General Question

xxii's avatar

What is the best way to fit clothes into a small suitcase?

Asked by xxii (3321points) November 21st, 2010

I have a week in Boston/NYC ahead of me and only a carry-on sized luggage. I need to bring stuff like thermals, sweaters, scarves and other bulky things.

What is the most space-efficient way to pack? Should I roll up the clothes, or just fold them over once so they’re thinner? Any other packing tips to make the most of my space?


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16 Answers

Jude's avatar

Roll them?

JLeslie's avatar

Fold flat and roll. Mostly I fold things flat, and then I roll other things to fill the spaces along the edges. I usually save rolling for t-shirts, leggins, and pajamas. If the bottom of your luggage is not flat fill it in with sucks and rolled clothes to get the best use of all of the space available.

JLeslie's avatar

@mama_cakes Yeah, rolling is very good for cotton knit items, less likely to wrinkle. Not good for trousers or wovens though.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I agree, rolling items is helpful in space saving. Try not to over-pack, also. Sounds like common sense, but a lot of people pack way more than they actually need.
Bulky items should be placed in flat, or folded once if possible. It helps if you put things like socks and underwear in the small pockets or compartments on the front or side of your luggage.. clears up a lot of space inside of the actual suitcase.

Jeruba's avatar

Can you make do with one sweater? Wear it under your warm coat or jacket. Wear your scarf and hat and gloves.

I don’t think you’ll need thermals, will you? or are you used to very warm weather?

gailcalled's avatar

Are you male or female? Try to wear the heavy stuff and then shed on the plane if necessary.

lillycoyote's avatar

@mama_cakes beat me to it. Roll up your clothes. And if you can stuff something into something else, do that. Packing abhors a vacuum so if you’re taking a couple of extra pairs of shoes, stuff your spare socks inside them.

xxii's avatar

@Jeruba – I don’t know. I was in NYC for Thanksgiving last year, and I don’t remember needing thermals, but the friend I’m visiting says it’s really cold and I’ll need them. I’m just bringing one set to be sure, because I don’t want to freeze/have to buy a pair.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Keep them coming!

JLeslie's avatar

Also, why would you need more than one scarf? Wear one of your sweaters, if it is hot, make a fashion statement with it over your shoulder and tied around your neck, the old preppy way. Personally I prefer a cardigan or hooded zip-up sweatshirt for travel, I can easily wear it under a coat, and easily take it off. Will you be walking a lot? Long johns worn inside may be too hot, although if you are going to be walking a lot they are fantastic of course. I wear my long johns to bed, so I don’t need to bring a lot of pajamas.

If you are staying with someone and can use their washing machine do it, and bring enough for only 4 days so if you buy something on your trip you can fit it in your suitcase.

One last thing. If you bring an extra pair of shoes, you can stuff a couple of pairs of socks in the shoes before packing them.

gailcalled's avatar

@xxii: A pair of silk long johns, if you absolutely must, is much thinner than other fabrics.

Skip pjs and sleep in tee and briefs (and socks if you are cold).

Three of essentials; one on the body, one drying in the bathroom and one in the hamper.

All white shirts and change of tie to fool people into thinking your have changed outfits.

Aqua's avatar

Put them in a vacuum bag. You can get them at places like Wal-Mart. It’ll save a ton of space. That’s what I do.

wenwen's avatar

Use a vac pac. It will shrink them down to almost nothing. You will need access to an iron & a vacuum at the other end of your trip though.

Jeruba's avatar

@wenwen is right: you can’t squish things that much without a cost, and the cost is that everything is totally squished.

Besides, you can compress the volume but not the weight. The more you pack in, the heavier your bag will be. Sometimes we can forget little things like that.

cazzie's avatar

Rolling things saves room. I’ve also taken bulky things, put them in a plastic bag, then sucked the air out with a vacuum cleaner and taped it shut. Wear what you can on the trip. Spending a few hours mid-week, washing clothes if you need to won’t kill you. For one week, I can make due with two pairs of pants and one sweater.

flutherother's avatar

Only take what is essential. Even if you can cram a lot into a small suitcase you still have the weight to consider. This is the secret to happy travelling. Travel light!

downtide's avatar

Wear the bulkiest sweater and scarf to travel in. Roll the rest.

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