What's the secret to packing clothing?

How to pack clothes

It seems like everyone has a different opinion on the best way to pack clothing. If you ask friends and family, you’ll probably get tips on rolling vs. folding, using packing cubes and keeping clothes on hangers. All of these can be great suggestions, but the best approach depends on whether you’re traveling or moving, and whether the garments are folded or hanging. Let’s take a look.

Packing clothes for a move.


The best way to pack a suitcase

Suitcases are great for traveling or taking clothes with you during a move. And with a few packing hacks, you can actually fit quite a bit into compact luggage. Watch this video for tips:


How to fold clothes to save space

  • Place small items, like undergarments, in pockets. Those small compartments are great for rolled or folded smaller pieces.
  • Pack socks inside shoes. This helps the shoe hold its shape and utilizes every inch of space.
  • Pack shoes into the corners. Place the heels into the corners, so the shoes are sitting toe-to-toe. 
  • Place odd-shaped things between the frame. Umbrellas, phone chargers and hats will all fit here to create a flat layer on the bottom.
  • Lay flat items around the edges (ties, belts, scarves). Wrap them around the outside of the suitcase where they won’t take up any extra room.
  • Fold collared shirts like they do at the store. This preserves the shape of the collar.
  • Roll tightly and pack like objects together. For items of different sizes, it might be best to roll everything and fit it into the suitcase like a puzzle. Luggage packing cubes can help keep things organized.
  • Create a bundle. Create one big clothing packet by laying things on top of each other, overlapping them in the middle and folding everything together (watch the video for a demonstration). This method is ideal for packing jeans to save space since it creates a compact package from an otherwise bulky item.

How to pack clothes for a move

Follow these suggestions to get your entire wardrobe to your new home:

  • Organize and purge. Donate, sell or discard unwanted items.
  • Clean and dry clothes. Everything should be unsoiled and completely dry before packing into boxes.
  • Separate the seasons. Start packing out-of-season attire first, and (if the box is clearly labeled) unpack it last.
  • Pack a travel suitcase. Follow the steps above for packing clothing that you’ll need while waiting for the moving equipment to arrive.

Moving folded clothing

Folded items can remain inside drawers or be packed inside boxes.

  • How to pack drawers. If the drawer isn’t heavy, wrap around the top of the drawer with plastic wrap to keep items in place and keep the drawer inside the furniture. For heavier drawers, wrap the whole thing and move it separately. For wood furniture, use a layer of paper padding, then cover the entire drawer in plastic wrap. Other types of drawers (metal, plastic, etc.) can be wrapped directly in plastic wrap.
  • How to pack a box of clothes. Line the bottom of the box with packing paper, then place neatly folded stacks into the box. Pack things tightly, so they don’t shift during transit. Stuff any open spaces with crumpled packing paper to ensure nothing slips around. Tape the box and clearly label it.

How to move a lot of hanging clothes

Just say no to moving clothes in garbage bags! They can easily rip and tear, causing damage to the fabric. Bags can also cause wrinkles or trap moisture, causing mildew. The best way to ship clothing when moving is in wardrobe boxes. These are moving boxes with built-in rods. Each box can hold two feet of closet space (and also hold things like purses, belts and shoes in the bottom). For a lot of hanging clothes, it’s easy to move them to the wardrobe boxes and then into the new closet.

Packing the rest of your belongings

Looking for help packing up the rest of your home? Check out our complete guide to packing for a move. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!