Why You Should Roll Your Clothes Next Time You Pack Your Suitcase

We tapped a luggage expert for hot tips.

Woman carries a suitcase at New York Fashion Week

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You’ve probably heard before that rolling your clothes, rather than folding them, saves space. But then you’ve also probably thought, well if it isn’t broke, why fix it? The truth is, rolling your clothes can be beneficial when you have a teeny tiny carry-on suitcase — and doing so has additional benefits for all those cute vacation outfits, too.

“Rolling clothes allows for maximum use of space, perfect for an over-packer like me,” says Courtney Bier, Marketing Director at BÉIS (and travel enthusiast). “Also, rolling clothes, when done properly, results in less wrinkles and better protects against any pilling or snagging in delicate fabrics.” OK, we're officially listening...

To save even more space, Bier lines up her rolled items in the best-selling BÉIS packing cubes. “This allows for extra compression and more space — gotta have options — as well as an extra layer of organization for ease in finding your stuff while living out of your suitcase,” she says. 

suitcase with rolled clothes

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What items can be rolled for packing?

Most clothing — like tops, jeans, athleisure pieces, and underwear — can be rolled. But if it seems hard to roll, then you probably shouldn’t. “Avoid rolling any items that are overly bulky or have a lot of structure,” says Bier. “For example, skip rolling wool or heavy sweaters, as well as trousers and blouses with structure or boning.” Instead, she recommends those items be folded and laid on top of the rolled items in your suitcase. 

What’s the proper rolling technique?

It varies slightly depending on the piece. Here’s what Bier recommends:

Tops: “For everyday T-shirts or blouses, bring the left and right sides to the center of the back of the item and horizontally fold from there. If rolling, skip the horizontal fold!" says Bier. Another pro tip? “Ensure button-downs are buttoned to ensure a tighter fold that’s less likely to open and wrinkle,” she advises.

Jeans and pants: “First, place into a vertical fold (closing towards the front of the item) and then align the bottom of the pant to the back pocket or waist seam if there is no pocket," says the expert. Tuck in any corners of the pants that are sticking out, then roll, starting from the folded end going up toward the waistband. 

Dresses: Start by folding the left and right sides towards the center back. Unlike the instructions for tops, you do want to fold once horizontally. Then, once you have a smaller surface area, roll the dress. Done!

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