As one who has a handy self bagging expert shopping with me every time we shop, I thought I'd share. DH puts pride into his grocery bagging technique, and it is upsetting to see some fellow shoppers putting crushable and squishable items in the bottom of a bag. Or for the horror - once a shopper put his warm rotisserie chicken in the same bag as the Ben & Jerry ice cream. DH has bagged thousands of bags of groceries in the past few years and he's perfected his technique.
Anyway, this is how to correctly bag your groceries.
1. Bring your own reusable bags, especially the good heavy ones with double stitched handles. It's easy to remember to bring your bags if that is where you store your coupon clutch. For most small trips you will need at least 3 bags.
2. Put the frozen foods in boxes standing up on the side of the bag. Put ice cream in a plastic bag and then place on the bottom of the bag. This double wrap keeps it colder longer. Unless of course you live in one of the many places that ban plastic bags, like San Francisco, Oregon, Spain, France and soon Los Angeles. Place lighter items like frozen vegetables and food in bags or pouches on the top.
3. If you have a stockpile freezer or refrigerator, it helps to put all those items that will be stockpiled into the same bag so you can just bring it there and unload straight into the cooler.
4. Think about where the dry foods you buy will be stored in your house. If products are for the stockpile room or for the bathroom, or the laundry room put all those items in the same bag. Put your kitchen and pantry dry foods into a different bag so they can be unloaded directly into the kitchen cupboards.
5. Place all refrigerated items in the same bag with the heaviest packed first - like milk. Put produce in bag last with heavier items like melons on the bottom.
6. Grab a plastic bag for smaller items like vitamins and health care items so they don't get scattered among everything else in your dry goods bag.
7. If you have large light items, like bags of chips or boxes of cereal you could opt for using a paper bag provided by the store (to use later as your trash bag) or just use a separate bag. Keep in mind where you're going to store this stuff whether its in the kitchen or pantry stockpile area.
8. Always put raw meats in a clear plastic cover bag that is provided in meat departments to avoid contaminating your other foods or your grocery bags.
9. Always shop so you get refrigerated and frozen items last. Especially milk which loses 1 day of shelf life for every 1 degree temperature rise.
10. Some items don't really need bags, like 12 packs of soda, large bags of pet food or gallon containers. These are easier to just pick up by the handle. If you have multiples of these heavy items, just place one on the checkout belt and tell the cashier you have more in your cart.