How to Pack the Perfect Suitcase


packing cubes
Packing cubes by En Tsai on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

If you’re going out of town for the holiday and need some tips to get everything to fit in your bag (age doesn’t matter, we all face this dilemma), I have a great 10-step process for you!

I just went on a vacation with my husband for our 35th wedding anniversary. I always pack too much “just in case.”  I actually did remove a number of things before packing this time, but it was still a tight fit.  I haven’t even tried the packing cubes yet, but I love how the technique shown below works!

I found the following directions on the blog five years ago.  It looks like they no longer have a blog.  So here is how to pack a wrinkle-free bag and get everything in there:

Step 1  

Set aside the clothes you’ll wear on the way to your destination.  Try to wear the heaviest and bulkiest pieces to save room in your bag.  Open a suitcase you think will fit everything you need for your trip.  Flip up any compression straps (these will be used in Step #10.)

suitcase with compression straps
From Addison Yacht Charters

Step 2

Place the heaviest items on the bottom of the bag (shoes, toiletries, travel alarm, hair dryer, travel books, etc.)  Stuff socks and other small items into the shoes.

Step 3

Pack woven shirts and other items that are likely to wrinkle into a pack-it folder, which also functions as a divider, separating heavy items from more delicate items.

Step 4

Next, lay long items (pants, dresses, etc.) horizontally across the bag, leaving the excess length hanging over the sides.  Place the first item so it falls to the left of your bag, the second item to the right, alternating directions with each item.

Step 5

If you’re bringing a blazer, fold it facedown into the bag, placing the arms on to and making sure not to fold through the shoulder padding.  Place the blazer so the excess length hangs over the front edge of the bag.

Step 6

Roll up knit items (t-shirts, polo shirts, pajamas and other items such as underwear that are unlikely to wrinkle) and place them on top.

How to Pack a Bag Efficiently #rolling By Aymilee on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Step 7

Tuck any remaining small items (belts, rolled ties and accessory bags) into any unfilled spaces.  Then fold the items hanging over the sides into the center.

Step 8

Continue folding in the side layers, alternating from left to right until they are all in the bag.

Step 9

If you’ve packed a blazer, fold it up on top.

Step 10

Finally, use your bag’s compression straps to gently cinch down your clothes, smoothing as you go to ensure there are no wrinkles.  This will prevent items from shifting.

Voila!  Your bag is packed

Video by Eagle Creek showing pack-it folders and cubes

(Bonus tip:  If, despite your best efforts, you unpack your bag at your destination and discover some unsightly wrinkles, don’t fret.  Simply turn on the shower, set the water to hot, hang the item nearby, and watch as the steam makes the wrinkles disappear.)

For more packing tips, go to

If you try these steps or you’ve got any tips on how you pack your bags successfully, let us know what works.  Just leave your comments below.  Also sign up for emails below to get future blog posts as they come out every Thursday and Saturday.  Follow YourTrueSelfBlog on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. 




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