The first key to efficient packing is reducing your load. Of course, it's always wise to check the weather reports for your destination so you won't bother hauling that bulky fleece if it's going to be 90 degrees. And, yeah, multi-purpose items are a great space-saver. Maybe you really don't mind using a shampoo that's also a shaving foam, or rockin' the pants with legs that zip off into shorts. We can even thank TSA for getting us all used to the idea of bite-sized toiletries with its nifty "3-1-1" decree
But once you've done all you can to reduce the amount of stuff you have to fit into that suitcase, what else can you do to tame the heap of "essentials" mocking your lack of spatial intelligence?
Pack less air -- they have plenty wherever you're going
Not everything holds up well to rolling. Your dress shirts, for instance, might get a bit too wrinkly. Fold these as you normally would, then group them together in a large plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before you seal it all the way. If you want to be fancy you can buy special compression bags
designed for this purpose. They have one-way pressure valves that make it easy to chase out the excess air. But you can also just use one of those freaky big Ziplocs
. Or better yet, reuse those zippered plastic bags that sheets sometimes come in. Either way, seal the bag almost completely then roll to eke out the last bits of air before you close it the rest of the way.
Join me after the jump for more packing tips.
These boots are made for stashing
Let no space go wasted. Packing one or more pairs of shoes? Stuff them with teeny things, like socks and undies. Of course, you want those clean y-fronts to stay clean, so place each shoe in its own plastic grocery bag first, using the excess bag to line the cavity where your foot normally goes. (Of course, this also keeps the cootied soles from defiling anything else in your suitcase.) You can even pack small electronics, like cameras and phone chargers, into socks that you then tuck inside your shoes -- saves space and provides some cushioning for breakable items.
Rock the roll
Your clothes will take up less luggage
space if they're neatly rolled rather than simply folded. Note the word neatly
. Fold in the sides and sleeves of that T-shirt as usual, but instead of then folding it in half, just roll it smoothly and tightly into a tidy taquito of a package. Do the same with pants, skirts, etc., and then distribute the rolls around the larger items (such as shoes) in your bag. They're especially handy for making use of the nooks and crevices at the ends and sides of a suitcase.