If you’ve ever traveled and forgotten a vital item like pants, you know the importance of packing a suitcase carefully and efficiently. In these days of airlines charging extra for checked bags, it’s also a great idea to learn how to pack with maximum efficiency. Here are some tips for how to utilize every atom of space in your bag, with every needed item included.

Make A List And Check It Twice

It may seem silly, but a packing list will save your life. Count the number of days you will be gone and make sure for each day you have an outfit, obviously. However, there are many things which may or may not be easy to find if you get away from home and realize you forgot them. Most of us like a particular brand of deodorant or shampoo. What about vitamins? Aspirin? Socks? The list will ensure nothing is forgotten. Keep it on the hard drive of your computer and change it as needed for each trip.

Ditch The Un-Needed Stuff

Most of us plan out our clothes and then add in some extra items “just in case I need it”. If you ditch those items, guess how much more room you will have? Unless you spill food on yourself or do some activity that causes you to sweat through your clothes, you will probably not get very dirty, especially if you use deodorant. So stop planning for “what ifs” and just deal with the “right now”.

Just Rolling Along

Most of us were taught to fold clothes into rectangles and lay them flat, in neat little stacks. That’s not space efficient, though. If you take all your clothes and roll them into tight cylinders, you will be better able to see what you have packed and you will fit more into the suitcase. If you have a glass item you want to protect, like perfume, roll it into a shirt or pair of pants so it’s insulated.

Color Me Efficient

Choose a color palette where everything complements everything else, so you can mix and match. Also, if you get one item dirty, it won’t ruin the entire outfit. For instance, if shirts are white and pants are black or blue, matching won’t be an issue. If you have complicated prints that only match one other thing, you will need to pack more items.

Shoes Were Made for Packing

Shoes weigh a lot and obviously take up a lot of space, unless they are sandals. Think about how many pairs of shoes you will actually need. Are you hiking? Going to a formal occasion and needing dress shoes? For most people, two pairs of shoes will be adequate. Wear the heaviest pair. Pack the others with soles facing outward against the side of the suitcase, so you can get more rolled clothing in. Also, consider putting small items like deodorant, shampoo, or rolled socks inside the shoe to utilize that space.