sports jackets and sweaters are exposed to the elements. A dependable black plastic garbage bag is approximately the same length as the average suit bag so all I must do is make a whole on the top for the hanger. If you want to be extra neat, then instead of just ripping the bag haphazardly to make the hole on top, you can take a pair of scissors and cut a small square or circle. Remember that you are cutting into both sides at once so do not make the hole too big. The smaller the hole the less air and dust will be able to enter the inside of the bag. Clear plastic recycling bags are also a reasonable option. However, I have heard that black protects the garments more efficiently since suits are usually sold with black suit bags as opposed to clear ones. 

2. Other Closet Items Do Well With Trash Bags 

Sweaters, skirts, pants, and other choice clothing are adaptable to different size garbage bags. The regular white bags are great for any half size hanging garments such as pants, blouses, and skirts. The bonus with using these types of bags is the drawstring on the bottom of the bag. By pulling the drawstring tight you will protect the garment from dust and air. Even your shoe rack can be covered with the right size bag. 

3. Keeping Those Toddlers Away From the Water Cooler 

I have had several circumstances with flooding with my water cooler. Years ago, after hearing about the negative chemicals that were present in our area’s water and of people who were getting seriously sick, my husband and I decided to invest in a water cooler and water delivery. There are other options for clean water from Britta Water filtering systems or the actual installation of filters on the pipes under the sinks. At that time there were not as many options out there for purifying the water. We still enjoy our water cooler and we have gone through many variations. 

A clear disadvantage of the typical water cooler is the problem with young toddler age children who get obsessed with coolers. One option to prevent flooding by toddlers is a childproof hot waterspout. This is so important since there are instances where children have received burns from playing with water coolers. Unfortunately, many savvy toddlers can overstep these safety features and learn quickly how to use the spout. You can imagine how embarrassing it is for an elderly person trying to figure out how the safety spout works and a toddler aged child coming to their rescue and showing them how simply the hot water can be accessed. (I hope the same thing does not hold true for child guard medicine containers). 

When my toddler grandchildren come for a visit, I try two remedies other than sending them out of the kitchen, to keep them away from the water cooler. Option number one is turning around the water cooler so that the spouts face the wall. This will work with younger toddlers, but toddlers that are a bit older will somehow figure out how to get to the water. 

The second option that has been working well for me is to cover the water cooler with a black garbage bag. Black is a sinister and uninviting color for a young child and it usually does not accrue much interest for them. The red draw string is an additional protection which keeps the bag tight around the cooler. With both options together (that is turning around the cooler and covering it with a trash bag) and keeping the kids occupied with other things, your cooler should remain untouched. All it takes is an upside-down trash bag to do the trick. 

4. Keeping Germs Away During COVID-19 While Cleaning The Bathroom

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one really knew how careful to be with indirect touching of contaminated objects. I was extremely serious with not allowing anyone into my house during the first few months. During the summer, my children and grandchildren were able to visit from long distances and remain outdoors socially distancing with us. However, what happened when one of them needed to use the bathroom? There is no way you could deny anyone from using the facilities in your home no matter how scared you are. 

This is the way I handled the situation. Before my guests arrived, I sanitized the bathroom for them. After they left, I sanitized the bathroom for us. Adorned with rubber gloves and mask, I ventured into the bathroom a few days after the visit, with the assumption that many of the germs had died. (We have two other bathrooms upstairs and this one was downstairs.) I did not want to have to change my clothes after cleaning the bathroom. First, I sprayed the bathroom with Lysol spray (not so easy to come by at that time). Then I donned my trusty black garbage bag PPE. I pushed up the sleeves of my shirt so that my clothes would be covered and began to figure out what to do with the bag. I measured carefully for the hole for my head so that it should not be too wide. Then I did the same for the armholes and just like that I had my own home-made PPE. I even used the red pulley at the bottom of the bag to keep my skirt under the bag. It really worked like a dream and after the job was done, I pulled it off carefully and disposed of the bag immediately. 

5. Keeping the Home Office Dust Free 

There are many products to purchase online and in stores to cover the various types of office equipment that you have at home. When in a bind, like we were at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, your dependable garbage bags can be extremely helpful. Many people could not work during the pandemic even if they had home offices since there was no business. Some people just did not even want to enter their home office at that time so they would not get depressed. But dust never takes a holiday and can be detrimental to the running of office machinery. That is where a trash bag or two will come in handy. Your computer and monitor, your printer and fax machine all needed to go into hiding until further use. Psychologically, it felt better to just have temporary covers than to invest steeply in permanent ones. None of us could have imagined how long this disease would last. Now hopefully lots of us have resumed working in our home offices. How convenient it is to just remove the garbage bags from our technology and put them straight into the office trash can to reuse as if nothing happened. Something did happen and everything is ultimately for the good even if we do not understand.

Most of us can find a silver lining in this past year's experience whether it is getting close to family or finding new ways to make money. Going back to work is surely something most people appreciate so much more. There is nothing like having a routine, even though previously we might have wished for more free time. Now we realize that hard work is healthy but at the same time spending enough time with family is so important so as not to spoil the gains that we made in that way.


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