* Prices may differ from that shown
Bulky items can be a pain to store. Cushions, blankets, duvets, pillows and throws all take up a lot of space and if, like me, you approach spring cleaning season with the aim of tidying away throws and blankets now wamer weather is approaching, anything that helps save storage space for these items is going to look tempting. An ideal solution to this type of storage woe is the vacuum bag. With these bags you can use your vacuum cleaner to suck the air out which then shrinks the bag to a fraction of the original size. I have a large blanket box at the end of my bed but find it can be limiting in what it holds if I don't use vacuum bags. For the past few years I have been using cheap vacuum bags I picked up in Poundland but the biggest disadvantage of these cheap bags is they don't seem to seal properly meaning the air gets out and the bag returns to normal size. Recently Costco had this set of 14 vacuum bags from Space Bag on offer for a price of £16.76 including VAT (this represented a £3 saving on the regular price before VAT of £16.99). I didn't need 14 bags but my sister expressed an interest in some of the bags so I picked up a box for us to share. ~~What You Get~~ The box I bought is called the "14 Bag Space Saver Set" and it includes 5 large vacuum seal "cube" bags, 6 vacuum seal flat bags and 3 roll up bags which are designed for travelling. There are a variety of sizes as shown below:- ***Vacuum Seal Cube Bags*** 2 x Jumbo bags measuring 90cm x 110cm x 40 cm 3 x extra large bags measuring 67 cm x 100 cm x 32 cm ***Vacuum Seal Flat Bags*** 4 x large bags measuring 54 cm x 85 cm 2 x medium bags measuring 45 cm x 57 cm ***Roll Up Bags*** 1 x suitcase size bag measuring 45 cm x 57 cm 2 x carry on size bags measuring 34 cm x 49 cm Each bag has a double "zipper" style lock which is guaranteed to be airtight and water tight. The vacuum bags have so called Turbo Valves and Space Bag claim these enable your vacuum to suck air out 35% faster than other bags. ~~Using the Bags~~ The bags open via the "zipper" style lock which is, in effect, similar to a Ziploc bag but with a plastic puller to enable you to easily open and close each bag. Once you have placed your items in each bag it's a good idea to ensure as much air is expelled as possible before you seal the bag. To remove the rest you simply use your vacuum cleaner hose which you attach to the valve. The valve is easy to access - it is a white plastic circle and to open you just lift it up. Once open you will see a blue rubber seal which you lift up before placing the vacuum hose over the hole. Then you simply turn on the vacuum and watch your bag shrink in size considerably. Once you are done you simply close the the valve to seal. ~~My Thoughts~~ Having used these bags for a few months now I have realised that when it comes to vacuum bags, cheap ones are really a false economy. The cheap ones I had been using were let down by poor valves which required you screw the cap back on which instantly led to air being released as you did this. You don't have that problem with the Space Bags because of the rubber seal - as soon as you remove your vacuum hose from the bag the blue rubber seal returns to its home over the top of the valve hole ensuring no air escapes. Even better, you merely have to flip over the plastic lid and it will snap into place making for a far easier and efficient way of sealing the bag. Each bag is made of clear plastic. The plastic is fairly thick but it would be prudent to keep the bags away from anything sharp as a hole in the plastic will render the bag useless. The bags have what Space Bag call a "Sure Zip Slider" which is a white plastic slider which seals the bag shut at the top. The bags also have fill lines clearly marked "Stop" and you shouldn't fill the bags. It goes without saying that these bags should be kept away from children as they do represent a suffocation risk. I have used almost all of my bags now to store items and have found the vacuum cubes to be particularly useful for storing pillows and blankets due to the cube design of the bag. A flat bag can hold two pillows but it makes far more sense I find to use the cubes which can hold a minimum of 4 pillows and 2 blankets. I can then easily store them in a plastic box under my bed or in my blanket box. Don't be tempted to underfill a bag either - if there is nothing stored where the valve is located then the bag won't expel all air contained inside as the vacuum locks solely at the point where the valve is positioned. I must admit I never cease to be amazed at how much air comes out of the Space Bags - and how quickly it comes out too - once the vacuum cleaner is attached and there is something wonderfully satisfying in seeing the bag shrink in front of your very eyes! The flat bags are ideally suited to storing clothing and I can recommend these in particular for storing items you want to ensure don't become food for moths. I use them for storing my cashmere clothing which I always store away when spring comes around and because the bags are made from a multi-layer construction, in conjuction with the efficient seal, they are designed to keep insects out. This gives me peace of mind and avoids any nasty surprises when I dig it out again come October. The travel bags are not so effective at expelling air due to the lack of a vacuum valve but they are still very useful at saving some space in your suitcase. The carry on size bags are, to my mind anyway, a better idea and can easily be used for packing some emergency essential clothing in a small bag without taking up too much space, especially if you roll the bag after expelling the air. ~~Conclusion~~ I have been very impressed with these Space Bags and honestly wouldn't consider buying any other brand of vacuum bag for storage now. They are durable, easy to use and most importantly of all, they don't leak air which means the bag won't expand. Because the bags are waterproof you don't have to worry about damp or mildew affecting the items you store and they will also keep dirt and insects at bay. The bags are sturdy enough to be used over and over again so if you change your duvet at the end of winter to a lighter one you can easily swap duvets over using the same bag. The bags may not be the cheapest you can buy but for the quality they afford they are easily the best I have ever owned and as such I can heartily recommend them.