You’re about to leave for a trip and you’re scrambling to get your suitcase packed at the last minute. But the thing is, you’ve crammed so many of your belongings into this one bag that it’s impossible to close! You’ve expanded the luggage as much as possible. You ditched anything that wasn’t absolutely essential to your trip… So, what in the world are you to do? 

It’s time to get smart about how you pack your luggage. Yes, there are ways you can pack a suitcase to maximize space and avoid all the packing panic.

Here are eight things you need to know to make the most of the space inside your luggage...

1. Don’t Procrastinate on Packing

When you leave packing until the last minute, it’s only going to create a stressful situation for you. You’ll possibly wind up throwing things into your suitcase in a sloppy mess and you’ll be more likely to forget something important. Instead, give yourself plenty of time to pack for a trip. You’ll have the ability to plan out outfits in advance and you can take extra care to be neat with your packing.

2. Pack Smart by Bringing Only What You Need

The best way to pack a suitcase to maximize space? Don’t bring more than what you need! It can be tempting to just throw in a ton of extra clothes, shoes, and accessories just in case. However, this simply isn’t realistic. You’ll wind up a luggage that’s bursting at the seams or your bag will be overweight and you'll be forced to check it. More stuff doesn't equal more good. Sara gives us enough reasons of packing light. Check it here. When you walk on the street of a new city, you will thank yourself for not throwing the whole closet into your suitcase.

When packing for a trip, think about how long you’ll be gone, what the weather will be like, and what you’ll be doing. This will give you a clear idea of the kinds of outfits you’ll need to pack and how many you should bring along. You’ll be plenty prepared for your trip without overdoing it. And you’ll have just enough space for everything that you really want to bring along with you.

3. Roll Your Clothes Instead of Folding

Your first thought might be that this idea sounds a little crazy. Or that your clothes are going to come out all wrinkled when you arrive at your destination and unpack your bag. But by rolling your clothes instead of folding them as usual, you’ll actually save some space inside your suitcase. In fact, this very method has become increasingly popular thanks to Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

A quick Google search will reveal tons of videos showing you how to do this properly, so it’s definitely worth a shot. Once your clothes are rolled up and in your suitcase, you’re sure to see plenty of space leftover for all your other belongings.

4. Wear Your Bulkiest Items

Sweaters and jackets take up a lot of space inside your luggage, but they simply cannot be left behind if you’re heading to colder temperatures. In order to maximize space in your suitcase, it would be smart to wear any of the bulky items you’re bringing. This way, you’ll have plenty of room to stash everything else away.

Now, you don’t have to pile on the layers like you’re Joey from Friends. Just make sure you’re bringing only the essentials with you and wear whatever you can. Plus, it’ll be helpful having that sweater to keep you warm on the plane.

5. Use Your Shoes Wisely

What do we mean by that? Well, there are a few ways you can use your shoes to your advantage. First, you want to pack them at the bottom of your suitcase, closest to the wheels. This will give you a better weight distribution so your suitcase will be less likely to topple over when you’re trying to navigate the airport.

Another smart tip is to use your shoes to store small items. You can stash your socks in your shoes so they don’t take up space in another section of your suitcase. It’s all about making use of the space you have available to you. And if you’re worried about your shoes getting clothes or other items dirty, place them in a dust bag or a shower cap.

6. Stash Smaller Items Inside a Sunglasses Case

If you’re bringing along any jewelry or other small items, a sunglasses case can be a great way to store them without taking up a lot of valuable real estate in your suitcase. The benefit of using a case for small items like jewelry is that you don’t have to worry about them being misplaced.

Plus, items like necklaces or bracelets won’t get all tangled up or snag clothing in your suitcase. Another quick tip you can use is to pull your necklace chain through a plastic straw and clasp it. This is a great way to prevent tangles and knots while traveling.

7. Try Using Packing Cubes

A major space-saving method that will really help on your next trip is to use packing cubes. These cubes are designed to help you pack your clothes in the most efficient way possible without getting everything all wrinkled. You can also use packing cubes to store toiletries and other items. They’ll fit neatly in your suitcase, maximizing every last bit of space you have.

Plus, when it comes time to unpack after arriving at your hotel, all you have to do is take the cubes out. You can move them directly into the dresser drawer at the hotel if you’d like or easily take everything out to hang in the closet.

Just make the right choice in choosing which packing cubes you’d like to purchase. Canvas or nylon ones are durable and can be washed, but plastic ones will prevent spills on your clothes. The only disadvantage to plastic is that they don’t allow your clothes to breathe.

8. Use a Smaller Bag

If you’re going on a short trip, you might be able to get by with just bringing a carry-on. After all, there’s no need to bring a larger suitcase than you really need. It’ll only wind up costing you more money in checked bag fees. Instead, use a smaller bag whenever possible. This will prevent you from overpacking your luggage with unnecessary items. Plus, you’ll learn how to pack your suitcase to maximize space with the room you have available to you. 

You can also use a smaller bag that has an expandable feature (such as the Tasca Moderna carry-on) just in case you need a few extra inches of room for all your belongings. That can definitely help when you’re in a pinch!