If you hate living out of a suitcase because digging around in its depths drives you batty, a garment bag may be your salvation. Garment bags don’t get a lot of use in today’s wash-and-wear world, but when you're packing dressier clothes like suits and dresses, they are definitely the best way to go. Another plus -- once you’re at your destination, just hang the whole thing up, unzip and enjoy your closet on the go.
Unzip the garment bag and open it up. Lay it flat so it’s ready to pack.
Pick out complete outfits and lay each of them together on the bed or a table. Include accessories such as scarves and sweaters. Choose mainly clothing made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton or silk. These fabrics don’t wrinkle as badly, and if they do, a hot, steamy bathroom relaxes them quickly.
Hang all items for an outfit on a single hanger. Pants hangers work best, because they are thinnest, thus conserving space in the bag.
Insert balled up tissue paper into any parts of clothes that need to retain their shapes, such as sleeves or bows.
Insert each hanger into a plastic dry cleaning bag to prevent wrinkles. If you don’t have any dry cleaning bags, plastic garbage bags can work; cut a small slit in the closed end to accommodate the hanger.
Arrange the hangers so the outfit you need first is in the front and the one needed last is in the back. For example, if you have a cocktail dinner upon arrival, place the hanger with the dress you plan to wear in front.
Hang all of the hangers on the hook located at the top of the garment bag. Many bags have a safety latch on the hook that you click into place afterward to stop the hangers from falling off.
Put high heeled shoes into plastic bags to prevent the heels from damaging other clothing items. For leather shoes, use a cloth bag instead, because plastic can trap moisture and damage the leather. Slide the shoe bags into the inside pockets of the garment bag, typically located on the side that flips open.
Close the garment bag and zip it up completely.
Unzip the outer pockets of the garment bag and put all lingerie, hose, belts, jewelry and other accessories into them. Divide up the items so each pocket contains an equal number, to prevent bulges. Zip up all pockets securely.
Fold the bag in half gently and secure the buckles that hold it closed.
Do not use newspaper to stuff inside any of the garments, as the ink will rub off on the fabric.
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images