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How To Pack A Suitcase: Fit More Clothes Without Wrinkles

Jan 19,2024 | Hey Shelly

Planning for a vacation or traveling to visit family and friends is an exciting time that will require a stylish set of outfits for those picture-perfect moments. How to pack a suitcase to fit all of your fabulous clothing without them getting wrinkled is a challenge for any traveler. Today is your lucky day! We’ve put together a helpful guide on how to pull together the perfect travel wardrobe and the best ways to pack a suitcase so your clothing and accessories are wrinkle-free and vacation-ready.

How To Pack A Suitcase For A Week

Traveling for a week with only one suitcase is an easier goal to crush than you may think. Planning out your outfits and editing your wardrobe before you begin to pack is a surefire way to make sure all of your must-have pieces and favorite styles make it into your suitcase without becoming wrinkled in an overpacked space. 

We’ve created a super simple way to create a travel capsule wardrobe with the L.E.I method. The “L” refers to laying out your clothes, the “E” stands for “eliminate” or “edit,” and the “I” is a reminder to include your fashion essentials. 

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how it looks in action.

How to Create a Travel Capsule Wardrobe

  1. Lay out the must-have outfits (night out dress, special cocktail top), including the shoes and accessories.
  2. Lay out the other outfits you’ll need by day and activities (sightseeing, casual, going to the pool or beach, working out), including shoes and accessories.
  3. Eliminate items that only work for one outfit or edit out an item where another style could be easily repurposed instead.
  4. Include sleepwear and essentials for the week (bra, panties, and socks).

Best Way to Pack a Suitcase to Maximize Space

Now that you have edited your travel wardrobe, it’s time to switch gears and strategically pack your clothes into your suitcase. The name of this challenge is to use up every inch of the space without wrinkling your fabulous clothes. There are different ways to take on this packing challenge, starting with how to fold your clothes into the suitcase. This always leads to the ever-debated question: is rolling your clothes better than folding?

Is It Better To Roll or Fold Clothes When Packing a Suitcase?

The short answer to this burning question is they’re both effective ways to pack your suitcase— it just depends on the style. The rolling method is great for lightweight tops, tees, skirts, and shorts; when rolled tightly, the width and height take up less space without having any creases. While folding long-length styles, like a maxi dress or pants, into a neat rectangle can save height space, making it easier to zip your luggage.


How To Roll Clothes For Packing A Suitcase

In order to achieve uniform rolls, the key is to fold the piece of clothing into a narrow rectangle, making it an ideal shape to make into a roll. Let’s start with how to roll a top for packing a suitcase.

Step-By-Step Guide For Rolling A Long Sleeve Top

  1. On a flat and clean surface, lay the top facing up and smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Next, you’re going to fold the sleeves towards the center. If the sleeve length is longer than the top itself, fold ¼ of the sleeve hem into a “Z” shape. Repeat on both sides.
  3. Now that the top is in a neat and narrow rectangle start from the top and slowly roll towards the bottom, making sure to roll in a straight line to avoid the fabric from shifting. This might take a few tries in order to master the perfect roll.


Packing Tip: Rolling tops with sequins or beading by laying them on top of a t-shirt could help protect the embellishments from being snagged or pulled.

Step-By-Step Guide for Rolling Shorts

  1. On a flat and clean surface, lay the shorts with the front side facing up and smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Take one side of the shorts and fold it on top of the other side, making a lengthwise fold.
  3. Starting at the top of the waistband, slowly begin to roll the shorts down. You may have to adjust or tuck in the fabric as you make your way down to the bottom of the hem.

Stylist Tip: Optional to use a rubber band and wrap it around the roll to keep the shorts from unrolling.

Step-By-Step Guide for Rolling Pants

  1. On a flat and clean surface, lay the pants with the front side facing up and smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Take one side of the pants and fold it on top of the other side, making a lengthwise fold.
  3. Start at the top of the waistband and slowly begin to roll the pants down. You may have to adjust or tuck in the fabric as you make your way down to the bottom of the hem.


