To anyone that knows me, it’s not at all surprising that I’m a serial over-packer. As a textbook Virgo who hates being unprepared for any situation, I’ve gotten in the habit of throwing in everything from alternate outfit items to emergency shoes in my luggage. (weight limit who?) Anyway, I had a real moment of reckoning when the time came to pack for my most recent trip, a two-week holiday jaunt to visit my family in Japan. Determined to fit everything in my medium-size Béis roller, I knew that my usual packing habits simply weren’t going to cut it this time around. That’s when I made the game-time decision to order a pack of vacuum-sealable bags from — where else? — Amazon.
I know these aren’t new. I’ve seen them on friends’ spring cleaning IG stories plenty of times but never felt the need to invest in them until now. Without much thought, I typed in “vacuum seal bags” in my Amazon app and found one with pretty good reviews. Twenty-four hours later, the Cozy Essential Vacuum Storage Bag kit showed up on my doorstep. It came with 20 bags (four extra large, four large, four medium, four small, and four roll-up bags), plus a manual air pump to suck the air out of the bags once sealed.
Besides making my clothes flatter and more packable, the bags kept everything organized in my luggage. In other words, they did exactly what my packing cubes did (in addition to the whole vacuum thing). For my two-week trip, I ended up using about four bags total (two medium, two large) for my clothes and was able to zip my luggage shut without even sitting on it. I kept small things like bras, socks, and undies in a single Calpak packing cube since those already don't take up much space on their own.
When I say that these are the *single* most useful thing I've ever bought on Amazon, I'm literally 0% joking. Traveling in winter is one thing (bulky winter sweaters take up more precious luggage real estate than airy tank tops), but I was also toting around multiple ski jackets and bibs for hitting the slopes. Not only were the bags made from a sturdy, rip-resistant plastic (the fact that they're reusable was a major plus), but best of all, the user experience was a piece of cake. Each bag (except the roll-up ones) has a reinforced zipper (and clip to make sure air doesn't escape), plus a valve in the center that connects to the pump, making it possible to vacuum the remaining air out — this is, unsurprisingly, hugely satisfying. (Also the pump itself is relatively compact and very lightweight, so it's ideal for travel.) Once we got home, I went on a bit of a vacuuming spree, packaging up extra puffer coats, pillows, and comforters, taking them from cloud-like to flat in seconds. (The box says it creates 80% extra space, but I'd confidently put the number closer to 60%.)
Boasting over 20,000 Amazon reviews as of press time, I'm clearly not alone in my love for this particular set of vacuum-sealed bags. "Went from skeptical to ecstatic in five mins," writes one reviewer. "As a screenprinter, I have a lot of blank shirts in storage that take up space — and still somehow manage to get ruined in the basement air even contained in boxes or bins. I'm having a truly 'adult' moment here, gushing about great storage solutions, and I couldn't care less!" Same, Carl. Same.
"I'm having a truly 'adult' moment here, gushing about great storage solutions, and I couldn't care less!"
While I don't expect these to last forever, I will say that they're still in pretty good shape after lots of sealing and re-sealing over my trip. For $25, it's also relatively affordable compared to other similar items on Amazon — and truthfully, I'd have paid double for how much of a life-saver they were. (Writer's note: Cozy Essential, please please please do not jack up your prices!) Whether you're a frequent flier like me or simply looking to minimize clutter at home, I'd consider these vacuum-sealed bags money extremely well spent.
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