The Best Tips on How to Fold Shirts in a Suitcase

When you’re packing for a trip, the last thing you want is to waste space in your suitcase. These 35 tips on how to fold shirts and travel products will help you save time, maximize the space and avoid wrinkles. It’s worth taking the time to fold your shirts properly.

white and blue dress shirt folded in open suitcase.

How to Fold Shirts in a Suitcase

There are a few reasons why folding shirts in a suitcase is advantageous. First, it saves space. By folding your shirts properly in a suitcase, you can fit more items in your luggage. Second, it prevents wrinkles. Thirdly, it saves you time at your destination since you won’t have to iron your shirts.

Folding Methods

Some people feel very strongly that one folding technique is better than another. I recommend you consider your clothing items and needs when selecting the best option for you.

Basic Folding for button-down shirts

Steps for folding dress shirt or blouse:

  1. Iron shirt and button all buttons, including the top button. Make sure the button placket is straightened out.
  2. Place shirt face down on a flat surface. Line up the side of the shirt and smooth out wrinkles.
  3. Fold left sleeve into the middle of the shirt and then down. Repeat with the right sleeve.
  4. Fold the bottom hem of the shirt up to the collar.
  5. Flip over and straighten collar.
5 blue dress shirt images of steps of how to fold a shirt.

Marie Kondo Folded Shirt Method

Follow the steps above, but on step 3, fold the sleeve cuff back on the diagonal line to the shoulder. If the sleeve is long, fold it towards the shoulder and then back down so that it doesn’t hang over the opposite edge of the shirt.

blue dress shirt with one sleeve folded over.

Basic Folding for T-shirts or polos

These folding techniques work for both t-shirts and polo shirts. It’s always important to start by shaking and smoothing out wrinkles before you begin folding.

Rolling Method

Rolling your clothes, also know as a ranger roll, is often considered the best method to save space in your suitcase and have fewer wrinkles. It works exceptionally well with bulky items, but also works with shirts. While you can ranger roll button-up shirts, this technique is not the best choice for dress shirts.

Roll your shirts following the method:

  1. Start with a clean, wrinkle-free shirt.
  2. Button all the buttons
  3. Place the shirt facedown on a flat surface. Match up seams and bottoms of the shirt. Smooth out any wrinkles.
  4. Fold the shirt in half. Line up all edges and smooth out wrinkles.
  5. Fold the sleeves in to the center of the shirt. Smooth out any wrinkles.
  6. Starting at the bottom of the shirt, roll it up tightly until you reach the collar.
  7. Tuck the rolled shirt into your suitcase, being careful not to crush the collar.

Suitcase Packing Tips

  • Use a packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything important.
  • Fold clothes into similar sized rectangles or squares for the most efficient use of the small space of a suitcase.
  • Place one dress shirt upside down on the next with the collars on opposite ends. This protects both collars and prevents shirts from stacking and creating a wedge shape.
close up of light green and white dress shirt collar with 3 more folded dress shirts in background.
  • Place heavier in the bottom of your suitcase so they don’t crush or wrinkle your dress shirts or other clothes.
  • Use white tissue paper between folds of your dress shirt for minimal wrinkles.
  • Place bulkier items spread out on the bottom and one layer on the top of your packed clothes and toiletries to provide cushioning during travel.
  • Bring a bag to keep dirty clothes separate from clean clothes during the trip.

Tools for Packing Clothes in a Suitcase

Save suitcase space by using compression bags or vacuum bags.

Use packing cubes to keep items neatly organized in your suitcase. They also make it easy to remove items at the hotel and repack your suitcase. I find it keeps your suitcase neatly packed if TSA ever has to inspect your bag.

FAQs about folding shirts for a suitcase

How to fold clothes to save space in luggage?

  • Fold clothes, smoothing each fold out to reduce wrinkles and lumps that take up space and wrinkle clothes.
  • Roll bulky clothes and clothes that won’t wrinkle tightly.
  • Roll socks or underwear and place them inside shirt collars.
  • Place smaller clothing items inside of hats.
  • Place small items inside of shoes.

Is it better to roll or fold dress shirts?

While you can roll dress shirts, it’s better to fold them carefully using the steps above to reduce wrinkling and preserve the shape of the collar.

Looking for more tutorials on how to fold clothes?

How to Fold Clothes and More – Keeping clothes and your home organized can be a challenged in today’s busy world. Knowing how to fold clothes properly to keep them neat and organized makes all the difference in reducing stress and mess

Collage of 4 folding images with text.

How to Fold Underwear – It’s easy to organize your dresser when you know how to fold underwear with these 20+ tips from a professional organizer. Includes free cheat sheet printable.

woman's hands holding up underwear in front of open clothes dryer.

How to Fold a Sweatshirt – A simple tutorial for the best way to fold a sweatshirt so that it stays neatly organized in a closet or drawer. Works for all sizes.

4 file folded sweatshirts standing up in row

How to Fold a Hoodie – Have you struggled with how to best fold a hoodie? Three tutorials for different folding methods for a hoodie will help find what works best for you.

Pink hoodie spread out on white table with text overlay.

More Travel Tips

Comprehensive Travel Guide for Men – 85+ travel gifts for men, with gift ideas for every budget and interest. Find the perfect present for the traveler on your list.

hands packing clothes into small blue suitcase on bed.

8 Packing Tips for a Carry On – Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, these 8 packing tips for a carry on suitcase make it easy to fit in everything you need.

woman pulling white suitcase.

What to Bring in a Carry On – Wondering what you should be packing in your carry-on? Use this carry-on checklist so you never forget what you really need and want to bring in a carry-on bag.

turquoise airplane pillow, small brown bag, straw hat, blue sleep mask, sunglasses, tablet, map and paper with text overlay.

You can find all our best clothes organizing and care tips in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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