How to pack a suitcase if you have too many clothes

four colourful stacked suitcases, how to pack a suitcase
(Image credit: Getty)

Knowing how to pack a suitcase might not seem like an essential skill, but it can make all the difference when you're trying to save space.

There are many holiday packing tips you can follow, however our fashion editors at Marie Claire know a thing or two about packing clothes, thanks to travelling for shoots (pre-Covid of course).

We have some good rules when it comes to narrowing down your wardrobe, whether it's for a weekend break or a longer holiday.

What clothes to pack for a holiday

First off, prepare your case up to a week before your trip, adding clothes and accessories in as and when you remember them. It really helps making a list of all the activities you plan on doing (eg, sunbathing, sightseeing, going out for cocktails at a fancy bar, having dinner on the beach) as this will dictate which outfits to pack.

It may seem like overkill, but planning a daily outfit diary will save any last minute panics, and when you're on your holiday, you won't think twice about what to wear. If you can, unpack your clothes when you get to your destination, and organise them by day.

If you can't be bothered to plan too much though, here's a simple rule: don't pack things you wouldn't wear at home, and choose layers in neutral shades, as they have better chances to go with everything else.

How to pack a suitcase

Practically speaking, there is a way to pack clothes that can make the difference between lugging a medium suitcase around versus a massive one (on that note, do shop our pick of the best luggage here).

Always lay shoes in first, in pairs on the sides. Fill in any gaps with belts (rolled up), jewellery and lingerie. Then lay clothes flat. Alternatively, pack shoes and accessories in the top section of your suitcase, and roll your clothes up in the bottom section.

Another easy space-saving solution is rolling up socks and underwear and stuffing them in handbags or shoes, this will also ensure they keep their shape instead of potentially getting flattened during your travels.

If using a soft holdall, use the same rules for shoes and accessories, but roll your clothes. For tangle-free jewellery on the move, store your daily treasures in a daily pill dispenser (we like this one from Amazon) for a cheap and easy alternative to a jewellery roll or pouch.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.