Packing a suitcase is an exercise in maximizing space and minimizing wrinkles. Here are my tips for perfectly using your luggage space.

Start with the clothes….

Remember this order of operation: shirts on the bottom, then dresses (if applicable), and then pants.

– Start with shirts, unfolded, by placing wrinkle prone ones toward the bottom of the pile and less easily wrinkled ones on the top.

– Next, fold the sleeves in toward the shirts’ torsos.

– Then, fold the shirts in half from the bottom. You now have a rectangular bundle of shirts to place on the bottom of your suitcase.

– On top of the shirts, drape long dresses in the suitcase so the ends hang over the sides.

– Before putting on top of the dresses, place pants and skirts on a flat surface folding each in half, lengthwise.

– Stack pants and skirts on top of one another, with easily wrinkled ones on the bottom and sturdier ones, such as jeans, on top. Fold the stack over, so that its length is halved.

– Place your stack of pants and skirts on top of the dresses, then fold the ends of the dresses over the pants and skirts.

┬áNext, move to the accessories…

– Roll ties loosely and place between stacks filling in any empty spaces.

– Stuff socks in shoes. Arrange each pair of shoes so that the heel of one aligns with the toe of the other. Wrap pairs of shoes in separate plastic bags, and place them along the border of your suitcase.

– Pack underwear in mesh laundry bags or in side pockets to save space

– Protect clothes from leaks by placing toiletries in a plastic bag.

– Pack essential toiletries in a carry-on bag. Include your toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, medication, etc.

– Place a label inside the luggage in case it gets lost. Only include your name and phone number, never your home address.

Finally, the warning…

– Avoid packing money, jewelry, travel documents, identification, medication, keys and other valuables in your suitcase. Carry these items with you whenever, and wherever, you travel.