How to Pack a Suitcase

Use a packing checklist so you don't forget anything.
Use a packing checklist so you don't forget anything. (Image: lzf/iStock/Getty Images)

Fitting all the clothing, shoes and toiletries you need into one suitcase doesn't require an engineering degree, even if it seems arduous at the outset. Take packing in two steps: First, prepare each item to fit tightly into the suitcase, and then pack the bag thoughtfully. You'll arrive at your destination with everything you need and without too many wrinkles.

Roll and Fold

Roll up casual clothes such as jeans, T-shirts and pajamas to save space. Once these pieces are tightly coiled, you can shove them into the edges of your bag and use them to fill spaces between other items. Fold the rest of your clothing, such as sweaters, khaki pants, dresses and dress shirts. If you're traveling with delicate fabrics or just want to minimize wrinkles, layer empty dry cleaning bags between the clothing.

Pack in Layers

Pack shoes first, pressing the soles of the shoes against the sides of the suitcase. Stuff socks and underwear inside the shoes. Tuck rolled clothing around the shoes to make one flat layer at the bottom of the bag. Wrap your toiletry bag in a plastic bag -- in case anything leaks -- and set it in the center of the bag. If you're packing any breakables, wrap them in soft clothing and place them next to your toiletries. Tuck the rest of your rolled clothing around the toiletries. Finish by arranging your folded clothes at the top of the bag.

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