What I carry and how that has changed

Six years ago, I took a photo of the things I carry around in my pockets every day. I hadn’t thought of that picture in ages, and was surprised when I found it while browsing old photos. Today, some things have changed, others haven’t. To satisfy my curiosity, I compared that photo to what I carry with me today. Here’s what I found:

In 2007, I carried:

  1. Keys with a LEGO Chewbacca keychain
  2. A 512MB flash storage
  3. Pilot G2 05
  4. Pocket sized Moleskine notebook
  5. Wallet
  6. Original iPhone with earbuds (fitted with Griffin Earjams, which are no longer available, unfortunately)

Compare that to what I carry today:

  1. Field Notes Brand notebook
  2. Fisher Space pen
  3. Wallet
  4. iPhone 4S

It’s interesting to note what’s missing, and what’s been replaced. For example, online storage offered by services like Dropbox, Box.net and Apple’s iCloud have replaced the flash drive. When I carried that in 2007, “the cloud” didn’t exist as we know it today. Moving files between computers or locations often meant physically carrying it from place to place.

I now work from home, so if I have my keys with me they are usually in the car’s ignition.

I’ve also replaced the Pilot pen for the space pen. Sometimes I must quickly write something down, and the nearest flat surface is a wall or something else that’s not parallel to the ground. Or, I’m out in the rain and the pages are a little wet. Since the Fisher’s ink is in a pressurized capsule, it doesn’t rely on gravity and can write in any position and on almost any surface. Plus it’s smaller, more durable than the Pilot and easier to carry around.

While I love Moleskine notebooks, I replaced it with Field Notes because the Moleskines are too bulky and the hard cover makes them uncomfortable in a back pocket. Yes, there are soft cover Moleskines and they’re great, but at $9.99 for a three pack, the Filed Notes are very affordable.

A new wallet that was a gift from my kids has replaced my George Costanza wallet, which is a good thing. Finally, I’ve since swapped my original iPhone for an iPhone 4S.

I’ve also replaced some other things that you can’t see, and I think those are the most interesting:

  1. Photos of loved ones. Like countless parents before me, I kept photos of the kids in my wallet. Now my iPhone handles that job.
  2. Maps. Again, my iPhone has replaced the need for pocket-sized travel guides and maps.
  3. Phone cards. Before mobile phones were as prevalent as they are today, I kept an emergency calling card in my wallet for pay phones and long-distance calls. That’s not necessary anymore.
  4. Cash. This is the most fascinating one. I rarely carry cash. In fact, I sometimes wonder if paper money really exists anymore. When I get paid, it’s via direct deposit. I never see a check, a bill or a coin. I physically receive no money of any sort. When I purchase something, I swipe a debit card. I hand no money to the cashier and s/he hands nothing back to me other than a slip of paper.
  5. Consumer loyalty cards. Granted, I never carried many of these in the first place, but Apple’s Passbook lets me pay at Starbucks with my phone.

How about you, readers? What do you carry around, and how has the list changed over the last few years? Has technology had an impact? Please share in the comments. Thanks.

And as for Chewbacca, he’s officially been retired.

18 Comments for “What I carry and how that has changed”

  1. posted by Matt Coneybeare on

    Cash-in-pocket is very dependent on your location. In NYC, it is a must.

  2. posted by Gypsy Packer on

    I’ve gone from tiny minimalist purse to an organizer insert with several of reuseit.com’s compact tough Workhorse shopping bags, a tabbed coupon organizer, the indispensible iPod Touch with Altec Lansing’s tiny Bliss earbuds, and employer’s dummyphone. Also: comb, lip pencil, pillbox, water flavors, and a backscratcher, which really needs to be left in the car.

  3. posted by Kazu on

    What happened whit the keys?

  4. posted by MichelleOH on

    “I now work from home, so if I have my keys with me they are usually in the car’s ignition.”

  5. posted by ~Michelle on

    One big change for me is that I have switched to as close to all-cash as possible. I did this 18 months ago and it has been such a fantastic change. Before, I was disconnected from my money — direct deposit, debit card usage, and online shopping. Swipe swipe swipe. It didn’t really seem “real” to me. Now, I get paid, I go to the ATM and take out all the money except for what I use for online bill paying. I transfer money into savings so I don’t keep “extra” in my checking account. I even pay cash for gas and groceries.

