Whenever I go shopping, I have to go back and forth between the car and the kitchen 4 or 5 times. I sometimes use my hands and arms to carry the bags, and I'm able to get six or seven, but usually I have water cases and sometimes loose cans too. I've also tried using a laundry basket, but usually I have too many groceries. Is there any other life hack I can use so that I can carry all of my groceries, bags, water cases, and cans, inside my house in one trip?

  • 2
    If one laudry basket is too small, why not take two or three of them? Better to carry than bags and doesn't waste plastic every time. By the way, if your groceries don't fit in a single laundry basket, aren't they just too heavy to carry them comfortably in one trip?
    – MaxD
    Feb 3, 2015 at 21:24
  • 4
    My mom's hack? Get the kids to carry it in. ;P
    – Trish Ling
    Mar 15, 2015 at 15:53
  • 3
    @MaxD, just do not use throw-away plastic bags...
    – hkBst
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:12

15 Answers 15


Rule #1: bag everything. doubled.

A trick I've used, although this won't work up flights of stairs, is to put all bag handles over a broom handle. Just be sure not to tilt the broom in a way that allows bags to fall off the open end.

  • 1
    absolutely, i live in a city and do not have a car and have to carry all my bags from the store to my building and up three flights of steps. it is completely impossible without double bagging
    – celeriko
    Feb 5, 2015 at 16:59
  • 2
    Why double-bag stuff? Just use decent quality canvas or cotton reusable bags instead
    – Nick C
    Dec 19, 2017 at 13:19
  • @NickC Canvas and other reusable bags are certainly a valid answer. There are several answers mentioning canvas and other reusable solutions below, oft praising their increased capacity. If you see an answer similar to yours, feel free to edit it to add some more details.
    – Mooseman
    Dec 22, 2017 at 9:55

Cheap aluminum carabiners are what I use; they're available in different sizes for about $1 or less (you don't need the expensive ones for climbing). Not only can they grab eight or more plastic bags to carry them, but they keep the bags from spilling their contents in the trunk. For individual items, keep some bags in the car. enter image description here

  • I feel this is the only answer that addresses the 'lifehack' part of the question, and could be varied to use things from around the house . Feb 10, 2016 at 11:00
  • 1
    Terrific suggestion! I will definitely try this one myself - thanx!
    – Ceylon_17
    Jun 8, 2016 at 23:05

I've used a medium-large sized backpack to lug groceries in the absence of available transportation. A large backpack can easily fit in a weeks worth of groceries safely.

A bonus is the environmental friendless of not needing any bags (and cost saving if you live in a place that charges extra for grocery bags).

Below is an image of a smallish pack that illustrates the point.

(source: outdoorgearlab.com)

  • The backpack in the picture is very small and this doesn't improve the efficiency of really much of anything with only that small amount of groceries. Yes, if you use a backpack in addition to carrying other bags in with your arms there are obvious advantages of being able to bring more with you. Also please consider the risks of reusable bags for groceries.
    Feb 3, 2015 at 4:50
  • I usually shop by bike once a week for a 2-people household. I use a big backpack (double the size of Minnows picture), two bikerack bags and up to two cloth bags. I put heavy items such as juice in the backpack and lighter items in the bags. I can carry all that inside in a single trip. Now if I need to get milk or water, those come in sizes that don't fit in the backpack, so they go on the rack and I have to carry them in my hands while carrying the hopefully light bikerack bags and cloth bags too. If I have to get milk and water, I walk the bike and do two trips inside so I try to avoid it. Oct 16, 2016 at 19:41

I've lived on the third floor of apartment building before with no elevator, so making one trip was a priority because who wants to climb those stairs over again or go outside in the cold/heat again.

Some things I would do to hopefully make this happen are :

  • never say paper when they ask paper or plastic
  • ask to double bag them all or double bag them all yourself (avoid potential broken bag causing another trip to retrieve what fell)
  • bag the milk cartons, orange juice cartons, 2 liter sodas, etc (bag everything)
  • don't overbuy
  • don't buy 12 pack/ 24 pack boxes of soda/whatever (if you must have soda, buy a 2 liter, and gallon jug for water)

This above procedure has worked really well for me in the past. This procedure's success will be dependent on how may bags you have, how heavy they all are, and your arm length and strength. I've surprised my self a few times in just how many bags I carried up in one trip. There's been times where I could only lift the bags like 2 inches above the ground, or where I've had to let them rest on the ground for a while and then get moving again. But remember, pain is gain.

Now lets say you don't take the advice above and buy a couple 24 packs of soda and a couple 24 packs of water bottles. There isn't really much of a lifehack short of building your own conveyor belt system from your car to the kitchen. If you have say, a sloped cement/patio leading into your home where you can enter without any steps, then you could possibly use a wheelbarrow or similar and pile up everything on that and make one trip inside the house. But then you're stuck with the wheelbarrow inside your home and would have to make another trip to bring it back out. So other than that, you could use a big plastic bin, but it'll likely be too heavy for one person, but two people could probably lift it.

