Best Way to Fold Shirts for Packing – A Traveler’s Guide

best way to fold shirts for packing

When heading off on a business trip or vacation, you will probably pack a couple of dress shirts. When you do, you must fold them correctly to help reduce the number of wrinkles.

As an added bonus, when you learn the correct way to fold a shirt for travel, you’ll create extra space in your bag or suitcase.

As you will soon discover, there are several ways to fold shirts when traveling.

Some people will suggest folding the shirts together, while others may suggest rolling them.

In this article, we will go over these two methods and determine the best way to fold shirts for packing.

Methods for Packing Shirts

Before you begin stuffing shirts into a travel bag or suitcase, you first need to decide which method you should use for packing them. Fold shirts for packing or roll shirts for packing

Below we look at the two most popular methods used for packing shirts, both of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Before we go into more detail about how to use these methods, let’s explain a little bit about what each one is.


Ironed and Folded Shirts

This is the method most people tend to use. Folding requires you to double over the shirt, to form an even, neat shape. This helps to reduce how many wrinkles will form, but using this method means the shirts take up more space.

You’ll also find that folding will take more time to complete.


Suitcase with Rolled Clothing

This method, inspired by the Marie Kondo technique, requires you to roll up the shirts and form a neat cylinder.

This method also allows you to free up more space for other essential items in your suitcase or travel bag. Rolling is great if the shirts you are packing for your travels are of a similar size.

Now we’ve looked at the two popular methods many use for packing shirts when traveling. Let’s take a look at how to carry these methods out.

Best Way to Fold Shirts for Packing

showing best way to fold shirts for packing

If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to fold a shirts for packing when traveling, then you’ll find the steps below useful to help master this technique.

Step 1 – Button Up Dress Shirts

If you want to avoid creasing your shirt, button it up first. You must button it up completely, don’t be tempted to skip out on a few. It only takes a few seconds to do them all up, which will ensure you get the best results possible.

Step 2 – Flip the Shirt Over

It is vital to make sure that you place the front of the shirt on a clean flat surface and have the back facing you.
After you’ve laid it onto the surface, spread it out evenly.

Step 3 – Fold in the Sleeves

Begin by folding the sleeves diagonally. To do this, you place a finger on the collar’s neckline and fold the first sleeve diagonally until you reach the center of the shirt.

You should aim to have at least 1/3 of the front of the shirt folded over the back. Then, repeat this folding method on the opposite sleeve.

Now you need to fold the sleeves back up again.

Again, place a finger on the shirt’s shoulder and take hold of the sleeve cuff. You then fold this back up again on the diagonal, so it is in alignment with the same sleeve.

Now, repeat this process for the other sleeve. You should end up with a flat v-shape. Once done, you just take the bottom of the entire shirt and fold it up towards the collar, and it is ready to be packed away.

How to Roll Up a Shirt for Travel

best way to fold shirts for packing

If you aren’t convinced that folding up a shirt is the way to go, why not try this method of packing.

Below we take you through the steps of how to roll a shirt up for packing into your travel bag or suitcase.

Step 1 – Find a Flat Surface

You need somewhere that is clean and smooth. We would suggest you lay the shirt out on a table.

Step 2 – Button Up the Shirt

Just like folding a shirt, before rolling it up, you should do up all the buttons – including the one at the top.
After you’ve done up all the buttons, you need to lay the shirt flat on a clean surface.

Step 3 – Fold the Shirt

You need to fold it in half vertically. You do this by placing a finger on the shirt’s left sleeve, then folding over the shirt’s right sleeve, ensuring that the cuffs on each sleeve are touching each other.

Now you will find that you have your shirt folded vertically and the front is facing towards you.

Step 4 – Fold Down the Sleeves

You must fold both sleeves down the shirt’s body, ensuring that each sleeve’s edge aligns with the existing fold line.

Step 5 – Roll it Up

You must start from the bottom, then gently roll the shirt up towards the collar. You continue rolling until you have reached the bottom edge of the collar. Now the shirt’s neat cylinder shape is ready to be packed away.

As you can see above, both of these methods are relatively easy. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of using either of these methods?

Below we look at the pros and cons of each packing method we’ve discussed.

Pros & Cons of Folding Shirts for Packing

We’ve shown you how to fold a shirt when off on your travels. But what is the best technique for you? It is best to consider each method’s pros and cons.


  • It will significantly reduce the number of wrinkled clothes you take out of the bag
  • You will find that this method is easy to carry out
  • The best way to use if the shirt is made of material that wrinkles easily


  • This method doesn’t save you much space
  • May find that along the fold lines, creases appear
  • Unable to see quickly what shirts you’ve packed – you may find yourself rummaging through layers of clothing in the suitcase to find the shirt you want

Pros & Cons of Rolling Clothes Up when Packing

Even if you feel that rolling up your shirts is a much better method to use, it is still worth considering the pros and cons of rolling.


  • You will find this method is much faster and easier to do
  • It saves you a lot of luggage space, which is great if you are only taking carry-on luggage with you
  • Allows you to find the shirt that you want to wear quickly
  • Not only great for packing shirts, but also trousers, jumpers, and other items of clothing


  • You will find that when you take the shirt out, it has a lot more wrinkles
  • It isn’t a good idea to use this method for rolling up shirts made of delicate materials, like silk that may wrinkle easily
  • You will find that it is difficult to roll up bulky clothes such as hoodies

Unfortunately, neither of these methods of packing will prevent the clothes from wrinkling. Luckily, most hotels now have an iron in the room or offer a shirt pressing service if needed.

If you don’t have an iron in the room, and don’t want to waste money on getting a shirt pressed, the best way to remove any wrinkles from a shirt is to place it in the bathroom when you take a hot shower.

Make sure to close the door, and the steam will help get rid of most of the wrinkles. As soon as you get into your hotel room, it is a good idea to hang the shirts up and leave them overnight so that most of the wrinkles will fall out.


So, what is the best way to fold shirts for packing? Rolling and folding are both great options.

Each packing technique we looked at above is ideal, but it will come down to which one you find works best for you.

If you want to avoid wrinkled clothes, you are better off folding them up. However, if you would like to free up space in your suitcase, you may find the rolling method is your best option.

Of course, you could use both if you wish. Use the fold-up method for those delicate shirts and items. You can use the roll method when it comes to your plain old t-shirts.

Let us know which method you use next time you take a trip!



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