The ultimate guide to packing a suitcase

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The ultimate guide to packing a suitcase

Not only is it a tedious task, but it can be stressful when you don’t know what you are doing. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to somehow, miraculously, pack only exactly what we might need—no more, no less—and keep things wrinkle-free in the process.

Here are some helpful tips for filling your suitcase efficiently and keeping your clothing in tip-top shape while en route. The Best Ways to Pack Your Clothes:

  • Think Big, Then Smaller
Gather all the garments you anticipate needing—then put half of them back.

Select clothes in the same color family. Pack more tops than bottoms. For a five-day trip, you’ll probably need no more than five shirts, two pairs of slacks or jeans, and one other. The average 22-inch carry-on bag fits roughly two pairs of jeans, three sweaters and five shirts with a little bit of extra room.

  • Pack Wrinkle-Resistant Fabrics
If you can, choose knits, wools, and cottons because these fabrics tend to resist wrinkles.
  • Roll and Fold Items
Using a bit of each packing technique is the most efficient way to get things into your suitcase.

Roll softer garments and fold stiffer ones. Underwear, T-shirts, jeans, cotton pants, and knitwear won’t wrinkle when rolled tightly. Stiffer fabrics, such as starched cotton shirts, blazers and certain pants should be carefully folded.

  • Arrange Clothing Thoughtfully
Place your softer, rolled items at the bottom of your suitcase first. Next comes your folded garments: For your middle layer, start with the longest items, like nice pants. Finally, snake belts around the perimeter of the bag so they take up as little room as possible.

  • Cover the Pile With a Dry-Cleaning Bag
Because of the dry-cleaning bag’s slippery surface, folded clothes don’t stay in one place long enough for creases to set. Easy upgrade: Place a bag between each layer of clothing.

To get to a certain layer easily, simply pull the ends of the bag up on either side.

  • Place Clothes You’ll Need First at the Top
This could be anything from a dress to a bathing suit to pajamas, depending on where you're going, what time you arrive, and what the plan is when you get there.

It's a shoo-in

  • Have Your Shoes Do Some Work
Depending on how clean your shoes are, stuff them with other items like socks, sunglasses, and electronics chargers. This will end up saving you a bit of space.
  • Place Shoes Into One-Gallon-Size Resealable Bags
Then set them along the sides of the bag, says Gilford.

This will keep dirt and germs from your shoes from getting onto your packed clean clothes.

  • Use Clothing as Padding for Breakables
Wrap fragile items in thick, sturdy clothing. Place them in the center of your bag surrounded by a buffer. If you’re carting liquor bottles, secure them in the bottom center of your bag.