Rolling Your Clothes Sucks.

Written by shaunhuberts on . Posted in Blog

Rolling your clothes sucks.

There, I said it. And I said it not because I don’t ever do it (though I rarely do nowadays) but because it isn’t a very effective way to pack your suitcase. Well, it’s about as effective as the way your parents taught you how to pack your bags; stacking your clothes one on top of each another, each piece covering up the next. And although I will give some points to those who “roll” over those who pack in the generic… or dare I say geriatric way, I still want you to understand why Rolling Your Clothes Sucks… and why my Filing Method rules.

1.  Rolling Creates more wrinkles.

Don’t just believe what everyone tells you, and do a test for yourself and you will find that even if you take your sweet ass time in doing a perfect t-shirt roll, you will still end up with more wrinkles than you would have folding your clothes. Fewer creases, potentially yes, but significantly more wrinkles.

Proper folding is the key to a perfect pack. Items should be folded in order to reduce the number of wrinkles or creases, and should be folding specifically for each suitcase you are using. Less movement is always better so having a nice snug fit is best, and that’s why I believe people like the idea of rolling, cause you can put them together so nicely, or so it seems…

2.  Circles don’t fit well into squares.

Think of it this way. What could you fit the most of into a square suitcase (assuming they were contained the same volume): A cans of coke, or a square juice-box? Juice-boxes, right? The cylindrical shape of a coke can leaves way too much space left open in the corners. Have a look at my excellent drawing skills for my example of this idea and how you might lay them in your suitcase…

circles and squares

why rolling doesn’t save you space within a suitcase

So understand that you are not saving space by rolling your clothes into round cylinders. And by squishing all your rolled items into your bag you are actually squishing them into pseudo-squares (as they are being pushed in an attempt to fill in those empty corner spaces), so in reality you might as well make them into a square like shape to begin with! Compressing your clothes is what saves you space… and there are many more efficient ways of doing that for a suitcase, like my method, the FILING (CABINET) METHOD.

*I do, however, understand that there’s an argument to be had if you travel with a duffel bag, some rolling can be beneficial, but then of course you still have to deal with this issue…

3.  It hides what’s what.

By rolling your clothes, you are hiding away all the key differentiating features to your clothing. A t-shirt logo will be hidden, the back pocket stitching to a pair of jeans, hidden… aside from color or wash, you don’t know exactly where the clothes you plan on wearing are without a little trial and error; pull this one out, unroll it, “oops, wrong one…”, now you kind of take the time to re-roll, half-ass of course, cause you’ll redo it better later (classic); put back in, disrupt your pile again and pull out the other one that looked like the shirt you wanted…

You should be able to see everything you have from the moment you open up your bag! Save time and energy while also saving your pack from being pillaged each time you pull something out. The Filing Method makes this easy; you see it, you pull it out. No moving things out of the way just to get at the one item you actually want.

Don’t understand how the Filing Method works yet? Let me explain the basics: Think of packing like you are filing paperwork in a Doctors office… open the drawer, File Vertical, close drawer. Basic. The other files there will keep it condensed and upright and easy to find when you need it without having to look through the other papers first.


The Filing Method: Fold and stack vertically, like in a filing cabinet.


Your packing method should be a good combination of all things that will enhance your traveling experience, not hinder it. More time digging through your clothes is more time wasted while you could be out enjoying your vacation. And although attempting to arrive with the fewest amount of wrinkles and creases is good, it always helps to understand that no method will eliminate them altogether. Learn to be OK with that cause

There’s more to packing then just reducing wrinkles and creating more space.

You have to be practical. Packing in a way that helps with only issue isn’t a great plan either. Have you ever seen or heard about the “Engineering or Bundle method“? The one which involves laying your pants down first so they extend outside of your bag, then you place your shirts in a similar fashion but 90 degrees to that… blah blah blah… then you fold it all up into a wonder (and completely impractical) bundle of joy (that will take 20 minutes to dismantle when you want something from there) that will save you space (maybe, if you do it well enough and have enough clothes the exact dimensions of the suitcase or shove socks into random empty holes) and free from wrinkles (except all the ones that will come from bag slumpage when you place your bag upright and tote it around). Sound like a good and practical way to pack? Not for me.


By Filing your clothes, you will gain ALL of these pros at the same time, instead of just one or two of them:

– save space

– stay (relatively) wrinkle-free

– be able to see all your clothes from the moment you open your suitcase

– become overjoyed (and wowed) by your new sense of order in life or on the road… or at least in your suitcase!

– impresses your friends. Especially your OCD or nerdy friends, and especially your mom.


Summary: Packing methods, other than the Filing Method, make life on the road more challenging and time consuming. Or if nothing else, give filing a try and challenge yourself to learn a new method! If it isn’t for you, no problem, do what works best for you and your suitcase! I just wanted to you to have the facts :)

The end. Rant, over.

Happy travels!



(And as always, if you need more of these tips, then help support an nerd/artist and buy my book! :)




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