    So now when I go to my bank account online I don’t have all the informational “clutter” of a zillion small transactions. I only have the bigger transactions that are all bills I’ve paid. I can see what is paid and what is unpaid very easily.

    Some people have a problem tracking their cash but I have a written budget so I know what I can spend and what I can’t.

    Anyway that is my biggest change. Some people claim they are scared they will get robbed. But I have had more problems with unauthorized withdrawals from my bank account than I have ever had with getting mugged.

  6. posted by Allan Drakes on

    Thanks for sharing! My friend tipped me about a new site http://www.unioncy.com that I found quite helpful when organizing my things. Worth a try

  7. posted by Hanna on

    Actually, I started carrying phone cards around lately. I realized that I was so dependent on my phone so if I would loose it, there would be no way that I could contact anyone since I wouldn’t know their number. Before the smart phone I learnt all important phone numbers by heart, but with my smart phone it is so easy to check up every number I need online, so I started to forget. I feel more safe with my phone cards…

  8. posted by Howard on

    I have an iPhone as well, but instead of a wallet, I use the TwelveSouth BookBook. It carries my ID and credit card and a RFID metro card that works just fine without taking it out. So I really only have one thing to grab instead of two.

  9. posted by ChrisD on

    I saw a dutch magazine feature where each week they would show a photo which people sent in of ‘everything in my wallet’ (obviously they blurred out sensitive numbers on ID etc). It was fascinating to see what people kept in their wallets and secondly, fascinating to see how they arranged it for the photos, e.g. everything loosely spread out, or everything arranged neatly, but NOT all like with like, or everything lined up square and arranged by theme.

  10. posted by Jules on

    I agree with you on the cash aspect. It’s funny though, I spend a lot of time traveling and my normal at-home wallet, which is very thin and doesn’t have room for much coin or cash just doesn’t cut it abroad. Traveling, I almost always have to get used to a operating on a cash basis and therefore, find my wallet to be constantly stuffed.

  11. posted by Barb on

    Keeping car keys in the ignition is not a smart idea in any urban area. Cars are stolen out of driveways every day.

  12. Profile photo of DavidCaolo

    posted by DavidCaolo on

    Barb, I didn’t mean in the ignition when parked, only while I’m driving. Sorry, that wasn’t super clear.

  13. Profile photo of

    posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    We recently changed to doing all our grocery shopping with cash after I did a course in teaching budgeting. We’ve never had a debt problem but if I’m going to teach budgeting and one of the simple techniques in implementing the system then I’d better make sure I can do it myself.

    At the beginning of the month we get out that month’s cash and basically can only use that amount for the month. This reduces impulse buys and over-spending, thereby keeping our outgoings under control and less than the in-coming funds, because we know that that’s ‘all we’ve got’ for the month. Splurges and luxuries tend to be bought at the end of the month.

  14. posted by Edward Sloane on

    i have found myself carrying even less these days. my iphone has taken the place of an ipod, sat nav and pda… unfortunately the amount of keys has hardly dwindled.

  15. posted by anon on

    there is a site called EDC (every day carry)-sorry i don’t know how to post it for a direct link.
    it shows what their edc is and why it is. also constructive criticisms are given. it’s a fun site and satisfies the voyeur in me.

  16. posted by Lorena on

    Before becoming a mom, I carried very little with me everyday. I used a clutch that fit only the essentials — driver’s license, lip balm, smartphone, debit card and keys.

    Now that I’m a mom, I have a larger purse (though nowhere as large as most women) since I hate carrying a separate diaper bag. The clutch fits in there, but the purse also holds the occasional small toy, snack, diapers and wipes that I’ll inevitably need when I’m out and about with my toddler.

  17. posted by Sarah B R on

    We always have cash in our wallets and at home. If there’s a natural disaster, it’s highly likely that no electricity means you can’t pay with cards. Electricity can be out for days. It’s good to at least have an emergency stash which includes a lot of small bills.

  18. posted by Molly on

    I didn’t even have to look at the byline to tell that a man wrote this. Not because of the wallet, but because there’s not one item in the entire moisturizer family there. I’m all about paring down to the essentials, BUT WE ARE NOT SAVAGES.

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