How to Fold Shorts to Save Space in Luggage

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The best way to pack for your next trip is to know how to fold clothes, including shorts, to save space in luggage. The best folding methods are ones that keep your clothes wrinkle-free and don’t take up too much space and These packing techniques work well for business travels, weekend trips, vacations and camping and best of all, are quick and easy.

open purple suitcase with folded shorts and clothes

Packing for a trip can be a daunting task when it comes to fitting everything you need into your luggage. One way to maximize your luggage space is to learn how to fold your clothes, including shorts, in the most compact and efficient way.

How to Fold Shorts to Save Space in Luggage

These folding steps are also standard practice for jeans, casual slacks and any type of shorts. Suit pants, dress pants or pants that wrinkle easily should be packed in garment bags.

Keep in mind that the best techniques are ones are ones that result in:

  • Fewer wrinkles.
  • Extra space for you.
  • Less stress.

Step 1 – Lay Shorts Out Flat

Shake out your pair of shorts and lay them out flat on a clean flat surface. Line up the side seams, waistband and hems of the shorts. Smooth out any wrinkles. Iron the shorts, if needed, before folding.

Step 2 – Fold in Half

Next, fold the shorts in half lengthwise. With the waistband at the top, bring one pant leg over to the other, lining up all edges. This will create a long, narrow rectangular shape. Smooth all wrinkles out and make sure the fabric is smooth.

Step 3 Option A – Folding

Next, fold the shorts in half again, bringing the bottom hem of the shorts up to the waistband. Smooth out all wrinkles and line up all edges. Depending on the size of your shorts and your suitcase, you can fold the shorts in half or in thirds to fit better in your suitcase space.

Step 3 Option B – Rolling Method

This step is also know as a Ranger roll. Smooth out all wrinkles. Staring with the waistband, begin tightly rolling down towards the hem of the shorts. Smooth out wrinkles that are caused by the fabric bunching up during rolling.

4 images of steps of folding blue shorts.

Tips for Packing Cargo Shorts and Pleated Shorts

For some shorts, such as cargo shorts with a large pocket on the side of the leg or more tailored shorts with a crease down the front of the leg, it’s a good idea to fold them in a little differently.

Step 1 – for cargo shorts or shorts with crease

Lay the shorts out so that the side seams are lined up and the side leg pocket is flat or line up the side seams so the leg creases are flat for more formal shorts. Smooth out all wrinkles and line up all seams and the edges of the waistband and pants legs.

Step 2

Fold the shorts in half or in thirds by bringing the the bottom of the pant legs towards the waistband. You can also roll the shorts from the waistband to the bottom of the short legs.

collage of 2 images of cargo shorts and image of folded black shorts.

Expert Tips for Folding Clothes for Travel

  • Lightweight and synthetic fabrics do better being rolled than natural fibers. With cotton, linen or wool shorts, it is better to fold them to minimize wrinkles. Rolling is often the best option for jean shorts, even though they are usually made of cotton fabric.
  • Fold outfits together. Fold all the items, including underwear and socks, for each outfit together in one packet of clothes. This will create neat stacks that can be easily packed and make it easy to locate what you need each day. It also helps you maintain a neatly packed suitcase during your trip.
  • Use packing cubes, particularly in a suitcase. Packing cubes are a great way to organize your clothes and maximize the space in your luggage. They come in different sizes and can be used to separate your clothes by type, color, or outfit. Packing cubes also make it easier to unpack when you arrive at your destination because you can quickly place the cubes in dresser drawers or a closet. They also are a great way to keep dirty clothes separated from clean clothes during your trip. My favorite packing cube options are:
  • Use compression bags to maximize the space you have in your suitcase, especially when packing bulky items. Place your folded clothes in the bag and then allow the bag design to compresses your clothes to a more compact size.
  • You can also use large plastic bags, simple place your clothes in the bag, squeeze out the air and close the bag tightly.
  • You can use a compression sack with folded clothes or place folded clothes in the bag and then roll the clothes in the bag to take up as little space as possible.
  • Roll clothes instead of folding. Rolling clothes creates compact cylinders that take up less space than folded clothes. This method works particularly well for items such as t-shirts, shorts, jeans and underwear. It’s better to carefully fold more formal wear and items that wrinkle easily. It also works well for taking up a smaller amount of space in a duffel bag or travel backpack.
  • You can use a small band, like a rubber band or clothing bands, to keep the clothes tightly rolled and neat.

FAQs about Folding Shorts

How do you fold shorts for travel without wrinkles?

Choose different methods depending on the type of shorts. Folding for shorts is best for items that wrinkle easily or have a crease down the front of the pant leg. Rolled clothes work well for synthetic fibers and items that don’t wrinkle much.

Whichever method you choose, the best thing is to smooth all wrinkles out at each step of folding so you don’t fold creases into the shorts in the process.

How do you roll shorts for packing cubes?

Start by laying the shorts out flat, line up the side seams, the waist band and leg hems. Smooth out all wrinkles. Fold the shorts in half and then begin rolling from the waistband to the bottom of the legs of the shorts. See the step-by-step images above.

How do you fold long shorts for travel?

Fold all short with the same first two steps; lay them out flat with no wrinkles and then fold them in half. Depending on the length of the shorts legs and the size of your travel bag, fold them in half and then in half again or fold them in thirds.

Looking for more folding clothes tips?

How to Fold Clothes ebook – 37 pages of clear and simple steps for folding 22 articles of clothing from a professional organizer. Plus, 2 pages of clothing care information.

collage of colorful sheets about how to fold clothing items.

Travel Checklist So You Don’t Forget Anything – Whether you’re going on a vacation, business trip, or conference, use this free printable travel packing list so you don’t forget to pack a thing.

stack of 5 suitcases in brown, blue, green and yellow with text overlay.

The Best Tips on How to Fold Shirts in a Suitcase – 35 tips on how to fold shirts in a suitcase. Includes tips for dress shirts, button -up shirts, t-shirts & polo shirts with packing tips & product ideas.

white and blue dress shirts folded in open suitcase.

Tips for Packing a Suitcase Like a Military Family – Tips for packing a suitcase to move across the country or across the world from my experience of more than 25 moves.

Tips for packing a suitcase to move across the state, the country or across the world from my experience of more than 25 moves. [sponsored}

You can find all our best clothes tips in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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