Whether you’re trying to fit everything you own into a carry-on, or just trying to efficiently pack for a two-week trip, packing cubes are a must for any traveler. They come in many shapes and sizes and can help with staying organized. When it comes to efficient packing, everyone knows it’s not only about what you pack, but how you pack it.

Packing cubes stack neatly into a suitcase, backpack, or duffel bag to help the user stay organized while traveling. They are very durable and very useful. Depending on how you pack the clothing inside the cube, they can also reduce wrinkles. When using packing cubes, it is best to use the rolling method with your clothes.

Packing cubes will change the way you travel. They are multifunctional and can be used in different bags for different travel purposes. You will use them time and time again.

What You’ll Need

Start with 3 sizes of packing cubes: a small cube, medium cube, and a large cube or a garment folder/ envelope (the garment folder will probably not fit in a carry on). Use the small cube for socks and underwear. The medium cube can be used to tees, shorts, dresses, and skirts. The large cube (or garment folder) can be used for things like jeans, sweaters, long dresses, and lightweight jackets.

There are a lot of other packing cube accessories, depending on how much space you have in your suitcase of choice. There are packing cubes specifically for shoes, for toiletries, and for dirty laundry. You can also use an extra small cube for smaller accessories such as camera accessories and device cords.

Shopping for packing cubes has gotten much easier over the years. REI has a large selection of packing cubes online and in store. Target has a small selection available, depending on your store. Amazon really is the most convenient place to find them.

If it helps, you can also keep an “inventory list” on your phone. Use this to keep track of which items are in which cube. It may help save time in the morning when you can’t find your sweater. You can save this list to remind yourself of what goes where when packing for trips in the future.

Benefits

The easiest way to hype this method of packing is by explaining how easy it becomes to find things in your suitcase quickly. Think of these cubes as drawers in your dresser. Only take out that cube that holds exactly what you’re looking for, as opposed to pulling out everything in your suitcase.

The cubes also help with overpacking. Because of the limited space you are giving yourself, you have to take into consideration that you may not need to bring all the shoes or all the pants. Bring only what you need, and those items must fit into the cubes. This may or may not be helpful when shopping for souvenirs (sorry!).

Using these in any kind of travel case will help you maximize your space. Because you are zipping several items into a smaller space, you are condensing items, and therefore giving yourself that much more room in your pack. When putting them into your suitcase, think of it as a game of Tetris. Be sure to use every nook and cranny to get the most out of them.

Packing cubes can be helpful even when not traveling. There are items that come in handy only when traveling that can be stored in the cubes when not in use (travel wallet, neck pillow, etc.). When you start packing again, you’ll easily find all your other travel gear.

Mistakes

There are a few common mistakes that travelers can make when using packing cubes. Do not overpack or under pack your cubes. Overfilling your cube will make it harder to repack it, and under packing can wrinkle the clothing and make it harder to stack. If you find that you are overpacking, considering putting the items into two smaller cubes. If under packing, put everything into a smaller cube.

When packing toiletries, be careful if you are repurposing a small cube. You may want to invest in something with a heavier lining, in case something spills. Typically, cubes are made of a thinner material, and something like a razor could rip the fabric. To get the most of your cubes, use them for their intended purpose only.


Safe travels!