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The Awkward Girl’s Guide to Packing Cubes

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f there’s one type of Instagram Story that’s guaranteed to get more comments and questions than all of the others put together for me, that story would be anything involving packing cubes. 

Now, I suppose I probably should be feeling a little bit worried that the most interesting thing about me right now is apparently the cheap fabric cubes I picked up from eBay last summer, but, what I’m actually thinking when I get those comments is, “HELL YES.” Because packing cubes are AWESOME, seriously. As proof, here’s everything I’ve packed for Max (in terms of clothes, at least…) for two weeks in Florida:

packing cubes review

Where to buy your packing cubes:

The cubes themselves came from eBay, but you can pick them up in lots of different places online, too. This is the set I have, and I have about three or four of these now, in both the pink and grey colourways – I’ve used a mixture of both in the image above. Now, to be totally honest, as much as I rave about packing cubes in general, I’m not sure I’d recommend these exact ones, because they’re very much of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ variety, and therefore not the greatest quality. I’ve had to bin a few of them over the last few months due to zips breaking, or the fabric ripping – particularly on the see-through sections you can see on some of the cubes above. It hasn’t stopped me using the ones I have left, obviously, but, as with most things in life, I think it’s a case of getting what you pay for, so you might want to shop around a bit, and find a set that’s a little bit sturdier, if you’re thinking about jumping aboard the packing cubes train.*

(*Not an actual train, sorry.)

(*If it was, it would be REALLY well organised, though, wouldn’t it?) 

As for how I actually use them, meanwhile, clockwise from the top we have…

CUBE 1: Daily outfits

In this case, mostly shorts and t-shirts, and, OK, rompers and dungarees with bow-ties and braces. He has a LOOK, OK? 

CUBE 2: PJs and socks

For colder temperatures, I’d normally include vests here, but I’m not really anticipating a need for them on this trip, so I just have a couple packed in my hand luggage in case it’s chilly on the plane, or he has an in-flight accident of the “leakage” kind. 

CUBE 3: Swimwear

I mean, I’ve packed way, WAY too much swimwear for him, and there’s no excuse: I just kept seeing it and buying it, and before I knew what had happened, we needed a separate cube just for little toddler wetsuits and those matching sun protection hats which have a bit of fabric hanging down the back to stop them getting their necks burned. I did manage to stop short of buying the little rubber swim shoes to go with these, but, actually, I deeply regret that decision, so will probably pick some up while we’re away. Er, at least he’ll have options?

CUBE 4: Outerwear and hats

Lots of sunhats, because I’m totally paranoid about him burning his scalp; not so much outerwear, because, well, FLORIDA, basically. I have, however, packed a couple of hoodies and long-sleeved t-shirts, purely because my experience of visiting Florida in the past has always been that while it’s burning hot outside, the aircon indoors is normally set to a temperature just below freezing, which is pleasant for the first few seconds, but quickly becomes unbearable for me. I’m always shivering in restaurants, malls and stores, so Max has a few warmer things too, and I’ve also packed some lightweight, linen-mix trousers for him, just in case.

CUBE 5: Toiletries

As you can see, cube 5 is not, in fact, a cube at all, but a pouch: fancy! It’s marked ‘laundry pouch’, but I’ve used it here for things like Max’s toothbrush and bath products, and a few other random things like Calpol, etc, just in case we need it. I still a few things to add here, like bath toys and the water thermometer, which I can’t pack until the last minute, so I might end up using one of the other similar pouches for this stuff, too. 

Inside the packing cubes:

Inside the larger cubes, meanwhile, I use the same technique I’ve always used when packing, and roll the clothes rather than folding them: 

packing tips: roll clothes rather than folding them to save space and stop them creasing

This not only allows you to pack more clothes in a smaller space, it also minimises the amount of creasing you end up with, too: so, win-win, basically. 

Now, as I said above, these cubes just contain Max’s clothes: we obviously have other things we’ll be packing for him too (Nappies and changing stuff, books, sleeping bag, etc…), but most of those things will either go into my carry-on bag, or be split between our two suitcases. These cubes, meanwhile, all fit neatly into the holdall which has been designated as Max’s (Toddlers don’t always get a luggage allowance on airlines, but my parents kindly paid to upgrade our allowance, giving Max 10kg of checked baggage…), with space for a few more loose items on top. 

Once we reach our rental house, meanwhile, I’ll be able to just unload the bag, and empty the cubes into the drawers in Max’s room: or, in the case of things like the swimwear and PJs, meanwhile, I’ll normally just leave them inside the cubes, so it’s easy to find what I need. 

And there you have it: everything you could possibly want to know about packing cubes! And, with that out of the way, I’m off to pack my own…

how to use packing cubes to make life easier when you travel

Related: 

How to pack a suitcase

What’s in my carry-on bag

What’s in my travel makeup bag

What do you think?

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5 Comments
  • Alysa
    May 26, 2019

    I am so saving this for when we’re going to Barbados in the winter! Such great tips, thanks!!

  • Lila Athanaselis
    May 26, 2019

    I normally put underwear and swimwear in one half of my carry on case, and the the only kind of packing cube type of thing I use would be huge toiletry bags, and a big clear plastic drawstring bag for toiletries for leakage mostly. But my case is mostly made up of toiletries and my medications and first aid stuff, loo rolls, wipes, pillowcases 😂 just a home from home 😂

  • Miss Kitty
    May 27, 2019

    I am always interested to see articles on packing cubes,because I bought some for myself a while ago, but haven’t used them yet (I really need to book a holiday somewhere). I’m not sure just how I would arrange everything in them yet, I bought 2 sets of small/medium/large, plus a shoe bag and a clean/dirty laundry bag with divider. And I already have a makeup bag and a computer bag. (As you can probably tell, I don’t pack light!) So yeah, I love checking out how other people pack and what works for them!

  • Brenda
    May 27, 2019

    My daughter, who travels quite a bit, has really been on me to get some packing cubes. I have just one that I use for underwear when traveling and I love it! After seeing this, and knowing I am going on a fairly big trip this summer, I think I will take the plunge and go for it.

  • Anita
    June 6, 2019

    Yes, packing cubes are awesome! I was traveling from Norway to Italy by train some years back and had most of my luggage in a backpack. Because of the cubes, my packing was organized even when taking stuff in and out of the bag. If anyone’s looking for sturdier cubes, I recommend Eagle Creek packing cubes. I’ve had mine for years and they still appear as new. 🙂

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