How to Fold a Dress for Travel

Packing dresses for your vacation travel is another clever wardrobe hack that can help minimize the number of separates you would need to create a look. Depending on the material and length, you may find the rolling method as the perfect technique to pack your suitcase, but in the case of long dresses or thicker styles like a sweater, folding it into a neat rectangle is the best way to save space and height in your suitcase.

Step-By-Step Guide to Folding a Dress for Travel

  1. On a flat and clean surface, lay the dress out and smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Next, you’re going to fold the sides of the dress into the shape of a narrow rectangle. If the style has sleeves or is A-line shaped, you may have to fold the sleeves or sides in half diagonally and then again into a rectangle to create smooth and even sides.
  3. Starting at the top of the dress and fold it to the waist, then fold the dress twice until it’s the shape of a rectangle.

How to Pack a Hat for Travel

If you plan to travel with a baseball cap or bucket hat, these are styles that could be easily tucked into your suitcase or worn on a flight. But in case you’re traveling with a larger-brimmed hat or a western-inspired stetson, this may require a clever traveling hack that prevents it from getting destroyed or taking extra space in your suitcase. Creating a nest and using the space of the crown to hold other items could be the packing trick that saves your hat.

Step-By-Step Guide to Packing a Hat for Travel

  1. Before placing the rolled or folded items into your suitcase, place your hat with the crown side facing up.
  2. Strategically place the rolled or folded items around it, or you can start with a layer of folded clothes beneath the crown.
  3. Use the crown of the hat to place smaller pieces of clothing like rolled-up socks, underwear, or bikini separates. Or accessories such as belts or scarves.
  4. If you have more folded clothes, you can gently place them on top of the brim.

How to Pack Jewelry for Travel

Elevate your vacation looks with a touch of sparkle and shine by bringing a nice assortment of jewelry when traveling. A great item to help keep your jewelry in one place is an organizer with sectioned pockets that rolls into a cylinder shape. Each pocket has a zipper closure to help keep your pieces from getting tangled with one another.

If you don’t have many pieces of jewelry or want to save even more space in your suitcase, here are a few packing tips to consider.

Ways To Pack Jewelry For Travel

  • Use a pill box organizer- the individual containers are perfect for holding individual dainty necklaces, earrings, and rings.
  • To avoid chain necklaces getting tangled, thread the chain through a straw and use the clasp to secure the necklace and straw together (Example in the picture).
  • Use your evening purse or clutch- utilize the inside pockets or place each piece of jewelry in snack-size plastic zipper bags.
  • Use a washcloth – roll your necklaces, chain bracelets, or rings individually. Or roll each piece until they are completely covered, and then add the next piece and so on. Use rubber bands at each end to keep the roll intact.

Best Way to Re-Pack a Suitcase For the Return Home

After a week of travel or vacationing, there’s the inevitable task of repacking your suitcase. But this time around, you may need to make room for souvenirs, or you may want to keep your worn clothes separate from the rest.

In order to fit all of your clothing back into the suitcase, we recommend using the same folding or rolling technique; even if the clothing has been worn, the uniform shapes will help maximize the space in case you need a few new items from your trip.

Here are some packing tips for the travel home.

Tips for Re-Packing Your Suitcase

  • Add a packable tote to your travel essentials so you can use it to separate the folded or rolled used clothes. You can also repurpose a plastic bag too.
  • Utilize the space in your shoes to hold your used socks or underwear.
  • Roll up souvenirs with your t-shirts or denim jeans to help save space.
  • Wear or carry your jacket and sweater for the trip home. It will provide more space in your suitcase and help you stay warm on the flight home.

So there you have it! Clever hacks and tips on how to pack your suitcase for vacation without overstuffing, over-packing, or wrinkling your clothing.