Have you ever struggled back from the supermarket with the handles of overladen plastic bags cutting deep into your fingers? Here is how to make those pained digits a thing of the past. All you need is an empty plastic detergent container and a sharp knife or strong pair of scissors.

You'll need a two-litre container (or bigger) to produce the best results. What we're looking for is one with a handle large enough to slip your entire hand through, not one of those namby-pamby one-litre plastic milk bottles that leave room for only a three-finger grip (and an uncomfortable three-finger grip at that).

Having found one of the right size (the bigger dishwasher detergent containers are particularly good, I find) cut off the handle, leaving a good margin of plastic around it.

All you then have to do is to cut a slit down the middle of what used to be the handle.

Take it with you next time you go shopping. When you have successfully completed your business at the supermarket checkout, tell the assistant to feed the handles of your bags through the slit in your newly-made bag- carrier, and glide elegantly and painlessly from the shop, as your fingers are protected from their plastic tormentors.