Just like Dora the Explorer, my backpack is key to my operation. And just like Dora’s backpack, what’s inside remains a mystery to most. Fear not, today I’m going to unpack my backpack (ba-doom-boom-cha) and let you all take a look inside.
Just like Dora the Explorer, my backpack is key to my operation. And just like Dora’s backpack, what’s inside remains a mystery to most. Fear not, today I’m going to unpack my backpack (ba-doom-boom-cha) and let you all take a look inside. ains in there even when not in use. And to make my life easier, I use only one bag at a time. My current favorite is Sherpani's Soleil AT, which converts from a backpack to a tote, to a crossbody. It’s also waterproof, has a laptop sleeve, locking zippers, two water bottle pockets and an anti-slash bottom.
So why would it matter to you what’s in my bag? It might not. But maybe you’re curious. And I’m hoping that it matters because there is a lot of strategy involved and you can use this type of thinking when packing your own ultimate bag for work on the go.
Label Maker (obviously): After years of using a non bluetooth-enabled model, I recently switched over to the Brother P-Touch Cube Smartphone Label Maker. I love how it syncs to my phone and allows for the option to print multiples without having to press the button over and over again. I also have a carrying case, which holds extra labelling tape. You can never be too prepared!
Post-It Notes: The second most important item I carry with me is post-it notes. I use post it notes to separate categories, label in a pinch and when I’m doing a move to denote what goes and what stays. They are incredibly important to my operation!
Odds and Ends: I have packing tape; a mini measuring tape; mini scissors; and a mini wrench and hammer, which are used almost exclusively for readjusting shelf supports. There is a retractable box cutter; an identity theft roller stamp from Miseyo; Bandaids (yes, I do accidentally cut myself on the regular); a Goo Gone stick; Ibuprofen; a hair tie; a mini umbrella, shoe covers, extra clear folder labels; Kleenex; a Sharpie and a repurposed earplug container, which fits 6 AAA batteries for the label maker.
Mask and Backup: I’m allergic to dust (yes, I know, ironic), so I work with a mask on. I also carry a backup in case my lunch spills and my mask smells like fish (has happened and is disgusting!). The mask you see in the photo reads ‘I Am Not Dangerous’ and has a photo of a shark for all my clients are scared AF to work with an organizer, which is common.
Pencil Case: Aluminum from Muji, it’s lightweight and holds my favorite type of pen, marker and highlighter. There’s a pocket in my Sherpani backpack that fits it exactly, which means I always know where it is.
Folder: My folder, which has a ‘how to recycle’ infographic stuck to the front, holds empty contracts. My clients are busy people who often have trouble staying organized. That means that I don’t put anything on them – if there’s something that needs to be remembered, I take on the emotional labor of taking care of it. Before I start working with my clients, they need to sign my contract for insurance purposes. Rather than them having to worry about printing it out, I have a full copy of the contract with me, as well as blank copies of the signing page.
Fanny Pack: a year ago I started using Dagne Dover’s fanny pack to hold my phone and a knife while I work. I was always looking for both and the leggings I work in don’t have pockets usually. Plus, let’s be honest, a fanny pack just looks cool!
Clear Pouches: One – the mesh black zippered one, holds all my odds and ends and the one with the white closure holds checks that I receive at the end of a job. It took one time of losing a check for me to find a solution and it hasn’t happened since.
Business Cards: Even on the job there’s always an opportunity to be connected with future clients; at times my clients will ask for a card to give to their friend or family member. Just the other day I was working in an apartment that was being shown to a prospective buyer who asked for my card. I provided it and he booked a session later that day.
When I started my business in Los Angeles, what I carried with me was less of a concern because I had my car to get around. Now that I live in NYC, it matters quite a bit more; everything I bring with me to a job lives on my back. That means that I want the least amount possible and for what I have to be the most effective.
Every single item in my bag belongs in a specific place because 1) yes, I am anal retentive like that and 2) it helps my life run more smoothly. When I’m working with a client and I need my post-it notes, I want to know exactly where they are without having to root around. When I come home at the end of the day before doing anything else, I take out extra items that do not belong in my bag and replace my used masked with a laundered one. I hang up my bag on its specific hook in my entryway and I know that I’m ready to grab and go when I need.
What are you bringing back and forth with you to work every day? Have you thought about it, actually strategized? If you did, would it make your life easier?
Try my tips above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.