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10 Brilliant Tricks for Squeezing EVERYTHING in Your Luggage

With these packing tips, you’ll be able to fit everything you need in your carry-on during your next vacation.

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Open suitcase on bedsirtravelalot/Shutterstock

Zip it shut, then add more

Closing your suitcase will compress everything inside, giving you more room to squeeze in last-minute items. Open it up and search for spots between other belongings or in corners.

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packingAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Pick the right order

Start by packing your heavier clothing items such as jeans, then layer thinner shirts on top of them to make it easier to force your suitcase closed. Plus, leaving more delicate items near the top will keep the weight of bulkier clothes from squashing them and forming wrinkles. Here’s how to pack a suitcase in 30 minutes or less.

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Stick with one color palette

Pick one color family for all the clothes you pack. You can go for neutrals, pastels, or brights based on your style, but keeping with a theme will give you the freedom to mix and match tops and bottoms without clashing. You’ll be able to pack fewer clothes because you won’t have to worry that your pants are all wrong for the shirts you took.

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Woman hands puting shoes to suitcase, bag organizermdbildes/Shutterstock

Make the best of shoes

Storing shoes on their sides will cut down on the space they take up. But before you put them in your luggage, take advantage of the room inside time. Fill them with socks, underwear, or ties to make sure you don’t waste an inch.

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02-get-how-to-pack-suitcase-30-minutesiStock/Izabela Habur

Leave full makeup containers at home

Bulky makeup bottles and palettes can take up precious space and weigh your suitcase down, and you’ll only use a small portion on your trip. Pour a bit of your foundation and face creams into a clean contact case to save space. Also try covering cotton swabs in eye shadow, then storing them in a plastic bag to avoid taking a whole pallet.

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Airport business woman waiting in terminal. Air travel concept with casual businesswoman sitting with suitcase. Mixed race female professions.Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock

Wear layers

Chunky clothing items like sweatshirts and sneakers take up too much space in your luggage. Leave room for other outfits by wearing the bulkier items as you travel. You can always remove pieces en route, and you might find you need the extra layer on a chilly plane anyway. Here are 14 other items you’ll always regret packing.

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suitcase personality 11th houriStock/Thinkstock

Cut down on jackets

Jackets can be among the bulkiest items in your luggage, but even in the summer, you might find yourself shivering at night without one. Replace your usual zip-up with a scarf or shawl, which will roll up nicely and can be stuffed into a smaller space.

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young beautiful woman with suitcase and dog standing on the roadMasson/Shutterstock

Choose the right luggage

An expandable suitcase will help you make more room for your belongings. Opt for one with soft sides (or a duffel bag) over a hard one so that you can reshape it to maximize space. Here are 8 luggage secrets only airport baggage handlers know.

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Roll your clothing

Clothes will take up way less space when rolled than when folded. Bonus: If you’re careful to keep clothing smooth while rolling, you won’t end up with any sloppy-looking creases.

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beltTatiana Chekryzhova/Shutterstock

Leave belts flat

Rather than rolling up your belts, lay them along the edge of your suitcase. They’ll take up practically no space. Before you head out, learn the 16 air travel mistakes you need to stop making.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.