How to KonMari your Suitcase

Have you ever overpacked your suitcase? We’ve all done it haven’t we? We cram in everything we think we need only to realise upon our return that we’ve only used about half of the contents… With a little bit of help from KonMari, we can pack more effectively. How beautifully in control it feels to travel with only the items we actually need for our time away. To KonMari your suitcase, follow these steps:

Step One: Lay everything out

Marie Kondo for Apartment Therapy

Whatever you do, don’t start packing your case until you’ve gathered all of your items first. Put your case to one side and lay out all of your items on the bed or floor. In true KonMari storage style, you may have stored your travel accessories, pouches, packing cubes, shoe bags and laundry bags in your suitcase following your most recent trip. Let’s lay out these items next to the case for now.

If you have the time, try writing a checklist of items you intend to pack. Then you can check off each item as you locate it.

Create subcategories

Step Two: Subcategorise before you start packing

First we will start with our clothes:

  • Underwear, nightwear and socks (decide on a target number to pack based on the number of days and nights you will be away).

  • Daytime clothes (it may help to organise your clothes into outfit piles according to the days you’re planning to wear them but take stock, do you have too many options? Ask yourself: ‘Can I really see myself wearing this? Don’t be afraid to put things back at this point, you can always wear an outfit more than once).

  • Evening clothes (we always need less in this category than we think we do, especially as some of our daytime clothes may transfer quite nicely to evening options).

  • Shoes and accessories (leave this category until the end as your clothing choices will determine the quantity of shoes and accessories you need to take).

Next up is books and magazines:

  • Unless you’re going away to study or spend the majority of your time reading on a beach, one or two book options is often enough.

  • When it comes to magazines, if you’re normally tempted to buy a new one at the airport, take a look around your home to see if you have any that are unread or half read to take with you instead.

Now we’ll gather our papers:

  • Our passport and ticket information (unless stored digitally).

  • If required, reference materials and trip research.

Bathroom Products

Komono is our next focus:

  • Electricals (chargers, adapters, digital devices, headphones, travel hairdryer etc.).

  • Bathroom products and makeup - Now is the time to pack your miniatures from a previous trip unless you’ve already used them up and in that case, well done!).

  • Money - wallet, purse, foreign currency, travellers cheques etc.

  • Hobby komono - If you’re travelling to take part in a specific activity (i.e. skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving etc.), gather all of the equipment you’re going to need.


  • Travel diary? Photographs? Travel mementoes or lucky charms? If any of these apply, lay them out next to your books and papers.

Step Three: Fold and roll

Fold your items

The KonMari fold isn’t just for storing items in your home. If you store your items vertically in your suitcase, you will be able to make the most of its space. Vertically-folded clothes take up less space, so fold your clothes as small as possible. For clothes that cannot be folded because they have the tendency to wrinkle, such as dresses or shirts made of thinner fabrics, roll them – this will also take up minimal room. You should be able to see everything at a glance once it’s all packed away. This gives you the opportunity to complete one last ‘have I packed the right amount?’ check before zipping up your belongings. Also, think of how easy it will be to unpack your items once you arrive at your destination. Just remove them from the case and store them upright in a drawer or shelf space, voila!

Step Four: Pack in Order and Keep Categories Together

Assign one section of your suitcase for clothes and pack them first. Start with the larger clothing items - they will keep the smaller items (underwear, socks, thin vests etc.) in their place as you store them in-between the larger items. Try storing underwear inside bra cups to save on space too.

Shoe bags

I’d recommend packing your shoes in a shoe bag before placing them inside the suitcase. If you don’t have shoe bags, cloth bags also work well. This will help to protect your clothing and the suitcase itself from getting unnecessarily dirty. Jewellery and accessories are best stored in pouches to keep them safe and they slide quite nicely between the clothing items you’ve already packed.

If your suitcase has a zipped section on one half, this is the perfect place to pack your electrical items, bathroom products and makeup. Using toiletry bags and pouches will keep these items stored together. Any small cloth bag or plastic zipped travel bags work well even if they weren’t actually designed for the purpose of packing! Investing in some good quality packing cubes may also be a good solution if you’re keen on keeping your categories separate, particularly if you’re packing items for more than one person in your suitcase.

Folding and rolling your clothing maximises on space.

Folding and rolling your clothing maximises on space.

Store bathroom products in their own pouch.

Store bathroom products in their own pouch.

Clothing stored in the left section. Shoes, accessories, electricals, bathroom products stored in the right.

Clothing stored in the left section. Shoes, accessories, electricals, bathroom products stored in the right.

Unless I’m going to read them on the flight, I always store books inside the case directly on top of the other categories. Magazines and papers (i.e. passport and travel documents) are stored in the front compartments for easy access.

Step Five: Admire your packing efforts and have a great trip!

The result of KonMari-ing your packing is a perfectly packed suitcase which you can actually close easily – and where you can see exactly what you’ve packed at a glance. Like your drawers at home, play around with the organisation. Colour coding is completely optional but will be an absolute must if you’re keen to share your packing efforts with your friends over Instagram!

Less time packing means more time to look forward to your trip. Happy travels!

Horizn KonMari Packing Workshop ~ 4th July 2019
Collaboration with Horizn Studios

Katrina delivered a KonMari suitcase packing workshop at Horizn Studios in Shoreditch in July 2019.