The Fashion Magpie Hinza Tote

The $20 Bag You Need RN.

Are you guys familiar with the Swedish Hinza bag?  These multi-purpose plastic bags were originally designed in the 1950s by a Swedish plastics company and were wildly popular — until groceries began offering disposable plastic bags, and they fell out of favor.  In 2006, the great grand-daughter of the family that had originally designed the bag decided to bring it back, and I’m so glad she did.  I came across these bags at The Container Store and immediately bought two.  They are chic, easy to clean, and highly versatile.  I initially bought one to stow the thick glass half gallon milk bottles that we buy for mini and then return to the supermarket when empty.  (There is a $2 bottle deposit on each!)  They used to clutter our kitchen counter and I now love using my brightly-colored Hinza to keep them out of the way and organized.  (It’s also easy to wipe clean and carry to the grocery!)  I bought a second to stow mini’s bath gear — her shampoo, soap, bubbles used to line the rim of the tub, and her washcloths were stowed inconveniently in her bedroom.  Now I keep everything tidy in one of these water-friendly tubs.  I also think they’ll be highly handy for packing a picnic, stowing beach toys/gear, shopping at the farmer’s market (I like that these have structure to keep pints of berries upright!), toting flowers, or even just bringing treats and wine to a friend’s house at night.  I’m in love.  Do I need a third?!  (You can also find different colors, sizes, etc. on Amazon but for a higher price.)

The Fashion Magpie Hinza Tote 1 The Fashion Magpie Hinza Tote 2 The Fashion Magpie Hinza Tote 3

A couple of other organizational and home decor delights:

+These DKW storage containers.  I mentioned that I recently organized all of my spices, and I bought a few of these to stow bulkier things like bay leaves and peppercorns.

+My label maker.  Can we just talk for a minute about my thorough and abiding love for this contraption?  (Also for some reason on sale for $25 right now — usually $60!).  I bought this to help with spice organization (you guys, we have so many spices, including wildly obscure ones like tomato powder and cooking lavender and fennel pollen…!), and now I can’t stop myself.  I’m OBSESSED with it.  Originally I thought I might also use it to mark all of mini’s toys she brings to the playgrounds and parks (and her water bottles) because I’ve already had a number of things taken — likely by accident, as so many of us parents have the same gear.  But then I found these darling labels and ordered them instead.  (I also ordered a set for my godson!)

+For #extra moms (haven’t yet decided if I have the patience for this — if only I still had my old Singer sewing machine…): sew these personalized name tags into your kid’s clothing at school!

+I promise this is the last time I will talk about these (…maybe), but I bought a bunch of these to help with organizing our spices and our pantry/front closet, and they are absolutely perfect.  Inexpensive, easy to clean, multi-purpose.  And I may/may not have use the label maker to indicate which bin is for lightbulbs, which is for our dog’s stuff, etc.  A true delight…

+I have been using these bento box tupperware for mini’s lunches out (and, occasionally, Mr. Magpie’s lunches, too).  They are perfect — surprisingly sturdy (don’t warp), dishwasher-safe, and accommodating of mini’s often segmented lunches.  Our new nanny takes mini out most of the day and prefers to feed her lunch al fresco, as a picnic in the park, so these ensure we can still feed her “normal food” versus resorting to only items that are easy to transport or pouches.  (We stopped feeding her pouches around a year I would say, sticking only to finger food / diced-up versions of whatever we’re eating and have not looked back.)  I saw another mom using these silicon liners to house grapes and raisins and other small snack-type things within her toddler’s tupperware, and I might follow suit.  A fun way to make lunch special and keep everything contained.

+Separately, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about these stainless steel bento lunchboxes.  They’re trending like reusable straws are!  Have you guys been hearing so much about those?  I need to jump on the train and buy these.

