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Thursday, June 27, 2013

How do you store winter bedding?

This is about half the pile that I shrunk. It doesn't include a queen-size
 comforter, pillow and 2 large bath sheets

In past years, my closet has become the receptacle for all items needing storage, including winter bedding and guest pillows. I don't need to explain just how much room extra pillows and poufy comforters take up!

This year -- no more! I take back my closets and insist the assorted off-season linens live elsewhere!

One teensy-weensy problem. This stuff won't fit anywhere else, not in it's current state.

So, while talking with a friend on Sunday about cleaning out closets (her's had become the receptacle for her grown children's dolls, games, childhood books and school papers), she suggested I try the vacuum bags that you fill with stuff, then suck the air out with your vacuum. I'd seen these before, but didn't know if they really worked all that well. She assured me that they worked well for her and one of her grown daughters. Ziploc Space Bag is the product.

I picked up a set of these bags from Bed, Bath and Beyond (using a 20% off coupon -- they have coupons in the mail and magazines on a regular basis), brought them home and began stuffing away with blankets, flannel sheets, comforters, duvet cover and shams, king-size mattress pad, guest pillows, and even a couple of nice guest bath towels.

And yes, they really did shrink the size of my pile, by about 1/3 to 1/2. I did discover that I got the maximum shrinkage with the poufier items, like comforters and pillows. Heavy, dense items, like flannel sheets didn't shrink as much, as they already lie fairly flat.

All the bedding, fleece lap throws and towels in 4 space bags

The end result -- I now have been able to get the winter bedding out of my closet and stacked neatly on the top shelf of a hall closet, where before all that had fit was one comforter and 1 pillow.

And, can I tell you a secret? I actually thought this was a fun afternoon. I got a thrill watching all that stuff get shrunk down into tidy, little slabs.

Some tips for using these bags:

  • Lay the bag out flat on the floor and just in front of the opening, begin your pile of items to go into the bag, taking into account that your pile needs to be a few inches less in width and length than the bag.
  • Fold long and flat. You don't want a bunch of small bundles, but one large mass of layers.
  • Slide the pile into the bag all in one shot, and don't overfill. The zipper will pull if you fill above the line near the top edge of the bag.
  • After the pile is in the bag, stand the bag on end and shake the items down into the bag a little.
  • Run your fingers or the zipper pull along the tracks several times. The zipper pull itself does not work very well, and I had to use my fingers to pinch the zipper closed, and slide the pull back and forth, pinching as I went. (The zipper pull is so flimsy that it flew off the bag on first zip. It's easy to get back on, but almost pointless, as it doesn't work very well.)
  • These bags can tear, rendering them useless (of course, I imagine mine will someday be covered with duct tape to cover up gashes, holes and wear spots), so store them away from sharp objects, like a nail sticking out of a closet wall.
  • The bags are reusable, but the area that I think will be most likely to fail is right around the vacuum hole and gasket. When opening and closing the vacuum port, hold the surrounding plastic bag in place, with your fingers on the edge of the vacuum port itself, to reduce the possibility of the port tearing away from the bag.
  • Your vacuum hose may not fit onto the port exactly (mine didn't). No worries. Just press the vacuum hose up against the port, it will still work just fine.

How and where do you store your winter bedding in the off-season? Have you been blessed with a house with a lot of storage? Or is your situation much like mine, where the family has accumulated more stuff than you have closet space?

There was a bonus benefit. This got me to clean out and organize my closet. I realized that I do indeed have a lot of clothes. I've just gotten into a rut and haven't worn many of the items. 


  1. I don't have any of these bags, but I have watched my sister use them over and over. Most of our extra blankets are stored under the beds.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Our house is bursting at the seams, even the underbed area has stuff! I suppose we should do a little editing of our belongings again. It's just that when it's 5 people, it's hard to pare down enough to make a difference.

  2. Lili,
    We are down to just the hubby and myself! So sad-so I take our Winter bedding wash it and put it on a top shelf in our closet.
    If I still had my family at home I would sure follow this great tip!
    Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day!

    1. Hi Jemma,
      I know that someday we'll be in the same position, with plenty of space for storage. For now, I have to find some solutions for too much stuff and not enough space.
      Thanks for reading.

  3. I never seem to be able to find a good resting place for ours either. I'll look into the bags. Thanks!

    1. Hi Shara,
      Storing our winter clothes and bedding always seemed to be an afterthought. Sort of an, "oh yeah, we've got to find someplace to put all this stuff" moment. I do like these bags, especially for things that have a lot of volume, like pillows and comforters.

  4. Those bags do save space. I had some a long time ago-think DXH has them. When we divorced last year, I got all of the Queen sized bedding, none of the full sized, and 1/2 of the twin sized. I culled thru, donated what I could, in an effort to down size. I had some gaps, but luckily, I was able to fill them on the second hand market. : )
    For storage in this rental, we have been blessed with an unbelievable amount of storage. Twin bedding is all stored in built in cabinets in the boy's room. Queen bedding is all stored in built in cubbies in one of my FOUR, yes 4! double closets in my room. -a woman definately had imput when this house was remodeled over the years! Previously, I've resorted to storing current season bedding on the shelves in the room's closets with out of season bedding placed in bins for the attic.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Wow! What a luxurious amount of storage space!
      If our attic were sealed a bit better against the elements, I'd use it to store more than just furniture and kids' toys. Maybe that's a project we can get to someday.

  5. in the summer I put my flannel sheets on the mattress under the mattress pad I also use my cedar chest for storage.
    I love those space bags in my suitcase when I travel.

    1. Hi frugal spinster,
      Now that's a clever place to store your flannels! I should definitely clean out our cedar chest. There are things in there that could go elsewhere, and open up space for wool clothing at least.

  6. Blankets are life savers during winters but they are, at the same time, time and space consuming to fold or store during all other seasons. Our house is so teeny, tiny that we don't have enough space to store them folded in bags, like you said. I have moved them to my self storage unit in Toronto. I have come across another article where in the blankets are folded stored under the mattresses. This would make it even more difficult, I feel.

  7. "I do not have a bag like that, but I can make something like that to follow your instructions. I am delighted to learn how to preserve the summer breeding season bag so they are not damaged, ... In the past, I often tied them with wire and then throw them into the cabinet, this way is unpleasant and dirt anymore. Tks for instructions ..


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