Proper Way to Pack a Suitcase

Packing is an art form. Packing well can mean a streamlined experience with everything you need right at your fingertips. The keys to properly packing a suitcase are to minimize your load, pack only what you need, and avoid creating wrinkles. Follow our basic tips to pack efficiently and effectively for your next trip.

Pack Your Clothes

Select your clothes by thinking “mix and match”, tops and bottoms that are versatile and all in a similar color palette. Lay out all the garments you think you’ll need, and then edit ruthlessly. Make it a goal to take half of what you’ve laid out. You can give yourself a numerical limit. For a five-day trip, you will likely need five pairs of socks and underwear, four shirts, and three bottoms. The bottoms could be all slacks or for women perhaps two pairs of slacks and a skirt.

Carefully think about each item you place in your suitcase and whether it’s actually needed. Additional items might include a swimsuit, exercise gear, or a suit jacket, depending on destination, accommodations, and itinerary. Keep in mind that the average 22-inch check-in bag fits roughly two pairs of jeans, three sweaters, two dresses, and five shirts.

While you are selecting the clothing items to bring consider that knits, wools, and cottons tend to resist wrinkles and are versatile in their function. Softer garments can be rolled while stiffer garments should be folded. Underwear, t-shirts, jeans, cotton pants, and knitwear won’t wrinkle when rolled tightly.

Starched cotton shirts, blazers, dressy pants, and skirts should all be carefully folded. It’s important to keep clothing care in mind while packing. Arrange rolled items in the bottom of your suitcase and place folded garments on top. Cover your clothes with a dry-cleaning bag. The bag’s slippery surface will help keep your folded clothes from creasing. You might even add in a dry-cleaning bag between each layer of clothing.

Pack Your Shoes and Belts

Shoes take up the most room in your suitcase, which is why we suggest taking no more than three pairs of shoes. Choose one casual sandal or loafer, one pair of sneakers, and one evening shoe. Wear the heaviest pair of the three and pack the other two. Selecting clothing in the same color palette  will help you minimize the  need for more shoes to match.

To maximize the space in your suitcase stuff your shoes with smaller items, such as sunglasses and electronic chargers, or socks and underwear. Slip your shoes into resealable plastic bags to protect your clothing from dirt. Belts can be packed around the perimeter of your suitcase. Here again, the same color palette  means one or two belts will do.

Pack Your Toiletries and Jewelry

Keep liquids within easy reach in your suitcase, especially when flying. Keeping a fully packed toiletry bag for traveling can ensure that you never forget an essential item. Opt for travel-size multitaskers in your toiletry kit, like a tinted moisturizer that can double as foundation.

Check to ensure that opened bottles are not filled to the top. The storage area on a plane is not pressurized, and full bottles could overflow. Place all liquids/soaps/gels into a ziplock bag, to avoid a mess from leaks or spills. Slip socks over coarsely bristled hair brushes to prevent snags on clothes.

A plastic pillbox works well as a traveling jewelry box for inexpensive pieces. If you prefer to wear precious gems we recommend you wear them during your travels rather than pack them. Wrap fragile items in sturdy clothing and place them in the center of your suitcase surrounded by a buffer.

Your Dirty Laundry

It’s part of every trip, knowing what to do with your dirty laundry. Bring a laundry bag or plastic grocery bag with you to differentiate your clean and dirty clothes within your suitcase. You could also consider shrinking your dirty laundry, especially if needed to be cleaned before being worn again as they will become wrinkled. Shrinking your dirty laundry does come with the benefit of keeping the rest of your clothes smelling fresh and perhaps creating room for any souvenirs you picked up on your trip.

Oxford & Wells knows you care for your clothes at home and on the road. That’s why our fine care products were designed with the conscientious traveler in mind. We even offer our original and fragrance-free ironing starch in convenient TSA compliant 2-ounce bottles. You can purchase a bottle today for your next trip on our website.