Questions for our readers

Reader Amy sent us the following questions:

1. Do you know of a UK version of the Container Store? 2. Where can I get Ziploc bags? They must be available in the UK, but I just can’t find them! If you, or any of your UK readers can help I would be very grateful!

Amy, these are very good questions. I often have been asked by friends and relatives in Europe to bring them boxes of Ziploc bags when I visit. (They also ask for Betty Crocker brownie mixes and Hidden Valley Ranch vegetable dip seasoning packets–apparently these three items have never caught on in grocery stores outside of the U.S.) I’m at a loss for answers to both of your questions, so I think we should turn this over to our readership. How about it, Unclutterers? Any helpful suggestions for Amy?

Additionally, if you’re in another part of the world outside the U.S. or the U.K., let us know if you can answer these two questions for your country. Readers in your vicinity might also appreciate your insights.

Amy, I hope our readership is able to help!

28 Comments for “Questions for our readers”

  1. posted by Jon on

    I just moved back to America from London, but I definitely recall getting ziploc (well, different brand, same function) bags at Tesco.

  2. posted by Tara on

    I just moved to London from New York and have discovered that the Holding Company (http://www.theholdingcompany.co.uk/) is the closest thing to the Container Store, but it’s more expensive and not as comprehensive. I, too, have been trying to find Ziploc bags, and they don’t seem to exist here. I use the resealable freezer bags from Waitrose, but they’re pretty flimsy (Ziploc seems to be the only brand with sturdy plastic). In any case, if you’re really desperate, you can use myus.com to send you stuff from the US (I regularly order Swiffers and cosmetics this way; they also send me all of my US magazine subscriptions–expensive but worth it to me.) Hope this helps!

  3. posted by Helen on

    I’m sure Lakeland has a range of plastic resealable bags.

  4. posted by anon on

    Ziplocs (name brand and otherwise) are widely available in Canada. Don’t know if the Container Store has spread here, but I can definitely think of some smaller stores that I expect are similar.

  5. posted by Matthew Artz on

    I lived in the UK 2001-03. Most reliable place to find Ziploc (brand name) bags was at Costco. If you’re in the London metro, nearest one is probably Watford.
    http://www.costco.com/Warehous.....lang=en-US

    [Tesco and the other retail chains do have resealable bags, but they're just not the same quality or style.]

    It’s not really the container store, but I found a lot of good organizational stuff at Habitat (http://www.habitat.co.uk/).

  6. posted by Wes on

    Matthew above is correct about Ziploc bags. We buy them at Costco. It is the only place we’ve found that has “gallon” size (I think they are actually 3 liter) bags in a heavy, storage-grade weight. Bags from Tesco, Sainsbury, etc. are generally store-brand and the are sub-standard in my opinion.

    I also agree with Tara that The Holding Company is the closest you’re going to get to The Container Store. Keep your expectations low. The one I go to is in Kings Road, Chelsea. It is cramped and choice is limited. It is nothing like The Container Store I used to go to in the Washington, DC area.

  7. posted by evenstar on

    I live in the UK and you can get zip lock type bags or several varieties and prives in any grocery store. If you are looking for storage and organization stuff there is IKEA, B&Q, Habitat, ILVA, Woolworths, Wilkinsons, and any number of independent retailers.

    It may not be the brand names you are familiar with in the US but the product is the same. It mostly likely all comes from the same factory in China.

  8. posted by Artemisia on

    Amy, I never found gallon sized bags, but I could find sandwich-sized ziploc bags at Tesco when I was living in England. I don’t know about a Container Store type of place. Sorry

  9. posted by Anonymous on

    curious you have problems finding them. In Spain they are available in all big or mid-size supermarkets, as well as in most of “1 euro” shops.

  10. posted by carrie on

    http://www.lakeland.co.uk they have bags that are called “zip-seal” bags and are close enough to zip-lock bags (actually easier to use)– also, many container store like items

  11. posted by MAds on

    I’m in Italy and storage items are best found at Ikea. I haven’t seen a ziplock bag or anything else similar in the 5 years Ive been here. Plus, ditto on the cookie dough, brownie mix and you can add Advil to the list too!

  12. posted by Sandra on

    While I was in Japan, some of the best organizational stuff could be found at 100 yen stores (like dollar stores… but SO MUCH BETTER!) If you’re lucky enough to be near IKEA, there’s that, and otherwise Japan is just an organizational paradise.

  13. posted by The DT on

    I used to live in New Zealand, and I distinctly remember that “Glad bags” were the number one plastic bag. I don’t recall ever seeing ziplocs or container stores, though.

  14. posted by Amykate on

    Thank you all for your comments, I’ll be hitting Cosco soon and planning an Ikea trip tomorrow – I’m to declutter and re-organise.

