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How to Use Packing Cubes Efficiently: Step-by-Step Guide

Posted by Jel Navarro on
Suitcase organized with packing cubes

When we think of packing cubes, we usually associate them with easy organization and as miracle space savers. With their functionality and versatility, it’s hard not to think that way! But the truth is, packing cubes work best if you know how to use them the right way. That’s why we wrote this blog post to tell you exactly how to use packing cubes efficiently. Whether you love traveling with a carry on, checked luggage or backpack, you’ll find a variety of tips and tricks that will help step up your packing game!

Why Use Packing Cubes?

Have you ever missed a flight or skipped an important part of your itinerary? All because you were spending so much time packing your luggage! Or you were probably too busy scrambling to find items that you need in your suitcase or backpack 🤦‍♀️ 

Wouldn’t you rather spend your precious time traveling and exploring places instead? 

If these scenarios seem all too familiar, it might be a good time to rethink your packing strategy. Packing cubes will change the way you pack and help you organize so you can finally focus on your trip. Yup, these awesome pouches are the secret to a super organized suitcase and we’ll tell you why:

✓ Stay Organized - Let’s be honest: folding or rolling are great ways to organize your clothes when traveling. But whether these strategies can actually keep your travel items organized is a whole other story. Packing cubes allow you to stay organized for the entire duration of your trip (not just before the trip!) because they act like traveling drawers for your suitcase. Curious? More on that later 😉

✓ No Mess - Makes it easier for you to find the things you need without having to go through the entire suitcase… Like your favorite pair of socks or pants! Just grab the cube that you need without messing up the entire bag.

Woman packing socks into cube

**Thanks to XoLivi for this photo!

✓ Privacy - Keep private things private (like underwear)! Packing cubes give you some privacy during airport security because your items are secured and not easily visible during inspection.

✓ Unpacking Made Easy - There’s no need to unpack once you reach your destination. Remove the cubes from your suitcase, then place into your hotel’s drawers (or any flat surface) and voila, no unpacking required! Bonus: they’re also more hygienic.

Packing cubes inside drawer

**Thanks to Megan from The Homes I Have Made for this photo!

These are just a few reasons why packing cubes rock! Hopefully we’ve convinced you to be a cube convert. Now that you know the why, let’s go ahead and move to the how.

How to Pack Efficiently With Travel Cubes

How to use travel cubes

Want to know a secret? There are some tips and tricks that will help you pack more efficiently using packing cubes. Follow the steps below and you’re on your way to a fun trip (and a more organized suitcase!):

1. Cut it down to the basics

The first (and super important) step is to figure out which items are essential for your trip. Leave behind the extras and pare down your items to the basics. Once you do this, packing is less daunting and you’re sure to maximize the space in your suitcase (without the extras weighing you down).

2. Lay ‘em flat and categorize

Items to pack inside packing cubes

Gather all your travel items and lay them in a flat, empty area (like your bed or the floor). Then it’s time to categorize! Place similar items together like your tops, bottoms, toiletries, shoes, etc. 

This is a great way to find out if you’re packing duplicates or excesses of certain items. If you’re traveling with your family, you can avoid packing doubles (or triples) of toiletries or other items that can actually be shared during the trip.

3. Choose your packing strategy

Not sure how to pack your travel items into cubes? We’ve got some good news for you! There are actually different strategies for packing your clothes (or other travel items) into cubes. Choose one according to your #travelstyle and start packing like a pro:

Different packing strategies

✔️ Packing by Category - Probably the most popular because it’s just so simple and easy! Similar items are packed together in one packing cube. Undies and socks can go in a Small Cube. Tops (like shirts & tank tops) go in a Medium Cube and bottoms (like pants & shorts) go in another Medium Cube. It’s the best packing strategy for a long trip! 

✔️ Packing by Outfit - This strategy is less popular but very convenient in some situations. For example, if you’re going on a short trip (like a weekend getaway) and you already have all your cute outfits planned. Or for families traveling with small kids (who can’t pick their own outfits yet). You can use a few Small Cubes or Medium Cubes to organize your (or the kid’s) planned outfits which makes it easier to get ready during mornings.

✔️ Packing by Individual - If you’re checking a large suitcase for the whole family, you can allot each member a Large Cube to organize their essentials. Want to make it less stressful (and more fun)? Let them pick the cube in their favorite color so they can easily find their ‘own’ cube in the suitcase. #packinghack

✔️ Packing by City - Going on a multi-city trip? Organize your essentials for each city in a Medium Cube. Don’t forget the accessories!

4. Grab a set or add on cubes as needed

Now that you have chosen the ‘perfect’ packing strategy, it’s time to get your cube on. But first, you have to decide which set or cubes to add to your collection:

✔️ Starter Set - This set includes 1 each of our 4 packing cubes sizes (from Extra Small to Large). Perfect for organizing your carry-on luggage! Recommended for solo travelers, couples or families with older kids. 

