Leader of the Pack, rolling your clothing

Our first tutorial in the Leader of the Pack series is about rolling and folding your clothing.  More often than not, people simply fold their clothes as they normally would, and stick them piled up into their suitcase like a plate of flapjacks.  While this method of packing does take up less space than simply stuffing your loose laundry haphazardly into your bag, there is still a FAR more efficient ways to pack your clothes, and it will leave you with far more space to work with!  


Leader of the pack rolled clothing header


For those just joining us, I recommend that you check out the original post of this series, titled Leader of the Pack, packing tips for vacations.  It’s got the hub of links to follow through one lesson at a time.

By combining folding and rolling your bulky and general wear items, you will utilize the space available to you in your suitcase.  Where you pack them in your bag (maximizing the space available in the bag itself) will be covered in our next post in the Leader of the Pack series, titled  “The Tetris Equivalent.”  We’ll get to that next week!  Let’s jump right in, shall we?  This is quite simple, I promise you.  Let’s break it down by general item:

Rolling Your Clothing

Folds and rolls to maximize packing space

Shirts, short sleeve

Start by folding the sleeves inward so that the tee is a rectangular shape.  



tee with sleeves folded in

Then fold the tee in half so that the shoulders are together. 

tee folded in half

Starting at the neck of your shirt, neatly roll to for a tight tube and set it aside.


rolled tee


Shirts, long sleeve

Fold the long sleeves inward so that the cuff touches the shoulder seam of the other side.  Repeat for the other sleeve.

long sleeve tee with arms folded up

Then simply fold as you did for the short sleeved shirt, setting the rolled shirt aside with the others.


Pants (Jeans, khakis, etc.)

Fold the pants in half by either keeping the crotch at the center fold, or by matching up the front and back centers of the pants, making the fold along the outer leg.  Either will work fine.  

blue jeans half fold

Straighten out the bottom cuffs and roll from the cuffs up to the top of your pants.  Set the rolled pants aside with the others.


Bulky Items (Hoodies, sweat pants, etc.)

Fold and roll these items just as described above.  If it’s a long sleeve hoodie, simply fold the hood down onto the chest before cross folding the sleeves as we’ve already described.  With bulkier items, it’s important that you really roll them as tightly as you can, so their natural tendency to fluff up and be cuddlesome is subdued.  Don’t worry, though.  They’ll floof right back out after you unpack.

bulky fleece unfolded


rolled bulky hoodie



Underthings (Socks, underwear, underwire-free bras, etc.)

You may fold or roll your underwear as you see fit.  If you’re packing boxer shorts, it’s usually better to simply fold them in half and roll them from the waist down.  I usually only roll my underwear as needed.  Otherwise, these items should be neatly set aside.  You’ll be using them as filler and padding for fragile items when we actually begin to pack the suitcase.

Delicate Items (Underwire bras, dress clothes, fabrics that wrinkle or tear easily, etc.)

These items should be folded neatly as you normally prefer to fold them.  They should not be rolled up.  Set them aside next to your rolled items.  They will be the last things you pack.


And that’s it, folks!  By folding and rolling most of your clothes, you will save an amazing amount of space.  Let’s have a look at the diptych below.  The suitcase is packed with the same amount of clothing in each photo.  See how much more space we’ve created by rolling our items?  

rage suitcase

Our next blog post will talk about how to properly fit your rolled and folded items in your bag.

Tune in soon for our next installment of our Leader of the Pack series, The Tetris Equivalent, which will teach you how to use the 3-D space of your bag or suitcase to your best advantage.







About Pea Kay

Pea Kay, otherwise known as Tonks, The Unhinged Knitter, moonlights at night as an infamous Cupcake Warrior. To learn more about what she does, visit the core pages of www.weavingroses.com!


  1. Leader of the Pack, The Tetris Equivalent - Weaving Roses says:

    […] Folding and rolling your clothes is the best way to save on space.  Pack your largest items into your bag first, stacking them neatly across the bottom of your suitcase and squishing them together as you go.  (I like to stop half way across the suitcase and start to double up, but you don’t have to do so.)  These items will generally create one layer along the very bottom of your bag.  If you have space left over and can still see the bottom of your suitcase, don’t spread things out to fill it.  Just move on to step two. […]

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