+In France, I noticed that most of my classmates took notes on graph paper versus lined paper, and I was a quick convert.  Hence — this drafter’s tablet is calling my name…


+Mini has been waking up between 5-5:30 most mornings this summer.  We have tried everything — later bedtimes, letting her “fuss it  out” in her crib in the hopes that she will learn to just go back to sleep or to preoccupy herself with toys, a bottle earlier in the evening to avoid an over-wet diaper in the morning, cooler room, warmer room, socks, no socks.  She still wakes up between 5 and 5:30.  Finally, we heeded my mom’s advice: buy blackout shades.  And so we did — these — and I’m obsessed with them.  They bring a little bit of her original nursery in Chicago back to life.  (Sob — those gorgeous wallpapered walls…)  We’re only one night in, but she slept in until 6 today.  I’ll take it.  Worth every penny!  (Also, do I need these tiebacks?!)

+I don’t know if it’s just mini’s age and activities right now or what, but I’m constantly looking for pouches/bags to contain things — like wet swimsuits, crayons, alphabet cards, her doll accessories, etc.  A couple of organizational solutions: have and love this wet/dry bag (it’s always always in my diaper bag — incidentally, I think I’m going to start gifting this to all new moms to be!), these reusable snack bags (available in cute kid-friendly prints here), and these reusable bags (I currently use one for mini’s toothbrush and toothpaste, which we keep in a drawer by her high chair so we remember to brush after dinner).

P.S.  My favorite home gear, and the best gear for small apartments.

P.P.S.  Something small and perfect.


  1. My kids are well into their teens but I have to say blackout shades were the best investment for all of us when they were younger. A darkened room improved the quality and quantity of my little ones’ sleep and usually gave me an extra 30 minutes to get up and get things going before the kids woke.

  2. Oof, I don’t know if it’s the time of year or what, but the end-ish of summer = back-to-school for me, forever = time to organize all the things!

    You can never have too many pouches/bags/sacks/etcetc! I love that Hinza tote, and may need to pick up a couple (would definitely help with organizing the back seat of my car! I stock up on Itzy Ritzy snack bags and wet bags when I find them on sale and use them for everything.

    I love dot-grid paper, but it’s hard to find. Rhodia is the best but pricey – for my everyday notes, I use a Leuchtturm1917 notebook.

    And yes to labeling everything – especially the baby’s stuff! Minted has such nice options, though I’ve toyed with designing some especially for her (sometimes I’m #extra, sometimes I’m just very get-through-the-day)

    Oh! As an aside to a very-long comment (procrastinating on editing a report…) – don’t know if you’ve seen it or not, but Food52 has a French market bag with handles of two lengths. I haven’t ordered it (…yet), but it’s on my short list.

    1. You are sooo right — I think it’s the imminent change in seasons that has me in org mode. Spring cleaning, fall sorting?

      Wasn’t familiar with Itzy Ritzy, and now I need some! Did you see this set at Nordstrom Rack?!

      Thanks also for the tip on the basket bag!

  3. You need name bubbles for your little one! They stay on clothes or cups (depending which type you buy) through the washer and dryer or dishwasher. We haven’t lost a mitten yet.

  4. I love these labels I bought from Minted they stay on these containers even though we wash them every night and they stay on her clothes through repeated washings

  5. Which graph paper tablet do you like? I couldn’t get the link to match up. I love graph paper but I don’t have a tablet!

    1. Weird – maybe it sold out! It was a by a brand called Russel + Hazel, and here is some of their “refill” paper, but it looks like you might need to buy the binder, or you could just use it freestanding:

      Personally, I use Moleskine paperback notebooks in the “squared” / gridded style:

      I like these better than the hardcover because I’m a leftie and can write in it without my hand getting stuck in the crease!


  6. Six years as a camp counselor here: sew-in or iron-on labels on your kid’s clothing and personal items are totally worth it. It’s especially important for more expensive items like outer wear or backpacks. It makes it so much easier for the adult in charge to return the item to your child! Trust me, you don’t want your kid’s sweatshirt to end up in the moldy, contaminated, possibly lice infested land of The Lost and Found. Shudder.

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