The First Thing You Should Do with a New Stash of Brown Paper Lunch Bags

updated Sep 11, 2020
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Holding a pack of new brown paper lunch bags in the kitchen
Credit: Sarah Crowley

This time of year, you might find yourself picking up a fresh supply of brown paper lunch bags. While some schools won’t reopen and will continue remote learning, others will be operating, albeit in a business-as-not-quite-usual kind of way. Some schools are requiring disposable bags, so those cute lunch totes and boxes (even the washable ones) will have to sit on the sidelines for the foreseeable future … which brings us back to brown paper bags. Cost-effective and compostable, brown paper lunch bags are classics for good reason. 

But before you start packing lunches, there’s one thing you should do with those bags: Pull out a few and use them to help you with your fall cleaning. More specifically, scrubbing your grimy kitchen windows. 

We talk a lot about spring cleaning, but, for me, fall is when I really get my home in order. There’s something about the back-to-school season — even decades after I’ve attended school in any shape or form — that makes me want to clean and organize everything from major appliances (including the dishwasher) to kitchen rugs (and all the rugs really) to the junk drawer to, yes, the dirty windows. (If you’re not a fall cleaner, I encourage you to take all that pandemic-related stress and channel it into a good scrubbing session — followed by a hot bath with a glass of wine, of course.)

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Clean Your Windows with Brown Paper Lunch Bags

You’ve probably heard of cleaning your windows with newspaper. Brown paper lunch bags are just as effective, maybe even more so. As our Lifestyle Director, Lisa Freedman, points out, newspapers run the risk of leaving ink smears. Brown paper bags, on the other han,d will leave a lint-free, streak-free, ink-free shine. 

All you have to do is cut one open, scrunch it up, and go to work with your favorite glass cleaner, or a simple vinegar-and-water solution. You’ll probably notice how much brighter your kitchen is now that the windows are clean, which is a good reason to set aside a brown paper lunch bag or three every time you pick up a new stash — not just in September.