    I was looking for zip-lock bags to keep my liquids in when I fly, both to keep them safe and to take things though security.

    The Pound shop will be visited at lunchtime :-)

  15. posted by smfifteen on

    Muji and Rymans sell flat ones ideal for paperwork.

  16. posted by Simon Powell on

    I’ll also add the recommendation for Lakeland (http://www.lakeland.co.uk) – There’re in Brent Cross, Bluewater and Windsor if you’re looking for a Londonish one. They stock a supremely large number of organisational equipment, and a lot of Unclutter’s favourite unitaskers as well…

  17. posted by Genia A. on

    I’m not sure about the UK, but IKEA Russia offers a product named ISTAD, ziplock bags in two sizes, 1,2 and 2,5 l. Good quality durable plastic and a double seal. As far as I understand, most of IKEA products are the same all over the world, so give it a try.

  18. posted by Rosemary on

    Australia has Glad, Hercules, and a myriad of other brands. Having lived in the USA, I can say that they are exactly the same as Ziploc, but cheaper.

    Also, in Oz, look for Howards Storage World, Bunnings and IKEA. K-Mart and Target also do really good storage stuff as well if you just want the basics.

  19. posted by Deborah on

    Thanks for the tip IKEA Russia. In switzerland you will get something like ziploc in Migros in all sizes.

  20. posted by Lynda on

    I think they do Betty Crocker mixes at House of Fraser and Selfridges but they wll cost you an arm and a leg. Didn’t look for Ranch dressing, sorry!

  21. posted by Alison on

    Betty Crocker chocolate fudge brownie mix is definitely available in the larger Tesco stores – and it’s actually 50p off until next week according to their online store.

  22. posted by Mette on

    Betty Crocker mixes are avilable in large supermarkets in Norway (Ultra, Meny etc), the same goes for ziplock bags, just a different brand.

  23. posted by Jessica on

    I am reformed plastic bag user turned plain old fashioned Bell jars user for storage. As much as I loved plastic bags for their variety of uses, I slowly got out of the habit of grabbing for one. I feel better knowing that there are less plastic bags in the landfill…

  24. posted by Anja on

    In Norway you can get them at some supermarkets – Rimi has them in several sizes. I haven’t seen them in Denmark (where I live) yet, but if you’re in Copenhagen you can get them at the American store near Kultorvet (along with other American things). I haven’t noticed them at IKEA but will be sure to look for them next time – can’t live without them now.

  25. posted by lisa on

    look for a MUJI store in the UK for some organization stuff. It is expensive but high quality stuff. It’s a japanese chain :@) and there are stores all over central london and one in manchester (and maybe elsewhere).

    it’s possible to get ranch dressing, but

  26. posted by Marilyn on

    I am a Canadian who is moving to the UK in a couple of weeks. I can’t live without my Ziploc storage bags, I use them for absolutely everything. I decided to put into Google, where can I buy Ziploc bags in the UK and came up with a couple of forums about them, this being one of the forums.

    Having lived in the UK for 6 months in the last 12 months I have tried every bag imaginable and not one of them comes anywhere near to the quality of the Ziploc brand of bags. If you have ever used genuine Ziplocs, then you will know what I mean. All of the zipper, resealable bags in the UK are pretty thin and useless compared to the Ziploc brand.

    I decided to call SC Johnson here in Canada, the Company that makes the Ziploc brand of bags and they advised me to call S.C. Johnson in the UK, which I just did. After speaking with a customer service person at S.C. Johnson in the UK, she told me that Ziploc was only made for the North American market and that there are no plans at all to have them for sale in the UK. She also told me that they have had many inquiries about Ziploc bags, but that they just won’t sell them there because they don’t think there is a market for them.

    How wrong they are, from looking around the internet there is definitely a market for them, but it’s no good they won’t relent. I am so glad that I put a few boxes in with my furniture when it was shipped over, now I wish I had sent a few cases of them instead LOL.

    On the bright side I have found a web site and they are based in the UK and they actually import things from America and they do sell some of these Ziploc bags, expensive compared to North America, but worth it to me. This site also sells the Betty Crocker products that Amy was asking about at the top of this forum. http://www.americansweets.co.uk/ So for all of you who live in the UK and need to get their ‘fix’ from America maybe this will help. I certainly wish this were my web site, I think I would be ‘quids’ in.

  27. posted by luxcat5 on

    my mother lives in ireland and used to have me bring her (or ship her at great cost) Ziploc bags… until one Christmas at home I found them at the local SuperValu. Since then I’ve also heard of sightings at Tesco.

  28. posted by Sarah on

    The Tesco stores (called Home Plus) in South Korea, as well as the HomeEver and Emarts all have Ziploc bags of various sizes.

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