Make packing a breeze with these multi-functional packing cubes

Packing cubes or cells as they are otherwise known, are an amazing and cost-efficient way to reduce space and organise clothes in a comprehensive manner. There is an incredible range to pick from in a variety of sizes, colours and materials to suit all budgets and preferences. But how do you choose which are the best packing cubes for you?

To help decide which are the best packing cubes to purchase, I am going to look at the following qualities:

                  • Practicality
                  • Quality of materials
                  • Either a bright colour or pattern to easily identify when travelling with others
                  • Eco-friendly materials that are either natural or recycled
                  • Cost

Because I use the cubes for more than just travelling, I also consider the cost-effectiveness of getting a complete matching set (i.e. replace all cubes I currently use) or to use the new set just for travelling and keep the older ones for wardrobe organisation.

My first set was actually from Eagle Creek, a brand originally designed for hikers which were on the expensive side when I purchased them over 5 years ago, but I have truly gotten my money’s worth from them! Only now are they finally showing some wear & tear so it is time to start considering whether to replace the damaged ones or expand my collection since I use them for sorting out my wardrobe as well.

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
Part of my Eagle Creek packing cubes set purchased back in 2004

Multi-functional Organisers

Packing cubes are incredibly useful for a variety of purposes. Some of the non-travel ways you can use your packing cubes include:

                • For going from day to night – the small cubes are perfect for tote bags or small backpacks so you can get changed at work for that evening out
                • Gym Bag – I prefer to go to the gym in the mornings, so these cubes keep my work clothes neat and clean in my bag, with a second laundry bag for the gym clothes
                • Storage – to keep off-season clothes organised in storage
                • Moving homes – helps streamline packing/ unpacking
                • Storing accessories

YAMIU Packing Cube set from Amazon comes with 7 pieces

Types of Packing Cubes - single cell, double cell, compression & pouches

Compared to 4/5 years ago there is an incredible number of different styles to pick from to suit any need. Generally speaking packing cubes are all either square (small to medium) or rectangular (medium to large), and can be either single sided or double-sided, with single zip or double zipped for extra compression.

I have yet to find a packing cube that does not have a mesh top, but if it does then skip it. Having a mesh lid helps to see what is inside the cube, and allows for breathability which prevents clothes and items from becoming musty.

Packing cubes can also come in the shape of pouches which can be more practical for carry-on bags or large handbags. These also come in various sizes (small, medium, large).

Most sets also come with laundry bags, which should be completely sealable and leak-proof for dirty and/or wet clothes.

Gonex Compression Cubes are a great example of compression packing cubes

What about shoes?

Shoe cells are not normally part of a set, but can be purchased individually. Of course, cubes or pouches can also multi-task quite well depending on space and shoe shape/style.

Shoe cells can be firm with thicker sides, either in the shape of a rectangle or tapering down to a wedge shape. For men, usually only one pair will fit per cell, but for women, we can easily fit a pair of heels or wedges with flats or converse style sneakers in the one. Sometimes more depending on the style and size of the cube.

I recommend these for shoes that need a bit more protection, such as leather dress shoes for men or more delicate shoes for ladies. Otherwise, I generally use individual laundry bags since I try to pack in the smallest suitcase possible, and this lets me play origami until everything fits neatly inside.

Yamui Travel Shoe Bags are just one example of shoe bags for travel. I actually use these for general shoe storage at home (they are perfect for boots) and I don’t need to try and fit odd shaped shoe boxes anywhere!

Budget Thoughts

There are plenty of cheap and cheerful versions made primarily from polyester at almost every budget store around and of course, on eBay and Amazon.

These will last a few trips, but the cell walls are generally thinner, they are much less sturdier, do not tend to breathe as well and the stitching around the zips tends to be weaker.

Stronger packing cubes will be more durable and made from nylon with double stitching along the seams and reinforced edges. These will be more expensive, but the wear you get from them will make the investment worth it.

The Bagail 6 Piece Set of Packing Cubes comes in 3 Various Sizes (2 pieces of each size) and is an affordable option

Environmentally friendly and sustainable

Thanks to today’s environmental focus, there are now versions of packing cubes being made from recycled plastic bottles, which helps to reduce waste and encourage mindful purchase decisions.

On top of that, by purchasing an item that is reusable for years you are preventing one-time use items such as plastic bags or Ziploc bags, from ending up in a landfill or floating around the ocean for significantly longer than the one time you might have used it.

