6 Tips to Save Space When Packing Your Suitcase

BySteven I. Green

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To help you streamline the packing process, follow these 6 tips to save space when packing your suitcase and still have everything you need.

Anyone who’s ever traveled knows it’s a pain to pack. You want to bring everything you need, but you have limited space in your suitcase and the airlines have weight allowances. Fortunately, you can learn to pack more efficiently to maximize your suitcase’s capacity. In doing so, you’re guaranteed that you’ll always have room for your favorite pair of jeans or tights without going above the weight allowance. To help you streamline the packing process, follow these six tips to save space when packing your suitcase. These packing hacks will guarantee that you can bring everything you want and need for your trip.

Trim Down Your Wardrobe

Clothes are often the reason we’re unable to maximize the space in our suitcase. We always tend to bring a few extra items to give us more outfit options during the trip, but we usually don’t end up needing them. So, when it comes to packing clothes, the best packing hack is to follow the ‘54321’ method.

The 54321 method when you pack is:

  • 5 pairs of socks and 5 pairs of underwear
  • 4 tops
  • 3 bottoms
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 1 hat, bag, or accessory

The 54321 packing method can help you minimize the number of clothes you bring for a week-long trip. The quantity and categories of clothes can also be customizable depending on the purpose and location of your travel. If you’re going to the beach, you can bring five tops, four bottoms, three dresses and pairs of shoes, two swimsuits and bags, one hat, an accessory, and sunglasses.

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travel packing tips

It’s good to not pack more clothes than you really need. Photo courtesy iStock by Getty Images

Roll, Fold, and Bundle Clothes

The best way to save and maximize the space of your suitcase is to utilize different packing methods for your clothes. Most people swear by the rolling clothes method, but rolling bulky garments like sweaters can take up more space than save it. This is due to their thick material, which you can’t compress with rolling. For jackets, sweaters, and other bulky garments, laying them flat or folding them into rectangles allows you to compress the fabric and create more space in your suitcase.

Save the rolling method for thinner pieces of clothing like t-shirts, underwear, and tights. With their thin fabric, you can have a rolled piece of clothing that can fit into nooks and crannies where shoes and other inflexible items won’t fit.

tips to save space when packing your suitcase

Roll, fold, and bundle your clothes when packing your suitcase. Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

The bundle wrapping technique can also help you save space while lessening the wrinkles of your clothes. This technique requires you to lay your clothes flat on a surface, pile them on top of each other, and then wrap each article of clothing carefully around a core item. You can start with jackets, then dresses, skirts, long-sleeved shirts, pants, t-shirts, and then your core item. The core item can be a pouch containing your socks and underwear. You can also rearrange the order of the garments depending on what you bring or what’s comfortable for you.

For those going on a business trip, the bundle wrapping technique might be for you if you want to avoid creases and wrinkles on your clothes. This technique reduces the crease-causing pressure and the wrinkle-causing friction applied to your clothes.

Pack Efficiently with Packing Cubes

Packing cubes can help if you want to bring more clothes along for your trip. These cubes can compress your clothes, which can also help you save space in your suitcase. Because the cubes are sealed with a zipper, you can fill up the cubes until they’re full.

tips to save space when packing your suitcase

Packing cubes help you pack efficiently when you are trying to save space. Photo by sasimoto via iStock by Getty Images

Packing cubes are also great for maximizing the space of your suitcase because you can stack them on top of each other or place them side by side to fit the allocated space. If you know how these cubes will fit into your luggage, you can easily find unused spaces in your suitcase or packing cube.

Compress Your Clothes with Vacuum Seal Bags

If you want to save space and compress your clothes, vacuum seal bags are the perfect way to do so. By sucking the air out, you’re able to press down your clothes until they’re almost flat inside the bag. These are ultimately more space-saving than packing cubes because the clothes are more tightly packed in a less bulky container.

You also don’t need a vacuum to use these bags. Some vacuum seal bags can compress your clothes while eliminating air as you roll the bag. Start from the bottom of the plastic bag and roll until you reach the top opening. Seal the bag once you’re satisfied with how thin or flat the vacuum bag is.

Vacuum seal bags are perfect for bulky garments like jackets and sweaters, but they don’t reduce the weight of your clothing. So while you may have a lot of space in your suitcase, make sure to check the total weight of your luggage as it may be heavier than it looks.

Check and Fill Unused Spaces

Even if you’re not utilizing space-saving techniques, you might still find unused spaces in your suitcase. Your rubber shoes or sneakers have space inside that you can fill with socks, underwear, and maybe even makeup. Your bras have space under the cups that you can use to store socks and underwear. Putting items like socks under the cups can also help your bra retain its shape despite your packed suitcase.

If you’re bringing a smaller, extra bag, there will be space inside for you to put in more clothes and maybe even your sealed pouch of toiletries. Much like your bras, filling up your extra bag with items will help the bag retain its shape.

Aside from these items, check every nook and cranny of your suitcase to see if you have other unused spaces. Your rolled clothes can sometimes have small gaps between them, which you can fill in with smaller items, like accessories or makeup.

Don’t Pack For Too Many “Just in Case” Moments

When it comes to packing everything we need, we often fall victim to the mantra of “just in case.” This mantra makes us pack items we think we might need or use during the trip. An example is bringing a bath towel when you’re not sure if your accommodations can provide one. If your hotel doesn’t have towels, it’s better to buy them rather than to bring extras.

Toiletries can also go in this section, as most hotels and accommodations provide complimentary soaps, shampoos, conditioners, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and lotion. If you have medically prescribed lotions or skincare products you can’t part with, that’s the only time you should pack these items.

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Finish Packing Your Suitcase and Get Ready to Travel

Saving space when packing your suitcase is a valuable skill for any traveler. You’ll be able to bring everything you want and need when you travel and avoid the risk of overpacking or forgetting essential items. Finetune your space-saving skill by following these tips so you can pack your suitcase like a pro.

To help you streamline the packing process, follow these six tips to save space when packing your suitcase. These packing hacks will guarantee that you can bring everything you want and need for your trip.


6 Tips to Save Space When Packing Your Suitcase


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