I am using a big airplane suitcase and was wondering if you had any tips to save space on it? Knowing that it contain mostly clothes.

For instance, is there any way to bend them to maximize space? Or any tips related to it?

Edit here are more details about the suitcase, dimensions: 76 x 50 x 34 cm, 111 L

Picture: enter image description here

5 Answers 5


Take the air out. If you go to a big box store (like Walmart), they sell giant ziplock bags (Space Bags I think). You put clothes in, flatten the bag and press the air out and seal the bag. It really works. Especially for sweaters, sweats and puffy clothes. When you get to your destination, shake the clothes out and they will puff back up. This works with your kid's favorite bedtime stuffed animal or pillow too.

We used this a couple of times. My only complaint was that my wife could carry more so the luggage was heavier. :)

  • 1
    That was my idea also, I had the same situation with my wife lol. There are "vacuum bags" also, you close it with a zipper and then there is special hole where you can directly apply a normal vacuum cleaner to really squeeze it. perfect for clothes
    – Manuki
    Feb 7, 2019 at 13:41
  • @Manuki - You'd need to use a vacuum cleaner at your destination before you could come home again. Hotel staff might think you're a bit weird if you ask to borrow one...
    – AndyT
    Feb 7, 2019 at 15:03
  • You do not need a vacuum. Just push the air out and close the bag. :)
    – Nohl
    Feb 8, 2019 at 23:24

My personal advice is to not throw rumpled clothes in there chaotically.

Most people fold their dried clothes of the same type (trousers, shirts, towels, and so on) to the same size in order to stack them neatly in their wardrobe. In my experience, the default folding technique works best in suitcases as well. Use this to fill your suitcase with neat stacks.

Depending on your suitcase, figuring out where to put which stack might resemble a game of Tetris at first. The rules are very simple:

  1. Put the biggest items in first and fill gaps with the smallest items
  2. Put heavy and insensitive items (that can be rumpled) at the bottom (where the wheels are).
  3. Put fragile or sensitive items in the middle of the suitcase. (This is because suitcases get thrown around. Fragile items should be as far away as possible from any outside surface.)
  4. If you need to fold items in half to fit the suitcase, you must fold each item individually or you waste a lot of space.

Start by taking the clothes you want to pack out of your wardrobe and put them in stacks onto a surface like your bed.

Row 1:

  • Start at the bottom of the suitcase (where the wheels are) with heavy items that fill the width of it as best as possible. In my case that's always a stack of trousers. If you want to pack towels, fold them to fit the width of the suitcase and place them here as well.
  • On top of that, stack items that are not prone to rumpling, like t-shirts or jumpers, until they reach the top of the current half of the suitcase. Usually, 2 stacks of them next to each other should fit the width of the suitcase.

Row 2:

  • Above that (further away from the wheels) put sensitive clothes that are prone to rumpling or that you need to stay neat.

  • The rest of the t-shirts or jumpers that didn't fit into row 1 go on top of that.

  • Put any lightweight clothes (like jackets) on top of that to fill the depth of the suitcase and cushion the sensitive items.

  • If you have any fragile items, put them in between the cushioning.

Row 3:

  • Put any lightweight items like caps, hats, bras, or flip flops on top


  • Fill the gaps between the neat stacks of clothes with underwear or swimwear. You'll always find enough nooks to cram your underwear in without reserving space for it.

Fold everything into long strips and then roll tightly. Compresses very small.


Pack by Outfit Bundle

I like to save space in my suitcases by packing by outfit. For example, I fold the smallest garments for the day first, like underwear or socks, then, I fold the second smallest set of garments in, eg: T-shirt or hat, around the smaller set, and then I fold the largest garments, like pants, a dress, or jackets, over the clothes that I already folded. I usually fold in half for pants and in quarters for shirts, but this method can work no matter which way it is folded. Just to be clear: Pack a separate bundle of clothes for each day of the trip.

Other Items

Fragile items of mine (like jewelry) usually go in the middle of the bundle so they don't break during my flights.

Shoes usually have space on top of the luggage, or on the pockets that are inside the suitcase.

Other accessories, like sunglasses, belts, earrings, extra eyeglasses, or extra face masks can also go either in those pockets or in the outfit bundle, depending on how fragile they are.

(This is a varation of the ranger roll but not quite the same)


Vacuum bags can shrink clothing/fabrics considerably - especially towels and blankets.

Just put the clothing in the bag, zip it closed, then use a vacuum cleaner or hand-pump to suck the air out of the bag through the vent-hole. You can also simply press the air out yourself, as the vent has a one-way valve that won't let air back in. Doing it by hand doesn't shrink them as much, of course.

You can actually get them at certain dollar stores. I can attest that they work well.

Vacuum Storage Bag
(Image from dollartree.com)

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