My little girl is growing up. I'm a little bittersweet about the whole thing. On one hand, she's my tiny monkey and I shudder to think of how quickly time seems to be flying. On the other hand, she's awfully fun, the more and more interactive she gets. There's a part of me that can't wait until she holds my hand during walks and asks me a million questions. There's another part that keeps searching for her pause button.
Babies grow. Fast. And before you know it, you've got a heart full of memories...and a closet full of outgrown clothes.
Over the weekend, I gathered up all of the munchkin's outgrown clothes and set about organizing and storing for future babies.
Maybe someone else's. Maybe mine. Mayyyybbbeee.
A handful of the clothes I found really broke my heart, and made me long for those tiny baby days. Like this one:
And this one:
Oh, and this one...maybe the most unique outfit she owned and I can't believe I can't stuff her into it anymore. :(
There were beautiful outfits, boring outfits, functional outfits, what-were-we-thinking outfits, and what-were-THEY-thinking outfits. But one thing is for sure — there was a boat load of clothes.
Several weeks ago, Anna A. posted to the imanimama.com Facebook page, suggesting I try to make my own space-saving bags. I thought the idea was intriguing, and since we most certainly have the need to compress and condense, I decided that this was a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.
The supplies were straightforward enough.
I had the clothes separated into long-sleeved and short-sleeved piles, so I took all the clothes from the long-sleeved pile and started stuffing a trash bag. These bags are absolutely HUGE, so they held a lot of clothes.
There were flaps at the top, so I folded them over several times, and secured them down with duct tape, leaving an opening just large enough to accommodate the hose of our vacuum.
What happened next was not appropriate to photograph. Whatever you do, try not to picture me kneeling on top of the bag, with a vacuum hose between my knees, sucking the life out of the bag as I slowly sank down, down, down.
Stop it. I told you not to picture it.
After a minute or two, all of the air had been sucked out of the bag. I quickly removed the hose and duct taped up the opening several times. To check for air leaks, I put my ear to the crease and listened carefully for the slight wooshing of air. I heard quite a bit, and by the time I managed to get the leak under control, the bag was already reinflated.
Maybe the bag was too full. So I ripped it open and tried again. This time, I split the clothes into 4 less-full bags instead of 2 packed ones, and instead of duct taping up front, I inserted the hose, wrapping the bag around it, and turned on the vacuum. The bag quickly deflated, shriveling up to less than half the original size. Working quickly, I removed the hose and twisted the excess bag tightly to lock out the airflow. I then tied the twisted section into a knot to further discourage any leaks.
Not bad. I further secured it with some duct tape, and labeled the bag with the marker. Initial success. But only time would tell if my home-grown space-saving bags would hold a candle to the store-bought variety. So I tossed them in the corner and waited until morning.
And by morning, what did I find? Four bags slowly re-inflating with air.
imanimama's VERDICT: I really wanted this to work, and it just didn't. There are a lot of problems with this little project:
- Vacuumed bags are a funky shape and not easily stored.
- The tied-off section at the top made them unstackable.
- Bags are not reusable if you use duct tape to help prevent leaks.
- Bags are not transparent, so you have to be sure to label well.
- Most importantly, both of my trials yielded non-airtight results.
I do think there is at least one redeeming use for this homemade space-saving bag: vacation. We will definitely use this little trick when packing up for our family trip to North Carolina. But ultimately, I'd have to say that you should buy the real deal. Space Bags (as seen on TV) can be pricey, but can be found at lots of stores that frequently offer great coupons (think Joann and Bed, Bath & Beyond). Of course there's always Amazon.com as well. So go, buy, suck, store and smile.
And leave trash bags for, well, trash.