Packing the perfect suitcase

By on March 8, 2006

So you’re going on Spring Break. Sure it will be all fun and sun, sightseeing and cultural bliss. But let’s get serious. What are you going to wear?

While you may have the urge to throw everything in your closet into a duffel bag and head out the door, this is not a wise idea. Packing, in fact, is a little known art. It takes time, patience and most of all selectivity. In no way, shape or form should you bring everything you own. It will only give you a splitting headache as you drag your ten-ton suitcase through the airport, taking out a few elderly people along the way only to find that you have to pay an extra $50 to even get it on the plane.

Thankfully, there is a process and rules to follow that will enable you not only to have a fabulous and functional wardrobe during your travels but also allow you to remain sane and with some feeling in your arm at the end. calls packing a “strategic exercise in maximizing space and minimizing wrinkles.” The Web site advises putting shirts at the bottom of the suitcase, followed by dresses (if applicable) and ending with pants or shorts.

Tops can be stacked unfolded, with the more wrinkle-prone variety closest to the bottom of the pile and the less easily wrinkled ones towards the top. The sleeves of the shirts (if applicable) should then be folded toward the shirts’ torsos. Finally, the entire stack of shirts should be folded in half from the bottom to create a rectangular bundle that should then be placed inside the suitcase.

Dresses can then be draped over the shirt stack so that the ends hang over the sides of the case.

Pants, shorts and skirts should be placed on a flat surface and folded in half lengthwise. Stacking the pants and skirts on top of one another, again with the more easily wrinkled ones towards the bottom and sturdier kinds, such as jeans, on top, fold the stack over so that its length is halved. Place the minimized pile on top of the dresses and fold the ends of the dresses over the pants and skirts.

Smaller items like neckties can be rolled into sausage-like bundles for easy packing so they take up less space. Socks should be stuffed inside shoes and undergarments should be stuffed in mesh laundry bags or the side pockets of the suitcase to save space. Pairs of shoes can be wrapped, with one shoe’s toe aligning with the heel of the other, in plastic bags and placed along the border of the suitcase.

To prevent leaking, all toiletries should be double-bagged and essential toiletries along with jewelry, other valuables, and one pair of emergency clothing should be packed in a carry-on bag so that you can survive in the event that your luggage is lost.

Putting outfits together beforehand, allowing for at least two clothing changes per day, can also help eliminate “over packing.”

Wherever you’re going keep in mind that if you forget something, you can always buy it when you get there!

Packing Tips:

1. No matter the destination, black travels well and goes with everything.

2. Choose footwear that can be worn both day and night to minimize suitcase weight.

3. Bring at least enough underwear to last you a week.

4. For women, bring a make-up bag that can do double-duty as an evening clutch when emptied.

5. A brightly-colored luggage tag will help you distinguish your bag from everyone else’s


About Dana Owen