How to Pack Clothes for Moving: Space-Saving Tips

By Jenny Rollins

Posted on October 21st, 2022

Best Way to Pack for Moving | How to Fold Clothes | How to Roll Clothes | How to Pack Hangers

An illustration of five people using different methods to pack clothes for moving.

How to Pack Clothes for Moving

Trying to find the best way to pack clothes for moving? The best solution depends on a few things: the containers you’re using, the kinds of clothes you have, and how much space you have for boxes.

We found great advice from frequent travelers on forums like Reddit and YouTube. These people are used to packing clothes in tight spaces. We looked at their methods for making packing quick and easy, saving space, and protecting favorite outfits.

If figuring out how to pack clothes for moving gets overwhelming, you can always use a professional moving service. For those determined DIYers out there, read on for the best tips for moving clothes.

What's the Best Way to Pack Clothes for Moving?

Here’s the real secret about moving clothes: There isn't one best way to pack clothes for moving. There are actually three great methods for packing clothes, and you’ll probably want to mix and match:

🗞️ Best for Saving Space: Rolling

Roll up items like T-shirts, leggings, and underwear ― anything that’s not too bulky.

👚 Best for Bulky or Delicate Items: Folding

Fold things like cable-knit sweaters, blouses with embellishments, and anything that might stretch out.

⏳ Best for Speed: Hanging

Wardrobe boxes are tall outfit boxes with a bar that you can hang clothes from, so you just have to transfer the clothes from your closet, which is much easier and faster than folding or rolling. They do take up more space, but they also prevent wrinkles and stretching.

How to Choose Boxes for Your Clothing

The container you choose for your clothing depends on what packing method you choose, what you have on hand, and what your budget is.

📦 Best on a Budget: Old Cardboard Boxes

If you plan to roll or fold your clothes, you can use any old moving boxes you have around. Put your clothes in several medium or small boxes instead of one big box that’s too heavy to lift.

🧳Best for Mobility: Suitcases

Rolled or folded clothes can also go in suitcases to give your clothes added protection. Suitcases are generally easier to move because of the wheels, but still make sure not to overload your suitcase.

💵 Best for Deluxe Travelers: Wardrobe Boxes

If you’ve got space and money to spare, wardrobe boxes are a great option. But wardrobe boxes cost more than other kinds of clothing boxes, and they’re harder to find secondhand.

Can a Mover Pack Clothes for Me?

Yes, a full-service mover can pack your clothes for you.

A professional moving service costs more, but pro movers can save you tons of stress, which could make them the best way to pack clothes for moving.

🚚 Skip the hassle of a DIY move. Get quotes from professional movers today!

How to Fold Clothes for Packing

While you might be tempted to just move your clothes from your dresser to an outfit box, you’re better off taking the time to learn how to fold clothes to save space. The KonMari method and vacuum sealing are two of the best ways to save space when you're packing.

The KonMari Method

Lots of travelers recommend using the KonMari method. The packer folds clothing into uniform rectangles to stack or “file” clothes in a box or suitcase to save space.

For tops:

  1. Fold the shirt in thirds vertically.

  2. Then fold it in half horizontally.

  3. Flip and fold horizontally again.

For bottoms:

  1. Fold the pants in half vertically.

  2. Then fold them in half horizontally.

  3. Flip and fold horizontally again.

The key is to keep things as smooth and flat as possible. That way, you won’t waste valuable space and you’ll keep your clothes less wrinkly.

Vacuum-sealed Bags

If you have lots of bulky clothes, consider putting folded clothing into vacuum-sealed bags. They’ll help you save space and fit more clothing in one box.

  1. Fold your item as usual.

  2. Place it in the vacuum bag.

  3. Use your vacuum to suck out all the air.

Even thick sweaters will take up way less space than before.

And one savvy Reddit user gave us an even more budget-friendly solution: garbage bags in place of fancy vacuum bags.

The user, OhBoyPizzaTime, wrote, “Make the seal using your hands around the vacuum pole extension, and when it has sucked out as much air as possible (of the plastic bag), just yank the pole out of your hands. The suction makes a nice seal and you can just tie the ends up.”

How to Roll Clothes for Packing

Rolling your clothes for moving doesn’t need to be complicated. You can fold your piece of clothing in half or in thirds, and then roll from the bottom up.

If you really want to save space, though, you can learn the Army style of rolling clothes. People in the Army learn the “Ranger Roll,” for packing rucksacks. This keeps your clothes nice and compact.

  1. Folding your shirt into thirds.

  2. Rolling it up tight from the top to the bottom.

  3. Then, tuck the shirt into the bottom hem as demonstrated in this video.

Note that not all garments will roll well (which is why you may want to fold or hang some things). And be careful not to overstretch any knit fabrics you have, especially if you use the Ranger Roll.

Bonus: How to Pack Hangers

Just when you’ve figured out how to pack clothes for moving, you realize you’ve got dozens of hangers to deal with. So let’s talk about how to pack hangers without making a tangled mess.

Hangers and Clothes Together

The easiest way to pack hangers is to get a wardrobe box so you can simply transfer your hangers ― clothing and all ― into the box.

You can also use a garbage bag. Cut a small hole in the bottom, and take some hanging clothes and slide the hanger’s hook through the hole. Close the bag around your clothes, and you have nicely protected clothes and neatly arranged hangers. (But you also have a bulky, oddly shaped item to deal with.)

Loose Hangers

Don’t just throw your hangers in a box. Instead, take 6 to 12 hangers (depending on the style of hanger you use), and tape or rubber band them together. Create as many sets of hangers as you need, and then place them in a box.

If you use cheap hangers, you may find it’s easier to just donate your current hangers and buy new ones after your move.

FAQs

What is the best way to pack clothing for moving?

The best way to pack clothes for moving depends on the amount and type of clothes and the space available. Folding, rolling, or hanging clothes are the top options. Learn all the hacks for packing clothes.

What is the cheapest way to pack clothes for moving?

The cheapest way to pack clothes for moving is to roll or fold clothes into secondhand boxes. Roll or fold your clothes as small as you can to save space so you can use fewer boxes and a smaller moving truck.

What is the most space-efficient way to pack clothes?

Rolling clothes is usually the most space-efficient way to pack clothes. Learn more.

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