You’ve already packed up most of your home. Your coffee table and vanity mirror are ready for the moving truck. Anything you won’t need for the next few weeks is packed or planned to pack, but how about your clothing?

It’s a great idea to put aside a duffel bag, backpack, or small suitcase with a few days’ worth of outfits (plus toiletries and other essentials) before moving day. That way, you can pack up the remaining clothing without having it affect your moving timeline. 

Where do you start, though? In this guide, we’re going to explain how to pack clothes efficiently and quickly so that you can finish up this move and enjoy your new home before you know it.

Let’s get right into it. Shall we? 

How to pack clothes for moving

Here’s how to pack clothes and some other tips to get ready for moving day:

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Get rid of unwanted clothing before packing

We’ve all been there. There’s an outfit you bought a year or two ago that you just love, and you can’t bring yourself to give it up, even though you haven’t had an occasion to wear it to since the first month you owned it. Here’s our advice: just do it

There’s a good chance you’ll forget about that outfit once it’s out of your closet. On the other hand, if you aren’t ready to give it up, try to book your schedule with events where that outfit makes sense, or incorporate pieces of it into your everyday wardrobe. That way, it gets put to good use.

While you’re going through your closet, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does this article of clothing fit?
  • Does it go with more than one outfit?
  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Can I see myself wearing it again?
  • Does it match my aesthetic?

If the answer to these is “no,” consider donating the clothing to a friend, selling it online, or donating it to a local shelter. The clothing will be out of your hands and in the hands of someone else who will get good use out of it in no time. Remember: one (wo)man’s junk is another (wo)man’s treasure!

Separate clothing that’s not in season

The weather changes drastically depending on where you are in the U.S. If you’re moving from New York to Florida, it might not make sense to bring winter clothing–unless you plan to travel back to New York often for work purposes or to visit family. 

What you can do is go through this seasonal clothing (winter jackets, snow pants, long-sleeve shirts, pants, shorts, swimsuits, etc.), and see what you could realistically see yourself wearing while living in your new city or state. If the place you’re moving to has all four seasons (think: the Pacific Northwest), you might want to bring it all, but you can pack up the out-of-season items ahead of schedule since you probably won’t need those for a while. 

Rolled up Blankets and Clothes in a suitcase

Roll your clothes

How do you pack clothes to take up the least space? Try rolling them! There are tons of ways to pack clothes for moving, and rolling is one of our personal favorites. (Typically, it’s better to roll clothes than fold them because rolled clothes are space savers.) 

How do you roll clothes for packing? Essentially, you flatten out your clothing while you roll it with your hands. That cuts down on wrinkling and makes your clothes not take up a lot of room. 

The Better Way to Move

If you’re going to roll clothes, practice on your socks, shirts, and shorts. To roll a t-shirt, fold the sleeves so that they go to the middle of the shirt. Then, fold one sleeve to the middle, and follow suit with the other sleeve. Use your hands to rub the shirt and get rid of wrinkles (if applicable). (Note: For long-sleeve shirts, it’s usually best to fold the sleeves toward the back of the shirt in a cross pattern.)

Then, roll it out from the bottom to the top, rubbing it to ward off those pesky wrinkles as you see fit. It’s that easy! If you’re rolling pants, start by folding them with one pant leg over the other. Use your hands on those wrinkles, and roll from the top of the pants to the bottom of the pants. (You can also use packing cubes if you wish after the clothing is rolled.)

Use what you have

You already know the most effective way to pack clothes. Now it’s about finding a place for those clothes! Here’s a secret: you don’t necessarily need to get new moving boxes for clothing. 

This is a good time to put all those backpacks, suitcases, and duffel bags in your closet to good use. Using what you have is a great way to save money and time, as well as keep things organized. 

If you don’t have any suitcases, you can use dresser drawers. Simply make sure your clothing is all clean beforehand, pack your dresser accordingly, and cover the clothing with plastic if needed. 

Person packing luggage into a suitcase on the floor

Pack similar items together

…And be sure to put the heaviest items at the bottom of the box, duffel bag, or suitcase–whatever you choose! You might find the packing process goes faster if you toss all of your clothing into cases or boxes without a rhyme or reason. 

However, it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to sort through things and put similar items together. That can prevent you from losing your favorite articles of clothing and help you track down pieces faster. (For instance, consider packing your blazers together, suits together, and workout clothing together.)

When it comes to the actual packing, put the items in their box, container, or bag carefully, setting the heavy stuff in first. Then, add items as needed, making sure all the space is used. Things like undergarments should go at the top since they’re lightweight. (It also makes them easy to access!)

More dos and don’ts for packing clothes, shoes, and accessories 


  • Make sure your clothing and shoes are clean before packing. 
  • Cover your shoes with plastic or in a shoe box so that they don’t get your clothing dirty if you decide to pack them in the same bag. 
  • Put something inside your shoes to help them maintain their shape during the moving process. 
  • Store your accessories in a different container so that they don’t get broken or lost during the move.
  • Layer items on top of one another to make use of all of the space.


  • Save packing your clothing, shoes, and accessories until the last hour.
  • Use a wardrobe box for everyday clothes. Save this for the bigger items that you 100% don’t want to get wrinkled. 
  • Forget to declutter before packing–including going through your shoe collection.
  • Put your clothes in a garbage bag if you have a suitcase or duffel bag handy and want to avoid wrinkling. 
  • Just put the clothing in boxes (if that’s the route you choose), and call it good. Make sure to label the boxes so that you know what’s inside.

Happy moving!

Customers ask us all the time how to pack clothes for moving. As you might have noticed, it’s not as hard or time-consuming as it sounds! We hope our guide pointed you in the right direction and made the task seem less daunting. As always, if you need local or long-distance movers, Bellhop is here for you. 

Find movers near you today. 

Nick Valentino