the knack; How to pack a case

Shock-absorbers and tissue-paper can keep travellers crease free, advises John Morgan
My mother showed me how to pack, and it takes me 20 minutes. Use a suitcase, not a bag, otherwise clothes arrive looking as if they've had a terrible time in the post. Put tissue-paper in between clothes - it keeps them clean and has a shock-absorbing quality. Lay heavy things at the bottom, like shoes (in shoe bags) and your sponge bag (in a plastic shopping bag in case of leaks). Then put in trousers. Fold as little as possible and position the creases in the front leg towards the suitcase handle, so, when the suitcase is vertical, there will be less weight on the crease. Next, button jackets, fold in sleeves at the front, put a layer of tissue-paper over them and fold across at mid point. Place in the suitcase with collars towards the suitcase handle, so they are less likely to crush. Linen suits should be packed near the top because they are more crushable. With something fragile, like a woman's dress, you might put tissue-paper in the sleeves. Shirts should be folded like you buy them in the shop, and packed at the top because they are light and crease badly. Again, collars face towards the handle. Soft things, like sweaters and underwear, go in spaces round the outside of the layers of clothes. I roll ties and socks into balls and push them into any holes so they act as shock absorbers. Pack only what you need - and make sure everything goes together. On business, I take a grey and a blue suit and make sure shirts and ties go with either. If I take anything extra it's a shirt - useful in case somebody tips lunch down you

John Morgan is Associate Editor of GQ Magazine and author of `Debrett's New Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners', published by Headline, price pounds 20