Things not to carry

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Do you really need your pockets to be bulging, and to lug about all of that extra weight? Don't you hate it when you sit down and feel the pinch? Here are some ideas on how to lighten up your pocket load!


[edit] Starting Points

  • Mobile phone and iPod. I've recently stopped carrying a mobile phone, and an iPod unless I know I'll have time to use it. --RB 16:52, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Checkbook. Don't carry a checkbook. If it's stolen, it can't be cancelled the way a credit or debit card can. Also, if the thief attempts to pass bad checks with your checkbook, you can end up in all kinds of legal trouble.
  • Social Security Card. You almost never need your Social Security card, and if you do, you'll probably know ahead of time (it's your first day on a job, and they'll probably tell you you need it). Your Social Security Number is supposed to be a secret, and it can be uniquely useful to bad guys. Take it out of your purse / wallet. --Dan Nordquist 24 Mar 2005
  • Voter Registration Card. Ditto on your voter registration card. A suggestion on what to do with it: drop it in your November tickler folder for Election Day. After Election Day, drop it your February folder -- or which ever month applies for you -- for the primaries. If you can't remember when your primaries are, put a post-it note on your card as a reminder. --David Engel 5 Apr 2005
    • Depending on your state, you may not need your voter registration card to vote. Some states do signature comparisons only, some want photo id.
  • Coppers / Loose change. I dump anything less than 5p every evening. Never looked back. --RB 16:35, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • I did this for a while, but found that I tended to collect huge numbers of coins that I then had to sort and periodically convert to real money. Now I try instead to carry exactly the right amount of change. For me that means, precisely what I need for my morning coffee and pastry. --Kscaldef
    • What I started doing was the following (for U.S. currency):
      • Remove pennies. They are almost useless, and if you keep saving them, you might wind up with enough change for a lunch (500-700 pennies).
      • Use lowest denomination first. At the vending machine, use nickels (5 cents) before dimes (10 cents) before quarters (25 cents). Doing this will get rid of the most coins at the time.
      • Get "change" when necessary. This is actually the reverse of what is usually meant by "getting change" - most (all?) financial institutions such as banks and credit unions should give dollars and so forth for whatever miscellaneous small change you have. Be aware that not all branches will have change counters; you may have to count the change by hand.
      • Consolidate Change with Vending Machines Some vending machines, particularly those inside, will return the smallest number of coins when you push the coin return button. You can put in 5 nickels and get a quarter.
      • Unload change regularly at self-checkout registers of supermarkets. Beats paying the 9% fee at the Coinstar machine. GH 6 Dec 2005
      • Buy one of those old-school plastic coin purses. See what to carry in your pocket.wonderama 9 Feb 2006
  • Prescription Medicines. Don't carry prescription medications in anything other than their labelled drugstore container. It might seem more convenient and compact to just keep them in a pill box or meds dispenser, but you'll have a lot of explaining to do if a cop ever searches you for any reason. --TresWife 22:41, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • I disagree. Labeled pill boxes are an amazing invention, since they give you a clear visual indicator of whether you've forgotten to take your drugs, and even if you are searched by a cop (which is unlikely for most people anyway), millions of people use them, so they can't be that suspicious. --Nikita 10:20, 18 February 2006 (EST)
    • If you have concerns about having the medications without the prescriptions, peel off the labels from your prescriptions (if they're on the brown transparent bottles, they will usually come right off), and put them in your notebook, on an envelope, or something that you can carry with you. (I re-use one of those plastic birth control pill wallet, which opens up in such a way that I can put one script on the top and one on the bottom, then fold it up and keep it in my purse.) Keeping your prescriptions with you not only keeps you out of trouble, but also provides information should anything happen to you, and will help you get a refill should you need one (it has pharmacy store number and phone, prescription number, etc.) --steph 8:45, 23 Feb 2006
    • I would be much more concerned about having my private prescription information fall into someone else's hands than about being searched by a cop. I keep my daily medication in a little vial on my keychain so that if I've forgotten to take it at breakfast, I can take it as soon as I remember it.
    • I'd suggest bringing your medication in a pillbox, with your doctor's business card and a list of your meds on the back. It's great both for if you forget your meds, and also in case of an emergency, the emergency crews will be able to search you and know where to find info about your health. NurseGirl 01:17, 3 October 2006 (EDT)
    • I'm a member of MedicAlert, and they send you a business card sized laminated card listing your medications. I also carry a week's worth of daily medications in a plastic pillbox with a section for each day. I'm not suggesting everyone join MedicAlert, as for most people it is probably unnecessary. However, I definitely think it is important to have a card in your wallet that lists medications you take, maybe kept with your ID, in case of emergency. My card has come in handy when I was in a car accident and unable to tell the medical personnel about allergies/current meds taken. Posey 03:08, 31 December 2006 (EDT)
  • Keys. I see lots of people with a dozen or more keys on their ring. Do most people really need to carry anything more then their house and car key on a daily basis? --Kscaldef
    • Because I don't drive to work, I have two keyrings, one with house keys, and one with car keys. Can be clipped together when I do use the car. Muteboy 09:29, 16 June 2006 (EDT)

[edit] Deconsolidating your wallet

Your wallet (or similar item) is a good place to start removing things you don't need on a daily basis. Consider these ideas:

