How to Fold Clothes to Save Space in Luggage

There’s never enough space in our luggage! Whether you’re packing carry on luggage or a big checked bag, saving space is critical. We’ve done our research and consulted the experts in an effort to provide you the best space saving luggage packing tips.

Compression is Key

A major component of space saving is compression, this can be achieved a number of ways and some can be combined for an added bonus. Some travelers go to the extreme and use space saving vacuum sealed bags, but for the rest of us, these tips will do the trick:

[1] Rolling & Folding Hybrid Strategy
Rolling your clothing is much better at saving space when compared to standard folding. This is because as you roll, you are removing extra air and compressing at the same time which allows for minimal space to be taken up. We’re big fans of the folding/rolling hybrid approach as seen in the above video, because it allows you to finish by tucking the clothing into itself. The best part about rolling is that it’s fast, and free!

[2] Packing Cubes
Rolling may be free, but if you really want to step your space saving game up, we suggest buying packing cubes for your luggage. Packing cubes can cost you anywhere from $10 to $50. This is the hybrid approach we were referring to earlier. To maximize efficiency, combine the rolling and folding packing strategy with packing cubes. Packing cubes help save space by adding another layer of compression on top of the rolling strategy. Packing cubes also help you keep your clothes better organized. The cubes come in a set of various sizes which allow you to specify which type of clothing goes into which cube.

You can also create DIY packing cubes using plastic Ziploc bags, helping you save space while being more organized. if your luggage has straps built in, make sure to use those to further compress your clothing. Every little bit helps!

Space Saving Luggage Packing Tips

  1. Pack things inside other things – Don’t leave any space unpacked! Items like shoes or glasses cases can be repurposed during travel to house other items. Like the above video shows, packing items in plastic baggies, then placing those baggies in your shoes will help save space in your luggage.
  2. Use travel sized bottles for liquids – It can be tempting to just throw your full sized shampoo or body wash into a checked suitcase. Instead just squeeze the contents of full sized bottles into smaller travel bottles. Help avoid spills by placing a plastic wrapper over the opening before screwing the top on.
  3. Repurpose small containers to hold jewelry – Prescription bottles, mint containers, old contact lens cases, the list is endless. These all make great and sturdy compact jewelry containers that help save space.
  4. Pack clothes that wrinkle easily in dry cleaning plastic bags – There’s a reason dry cleaners use these bags, they help avoid wrinkles. Get some before your trip so you can do the same.
  5. Don’t forget the personal item – If you’re traveling by plane, use your personal item to store things you can’t fit in your luggage. A backpack or a large purse make the best personal items, plus they are free on most airlines.

No matter which way you pack, everyone is susseptible to the dreaded wrinkled clothes once they finally unpack. Below you’ll learn some bonus tips on how to avoid wrinkled clothes while you travel.

*Bonus: How to Avoid Wrinkles While Packing a Suitcase

Although the rolling method has proven to leave clothes less wrinkled than standard folding, it’s not perfect. There’s nothing worse than unpacking your vacation wardrobe only to find wrinkled clothing Use these tips to help avoid those pesky wrinkles:

  1. Use the rolling method instead of folding – Like we mentioned above, the folding/rolling method is optimal for saving space and eliminating wrinkles better than any alternative.
  2. Don’t over-pack – Cramming your suitcase full can cause more wrinkles, so leave some room if you can to let your clothes breathe.
  3. Bring a wrinkle-releaser– If your destination doesn’t offer an iron, liquid wrinkle-releaser can work wonders. Downy makes a great version of this which we recommend.
  4. Bring a steamer– Irons need ironing boards, but steamers just need a hanger for your clothing item.
  5. Use a dryer if possible – If you’re destination offers a clothes dryer, you can use it to help remove wrinkles. Take a washcloth and get it a little wet, then wring it out so it is damp overall. Place that washcloth in the dryer and run it on a de-wrinkle or any hot setting.

It’s important to save as much space as you can when packing your luggage. Sometimes we tend to return with more items than we arrived with. Making sure you’re using the rolling/folding hybrid packing method is a great start to optimizing packing space. Combine that with the other tips listed above and you’ll be optimizing your packing space in no time.

How to Fold Clothes to Save Space in Luggage

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