Starter Set

✔️ Complete Bundle - This set includes 8 cubes! 2 each of our 4 packing cubes sizes (from Extra Small to Large). It also includes other travel accessories like a shoe bag, laundry bag and folding board set. Perfect for organizing your checked suitcase! Recommended for couples or families sharing a suitcase.

✔️ Individual Cubes - Got your eyes on our fun solo cubes? Maybe you want to build your own cube stash? You can also buy our cubes individually or add on as needed.


5. Fold or roll (it’s up to you!)

For the folding camp, we like to alternate the necklines (for shirts) and seams (for pants) when packing them into cubes. This helps balance the weight so every inch is maximized and you don’t end up with a lumpy cube. 

If you’re in the other camp, make sure to roll each garment tightly to avoid wrinkles and creases. We like rolling our smaller items like underwear, shirts, dresses and shorts. 

6. Don’t waste the space

Packing strategy? Check! Packing cube set? Check!

Next, let’s get those cubes ready and pack our essentials inside. Go ahead and fold (or roll) your clothing items. Pack them inside your cube, making sure to utilize every available space. 

However, if you do end up with a cube that has a bit of space left, don’t fret! All you need to do is zip it up then push the cube down. This will remove the excess air and help compress the cube so you don’t end up with any wasted space.

On a similar note, if at the end of your trip you have empty packing cubes, you can compress them so they won’t utilize as much luggage space.

7. Stack the cubes like Tetris

Now it’s time to actually pack the cubes into your suitcase. This is super easy but requires some of your Tetris skills. Depending on your suitcase, you can stack our cubes either horizontally or vertically.

If it’s a suitcase with one deep compartment, you can stack the cubes vertically. Our cubes are super structured (and not flimsy at all) which is why they’re perfect for this.

Starter Set

If you have a suitcase with two shallow compartments, you can then stack our cubes horizontally instead.

Packing cubes horizontally in suitcase

8. Don’t forget your Quart Size Bag

Both our Starter Set and Complete Bundle include a TSA Approved Toiletry Bag (AKA the cutie Extra Small Cube). This is a super handy (and a customer favorite) addition to our cube sets. 

Quart Size Bag

It’s perfect for packing your 3 oz liquids for travel. It’s under quart size, has a clear design and makes getting through airport security a breeze. Just make sure you pack it in an easy access place like on top of your carry-on bag.

9. Unpack if you have space

Once you reach your hotel (or Airbnb), the unpacking process begins. But don’t worry, unpacking is super easy with packing cubes. Remove the cubes from your suitcase, zip them open and then place on any flat surface for easy access to your travel items.

Packing cubes zipped open in hotel

Place your TSA Approved Toiletry Bag in the bathroom. With our cube’s zip-top opening, you don’t need to dump the items out just to find what you need.

You can then place the other remaining cubes into your hotel’s drawers (if there’s space).

10. Use like ‘traveling drawers’

Staying somewhere with very limited space (like a hostel or cruise stateroom)? You can use our cubes like drawers instead. No need to unpack them from your suitcase! 

Pro Tip: Cramped space? Place your suitcase (with the cubes inside) under your hotel bed to maximize space.

Packing cubes used as traveling drawers

**Thanks to Melissa from Polished Habitat for this photo!

Other Ways to Use Packing Cubes

Now that you know the basics on how to pack with travel cubes, let’s have some fun! There are LOTS more ways to use packing cubes and we’ll give you some ideas below:

1. Organize your backpack 

Love traveling with a backpack? Great news! You can also use our packing cubes to keep it organized. Check this blog post to learn how.

Backpack organized with packing cubes

2. Organize your baby’s diaper bag

Our packing cubes are also perfect for organizing your baby bag. You’ll need a few Extra Small Cubes and Small Cubes for this. Want to learn more? Check out this blog post.

Diaper bag organized with travel cubes
**Thanks to XoLivi for this cool photo!

3. Pack a Hair Travel Kit

Can’t leave without your favorite hair tools and products? Pack your own Hair Travel Kit using our Medium Cube. Want to learn more? Click here for the tidbits!

Medium Cube as a Hair Travel Kit

4. Keep your house organized

Yup, packing cubes are not just for travel organization. You can also use them to keep your home neat and tidy. Here are some ideas to get you started:

✔️ Craft Room Organizer - Keep your art supplies like your yarn, knitting needles, etc. organized with a Medium Cube.

Craft room organized with packing cells

✔️ Toy Room Organizer - Use a few Large Cubes to sort and separate your kid’s toys. Read our post on toy room organization here.

How to use packing cubes as toy room organizers

✔️ Linen & Closet Organizer - Keep your off-season clothes organized (and protected) with our Large Cube. You can use our Storage Cube for your larger items like bed sheets and duvets.

Linen closet organized with packing cubes

Ready to level up your packing game with travel cubes? We hope this guide helped you pack more efficiently with cubes. If you have any more questions, leave them in the comments section below or send us an email.

Happy Packing! 

P.S. Want to learn more about packing cubes? Check out our post on Packing Cubes Review 101: All You Need to Know and More!

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