Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7 Ways to Use a Tote Bag

Tote bags, we love 'em!  Sometimes we get them free with a purchase, sometime we choose a special one for it's artistic flair, but where ever they came from, they are one of the most versatile bags we own, when you're rushing out the door, you know you can grab your trusty tote to help you get the job done with finesse.  That's why we all have at least one fancy tote bag, the magical place where fashion meets function.

Whats so great about tote bags?  Well, they are usually a medium to large sized bag with great double handles that you can either grasp or toss on your shoulder.  Why are they so diverse?  Tote bags boast one large main compartment.  We all have purses with scads of pockets, dividers, cubbies and compartments which can be really great, but a basic tote is simple, clean, and easily functional.  You don't have to figure out where to fit something in there, just toss it in and go.  It's a deconstructed purse in a way, back to basics, and a perfect way to carry extra stuff when you're on the go.

Here are some of my favorite uses for my totes:

Triple Goddess Tote from mickiemuellerstudio.etsy.com
Book Tote: When I'm working on a writing assignment, I can drop several research books and a notepad right in and take it between the office and home.  Also, if I'm checking out books from the library, it's a great way to carry them back and forth, and rules out the risk of having them tumble out of my arms in the parking lot while getting my keys. 

Shopping Tote:  I shop at Aldi a lot (for those who don't know that's a discount grocery store) to get good deals on groceries, in this economy we have to save where ever we can.  At Aldi you either bring your own bags or you can buy them, being thrifty and caring for the environment, I usually carry in my totes.  I have a mixed array of them, some from grocery stores, some were giveaways, and some are the lovely canvas totes that we sell in our Etsy shop.  If I have to bring my own bags and shop bargains, at least my bags are pretty!  And they hold up much better than paper or plastic.  No matter what store I go to I always prefer it if I have my nice sturdy totes.
We hit the grocery store yesterday, filled up quite a few totes with groceries for the week.  I had a Lunar Eclipse bag and a Violet Fairy bag in with my other random totes.
Workout Tote:  Back when I was doing Tae Kwon Do, I used a tote to carry my uniform, belt, deodorant, hair tie, and stored my street clothes in it during class.  I tucked in a little coin purse with some change for a bottle of water or other incidentals so I could leave my purse locked up in my car. 

Craft Tote:  When working on various projects, I  sometimes run to my daughters house, and sometimes she brings projects to my house, we love tote bags for the convenience of being able to fit any size or shaped craft supplies right in there.  You don't have to worry about small items falling out of those little holes you get in the corners of plastic bags.

Art Tote:  Speaking of projects, being an artist, I can carry a small piece of art, sketch book, pencil sharpener, and a great big pencil bag in one of my totes, great if I want to catch up on an art deadline if things are slow at the office or I'm vending at a fair.  I love to carry my art supplies in a tote with an inspiring design.

Pool Tote:  If we're going to the pool or the lake, I never want to forget sunscreen, hair ties, sunglasses, towel and a good paperback, cell phone.  The first thing I always reach for is my handy tote, everything I need is right there.  I always want a pretty tote for this purpose, gotta make a fashion statement.
This cool Vampire messenger bag is handmade by the talented Magical Monk Bags on Etsy I would love to take it to the pool, or anywhere for that matter, pack up the SPF 100 sunscreen, Vampire girls.
Diaper Tote:  Well, all my kids are grown, but I do have two sweet little grand kids, and if I'm taking them out for a short trip I might not want to lug the whole big luggage-like diaper bag.  But I can toss a few diapers and a pack of wipes in my pretty tote, even my purse fits in there, and I can just throw it over my shoulder to leave my hands free for toddler wrangling.

When picking out a new tote bag, there are several things to consider, above all what will your main uses be?  Pick a tote that could be used in many different ways.  We all love the give-away totes and the ones you can buy dirt cheap at the grocery store, I keep a stack of them in the trunk of my car, but sometimes you want an artsy designer tote that makes a statement about your personality.  A tote you can use for books or travel, you also want something that's durable with good stitching and quality fabric.  Another good quality for a reusable tote is that it be washable without shrinking or coming apart at the seams, and it should have good sturdy handles.

The totes that we currently offer at mickiemuellerstudio.etsy.com  and pictured here are made from white stain resistant canvas.  This fabric feels really nice to the touch, and has a tight heavy weave, a durable finish, and sturdy stitching. It features 2 strong black handles.  Most of the time you can just wipe it off with a cloth or sponge, but you can wash in the washing machine if needed, the ones I've used clean up really nicely.  They measure a generous 16.5 x 16.5 inches and have gussets on the sides to handle quite a bit of cargo.  The design is dye printed right in my studio and then hand pressed onto this handy tote bag.  The process that we use to transfer the design is not an iron on transfer that can come off, the dye is actually pushed into the weave of the fabric using a heat press.

No matter where you get your tote, it can be used in so many different ways and the right one can make a great statement too, this multi-use bag is a must have.
Priestess of Bast Tote bag from The Mickie Mueller Studio Etsy shop

What are your favorite uses for the fashionable flexible tote bag?


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