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Zipper bags help organize various household items

(ran HC edition)

Have you ever tried life without a hammer? I have. For about four months.

I limped along using a wrench as a hammer. This is not working very well, my thumbs kept telling me.

I scouted garage sales, kept looking around the house but no hammer. Finally, out of desperation, a friend, who was getting rather tired of my rantings about being hammer-deprived, intervened.

We were at a garage sale one Saturday, and the guy having the sale had an extensive workshop set up in his garage.

My friend took one look at all the stuff the sale guy had in his garage workshop and asked him if he didn't have an extra hammer he would like to sell me. Please.

Yeah, he did. Rather banged up, but it was just a buck.

Which brings me to plastic sandwich bags. Storing my hammer in a plastic sandwich bag would not have kept it from becoming lost _ only I could have done that by putting the hammer away _ but the ordinary plastic sandwich bag with a zipper-lock top, I have found, is one simple, inexpensive way to store all sorts of things that might get lost in the shuffle otherwise. Storing things in plastic sandwich bags is also a good way to clean up and organize clutter in drawers that we use as catch-alls.

I bake cutout cookies maybe twice a year, but, when I want the cutters it takes to make those cookies, I don't want to have to consult Rand McNally to find them. Stashed into a plastic sandwich bag that is zipped right up, the cookie cutters know their place, and so do I.

I do the same thing with books and boxes of matches, pads of scratch paper, pens, pencils, measuring tapes, paper clips and safety pins, nails and screws, greeting cards (I buy good ones when I see them, then have them when I need them), whatever.

Larger plastic bags with zipper-lock tops are a great way to sort (by color, pattern, texture) scraps of material you simply can't part with but have no idea what you're going to do with.

If you live near the coast, the large bags are also good for storing hand tools. The bags help cut down on moisture, which can cause the tools to rust.

I'm not a non-stop pruner, which makes my pruning shears a good candidate for this sort of storage. I give the shears a light application of WD-40 oil, remove the excess oil with a cloth, pop the shears into the large plastic bag and _ this is important _ squeeze out all the excess air, then zip the bag shut. When I need the shears, they are more than ready to go.

Should you be wondering, yes, I finally did come across the wayward hammer. It was in the garage on the floor behind a large piece of wood leaning against a wall.

I swear I didn't put it there.

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