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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Making Car Totes Out of Cardboard Shipping Boxes

We've had a lot of purchases shipped to our house over the past 2 years. I've been trying to find uses for the surplus of boxes. I flatten some to use in the garden, both to suppress weeds on one dirt path and as something to sit on when I'm working outdoors. My husband used some flattened boxes last summer to catch paint drips while painting the deck railing. I've used small boxes with the flaps cut off to organize shelves. And this week I made car totes for our car's trunk.

The grocery stores had been giving us courtesy bags for curbside pick-ups occasionally since October's ban on plastic bags went into effect, even when I'd checked the "no bags" box on the online order form. However, I noticed in March that stores were more inclined to put my groceries loose in the trunk if I had checked the "no bags" box. That was okay, and was exactly what I'd asked for. So no complaints from me. But I do want to keep my cabbages and cantaloupes from rolling all over in the trunk. So, this week I made some car totes for my trunk, so the pick-up employee can transfer my loose groceries to the totes. This not only solves the problem off loose foods rolling around, but I'm able to carry my groceries into the house much more easily.

You know me, not one to buy supplies when I have something usable at home. I used a couple of the cardboard shipping boxes to make totes. I cut off the top flaps by repeatedly scoring with a pocket knife, then cut a small flap into two opposing sides of the box, a few inches below the open top, to push in and form handles. 

I could have spent $10 to $15 each for a car tote. And yes, commercial car totes will last longer than my box totes. However, when my homemade totes wear out, they can go right onto the compost pile, and I can quickly make new ones out of newer boxes. I realize that mine are not as attractive as commercial totes. But, hey, they're inside my car's trunk, not on display in my house.


  1. I've used boxes in my trunk for years for exactly that purpose. We have two stores that do not use bags--Save-A-Lot and Aldi but they often have boxes that you may grab. I have found some very sturdy boxes and I have four of them lined upside by side in the trunk. Then I have reusable shopping bags and they fit nicely into the boxes for that scatter issue you talked about. But some stores still use bags and those bags are so cheap that they rip easily. I still use those to line my kitchen garbage can. I can get paper boxes from work too or any other kind of box for that matter. I like small boxes to store the Oui yogurt glass jars for when I need some for a pretty dessert. I use boxes for so many things so scoring a sturdy one is always a plus.

  2. A good used for your extra boxes. They look like a good size for toting. We also use boxes from stores in our trunks, but usually its a flatter one with the handles built in.

  3. Good use of your extra boxes. We also have a surplus and while I like to keep some on hand, they are starting to take over the basement.


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