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Maximizing space and staying organized

As some of you know I am a little obsessed with travel goods and bags and findng better ways to pack.

For those of you using wheels, I have tried something that seems to work. I have never been able to maximize the use of the space between the handles inside the bag and stay organized. What I have started to do is fill the space up with socks and undies. Then, I took the folding board from a medium size Eagle Creek packing folder and put it on top of the handle grooves making a flat packing surface. (You can easily make one of these from a solid piece of cardboard.) It also prevents gravity from having these items fall to the bottom of the bag. I then put my remaing items above with extra space where the underwear and socks used to be. I don't fill it up just don't have to pack as tight. I then use the tie down straps to hold it all in place.

Has anyone elses done this?

Posted by
1322 posts

The only problem I see with this is that you have to take everything out of the suitcase to get at your socks and undies. No problem if you are using cubes.

Posted by
842 posts

When I was using wheels I did the same thing but with my cycling clothes. Everything wadded or rolled up and fit into that cavity well. Also tried putting a pair of shower shoes in there once.

Posted by
21045 posts

I've sometimes used that space for small bags of tissues (Kleenex and toilet paper) I carry for my long trips, plus perhaps cold-weather items I expect to need rarely. I haven't used a cardboard cover because I'm worried it might stain clothing if it got wet inside my softsided bag. I read a suggestion somewhere to use foam board to make a flat base in the suitcase but haven't gotten around to trying that. The way I travel (close to 30 stops averaging 4 to 5 nights each), I don't take everything out of my suitcase upon arrival at my hotel. I wouldn't want to have to do that to reach my underwear.

Posted by
13058 posts

I use that space for my hiking socks, swimsuit, spare glasses, and other random things I can identify by touch, without removing the upper layers. My large packing envelope with folded pants and maybe a dress goes in next, creating a flat surface for the packing cubes and folded outwear. Spare shoes go toe to toe longitudinally in the narrow space between the packing envelope and the luggage wall. My roller bag has a curved shape at the handle end, so there is space there for my toiletries bag, easily accessed to pull out for security if we are carrying on.

Posted by
9689 posts

A long time ago I went to a packing seminar at my local AAA. She suggested a piece of foam core craft board. It's light but sturdy and easy to cut to size. She had made pockets to go on it to tuck small items in.

I've also used one of those bendable lightweight plastic cutting boards as a separator.

It would drive me nuts to have to get thru everything to get to my undies/socks. I like them in a packing cube as well but clearly if it works for you, go for it.

Posted by
2638 posts

My older suitcase had a zipper in the lining that opened up to put a few things inside that space between the handles. Obviously, I wouldn't put anything in there that I would need very often. It was a great place for my lightweight, folding duffle: I would only need to take it out once if I was in need of additional space for dirty clothes or souvenirs.

Posted by
3681 posts

The liners with the zippers of my bags are all a bit smaller than the space they line and don't exactly go down into the spaces between the handles and the sides or between the two rods of the U-shaped handles.

For years I've unzipped the liners and filled those spaces with a variety of things that will fit without raising the liner above the rod, thereby keeping the liner flat. Anything I might put there is in some kind of a bag. Nothing is loose.

It's a kind of deep storage for me. Examples include things like laundry supplies, paper travel copies, paper maps, tissues, zippered change purse with non-local cash, and, and, and. It's amazing how much can go in that shallow but large space.

Posted by
4454 posts

My suitcase design allows easier access to that area of the suitcase without disturbing the packing cubes layered above it. I have the Eddie Bauer Medium Expedition wheeled bag. If you click through the accompanying photos in this link, you can see the handy access to the bottom of the bag.

I have stored these things, depending on the trip: my nightgown, swimsuit, a pair of ballet flats, small flashlight, cardigan sweater. And it’s the perfect spot to keep small items I wanted to protect and/or keep flat on the way home, I.e. bars of soap, small painting, etc.

