DIY Vacuum Packing (a.k.a the Poor Man's Spacebag)





Introduction: DIY Vacuum Packing (a.k.a the Poor Man's Spacebag)

You've all seen the Spacebag infomercials on TV promising to triple your storage space using a vacuum cleaner. Well here is a simple way to achieve the same effect using materials you already have!

I came up with this while packing for school and getting frustrated with the cargo limitations of my car's trunk. This makes packing for college much less stressful as space becomes much less of a constraint by compacting large items such as comforters, bedding, and clothes.

Step 1: What You Need

-Garbage bags

-Vacuum cleaner with a hose

I used drawstring kitchen bags, but large black garbage bags would work very well, as they are less prone to tearing.

Step 2: Fill a Bag

I have filled my bag with a foam mattress pad, but anything from clothes to bedding will shrink when vacuum packed.

Step 3: Hold the Bag Closed

With your hand, hold the bag closed by the top as shown.

Step 4: Insert Vacuum and Suck!

Insert the vacuum cleaner (I removed all the tube attachments to make it easier to insert) and turn it on until the bag stops shrinking.

Step 5: Tie the Bag Shut

...And bask in the glory of all the space you saved! Just make sure the bag has no holes and the knot leaves the bag completely sealed.

Happy travels!

Step 6: Unpacking

When the time comes to restore all your stuff to its air-filled glory, just open the bag and watch your stuff spring back to life!

Step 7: Troubleshooting

If the bag fails to shrink:

-Make sure the bag has no holes

-Make sure that your hand has formed a complete seal around the vacuum

-Maneuver the vacuum so it isn't sucking in the side of the bag. It helps to place the vacuum against whatever you are packing.



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    26 Discussions

    I love your post! Very helpful. You may want to check this article for additional info with this kind of topic -

    using like a mattress/box spring moving bag & clear packing might be a good option as well if want to creat a thing flat surface. You could use the packing tape you make the bag openings smaller

    Cool. Check out Contractor bags. You may have to get them from the hardware store. They are super long double thick bags, and if you double bag that, the result is pretty thick. I've never tried with the vacuum cleaner though. Thanks for the idea. I was looking at those space bags and holy cow they are expensive. The reviews say they bust easily, too.

    2 replies

    What kind of car is it? You might be able to find a roof rack on craigslist or classifieds, and strap rubbermaid bins to it. I did that on vacation one year. It killed the gas mileage past 55mph though.

    I'm going to try this with one of those 12v boat inflator/deflators. I have an extra one laying around. that would work swell on a car/camping trip if it draws hard enough to drain the bags. I've seen people's videos where they cut the top off a 2L bottle, drag the bag through it, and use the vacuum wand to crank the air out of it, then twist and knot the bag.

    OH MY GOSH! You just saved me SO much money! Many thanks!!

    Great idea to easily pack when you leave , but what do you do on your return?( should I pack my vacuum cleaner too?) :)

    I've been doing this for quite a few years with plastic zipper bags. Get the 1-gallon and 2-gallon freezer bags, and they actually hold a fair amount of clothing. Pack them, zip most of the way, then sit on the bag to expel the air. Zip the rest of the way, and done!

    3 replies

    With a ziplock bag, I use a plastic straw from a fast food place. Put it into the center of the package and seal the bag almost all of the way. Suck the air out with the straw and yank it out beofre sealing. Works well with the bags with sliding zippers.

    I've done this with blankets during the summer for storage, but with one variant.
    What I've done is slip a doubled-over rubber band onto a tube attachment. I put the tube into the middle of the folded blanket and walk the elastic down over the bunched-up mouth of the bag.
    Then I vacuum out all of the air I can. I slide the tube out while the motor's running and give the bag a spin to finish sealing it. I tuck the mouth of the bag under a section of the rubberband to lock it in place.
    I've also used a girl's scrunchie to help her pack her sweaters. Made it easy for her to find that one bag in the closet.

    Great I'ble. I'm giving you a perfect 5.

    2 replies

    Brilliant! I'm trying to get everything to fit 'under the seat', and your rubber band on the nozzle may make it happen. Thanks!

    Dang, I should have thought of this BEFORE the trip to Alaska I just got back from!

    SWEET!!!!!! I just vacuum packed my dirty socks with this method.

    Great idea- I've been doing something like this for years. If you don't have a vacuum cleaner, you can use your body instead (kind of like blowing up an air mattress in reverse; tedious, but it works). Just put your mouth to the opening of the bag, suck air out, then blow that air out through your nose without breaking your mouth seal.

    Hmm, I will definitely use this when I leave for England next month. 5 star idea for sure.