1. Plan ahead. Yes, you need to. Make an actual list of items, gather them up, take a final pass trimming nonessentials, and pick a case that fits. We know it’s tempting to wing it, but you’re asking for inconvenience.
2. Put heavy things at the bottom. A simple but often overlooked step. Build a solid foundation with heavier items, like books, so they don’t wind up smashing the rest of your hard work
3. Take the edge out. Rolling is better than folding. Think about it: Trousers, t-shirts, ties and so on do won’t crease as much if they are rolled.
4. Get things down on paper. Tissue paper, that is; it prevents creases. Wrap or roll jackets, trousers and so on in tissue paper, which will absorbs the creasing so the clothes stay wrinkle-free.
5. Stay in shape. Use cardboard. Tot-Genz puts thin cardboard underneath shirts to help them retain their shape.
6. Stuff it. Not the suitcase, your jacket. To avoid jacket sleeves wrinkling, stuff tissue paper up the sleeves to absorb any crunching.
7. Spread yourself around. Those little shoe organizers are all well and good, but pack shoes individually in shoe bags (or plastic bags) so you can spread them around the case like puzzle pieces.
8. Save the skivvies for last. Finish with underwear and socks. They do double duty as padding, and can go into small gaps that are left after the important stuff.
9. Stay dry. Liquids belong in a separate bag. Who are you, Evel Knievel? Live on the edge all you want, but the rest of us will avoid unpacking the tragic result of shower gel that was jostled in flight.
10. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. At the end of the day, not tips will help if you’re trying to put a week’s worth of clothes in an overnight bag. Let the clothing fit the case. Besides — don’t you want room for souvenirs?
[Image: Ivica Tot-Genz, courtesy of Hotel de Rome]