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Genius! 8 Little Hacks for Packing Small Stuff Every Traveler Needs

Tired of having your smaller items shuffle around in your suitcase on a flight, only to find things in a big jumble when you land? Travel smarter with these inventive packing tips.

iStock//khvost, iStock/Dutko

Hack: Belts-in-shirt-collars

Pants up, shirt sharp — it’s easy with this hack: Roll your belts into a circle and place inside your shirt collar. Not only will your collared shirts stay sharp and creased, but you won’t have to worry about forgetting a belt. Learn more ways to de-wrinkle your clothes without an iron.

iStock//Rich Walker, iStock/warrengoldswain

Hack: Pill case compartments for rings

Traveling smart is all about repurposing common household items, and your pill case is no exception. Those small, separate compartments are the perfect size for rings. Stack one in each and you’ll have your Monday through Sunday fashion accessories easily on hand. If your rings or other pieces are looking a little dull, try these genius tricks for cleaning jewelry with household items.

iStock//Eshma, iStock/alenkadr

Hack: Necklaces in cling wrap

Worried about necklaces getting lost or tangled up in a bunch? Make sure they arrive knot-free by placing them between layers of Glad Press’ n Seal Plastic Wrap. Not only will your necklaces take up little-to-no space and be easy to find, they’ll also stay scratch free. Next: vow to makeover your jewelry box when you get home.

iStock//pixelliebe, iStock/marietjieopp

Hack: Creams and foundation in contact lens cases

Headed on a short trip and don’t want to lug around bottles of foundation or night cream? Instead of packing a makeup bag, worrying about going over airport-approved bottle size, or overpaying for those plastic squeeze bottles, use your contact lens case. Just a small squirt of cream or foundation in the left and right side will get you through a few days away from home. Here’s how to pack your eyeshadow and other makeup.

iStock//Russell102, iStock/Dutko

Hack: Buttons-as-earring posts

Off to a business conference or fancy event? Instead of risking a lost button on your suit jacket or blouse, pack an extra. Then make the most of the holes by sticking stud earrings in the eyes and having the button serve a secondary function—a temporary holder for easy-to-lose studs. (Too late and you already lost one? Check out these ideas for creative uses for old earrings.) If your larger button has four holes you’re in luck—two pairs in one compact space. Pack the button — earrings included — in a plastic bag.

iStock//kittimages, iStock/&#169 Tatiana Popova

Hack: Bobby pins in Tic Tac containers

Keep your pony and updos in place with easy-to-pack bobby pins. Instead of throwing them in a makeup bag or tossing a handful in your purse before catching your flight, recycle a Tic Tac container (the jumbo version works best). After you polish off the mints, use the clear container as a case. Next time you need a pin, just pop the top and shake one out. Fresh breath and striking hair for the win!

iStock//chengyuzheng, iStock/Dina777

Hack: Underwear inside of bras

Instead of devoting an entire corner of your suitcase to underwear and bras, gently lay folded undies in bra cups. Once you’ve piled on a pair for each day, fold the bra double to create one compact gathering of your bare essentials. Here are other packing mistakes to avoid.

iStock//khvost, iStock/Martinina

Hack: Socks inside of shoes

When you find your suitcase stuffed to the brim with shirts, pants, and sweaters, yet still aspire to pack a carry-on bag, try this space-saving hack. You already know to pack socks inside your shoes, but why stop there? Any small items from your tank tops and t-shirts to jewelry roll will easily fit inside. Not only will you be able to keep your items together in one neat package, you’ll help maintain your shoes’ form, too.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest