A vacuum travels the world!

Mini vacuum weighing 1.7 pounds, perfect for use to suck the air out of with the Space Bags

Yesterday was a productive day.

Tom decided to tackle his mountain of papers; in his closet, in the magazine rack next to his comfy chair in the kitchen and atop the bistro table in the family room.  

He began stockpiling papers many months ago while sifting through the hundreds of photos he eventually scanned from a box he borrowed from his older sister Patty, in order to upload them to his ever growing file in Ancestry.com.   

The box now back in Patty’s possession, but the piles of not-so-neatly stacked papers remained, creating havoc in our otherwise (formerly) tidy household. I have to get over being “tidy” in the next 59 days.  It’ll only get worse.

Yesterday, after some gentle prodding (I’m not a nag. He’s not lazy.), Tom decided to begin the process of clearing out the chaos.  Often working 12 hour days with two hours of driving time, five days a week, the weekends have always been a vital time for him to relax and recover while dutifully fixing things around the house and helping me with the heavy lifting.  No more relaxing, my darling.  Time is marching on.  

As he busily and cheerfully worked on his papers in the magazine rack, a big glass of iced tea at his side, the TV on to political rantings in the background, I decided to investigate the storage space under the cushions of the small banquet in the corner of the kitchen.  Digging through the vast array of items stuffed into the small space, I discovered a most useful item, a tiny handheld vacuum. Hum. Interesting.

Small banquet area in our kitchen 

My mind was taking off on its usual whirl of wild thoughts, I excitedly showed Tom the forgotten little Shark vacuum.  Grabbing his hand, I dragged him and the little vacuum to the pile of suitcases sitting on the daybed in the living room, where we had the six large Antler suitcases and the six boxes of Space Bags (each containing three large sized storage bags).  

My rational when buying the bags from Amazon.com, was to fill each suitcase with three of the bags and thus condense the packing. Knowing full well that I’d never be able to vacuum seal the bags since we’d hardly be able to bring a vacuum cleaner around the world, I figured we’d be able to “press” the air out of the bags as recommended in the instructions.

Recently, as mentioned in this blog, I packed one suitcase, for the heck of it, to see how it would work squeezing out the air of three Space Bags. Slightly disappointed with my air pressing skills, I discovered it was a two person job, resigning to repack the bags with Tom’s help in the near future.  Alone, I was only able to reduce the size of the filled bags by about 20%.

Little vacuum in hand, Tom hauled the suitcase onto the bed and together we proceeded to use the vacuum to “suck” out the air via the special hole in the bag. Alas! Success! The size of the clothing filled bags was reduced by no less than 60%, leaving room in the suitcase for 12 pairs of shoes, underwear and 15 bottles of vitamins!  Wow!  

With three large Space Bags for each of six large suitcases, we will be able  to fit all of our belongings.  When we get to Scottsdale, two months before leaving the US and departing on our 15 day cruise to the Panama Canal, we decided we will have time to repack, designating two bags each as “cruise wear,” thus leaving the others unopened and hopefully tucked away.  

The suitcases stack quite well, taking up only 28″ X 19″ of floor space.  In booking the seven cruises so far, we’ve selected no less than balcony cabins and in some cases, suites, both of which provide additional floor space.  

Yes, we will be a little cramped, but with a balcony on which to lounge while overlooking the sea, we’ll be content.  With many activities on the cruises, I doubt we’ll spend much time in our cabin.

By the end of the day yesterday, all three of my large suitcases were packed using nine of the vacuum sealed Space Bags, Tom’s piles of papers were considerably smaller and dinner was on the table.  In the evening, after a lovely gluten free, low carb, grain free dinner, we relaxed in our usual comfy chairs in the family room for a delightful evening of idle chatter and vigorous channel surfing.  

The three bags on the right with wheels forward are my packed bags. Lots of stuff.

For the first time in months, I slept through the night, awakening at 5:30 am ready to tackle another day. Next weekend, we’ll pack Tom’s belongings in the same manner, he’ll finish up the papers and we’ll be one step closer to our worldwide adventure.

Hey, if I ever get bored, I can always vacuum!

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