Maximize your space and organize your bags with packing cubes

Do you have a packing system? Have you tried packing cubes? My mother swore by packing everything as absolutely flat as possible to maximize space and potentially minimize wrinkles. When I started packing for our family of four, I decided that rolling up all our clothes was a better way. Both of these systems have a major flaw: once you open your bags and taken something out, you immediately create chaos in your carefully packed bags.

A messy suitcase
Good luck finding anything in this suitcase!

Even if you are not full-time travelers like us, you have probably experienced suitcase or backpack chaos. We travel with a personal item (laptop bag for John, tote handbag for me), one roll on carry-on, and one hard suitcase each. Believe me, when everything you own is in a suitcase, it is incredibly frustrating when it all ends up in a heap.

I was getting incredibly sick of not finding a specific t-shirt, discovering a pair of shorts I hadn’t worn in a year because they were hiding in a shoe I also hadn’t worn. Despite only having the belongings we could fit in a suitcase, it felt like we could never find what we needed. And I wasn’t even sure we were using all the things we were dragging around the world with us, because I couldn’t seem to get it all organized.

So earlier this year, we decided to give packing cubes a go!

All packing cubes are not alike

On Amazon, an 8 piece packing cube set runs from US $15 to $25. We decided that at that price, we could buy one set and see how that set was before we bought one for John too. To be fair, John is the messiest of us, so I really hoped this could help on that front!

Amazon’s Choice for an 8 piece packing cube set is the BAGAIL set. I decided to buy the purple version for myself so that any husband theft could be avoided:

I was pretty excited to try them out as soon as they arrived! The first thing I realized was that I would need more than one set, even just for myself. After packing a few things in, I also decided that I definitely wanted to try another brand when I bought a set for John to try. The BAGAIL set feels a little flimsy, and there are some loose threads around the zippers. I felt I could find a better option.

Purple packing cubes
The purple cubes

So I read a few reviews, and decided on this set by Veken for US$23.99.

I immediately noticed a big quality difference. The zippers are better. There are no loose threads. The material is slightly thicker and holds its shape better. Even the mesh that provides air flow and visibility is far superior.

Helpful usage suggestions

I decided to buy a second set of the Veken for myself, and we would supplement with the purple set that I originally bought.

How to use them

So once you pick a set of packing cubes, what do you do with them? There are a couple of schools of thought on this: You can either decide to use the cubes to pack individual outfits, or you can choose to organize cubes by clothing type.

Those of you who take short trips with just a carry-on could really consider using the outfit method. If you’re going for a weekend, you can pack one outfit in each packing cube and really keep yourself organized. Of course, this requires you to be the type of person who knows exactly what you want to wear at any given time.

Even if I WAS that type of person, the outfit method really doesn’t lend itself to our full-time travel. So for us, the other method is what I went for.

Packing cubes
How I use my packing cubes

Packing cubes often come with suggestions about what to put in the various sized cubes. that come with the set. Here’s what I’ve gone with:

  • One cube for long pants (I typically wear yoga pants or jeans)
  • One cube for shorts (yoga shorts or jeans shorts for me)
  • One cube for socks
  • One cube for underwear and bras
  • One cube for t-shirts
  • One cube for long sleeve shirts and sweaters
  • One cube for 2 coats
  • One cube for shoes
  • One cube for hair stuff
  • Two little pouches for “stuff”
  • dirty clothes bag
  • And I use the surplus Veken shoe bag for all my “wet” toiletries that could leak all over the place – shampoos, moisturizer, that sort of stuff.

The suggested makeup bag is my sock bag

Packing Cube Verdict

After two months of traveling with the new packing cube system, I can honestly say that I am a complete convert. Even John likes them and is way more organized now.

I know where my clothes are. I know which clothes I actually have with me. I’ve had no leak accidents. I can find what I’m looking for, and I do not have clothes lying around that I don’t know if are clean or dirty. It feels so clean and organized. Most of the time we don’t even unpack our things into wardrobes and drawers at our accommodation.

Don’t feel that you HAVE to use the cubes exactly like the manufacturer suggests. Use them to organize in a way that makes sense to you. They are very lightweight, easy to clean, and we highly recommend them!

For a full size suitcase I recommend at least one and a half sets of 8 piece packing cubes if you really want to get organized. And I can honestly say that I recommend the Veken set, but I’m sure there are other good sets out there.

Do you have a favorite packing system? How do you organize your stuff when traveling? I’d love for you to tell us in the comments below!

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4 responses to “Maximize your space and organize your bags with packing cubes”

  1. Hey there! Stumbled upon your post on the WordPress feed and couldn’t resist saying hello. I’m already hooked and eagerly anticipating more captivating posts. Can’t seem to find the follow button, haha! Guess I’ll have to bookmark your blog instead. But rest assured, I’ll be eagerly watching for your updates!

    • Hi there –
      Thanks for the comment! I found your comment in the spam section so my reply is a little late! I appreciate the follow very much!

  2. I’ve been seeing a lot about packing cubes lately and they really do seem to make getting things organized in a suitcase for travel so much easier. There does seem to be a big difference in quality between some brands that impact functionality so it’s good to learn about Veken!

    • Hi Molly,
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      I thought it was really interesting that the “Amazon choice” option was far inferior to the Veken

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