Your moving date is inching closer and you’re slowly getting through a big and long checklist. You come to the part where you have to segregate and decide which items will be packed in boxes, which in bags, and which in suitcases. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?

While you figure this out, you might also start wondering how a suitcase is actually packed because this time you’re not packing it for a holiday, but for a move. And when you move, your aim is to minimize the space your items take among others.

We’ve given you a comprehensive list of the things you need to do before and while you pack a suitcase down below.

Things To Do Before Packing A Suitcase

Even before you think of packing a suitcase for your move, there’s a lot you need to do before that. While these steps are mostly obvious, we’ve still outlined them for you –

1. Declutter

Decluttering is always a step that’s recommended before you move because it allows you to have a fresh start in your new home with items that are of value to you. At the same time, moving companies will charge you based on the space your items occupy, so decluttering is just the right method to save space, money, and get rid of clutter before you begin packing.

Most people pack clothes, shoes, books, or other such items in suitcases when they move, so depending on what you want to pack in there, start decluttering those areas. Start by taking your items out and going through them individually. We suggest you Marie Kondo it and only keep those items that bring you joy. You can also ask yourself this question – “Have I used this item in the past year?” Is the answer to the question a no? You definitely won’t be using this item in the months to come! So it’s time to keep that item aside because it’s not something you should lug all the way to your new home.

2. Segregate Into Categories

Who doesn’t like good organization? As you sort through your items one-by-one, you can place them into different categories so that the following steps are easier for you. We have given you a few categories that you can use below:

Keep Pile

As you sort through, you’ll definitely find items that you use often and will continue to use. At the same time, you might find items of sentimental value like the first picture book your parents gave you, or your wedding shoes that you’ll want to take along. So add these items to the ‘keep’ pile.

Giveaway Or Donate Pile

We all have sentimental value attached to something but it turns into a problem if you attach sentimental value to every item you own and decide to keep it all. What’s the use of decluttering then?

What you can do with such items is donate or give them away to a friend or family member who will use them. Not only will you be helping someone in need but you’ll also know that what you held close to your heart isn’t getting tossed in the trash can.

You can always donate items from such piles to charities like Goodwill, Room to Grow, The Salvation Army, and Project GLAM. For books and items that kids can use, find local orphanages to donate these to. Many charities also offer pickup services if you don’t have the time to make a trip to a charity so contact them and confirm the same. Also, remember to get a tax-deductible receipt for the donation from them when you call them to pick your donation pile up.

See Also: 6 Charities that Offer Free Donation Pick Up

Selling Pile

With apps like Depop and Facebook Marketplace becoming the rage, selling used items has become quite an easy task. After all, we all have some clothing items that we spent too much on but we don’t use them anymore and we don’t want to give them away for free either. The best thing to do here is to sell it and make a pile for the same. Not only will you get rid of the item but also make some cash in the process.

There’s one catch here though – when you sell, you’re responsible for taking images, coordinating with buyers, and selling the items which you might not have time for before the move at all! What you can do in this scenario is host a yard sale where you can also sell other items in your house.

You can also sell whatever items you have at consignment stores in your locality that take care of the selling process for you for a small commission!

3. Clean, Wash And Dry

One of the most important steps to consider is cleaning whatever you’re planning to pack in your suitcase. For example, it’s best not to put dirty laundry in your suitcase; that’s unhygienic and will stink up everything. And that really stinks!

So, do the washing or dry-cleaning well in advance and see to it that the laundry has properly dried. For items like books, wipe them down clean with a dry cloth. You can do the same with shoes, wiping them down with wet wipes and such to get them even a little cleaner.

In case you don’t really have the time to wash and dry your laundry, you can put it in a paper bag and keep it separate from your other items. You can also just carry the paper bag along with you when you travel.

Time To Pack

Now that you have these initial steps out of the way, it’s finally time to pack your suitcases. To do so, follow the steps below.

1. Line The Insides Of Your Suitcase

Wondering why lining the insides of your suitcases is even necessary? It is to protect the items inside from getting damaged. If you’re using soft-sided luggage, there’s a possibility that the items inside might be subject to wear and tear during transit. There’s also a possibility of moisture entering the luggage, and you certainly don’t want that!

Go the extra mile and line the insides of your suitcases with packing paper, plastic wrap, or packing peanuts. If there are items like electronics or expensive books, you can always put them inside plastic bags or use saran wrap (cling film) on them to avoid damage.

2. Roll Your Clothing

As a rule of thumb, rolling your clothes is the best way to maximize space inside your suitcase. Items like knitwear, T-shirts, pants, hand towels, and others can be rolled as tightly as possible to save space. There are also other methods of folding that you can use which we have looked into below!

3. Packing Cubes And Vacuum Bags To The Rescue

Many individuals use packing cubes as a way to save space while packing items in a suitcase. Wondering what they are? Packing cubes are small fabric bags that can be stacked inside a suitcase and allow you to squeeze a lot of items inside your suitcase. And don’t worry, you won’t be damaging your items!

You can also use vacuum bags that are available online which sucks the air out and shrinks your item. Vacuum bags are the best to put bulky jackets and knitwear in because it compresses the size of the same by more than half of its original!

