How to Fold Clothes for Travel

Three Methods:Rolling ClothesWrapping Your Clothes in a BundlePacking Your Shoes

Having unwanted creases or wrinkles in packed clothes is a negative effect of traveling. Besides folding clothes into square shapes and stacking them into piles, other options exist for arranging clothes in luggage, such as rolling or bundling them. See step 1 to fold clothes for travel.

Method 1
Rolling Clothes

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    Use the rolling method. This method can reduce wrinkles and save space. The U.S. military uses this for their soldiers. It's a great way to fit more things into your bag, especially if you're trying to lighten your load.[1]
    • This method works especially well for shorts, socks, synthetic T-shirts and tank tops, some pajamas and sweats.
    • The key to making this method work is to smooth the items as you're rolling them up. This makes it so that they won't come out the other side so wrinkled.
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    Fold a pair of jeans in half lengthwise. Make sure that the jeans are smooth. Start rolling up the length of the jeans from the bottom or cuff. It's good to start off with jeans and bigger items so that you can pack them in your bag first.[2]
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    Roll up your t-shirts. Lay a t-shirt face down on a flat surface. Fold its sleeves back onto the main body of the shirt. Make sure that you smooth out the wrinkles. Fold the shirt lengthwise once before rolling it up.[3]
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    Fold long-sleeve shirts. Place the shirt face-down. Fold the sleeves back and down so that the cuffs are almost touching the hem of the shirt. Fold once lengthwise and begin to roll from the hem of the shirt.
    • For nice shirts, smooth and fold so that shoulders are almost touching. Fold up bottom third, fold top down so that it overlaps with bottom. Flip over and smooth out. place hand between fold and smooth bunched fabric, if any. Roll up by starting at the hem.
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    Roll skirts and dresses and dress trousers. Make sure to avoid bunching and wrinkles by smoothing them beforehand and as you're rolling. These are good to put on the bottom of your case because they will be more secure (and they are usually bigger than t-shirts and undergarments).
    • For nice trousers, place them on the flat surface and smooth so it's free of wrinkles. Fold one leg over the other, fold in half from the cuffs up. Smooth again. Begin to roll up from the folded knee.
    • Place non-trouser clothing (skirts or dresses) face-down on a flat surface. Smooth to avoid any bunching of the fabric. Fold the clothing lengthwise so that one half is covering the other half. Smooth again. Fold from the bottom, so hem touches the neckline. Begin to roll from the bottom.
    • For winter jacket, zip it and lay it flat. Fold each sleeve backward and fold the jacket in half vertically. Roll it from the edge to the collar, trying to squeeze air out of it. You can secure it with a string or large rubber band.
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    Hang up clothes when reaching destination. If you hang up your clothes (or at least hang up the nice ones) it will ensure that they stay wrinkle-free. Typically the clothes in this method get wrinkly because you end up rooting around in your bag and messing everything up. Hanging up the clothes will avoid this problem.

Method 2
Wrapping Your Clothes in a Bundle

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    Layer clothing around a core element to create a bundle. A rectangular, flat organizer pouch can work as this core element. Its size and centered position in the bundle depends on the amount of clothes you are packing.[4]
    • The organizer pouch is basically just a rectangular shaped pouch with different organizing pockets. It's a great place to store things like smaller items that can get lost in your bag.[5]
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    Form a pillow shape with the pouch. Put soft items, such as underwear, socks, a swimsuit and a laundry bag, into the pouch to form a pillow shape. Do not stuff the pouch with items, because this will make it too bulky.
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    Begin piling clothes to surround the filled pouch. Start with a heavier item, such as a jacket, laid out on a bed or other flat surface. Smooth out wrinkles in the clothes as you go.
    • Most garments will lie face up. Only tailored jackets should lie face down with the sleeves positioned as naturally as possible. This is because of the tailoring in the shoulders of jackets, which if you do it face-up will cause them to wrinkle.
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    Layer skirts or dresses on top of the jacket. Fold skirts in half lengthwise. They should alternately be oriented left and right as they are added.[6]
    • Follow with (buttoned) long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts that alternate pointing up and down. The shirt collars should line up with the armpits of the next shirt.
    • Add pants (trousers) or slacks, alternately oriented left and right.
    • Include any sweaters or knit garments, alternating up or down in orientation. Place any shorts on top.
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    Add the pouch to the center of the clothing pile. Try to align its edges with the shirt collars and waistbands of skirts. This is ensure that the bundle doesn't fall apart when you try to place it in your case.
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    Wrap and tuck the trouser legs around the bundle. Wrap clothing tightly to avoid wrinkles but do not stretch out the clothes. Wrap both sleeves and the bottom of each shirt or sweater around the pouch. Tuck in long sleeves around and under the pouch.
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    Place the bundle of clothes in your suitcase. Secure the bundle in place with tie-down straps for your luggage. Your bundle and your suitcase is ready to go and should be wrinkle free.
    • The only irritating thing about this method is that you have to unpack the entire bundle to get the things you need. Best thing to do is hang up your clothes when you get to your destination.

Method 3
Packing Your Shoes

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    Wear your heaviest pair. Your heaviest and biggest shoes are the ones that are going to cause the most problems. Either leave them at home (unless you're going somewhere really cold or wet) or wear them while you're traveling.
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    Use a shoe bag. A shoe bag can keep shoes away from your clothes so that they don't dirty your clothes up. If you put the shoes in the bottom of your case, then they'll be more likely to stay secure and to not be as irritating.
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    Stuff with them with socks. Do not waste the space inside of your shoes. Fill them with socks, or place your fragile items in there. A lot of people forget that the insides of their shoes are just wasted space.
    • You can also bring shoes that you're not that fond of, or that are on their last legs. Then you can leave them behind when you're packing to return home.
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    Tie the shoes to the outside of your case. This doesn't work as well if you have to check them for a flight, but it's a great space saver if you're going with a carry-on or taking some other mode of transportation.
    • try to tie them so that they don't hit you constantly, or hit other people.


  • Store delicate clothing items, such as underwear or lingerie, in nylon mesh bags for laundry. The mesh material will also allow a security inspector to see inside the bag without needing to handle your undergarments.
  • Place several T-shirts on top of one another and then roll them together to reduce wrinkles.
  • It’s a good idea to pack items that you’re going to wear together, together.
  • If you still get any wrinkles after reaching your destination, you can hang your clothes in the bathroom and run a hot shower. The steam will smooth out the wrinkles.
  • Always try to have your pajamas as accessible as possible
  • Consider sharing the load with a friend. Pack half in their case and half in yours. This way if you of the bags goes missing, you won’t be completely out of luck.
  • Pack your shoes last; keep them on top of your belongings in your luggage.


  • Try to avoid rubber bands to keep your rolls tight as they will leave lines on your clothes due to pressure. You can use packing bands or packing cubes.
  • Avoid taking many pair of shoes in your bag; be more selective with the shoes that you are going to take with you.
  • Avoid bringing heavy clothing. Go for layers (multiple sweaters as opposed to a heavy jacket). A thermal T-shirt and long underwear can help you avoid packing a heavy jacket in colder climates.[7]

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Categories: Travel Packing