Keeping dirty, wet or damp items separate from clean ones also reduces the need to re-wash clothes and items that get mixed together, which also reduces water wastage and electricity.

Florious Packing Cubes are made from recycled plastic bottles

No longer plain & boring

Take your pick – packing cubes are available is a multitude of colours and patterns to suit all personal tastes and preferences.

This is one of the bonuses of cubes becoming so popular – there is something for every taste so you can pack for an entire family in one suitcase with a different pattern or colour for each person for seamless organisation and confusion.

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set comes in 3 sizes with a fun print that is perfect for kids

Packing Cubes - The ultimate organisational tool

As a self confessed organisational addict, finding solutions that are cost effective, practical and multi-functional is pretty much the ideal scenario. Add to that the ability to personalise and colour coordinate and this is pretty much the perfect organisational tool.

Overall, depending on how much use you will get from packing cells it is worth spending a bit more for something that will truly last for several years even if you are rough with them. Not only will your bank account thank you, but so will the environment!

This post was last updated on 26th May 2021 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

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Packing cubes - organisation made easy

11 Comments

  1. Hi Gigi,
    Packing cubes can be very instrumental to personal organization. I am one who likes my things been in there place, it makes life easier and convenient. I don’t joke with my cubes when going on a picnic, traveling, or at home. A robust cube has allocated space for everything you need.
    Thanks for taking the time to talk about very little things that matter very much to some of us.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi, I’m glad I’m not the only one who found extra use for packing cubes! It truly is the small things that make a difference, and I never thought about using them on picnics, but that is definitely a good idea. Thank you 🙂

  2. What a great idea! I often travel internationally, and because my name is very common, I get stop at customs all the time.

    Whenever this happens, my suitcases are typically checked by a border patrol agent. I always feel that my suitcases are a mess. I could use these Packing Cubes to get more organized when I travel.

    Do you recommend a specific brand?

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi Jose, 

      My mother once told me that customs spend more time on people with messy suitcases because they think something is more likely to be hidden in there. Though I’m pretty sure that was a story just to scare me into being tidier!

      My favourite brand is Eagle Creek, they are very sturdy and strong and come with strong zippers and come in different colours and sizes. You can easily find them on Amazon.

  3. Anthony Hu Reply

    Thank you for your post. It is a timely article for me. I am closing to 60 years old and living in the same house for more than 20 years. My wife is working hard to organize the house after our kids leave the house. There are so many stuff in the house it is hard for us to organize.

    Your idea using packing cubes is a nice idea. I like particularly the part “Multifunctional Organizers” We are planning a lot of travels these few years, the packing cubes are nice for our traveling packages. Most of our kids stuff are not used in most of the time, we keep the stuff in packing cubes for storage.

    The packing cubes are useful tools for us to organize our house. It is kind of you sharing the valuable information with us. 

    • Gigi Reply

      Thank you Anthony, I’m glad you found this post useful.  I found that in between travels they were just sitting in storage anyway so why not use them? Especially if you have a lot of stuff you don’t use regularly.

  4. This is really a nice article on packing cubes.

    I am not a very organized person. However, I constantly strive to be that way, and absolutely love products that help me stay neat and organized…And also keep me as sane as possible with a toddler!!

    And now I think that packing cubes will make me achieve this.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi Kell, 

      I’m glad you found the article useful, toddlers are a handful and it amazing the things they can get into! At least cubes are a little harder for them to get into 🙂 

  5. Hi! This is a nice solution. I also want to always have my things organized. And the idea of having several person’s things in the same suitcase but differentiated by different colors and patterns of packing cubes is cool.

    This is something I wish I’ve heard of since I got married and have my own family.

  6. I’m all about frugality and this article expresses it beautifully.  Your site has a very pleasing look.  If I may make a couple of suggestions:  The organized traveller should be traveler.  At least that’s the American spelling.  I’m not sure where you’re from.  Also, have you considered entering the the key word for your article in the alt-text and title of your images, especially your featured image?  Google likes to see that.  Thanks for the tips.  Seems we think alike as far as saving money and traveling goes.  Good job.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi Bob, thank you for the suggestions. I’m from Australia but I try to remember to follow US spelling most of the time! I hadn’t thought about using the alt-text but I will now. Thank you

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