Also See: How To Pack Clothes for Moving

4. Stuff The Insides Of Your Shoes

If you’re packing shoes in your suitcase, it’s always best to stuff its insides with socks and other knick-knacks so that they don’t get damaged during transit. This also helps keep the shape of your shoe intact while also maximizing space. How, you ask. A common way to utilize the space inside shoes is to put socks inside them. You can also put electronics inside if you wish!

Related: How To Make Packing Easier | Pack Jewelry for a Move

Packing Clothes? Some Folding Techniques To Check Out

As promised before, we’ve given you three techniques you can use to place your clothing inside a suitcase –

1. Fold It flat

We don’t need to explain what ‘fold it flat’ means since it’s a very traditional way of folding your clothing. This method is the best even when you’ve ironed your clothing and don’t want any creases. All you have to do is keep the clothing item face down on a surface, smooth out any wrinkles and start with the sleeves. Fold both sides of the sleeves towards the center of the clothing item and then fold the lower half upwards. With pants, first fold the legs on top of each other and then fold them into thirds.

2. Roll It

We’ve mentioned this before and it definitely deserves a paragraph of its own because of how much space it can actually save in your suitcase. Roll clothes that you don’t mind getting creases on. When you roll clothes, always start by flipping the bottom part inside out so that it creates a pouch later.

Don’t understand? Let us explain. Take a shirt for example. After placing it flat on a surface, flip a few inches at the bottom inside out. Then fold the upper half of the shirt to reach the middle and then fold the bottom half of the shirt on top of this. Now start rolling the shirt tightly from the part that doesn’t have the inverse fold. After you’ve reached the end where the inverse fold is, all you have to do is take the flipped-out bits and roll it over the shirt that’s now a long roll anyway. This ensures that your shirt remains in that shape and doesn’t unravel.

See Also: How to Store Clothes in a Storage Unit

3. The KonMari Method

You’ve definitely heard of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method that took the world by storm because her folding methods were foolproof and helped many of us organize and get things together.

Let’s take a T-shirt first and understand how it’s folded according to the KonMari folding method. You just first lay it down flat on a surface and start by folding the sleeves and side inwards. After this, fold the sleeve outwards halfway and fold the top part of the T-shirt towards all the way to the bottom hem but leave a few inches at the bottom. Now fold again halfway again twice till it’s a small rectangle that can stand upright.

The method to fold pants is somewhat similar – you first start by folding one leg over the other and then folding in the crotch section. After that fold the top half all the way to the bottom hem and leave a few inches there. Do what you did with the T-shirt and fold it halfway twice till it can stand erect.

Additional Tips For When You Pack Your Suitcase

  1. Check the condition of your suitcase – Even before you line the insides of your suitcase, check if it’s actually functional. Check if the zips and wheels are working smoothly and don’t forget to look for any holes that you might need to patch up.
  2. Pack an “ESSENTIALS” bag – Pack a suitcase with all your essentials that you’ll want to use on the day when you move to your new place. This can have clothing, towels, toiletries and other items like documents, so all you have to do is take this suitcase with you and you’re good to go!
  3. Pack important items on top – A rule that is always recommended you follow is first placing non-essential items at the bottom of your suitcase, followed by those that you might reach out for.
  4. Go waterproof for toiletries – If you’re going to be placing toiletries in your suitcase with other items, don’t forget to put those in a waterproof bag so that you don’t have shampoo or other liquids all inside the suitcase. You should also do the same with cosmetics because most of them come in glass cases and can shatter.
  5. Make a note of everything – While cardboard boxes with your items are always labeled with the contents, you might not think this necessary when you’re packing a suitcase. But we suggest you label your suitcase too so that you know what’s where. You can also just make a note in a book, for example – “Winter clothing in blue suitcase”.

Also Read: Tips to Pack Glasses while Moving | Top 10 Things People Forget To Pack When Moving


As daunting as packing might seem, it gives you an option to go through your belongings and cleanse yourself of items that you don’t need anymore. Packing a suitcase is the easiest task in the entire moving process, and we assure you that you’ll enjoy it. Once you’ve gone through our guide, follow it based on the things that you find helpful and get packing!


How long before a move should I start packing?

We suggest you start packing at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance once you’re done with other prior steps like decluttering and sorting your items out. Keeping this time bracket will give you enough time to pack slowly and keep things ready for the big day.

Is it worth paying for packing when moving?

Hiring professional packers and movers will save you a lot of time and effort especially if you’re short on time and have too much to do. It’ll also ensure that all your items are at minimal risk from damage because they know every tiny detail there is to know about packing items efficiently.

On the other hand, professional packers are expensive and by packing your home yourself, you can save that cash and use it somewhere else.

What items will movers not move?

Professional movers will not move items that are illegal or hazardous like acids, chemicals, fertilizers, oil, and anything that flammable. Confirm with your moving company about the same before you move.

What should you pack last when moving?

Pack items like medicines, glasses, toiletries, and first-aid kits last before you move. Also, keep items like box cutters and scissors handy and pack them at the end.

Related: Top Cheap Moving Companies in U.S