Packing your suitcase can be a great experience, or a frustrating one, depending on where you are going, what you need, and what you intend to bring. With the right life hacks for packing, you can become an expert packer and get more in there than you ever dreamed, while at the same time organizing your life on the road! Here is a list of our favorite packing hacks!
The Military (Ranger) Roll
There is perhaps no better hack for getting your clothes in your suitcase organized and nearly wrinkle free than the military roll. It’s pretty simple, but super effective. The problem is, when you just throw your clothes in your suitcase, or even put them folded like they are in your cabinets at home, there ends up being a LOT of wasted space!
Here’s how you do it: Lay your clothing item out flat on a hard surface, such as a table. Fold in the sleeves towards the middle. If a shirt has buttons, make sure they are buttoned up. Also, fold long sleeves in towards the middle so that the cuffs are side by side, not on top of each other. Then, fold the bottom three inches or so under the shirt.
Fold the sides of the shirt in by thirds, i.e. one third of the shirt folded in towards the middle (folding longways) and the same for the other side, so you have the length of the shirt one-third its normal width. Then, start from the neck, and tightly roll the shirt down to the waist. Once you get it all rolled, take one side of the bottom that you folded up earlier, and pull it over your shirt roll. Presto! You have a perfectly folded shirt that takes much less space!
For jeans, fold down the waist, fold one leg over the other, and then roll the whole thing up! Don’t forget to fold the waist in towards the center as well, but after you have folded the waist down 3 inches! For socks, lay them flat, roll them to the end, and tuck the end around the roll. Then use a rubber band to keep the pair together!
The Resealable Bag
Using a few resealable bags will make a big difference, especially when combined with the military roll. There are a few ways to organize them, either by item (socks in one bag) or by outfit, which makes it really easy to not have to hunt through your luggage! Plus, by zipping it mostly up and them pushing out all the air you can, and zipping it the rest of the way, you can save that extra little bit of space!
Use the Shoes!
Your shoes have a lot of space inside them! You can have your socks and underwear, for example, rolled up and in a resealable bag, and then put them in your shoes, maximizing your space usage. If something won’t fit in them, remember, you can untie the laces. Shoes also make pretty good containers for breakable items, as the items inside them will be protected from all sides.
If you use the resealable bag method, you are already ahead of the game, but you can keep everything a lot cleaner by using a couple of cheap shower caps to put your extra shoes in. This will keep the soles off everything, and your suitcase pretty nice. Or, the next time you head to the doctor’s or dentist’s office, go ahead and keep the little plastic footies they give you to use for the same purpose.
Take the time to get yourself a small travel toiletry kit, including plastic bottles that you can refill from your stuff at home. You don’t need to take that eight-ounce bottle that lasts two months or more with you on a four-day trip. Added bonus: get a tester cologne/perfume from a shop, one of those teeny tiny vials, and you won’t need to worry about lugging the big bottle around or having it break in your suitcase!
Get some plastic wrap from your kitchen and cut it into little squares. When you close your bottles, put the plastic wrap over the bottle before you put on the lid. It will ensure that the bottle doesn’t leak and that the lid stays on tight. Putting everything in a resealable bag wouldn’t hurt, either!
These are amazing for storing small items like safety pins, memory cards, squeezable makeup/foundation, jewelry, etc. A few of these, and a rubber band to hold them together, can be a great organizing addition to your trip! Alternately, a pill case could be used for the same purpose.
Wear the Bulky Stuff
If you are taking a large sweater or coat, since airplanes are colder than most people are comfortable with anyhow, go ahead and wear the bulky item to remove it from the suitcase. You’ll have a lot more room and be warm as the same time. Win-win!
Take a Charger Bag
Most of us travel with chargers for electronics, and if going international, we need adapters as well. Make a dedicated small bag for all of your charging/cable needs, roll your cables and use twist ties or small Velcro straps to keep them rolled nicely and to not become a tangled mess!
Put the Heavy Stuff at the Bottom
When rolling your suitcase, it will be right-side up, but laying flat, as when you are packing, you may not think about it. Put shoes and pants, bottles of liquid, etc., down near the wheels of your suitcase, that way they won’t be crushing everything else and making a mess!
Bonus Tip: Permanent Marker
Use a permanent marker to label all of your resealable bags and your toiletry containers. It will save time and confusion. And it’s a great item to have with you! You can get mini permanent markers at just about any drug store or hardware store.
We hope that these space and time saving packing hacks will help you out when you travel! Let us know if you have any more that you use when packing your suitcase!