Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Further Adventures In Space Saving

I've got good news and bad news. Let's start with the bad news.

Space bags? More like space drags. I take back any endorsement I may have offered up in my post about them because they are ruining my life. Seriously, they're the pits. I can't think of enough ways to express that.

Here's why: They don't stay vacuum sealed. Give em a few days -- or in some cases, a few minutes -- and air starts leaking in from some mysterious opening and filling them up like balloons. Every single one that I'd tucked so neatly and proudly into a closet or under the bed has puffed right up.

In a move that really speaks to my confidence level, I assumed surely the bags couldn't be failing me; I must be failing the bags. And so I opened them all up, repositioned everything inside them, sealed them meticulously, and revacuumed them. But again, bag puffery. I'm so disappointed!

In response to my original post, I received a comment from someone actually affiliated with space bags -- true story! The correspondent thanked me for my in depth look at space bags and suggested I join the online space bag community for tips. I guess this means I should log on and see if any fellow space baggers have found this product to be a let down. Correspondent, if you're reading this, help!

Now for the good news. In the home entertainment sector, I'm a space saving genius.

This story goes back many many years, to when I first moved in with Devin and his shelves full of DVDs.

Here they are in the background of a picture of me and his sister, looking our best. (Hey, it was St. Patrick's Day)

I wasn't sure how he'd managed to acquire so many DVDs, but over years of observing him and his behaviors, I reached a better understanding. It seemed he was fond of buying movies he'd never seen before, assuming he'd probably like them and then, bonus, he'd already own the DVD. And if he didn't like the movie, oh well. Or, he'd see an older movie on sale for $5.99 at the grocery store checkout, feel nostalgic, overstate its greatest, and we'd wind up with Mr. Mom.

And so the collection grew and grew, and it didn't really bother me until we moved into the house in Pasadena and there wasn't a good place to put the shelves in the living room. Instead, they got put nicely out of site and out of mind in Devin's play room.

You can probably see where this is going. When it came time to pack up and ship out again, I instantaneously despised the DVD shelves and all of their cumbersomeness. Knowing what we were working with in the new place, it was clear they were going to have to go. The solution, quite obviously, was to move all of the DVDs into binders.

Back when I was packing up to move into the dorms for my freshman year of college, I took all of my CDs and put them in a big, zip-up Case Logic binder. I did this for two reasons: 1) To save space. 2) Because all of my friends were doing it.

But I had a weak spot for all of the CD cases. They had nice artwork... and lyrics... and what if when I'm out of college and living in my very hip downtown loft I wanted to proudly display all of my CDs in a tower? This was back when CD towers were still in fashion, mind you. So I saved all of my cases, and continued to do so for every CD I bought over the next 4 years.

Now jump back to when I'm moving out of the old apartment and into the house, and I uncover a bag of CD cases under the bed. Wait a minute... had I actually personally driven these empty cases all the way across the country, then held onto them through 3 moves into 3 different apartments? What was wrong with me? I threw them out immediately and didn't look back. (In fact, I don't even think I've unzipped the CD binder itself in a good two years. Must not be so into The Cranberries anymore.)

You could say I'd learned my lesson. And since showing off one's DVD collection is about as cool these days as showing off one's CD collection, I could see we'd have no problem moving into binder land. Plus, I fully intend to get on the movie downloading/saving movies on my computer/somehow figuring out how to play computer movies on TV bandwagon.

By the time I'd decided all this, there wasn't time to act on it, so I boxed up all of the DVDs -- over 300, many of them box sets or whole series of shows -- and we lugged them to the new place.

I sold the shelves on Craigslist and later learned that Devin had never paid anything for them in the first place because he found them in the trash (ew). Nothing but profit so far!

Then, after some online research and mental calculations, I concluded we'd need 2 of the biggest storage binders I could find.

And finally, after the binders arrived in the mail, I set to work removing all of the DVDs from their packaging and putting them in the sleeves of the binder pages, alphabetically. Simultaneously, I catalogued them all on an excel spreadsheet for easier browsing in the future. I toyed with the idea of trying to put in key words on the spreadsheet like "comedy" or "Naomi Watts," but then I remembered the K.I.S.S. principle and kept on trucking with my simplistic approach.

All the while, I let the DVD cases pile up in a very obnoxious fashion to encourage Devin to see my point that they should be all thrown away.

He didn't have the benefit of my empty CD case experience and hadn't learned the thrill of detachment. I told him he could hold onto all the cases if he wanted, for when we're living in a mansion with a home theater and can have these all displayed on shelves. But, by the way, I'll be damned if I'm the one who winds up putting all of the DVDs back into their cases. In the end, he decided to part with them and now I love him even more.

The whole binder assembly process only took... oh... 7 hours. But it was 7 hours well spent.

Because look at our DVD collection now!

Wait, are you having trouble finding it? It's right here!

Isn't it marvelously little?

Now if I could just find a way to put our extra bedding into binders, I'll be all set.


  1. The outcome is pretty amazing. I am impressed by your drive and determination. I am equally entertained by that sweet picture of us from st. pattys day ;)

  2. Perhaps the best assessment of Devin's DVD buying problem, ahem, tendencies ever!

  3. Hello,

    We're sorry to hear you're having issues with the bags. Here are some tips to help make sure bags hold their vacuum seal:

    Be sure not to overfill the bags past the black line.

    Try pinching the seal together while closing the bag and make sure to zip all the way across.

    If you're still having problems, know that we guarantee Space Bag products will be free from manufacturer defects for one full year from the date of purchase and are happy to provide an exchange if a defect is found. Feel free to email if you'd like to get in touch.

    Best wishes,
    Space Savers correspondent

  4. There is no overstating the greatness of Mister Mom!

    Space Savers suuuuuuck!

  5. Love it !! Now where do you get the binders AND the baskets on the shelves ??

    Great job !!