  • I have recently de-consolidated my wallet and no longer have it in my back pocket screwing up my posture while I'm sitting all day at work. I took the plastic sheath I got from the gym to hold my membership card and put in it only the absolute essential, actually useful items to have on me: Driver's License, Debit Card, Medical Card, the access card to get in my office, and the gym card. (Since the plastic is transparent, I have the DL showing on one side and the gym card's barcode on the other.) My wallet, now usually in my car or in my backpack, carries the other stuff I might need while I'm out and about: AAA card, supermarket card, movie rental card, etc. The plastic holder, just slightly bigger than the cards themselves, goes in my front pocket and is barely noticeable by me or anyone else. Plus my back doesn't hurt anywhere near as much after being in the cubicle all day. I'm also down to carrying only one key, and only that if I'm driving, but that's another story. :) --RobertDaeley 14:10, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • I had the same experience. Money clip in one front pocket, minimalist set of cards in the other. Back pain vanishes. Huge improvement in quality of life. --TheWayOfTheGun 00:18, 30 Apr 2005 (PST)
  • Get a money-clip, or a rubber band, a jimi or simply fold the bills over the cards. Carrying a wallet will only encourage you to carry more and more stuff in it that you don't actually need. Not carrying a wallet really forces you to start throwing stuff out or storing it. - Lifefeed
  • My wife bought me a nice money clip a few years ago and I used it regularly on weekends and then I lost it. My wife was not happy. Now I use a binder clip, aka a poor man's money clip. Grab one from your office's supply closet. --Doug Harris
  • I just put my wallet in a front pocket.Hardwork 14:40, 8 Oct 2005 (EDT)
  • Many years ago, I received a leather business card holder which has become my favorite wallet of all time. It stores all my ATM/Credit/Library cards, and you just fold your bills in half and slip them behind your cards. And it's tiny! An added benefit is that your frequently-used cards automatically float to the front (if you always slip the last card you used in the front). Why do regular men's wallets always have so many pockets/flaps/slots for cards and such? How organized do plastic cards need to be? - Crispy
  • After searching around my desk for a few seconds, I discovered a CompactFlash/SD card case (of the kind made for multiple cards) from CaseLogic which works perfectly as a coin purse when I have to carry around multiple bus fares. It has several small elastic pockets inside, and I keep $1.25 in coins in each. Chasernord
  • If you have a Wilson's Leather at the local mall I recommend this wallet it as 6 pockets for cards, built-in moneyclip and ID Window that is not shown in this picture.
  • My son (5 years old) bought me a kids velcro batman wallet with his chore money for fathers day. I used to have one of the "filing cabinet" wallets that hurt my back. It is nearly impossible to put more than 2 bank/credit cards, drivers license and some cash into a kids wallet.. which is really all I need. --erin
  • Consolodate your bonus cards by creating bar code stickers:Bonus Card Hack --Jakv5 23:17, 22 January 2007 (EST)
  • What I do with bonus cards is stack them all up, throw a rubber band around them and throw it in my glove compartment. Nice/easy and I don't end up with a George Costanza wallet. --Jakv5 23:17, 22 January 2007 (EST)

[edit] At the airport

There are some things that you might not normally think of that would be a bad idea to take through the airport. Here are some items not to take:

  • Food. Some (most?) customs entry points will ask questions about food, particularly meat and fruit. Also some local products that might be made of controlled substances. I'm talking ivory, mainly. --RB 14:54, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Altoid Mints. Don't try and take Altoid mints through customs in countries where you don't speak the language. From experience, it can be quite hard explaining to the guards at Athens airport what the small white pills in the metal box in your pocket are. -- Sophia
    • And option if you are feeling particularly Wordy - Get one of the hotel staff who speak the local language(s) to spell out phoneticly how to explain that they are simply mints and that the guard may Test one if he wishes. -Churba

[edit] Other ideas

  • Visiting a secured public building, like a court, or parliament? Get ready for a thorough search. If you have an appointment with someone inside, make sure you don't embarrass yourself by being turned away for carrying a lighter shaped like a gun. (Can happen!) --RB 14:57, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • Photo ID is almost always needed for access to high security places, e.g. police headquarters, Downing Street, &c. so do remember that. -- Sophia
  • A friend recently suggested storing digital photos of your passport, state ID, etc. on your iPod Photo when you're traveling, along with the cable to attach the iPod to a computer. It takes up minimal room on the iPod and provides an emergency backup of vital docs. I am not sure this is better than, say, a paper photocopy of those vitals, but it's an interesting idea, anyhow. --Pnoeric 01:17, 26 Mar 2005 (EST)
This is not the "safest" idea, but it becomes a decent one if you keep all those things in say, an encrypted pgp disk image ( or some other cross-platform format ). i do this for all important files all the time, if someone stole my laptop / house burned down / whatever, i can walk into an apple store, buy a new powerbook, and be up and running in about an hour. --bp
This could be made a bit safer with Micromat's Podlock. I haven't tried it, but it can make a secure partition on your iPod to carry important documents. Brandnewbrain 15:43, 16 Aug 2005 (EDT)
You don't need special software for this. Check out this page for a howto. Bfordham 13:47, 21 Nov 2005 (EST)
One more idea - just store these vital docs in an email to yourself on a webmail account. I did that while I was in India (incase I lost my pasport), worked great. Easy, secure (assuming you trust your email provider), and nothing to carry. Whenderson 4:47, Feb 21 2006 (EST)
  • This also come in handy whenever you need a copy of these important documents. Just switch on the printer and you have your documents ready. For best results try to use a scanner to prepare these documents.
  • Bag weighing you down? A simple solution for a bag full of too much stuff: completely unpack your bag each day, and create a permanent place for the most important items (cell phone, wallet, keys) in a visible place at home. By physically packing the whole bag each morning, you force yourself to ask whether you need to bring an item with you that day, and thus avoid carrying too much. An added bonus: your mind can rest easy knowing that you've got your most essential items, because it can be sure you packed them that morning, rather than some time in the past.

[edit] See also

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