  • 1
    if you insist on buying packs of water/soda you can always just remove them from packaging at the store (the store will dispose of the refuse) and bag them like up like everything else :)
    – celeriko
    Feb 5, 2015 at 16:57
  • @celeriko never seen that done before, but that's a brilliant idea! I'm sure the stores are trembling in fear of the thought that general public hears about that idea.
    Feb 6, 2015 at 2:26
  • Use sturdy re-usable bags instead of two or more layers of thin plastic.
    – Willeke
    Dec 19, 2017 at 17:29

Get some reusable bags. I have the ones below and they are fantastic. They have nice big handles. I do not have to worry about them ripping. Plus they are better for the environment! Two ore three of these can fit a weeks+ worth of grocery's. These

  • There's a non-working link to pbs.twimg.com/media/Bwel3b9IQAE83Qj.jpg at the end of that post.
    – Hobbes
    Feb 16, 2016 at 14:18
  • 1
    Agreed. Ikea has giant, sturdy bags well-suited for this. In my country, any supermarket will sell you big reusable grocery bags for E 1-2 apiece, and they last several years.
    – Hobbes
    Feb 16, 2016 at 14:20

Use a folding shopping cart, which you can keep in the trunk/back or behind a seat. You could combine it with the carabiners that @DrMoishe Pippik mentioned above, so you can hang bags (or other things with handles) off the side, and in the front, if the cart can't carry anything.

If you have stairs to go up, get one that can climb stairs. They have three wheels in a triangular formation on each side. And if you get tired because you are moving four or five loads of groceries all at once, get one with a seat so you can sit and take a break. :D


Get a cardboard box from the super market.

Most supermarkets I've found will happily give you a banana box or similar cardboard box for free. (Ask the person stocking the produce section).

You can then fit several shopping bags worth of groceries in the one banana box, so long as you are strong enough to carry it.


I know what you mean - I seem to lug my work stuff, my own bag, a few shopping bags and they all bang together as I try to get up the steep stairs - I am thinking of a small suitcase, the type you take on board planes with wheels and handle, and a large strong backpack that will be comfortable on my back and not make me fall backwards!!! - will look daft but as I am middle aged I can use my age and the fact I also have a disability as an excuse anyway - I try to shop every couple of days instead of one big shop to help ease the load of it all - maybe in a few years time I will pay to put a chair lift in for at least for my shopping to get a ride up - lol

  1. Put one or more (plastic, cardboard, wood) boxes with handles in your trunk that you can put the groceries in directly (or the bags). Has the extra advantage that your trunk does not get messed up if some carton breaks and spills.

  2. I once lived in the forth floor and eliminated lugging bottles of liquid altogether. If your tap water is safe to drink and tastes ok, see if you can substitute at least some of your liquids with tap water. You may also use a water filter to filter it. Use any of the following water enhancers for variations in taste:

    • tea (e.g. herbal tea)
    • put the tap water in a water pitcher and add any of the following: fresh mint, freshly sliced ginger, slices of organic lemon or orange. Adds a wonderful fresh flavor to the water. It also costs less in the long run.
    • just a spritzer of some juice you like

I have large reusable bags in my car. When I come out of a store, I put the smaller full plastic grocery bags into the larger bags. This means I usually only have two larger bags to carry inside. The larger bags have bigger cloth handles that are easy to hold. And, if I have to put them down for some reason, I know the inside bags have extra protection from moisture or something else on the ground.

I also have two larger insulated reusable bags in my car. So, if what I've purchased needs to be kept cool, I slip the smaller bags with what needs to be kept cool inside those larger insulated bags.

I have also thought about getting a lightweight grocery cart. But, I'm not at that stage yet. There are a lot to choose from.

The previous suggestion for using luggage with wheels is a good one. If you don't want to use something you already own because you like it too much, take a trip to a Goodwill Store or Salvation Army/Thrift shop and see what's there


I use this basket with wheels enter image description here This way you can easily carry a lot of stuff and it also has a divider in order to keep fragile objects at the top for them not to be crushed by the weight of others or if you want certain groceries to be away from others.


You could use luggage, e.g. a large suitcase or trunk that has wheels, and load the groceries into the luggage while in the boot of the car.


A little while ago I bought this:

enter image description here

It's a nylon strap that keeps your bags together. It's called Grocery Gripps and it's actually very comfortable and lightweight. I'd highly recommend it.

This is their website I think: grocerygripps.com


when I return home from shopping I go inside my condo and get my large suitcase that has wheels. I take it to the car and fill it up with the water I buy, bags of groceries etc....it's heavy and rolls along really well...once I reach the stairs I use the long suitcase handle and roll/pull it up 1 step at a time until I reach the top. I unload it and go back for another load. This and grocery delivery are the best options I have found so far.

  • 1
    That answer has already been given.
    – Chenmunka
    Jul 24, 2017 at 9:14

I know this is an old question, but I have a very useful method I've been using since I lived in a 3rd floor apartment.

I stick my whole hand completely through the handles of all the bags I want to carry, then open my hand wide to keep them from slipping off again. For larger hauls, I grab the last 1-3 handles that are hanging down around my wrist, which helps keep them from swinging so much as well as locking any bags on my arm, preventing them from sliding off.

I will sometimes grab the handle of something else I need to carry in, like the milk jug or a case of pop, letting that lock in all the bags around my wrist/arm.

To be clear, I have my arm hanging down by my side as I walk. This allows the bags to creep up my arm, sometimes up to my elbow, rather than pom pom around my hands, allowing me to go through doors a little easier.

This puts the strain of carrying more on your arm and wrist, rather than your fingers and thumb. Your full arm and wrist are much stronger than your fingers. It also helps prevent the bags from creasing your fingers in painful ways. To be clear, this can still press against your wrist and arm in uncomfortable ways.

This method puts more strain on your shoulder, as you are able to carry more bags, so remember to keep your bag hauling to what you can actually carry safely.

I generally do this with a single arm, so I have my keys and maybe 1-2 things in my other hand.

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