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/82302254/suitcases?color=Sapphire&sp=1&size=ONESZE

Posted by
2560 posts

Reason # 15 I invested in Briggs & Riley bags. The handles are on the outside making the inside bottom flat. Never had a problem putting them in the overhead either.

Posted by
1549 posts

Yes socks and sleep tires in the spaces between handles. With two large packing cubes, no probelms to get to socks.

Posted by
173 posts

My original Travelpro rollaboard from the’90s came with such a divider. To access items on the bottom, just lift up the board with bundled clothes on top. It was a great suitcase and I miss it!

Posted by
3343 posts

Years ago I took a RS packing class. The best tip I got was packing socks along with other lingerie in one or two gallon zip lock bags compressed. I have a Travelpro bag and store these perfectly in the outer zipper compartment. I use a couple packing cubes inside and a 2 gallon bag compressed for larger items, eg. skirt, jacket or dress in the bottom of my suitcase.

Posted by
2909 posts

I, at least somewhat, address this issue. I don't find it to be too annoying because I do have some smaller items in one of the negative space sections. I have two packing cubes that are long: 2"x5"x14". I stand them on their 2" edge in the recessed section on each side of the bag, as if I have two drawers. The cube pushes down nicely to fill this negative space, and yet they are easily accessible. The only negative space left in my bag is the center indentation. In this section I place my soft toiletry kit at the bottom of the section/bag as that is my heaviest piece. My medicine/first aid kit fits nicely in the indentation as well being only an inch or so deep. I have one of those cord drawn bags for my underwear and socks so it is moldable to whatever area is left. I usually have a vest that will lay over the top of all the items, and my jeans and yoga pants roll into the 4" area above the length of the packing cubes. My flip flops fit anywhere. This way I never have to disturb my bag to change clothes because all items are in sight or easily shiftable so my bag stays organized through out the trip.

I think having the rails on the outside of the bag just wastes space you could have been using, as that space around exterior rails is non-existent in this case and yet it that area is counted in the measurement of the bag for carryon...so that never made sense to me to want that. But to each their own in packing, as we know.

PS. I've also been known to switch out and stand a rectangle packing cube on its smaller edge as well, and that also works well, but I've grown fonder of my long cubes over time.

Posted by
2638 posts

Wray, those long skinny packing cubes sound great! I just found some on Amazon and have added them to my "wish list." I love your description of using them as little "drawers" in your case. Great tip!

Posted by
2909 posts

CW, They take a little getting used to, but once you have I think you'll like them. ...Or they did for me before I realize how beautifully they fit vertically.

CWSocial,
Check out the slimline cubes at ebags.com. I have these. They help a lot. As Wray said - you can slide them vertically between the wall of your suitcase and your other packing cubes. Also, lay them between the handle rods in "floor" of suitcase.

I am a packing cube junkie. I like the ebags brand classic cubes - both the regular size and the slimlines. I also have the ebags - "small" cube set. The small ones help with first aid supplies, charger cords, granola bars, etc. I sometimes use the small ones in my purse, backpack.

Posted by
1759 posts

Fyi, the slimline cubes described by Sunbaked are currently on sale on ebags. I recently purchased Eagle Creek Pack-It compression cubes to try out on my next trip. RS cubes work well too. I’m willing to try anything to make packing easier and more organized!

Posted by
11236 posts

Also take a look at Eagle Creek Specter Tech Slim Cubes. They are slightly narrower than the ebags cubes so they fit better between the handles and they are more pliable to form easier to whatever space you put them in.

Posted by
1816 posts

Another positive vote for the rectangular slim packing cubes.
I've used them twice this year and they hold masses of stuff.

Posted by
114 posts

I use kids pencil cases (slim tubes) as packing cubes. MUCH cheaper than the branded packing cubes. I have also put several small packing cubes into a bigger one (flimsy, cheap bought on ebay) so that I can either take out a cube at a time (if it's just an overnight stop and I don't want to unpack), or take out the bigger one and be instantly unpacked.