How to Pack a Neat & Tidy Suitcase

An open suitcase on a bed containing neatly folded clothes
Are you cramming every last bit of clothing into your bag, only to arrive at your destination with wrinkled clothes and an unorganized mess? Packing a suitcase so it’s neat and tidy is easy with a few simple steps. Here are some valuable tips on how to pack a suitcase efficiently and neatly.

How to Pack a Suitcase

Eliminate Excess

Do you unpack from a vacation and realize how much of the stuff you lugged around you didn’t even end up using? Overpacking is a tidy suitcase’s biggest enemy. Identify and eliminate excess items and clothing before you even begin to pack. Lay everything you think you might need next to your suitcase, and brutally assess it all. We bet you can eliminate at least a quarter of it. It might be hard to let go of that perfect outfit, but you’ll thank yourself later when you have. wrinkle-free clothes to wear at your destination and room on your return trip for items you purchased while away.

Nooks & Crannies

Bulky items quickly swallow valuable suitcase real estate. To save space, pack shoes heel-to-toe, the same way they come in a shoebox. Then fill shoes with rolled-up socks and underwear. For those who crave extra organization, packing cubes allow you to separate clothing for different occasions, weather or outfit ensembles. This makes it easy to stay organized if you’ll be packing and unpacking several times on your trip.


Rolling-up T-shirts and pants saves space, but don’t do this with collared dress shirts. Save those for last. Fold them nicely and place them on top of your clothing. Run your belts around the perimeter of the inside of your suitcase to prevent creases and folds in the leather. Finally, stack folded clothes in an alternating direction to equalize the amount of space they take up on each side. Wow! You’ve created a masterpiece!


Look for ways to save space by finding items that serve multiple purposes. For example, outlet extenders that turn one outlet into multiple USB ports save clutter from multiple chargers. And that sweatshirt or pashmina you’re wearing? Say hello to your pillow, blanket, eyeshade and casual jacket. You may even consider leaving toiletries at home if your hotel can supply the basics for a few nights.

Pro Tip: Leave the steamer at home. Hang your dress clothes in the bathroom at the hotel while you take a long, hot shower with the fan off. The steam will eliminate any wrinkles.

Pack Smart

Packing well isn’t just what you pack, but how you pack and even what you wear to the airport. Shoes take up a lot of space in luggage. Plan on wearing your largest, bulkiest shoes while traveling — pack another pair or two in your luggage. For carry-on luggage with wheels, place heavy items like toiletries and shoes at the base towards the wheels. This makes it easier to roll through the airport, and lowers the center of gravity so it stays upright. And remember to place items you might need while in transit in an easy-to-access spot. That way you don’t have to unpack your well-made puzzle just to get a granola bar or a paperback.

For the return trip, a separate bag or even a compressor bag for your dirty clothes creates valuable space for items you want to bring home, and makes repacking quicker and easier.

Give those suitcase zippers a break. Follow these useful packing tips, and you’ll have more room to bring stuff home and arrive with wrinkle-free clothes. It will also save unnecessary wear and tear on your luggage. We’re looking at you, person pouncing on their luggage to force it shut. After a few trips it’ll get easier and you’ll be a packing pro in no time.

If you need some help getting your house in order before or after your big trip, contact your local Molly Maid today for a free estimate! We offer one-time cleans and custom cleaning plans that fit your specific needs.