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How to Organize Your Suitcase (Without Packing Cubes)

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

It’s the holiday season, friends, which for many of us also means that we'll soon be packing our bags in order to visit family out-of-state or to go on vacation. But if you’re anything like me, packing for traveling can be a huge pain in the you know what. Not only is it overwhelming to remember everything that needs to be packed in our own bags for spending multiple days away from home, but add the parental duty of packing for one or more children to the mix and boom... the stress levels can shoot through the roof.

Well, I recently told myself that enough was enough. I did not want to deal with the randomly placed socks and undies and mixed up outfits anymore, but I needed to figure out a way to do so without having to invest in packing cubes (packing cubes are great by the way, but as a frugal mama of three, I was determined to use pure resourcefulness to solve this problem).

Knowing how beneficial rolling and filing my garments into my drawers has been for me, I decided to try using this strategy to create "outfits of the day" for myself and my kids while filling our suitcases in an organized, efficient way. And guess what? It worked. In this post I’d like to share with you this simple, stress-free way to pack your clothing for your upcoming holiday travels that will help you to keep every ensemble in order and ready to wear.


The Packing Method

If you’re sick of moving through different compartments in your luggage to find your camisole, pants, shirt, and matching undergarments for every single outfit, then this strategy is one you may find yourself using for years to come. By rolling your collective pieces into one outfit of the day cannoli, you will rid yourself of the trouble of having to rummage through your luggage for the different aspects of your outfit and, in the process, messing up your once nicely-packed suitcase. Another great thing about the strategy is that it keeps you from feeling the pressure of unpacking your outfits once you get to your destination; you can literally live out of your suitcase the whole time if you want to!

Here’s the strategy for creating rolled outfits for quick and effective packing:

For 3-4 Piece Outfits

  • Collect all the items needed for your ensemble.

  • Lay your shirt flat and fold the sleeves in at the sleeve seam. Then bring both sides of the garment into the center about 1/3 of the way.

  • Take your pants and fold them in half so the legs lay on top of one other. Fold the ankle up 1/3 of the way and the waist down 1/3 of the way. Place you pants on top of the shirt.

  • Lay your undergarments on top of the pants.

  • Grab the collection of clothes from the bottom of the shirt and begin rolling to the top of the shirt.

  • Place your rolled ensemble into your luggage (and throw a chef's kiss into the air)!

For Dresses

  • The same process can be followed if you are packing a dress for your vacation. The only difference will be to fold the straps down towards the center of the garment first before bringing the left and right sides in towards the center.

You can follow the same strategy when you’re rolling your pajama sets together, too! Check out this tutorial on pajama set rolling that I shared earlier this year for a great visual.


The Dirty (Clothing) Details

Now let’s talk clean up. When I brought this conversation to my Instagram community, one of my friendly followers asked if I rolled the dirty garments back up a similar way in order to fit everything back in.

Well, there are two answers to this, depending on how I'm traveling: Car or plane.

Ok, I haven't been on a plane in years, but if I was traveling on a plane, this would be my honest response.

When I travel in my car to my vacation destination, I always bring a trash bag to put all of my family's dirty clothing in. By placing the dirty clothes directly into a trash bag, it not only helps me to remember which items myself and my kids should not wear again, but it also makes doing all of that post-vacation laundry super simple… I just dump the articles of clothing in the trash bag into the washing machine and move on with my day!

Throwing all of the dirty clothing into a trash bag and slinging it onto the bag check at the airport wouldn't really work though, would it?

If I were to travel on a plane and had no laundry machine where I was traveling to, my dirty garment solution would still involve placing these items into a trash bag; however, I would quickly fold them and place them into the bag in order to create more space (psst... balling up and throwing items into a bag takes up more room than folding them does). When filling my luggage to fly back home I would also designate a side of my suitcase to keep my dirty laundry bag on, separate from my clean garments.


So, what do you think? Would this outfit of the day rolly cannoli work for you as you get ready to travel this holiday season? Can you find value in the simplicity of this strategy? Share your thoughts with me below!

Oh... and Happy Holidays, friends!

Would you try this strategy?

  • Yes, totally!

  • No, I can't see it working for me.

  • Maybe!

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