Why Packing Cubes May Be The Answer To All Your Packing Woes

Sick of rooting through your suitcase to find a pair of socks that have got buried, or a stray shoe that somehow migrated away from its partner? Make like a pro, and invest in some packing cubes. We say invest, but packing cubes are not expensive in the least. And they can save you huge amounts of time and stress when you're traveling.  

So, for the uninitiated, what are packing cubes? They're a traveler's best friend. But seriously, they're usually rectangular and are made from lightweight, durable materials. They also have a zipper and come in a range of sizes. Packhacker recommends a few budget options that you can buy for around $25 or less. While the budget options won't compress your clothes, they are fairly durable. Christina Guan, speaking to New York Magazine, recommends investing a bit more to get packing cubes that are robust enough for frequent travel.

But are they worth it?

100% yes, for so many reasons. The biggest reason to get some packing cubes is to keep your bag organized. Instead of digging through a tangle of clean and dirty clothes, electric cables, and cosmetics to find one thing, you'll know where everything is with your packing cubes. They're also great for keeping dirty items separate from clean ones. Travel blogger Emily Krause recommends Eagle Creek's Isolate line, which keeps odors and moisture in, so your dirty or wet clothes don't taint your clean ones. She especially loves this for traveling with kids. 

If you're traveling to a warm destination, packing cubes are good for keeping small items, like bathing suits, from getting lost. When you travel to a cold destination, you're not likely to lose your ski jacket in your suitcase. But, this is where packing cubes can have another function: as a compression cube. Krause, now writing in New York Magazine, also loves the Eagle Creek compression cubes. You'll be able to fit so much more into your suitcase. If you love traveling with just a carry-on, compression cubes are your friend.

How to use packing cubes

Now we've convinced you that you need packing cubes, let's get into the nitty-gritty. How do you pack most efficiently? First, choose packing cubes that work for you in terms of size. Use the smallest ones for things like jewelry and get larger ones to house those seven pairs of jeans that you're only going to wear one of. (Overpackers, we're looking at you.)

Second, group your items logically. People don't usually keep socks and T-shirts in the same place at home, so why would you pack them together for a vacation? If you're incredibly organized, you could pack by day or activity. For example, if you've already picked out the perfect outfit for a day at Disneyworld, you can pack that all together. You might have a designated beach cube or a fancy dinner cube. Self is a fan of bundling outfits. When your items are grouped, you're ready to roll. Literally. Tortuga recommends rolling items like shirts and dressed, and folding bigger things like sweaters. Bear in mind that rolling allows you to see smaller items more easily without getting everything out. Our last tip: throw in an extra packing cube for dirty laundry.