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Recently, the time came for me to decide what to do with my wedding dress, after about 8 months of it hanging on the back of the spare bedroom door! I couldn't bring myself to part with it yet, so for now I decided it would be best to store it somewhere where it would be safe and clean, but not take up too much space. Cue the H&L Russell vacuum storage bag, bought for around £5 on Amazon.
The bag is vacuum packed, so the idea is that after you've placed your items in the bag, any excess air can be removed to ensure a tight seal around the items. This saves storage space, as it's a lot less bulky than big boxes, and it physically reduces the size of the items being stored. I was a little nervous about doing this with my wedding dress, but felt reassured after going through the process.
The bag is quite large, measuring 130cm by 90cm, and has a wide opening which allows you to get big items such as wedding dresses into the bag with ease. It closes by a plastic slide zipper, which has to be closed fully once the items are inside the back, to ensure the bag is fully sealed. Once you've sealed the bag, there is a grey valve at the bottom, which has a removable lid to allow your vacuum attachment to make contact and remove any excess air. I would probably recommend not having the vacuum on the highest setting, as in this instance it was a bit tricky to control it, and I ended up with the attachment stuck to the side of the bag instead!
The bag definitely works in terms of being space saving. Once I'd removed the excess air, the bag shrunk right down so it was almost flat, which was remarkable considering my wedding dress had previously been quite big with lots of petticoat layers underneath the skirt part. This allowed us to store it on top of the wardrobe, where you'd hardly notice it because it's almost flat. This was especially important because my husband hates clutter, so if he can see things on top of cupboards or wardrobes it really irritates him.
As long as you use it correctly, this bag does exactly as promised, and stores your bulky clothes or bedding without taking up excess space. You do have to make sure the seal is fully closed, because for a little while I couldn't work out why the bag wasn't reducing in size when I was trying to vaccum the air out of it....then my husband walked in and walked over to it to zip the seal properly, so I would probably say this was down to user error. The outside of the bag is quite thick, so I feel happy that it won't rip or split, and my wedding dress is being kept clean and moth-free. Whether or not I ever take it out of the bag is another matter!
The bags come in different sizes, so obviously depending on whether it's something large like a wedding dress, or just a bit of bedding, you can choose the appropriate sized bag. I can't comment on the state of the items being stored, because I've not removed mine yet, but I do feel quite reassured that no harm will come to my dress, and it's probably safer now than when it was hanging on the back of the spare bedroom door.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)