Vac ‘n Pack

Vac ‘n Pack

I was amazed by how much space I saved when our winter jackets and blankets were vac-packed away.  I felt terribly organised AND relieved that I do not have to worry about unpacking clothes with little holes caused by silverfish/fishmoth when autumn comes around next year.

Here are some quick, handy tips for vacuum packing:

1) Clothes must be dry – any moisture will result in mould or mildew, or even silverish/fishmoth (which can live or up to a year without food if they have water).

2) Make sure items are clean and stain free, and that any mending has been done so that they are ready for wear when unpacked. Oils will become deeply embedded in fabrics if left over months and will leave permanent marks (and silverfish/fishmoths love any morsel left behind).  Donate items that you do not see yourself wearing again or have not worn this winter.

3) Read the instructions on your make of vacuum packing bag. Trust me – this could save a lot of time when trying to ensure a properly sealed bag.

4) Fold for maximum storage space (a rectangular shape is good, like in drawers and when packing to travel). Also have a look at the shape and size of the packing bag to determine how to fold. Your clothes might dictate the required size of bag – bulky items will not behave when you are trying to suction the bag if they are over-folded.

5) Don’t overpack the bag or it won’t close – plan what items go where. List the contents on a label and stick onto the vacuum bag for easy reference. If you do not have a label maker, any sticker will do, or simply include an easily visible piece of paper with contents printed/written on it and slip inside once the bag is packed and ready.

6) Who doesn’t remember the smell of mothballs? They certainly do the job, but leave your clothes smelling pretty strange and are dangerous if ingested by kids or pets. You could use cedar blocks or dryer sheets (although not as environmentally friendly) to keep clothes smelling fresher when unpacked.

7) Bags will probably have a seal line, like a ziplock bag. Zip it up and hook up the vacuum cleaner with the vac pack bag in the appropriate position (I know you listened in point 3 and checked instructions).

8) While the vacuum suction is on, gently re-position clothes so that no creasing occurs.

9) When the vacuum bag no longer gets smaller (best sign), or the engine of your vacuum cleaner begins to sound like it is taking strain (not such a good sign), you can disconnect and seal the hole (the bag I used has a disc that clips over the hole). You shouldn’t hear any hissing – this would indicate that air is escaping.

Save yourself the trauma of discovering a leaky bag in a few months time – don’t immediately pack the vac pack bag away – leave it for about 30 mins to make sure that there is no leak in the bag (it will slowly loosen if there is). If this happens, repeat and make sure the cap and seals are properly secured.

Store the bags in a cool space away from direct sunlight and check on them every few months to ensure that the seal is still in tact.

And there you have it – quick and easy, and relatively easy on the pocket. Vac ‘n Pack baby.

An interesting note: synthetic fibres fare better when vacuum packed; natural fibres, such as cotton, apparently need air to stay healthy and so if storing for over a year, rather hang in a garment protector such as a suit bag.