Determining the best way to transport your groceries from your car to your home is often as simple as trial and error.
The average grocery shopper likes to save time, and carrying all grocery bags into the house in one trip is a huge time-saver, especially if that person doesn’t have immediate access to their front door, such as the case would be with an apartment, assisted living facility, or dormitory. A person can easily carry one bag in each hand, and sometimes even two or three. But at some point a person has to realize that the likelihood of them making it into the house with the groceries fully in-tact is going to be slim. Bags can tear or drop, completely nullifying the efforts to save time and in fact taking more time. It’s time to get creative.
Brainstorming ways to carry groceries efficiently
- The strenuous single-trip approach involves holding onto as many bags and boxes with handles as possible in each hand, as well as stuffing additional non-bagged items under the arms. This method is high-risk, high-reward. On one hand, you may very well make it inside with the bags all in-tact, but the likelihood of dropping something or a bag tearing increase tenfold. Additionally, opening a door with full hands may require setting something down and picking it back up.
- The multiple trip approach involves carrying only as many bags as you feel comfortable carrying at a time, taking them into the house, and then returning for more. This method highly increases the odds that your groceries will make it to their destination secured, but takes far more time. If you parked at the back of an apartment parking lot and have to walk on an icy surface, getting all the bags at once is highly preferable.
- Getting others to assist you is a fantastic way to transport grocery bags, but isn’t always possible. If you happen to spot a neighbor you recognize, odds are that individual will agree to help you get the groceries inside. Who knows, you may just even make a new best friend for life!
- Utilizing a carabiner or specialty clip to carry the bag handles means you only have to worry about holding onto the clip, and not a half-dozen bags. This method clearly is more effective with plastic bags. Such clips are sold on Amazon with rave reviews from enthusiastic grocery purchasers. This could free up some room in the other hand to carry a more awkward, non-bagged item.
- Utilizing larger boxes or baskets to put the grocery bags may seem more efficient, but in many cases it’s worse than just carrying the bags. Yes, a laundry basket could hold three bags, but is it any easier to carry? Not really. The box or basket would have to be really large and easy to carry, which is an oxymoron.
- A pole or broomstick is also a stretch. In this case, you’d string the bag handles through the broomstick and then just carry the stick with the dangling bags. This is great if all you have are bags with handles, but if there are 12-packs of LaCroix and cases of water, well, forget it.
- A collapsible cart or wagon is great if stairs aren’t involved. Amazon has a very popular folding cart for sale. Some apartment complexes even have full-size shopping carts on-site for just such occasions. Load everything back up from your trunk into a cart and push it right up to your kitchen door, if possible.
- Heavy-duty garbage bags are surprisingly a realistic option. Dump all your groceries out into the garbage bag, or even leave them bagged. Then, in true Santa Claus form, hoist the big bag over your shoulder and deliver food to all the good little girls and boys in your home.
- Loose, baggy clothing with lots of pockets make a decent alternative to carrying groceries. Stuff a bag down your sweatpants and the big bag of dog food into your parka, cinch everything up, and hope for the best!
- Suitcases and duffel bags can hold a ton of groceries and are easier to carry. Plus, they’re extremely durable.
- What about your sleeping bag? Much like the garbage bag method, groceries could be dumped into a zipped-up sleeping bag and dragged up a flight of stairs. You will want to make sure nothing breaks open.
- Other zany, bizarre methods include slingshots, a pulley system, a dumbwaiter, and even drones could be rigged to transport groceries to hard-to-reach places.
Of course, it’s easiest to simply plan ahead and only purchase things that can be carried in one trip.
If you know in advance the treacherous path that lies ahead, you may opt to grocery shop more frequently, purchasing fewer items each time so that you know you can carry everything easily in one trip. Additionally, straying from hard-to-carry items like cases of soda, large jugs of laundry detergent, and enormous boxes of kitty litter can be helpful. If the purchase of certain awkward items can’t be avoided, ask everything to be bagged, even if there is only one item in some bags, so you can at least have a consistent handle to try figuring out how to grab.
My Hot Take
I’ve been there. I lived on a fourth floor dorm room in college with no elevator. Forget grocery shopping—moving in and out was the biggest chore. And laundry was no better as you had to go to the basement. But lugging bags upstairs was no picnic. Normally lazy, I looked at this as a rare opportunity to get some exercise and would take a couple trips if necessary. Yeah, it was a big hassle, but everyone else was in the very same predicament. I suppose if I was in a real bind it would have been pretty easy to find someone to help me.