Simple trick: how to use packing cubes efficiently

Love them or hate them. That seems to be the consensus with those that have used packing cubes. However, if you are unaware of how to use packing cubes efficiently, then this post is for you!

First, let me tell you that I am NOT a light-packer. I wish we could just take carry-ons, but that’s never going to happen.

With a child, I probably overpack. She has enough outfits so that she wears them 2-3 times each. Plus, two pair of shoes and flip-flops for swimming. When you are packing for a 2-3 week trip to Europe, it does add up.

This is where packing cubes come in! While I may pack a lot of stuff, packing cubes let me do it efficiently.

Let me show you.

set of packing cubes set inside a suitcase
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What are packing cubes?

Think of packing cubes as lightweight storage boxes for your clothes when traveling.

They come in different sizes and colors.

In fact, I have so many different colors and sets. Maybe I’m a packing cube addict, I don’t know. But, I like every single item in my suitcase in a cube.

Different colors make it easy to see whose clothes are in each cube. After arriving at our destination, we either unpack the cubes or just put the whole cube in a drawer (separated by color). This allows us to get the big suitcase stowed and out of the way.

My daughter likes it because it is now easy for her to find her own clothes.

Packing cube sizes

A set of packing cubes typically comes with three or four different-sized cubes.

These packing cubes from Well Traveled even include a shoe drawstring bag.

My favorite cube is the narrow one. It is perfect for just underwear and socks – no rummaging through large cubes to find what you need. I wish it was a little longer though (and then it would be perfect for my needs anyway).

Plus, I use one for hairbrushes, deodorant, and any other small loose items.

The large cube is where the main clothes go. Our clothes fit in here perfectly for a one-week trip.

Here’s the exact ones I recommend on Amazon.

Use the small or medium cube to pack swimsuits, coverups and pajamas separately. Again, this makes it easier to find something you are looking for quickly.

In fact, when we stay at an airport hotel for a quick overnight before a flight, I pack everything we need into a single cube and just remove that from the luggage.

Rolled clothes in a pink packing cube
My daughter’s clothes for a 3 week Europe trip
Rolled clothes and shoes in a black packing cube with shoes on top
My clothes rolled with flip-flops on top

How to use Packing Cubes

I am definitely a roller. By that, I mean I start at one end of the cube and roll each clothing item. Pack the first item next to the edge of the cube and tightly add additional items as you roll them.

As you fill half a cube, pull the zipper halfway around so the clothes stay in tightly.

Keep rolling until the bottom is filled with clothes.

Do you have room on top of that layer? If yes, then roll some more and start a second layer – pushing your rolled clothes all the way to the back of the bag first.

Sometimes, I am able to fit a pair of shoes on top, too.

My goal is to not have any loose items in the luggage – everything is in cubes. Use the small cubes for combs, brushes, elastic ponytail holders – anything that is loose.

Compression zippers

What’s great about Well Traveled’s packing cubes is the compression zipper!

So, instead of just a top zipper, there is also one at the bottom of the packing cube that reduces a full inch when closed.

Gray packing cube with clothes in it
Zipper open before compression
compressed gray packing cube
After compression

Truthfully, I have used another brands’ cubes with compression zips and I did not like them at all. I could not ever get them closed without having to take out a lot of clothes.

I did not have this trouble with the Well Traveled ones. I’m guessing it’s because their zipper went straight across whereas the other brand I have does it on a diagonal.

So, if you are looking to save some suitcase space, purchase packing cubes with a compression zipper!

This is quick to unpack when you arrive at your hotel room.

There you have it. Are you a believer yet?

Buy these packing cubes on Amazon.

Please note: While I have many packing cube sets, I was contacted by Well Traveled to use and review theirs in exchange for a complimentary set. My opinions are my own. I really love packing cubes!

Do you use packing cubes? Do you think packing cubes are worth it? Let me know in the comments!

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Three blue nylon packing cubes and two red ones in the back with the text 'how to use packing cubes efficiently'

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  1. I’ve used packing cubes for years. Also, my husband travels a lot for business and he can’t live without them now. Makes it so much easier to find whatever you need fast.

    1. Christine says:

      I agree! I know people that use multiple small ones for each day of outfits. I tend to pack one large and one small, but I also unpack everything when we get to the hotel.

  2. I use packing cubes and embroider exactly what is in them. Shirts, shorts, pants,
    sleepwear, cosmetics. So easy to find everything and put them away on the ship.
    I have several sets but like the really light ones from ebags.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes – the light ones from ebags are great! And it’s funny you mention cosmetics because lately I keep a medium sized bag and put makeup, hair brushes, deoderant, and toothbrushes in them. Just to keep everything organized and looking the same.

  3. I love using packing cubes. Makes rolling clothes so easy. Am working on folding clothes compactly to stand on end in the packing cube.

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Janice! Yes, I’m right with you! Love using packing cubes for many reasons – rolling clothes, keeping the separate…so many reasons.

  4. I recently used packing cubes for the first time on a 7 day cruise. I packed everything in a carry on. I had enough clothes to change at least twice a day and did not wear everything that I took. I also used a vacuum bag. I highly recommend using both.

    1. Christine says:

      Wow – that’s awesome! I can’t believe you could fit everything in a carry-on for a 7-day cruise. I aspire to do that someday. I also used to use a vacuum bag before I found packing cubes, but I’ve never used both at the same time – thanks for the tip!

  5. I travel all over the large city I live in to look after people’s homes and pets while they are on holidays. I take the bus/rapid transit. I have learned to pack light. I discovered packing cubes about 2 months ago. this past 10 day trip using a small carryon roller bag and packing cubes I found I didn’t even use some of the clothes I took. usually my bag is a mess and I can’t find things in it when I need them. Not this time. everything stayed organized the whole trip.i am packed and ready to go to the next job! They lightened my load and kept me organized!!

    1. Christine says:

      Awesome! It’s amazing how much neater a suitcase is using packing cubes. My husband just throws his stuff in a suitcase and I swear I can pack 2x a much using my cubes.

  6. Christy P says:

    I just used packing cubes on my cross county move and they helped SO MUCH!

    1. Christine Zelina says:

      Hi Christy! Isn’t it amazing how much they hold when they are used correctly? I can get so much of my daughter’s clothes in just one pouch. Glad they worked out for you on your move!