How I lost 5 pounds in less than 30 minutes


No, it wasn’t Atkins. Nor was it the grapefruit diet, cabbage diet or the South Beach diet. Nope, it was the gear diet! My gear bag has been feeling a little bloated lately, so it was high time to go through all the ‘stuff’ that I carry around with me every day and see what things I could ditch and which things I needed to keep.

The first activity that any prospective dieter should do is to weigh in. So here we go… My Waterfield Sling bag with all my gear inside weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz.

Here’s a view of everything that I carry in the bag. You’ll notice several pouches, which hold more gear. These pouches are from Waterfield and are very handy for organizing all the little doodads and thingamajigs that we all seem to accumulate.

Here’s an exploded view of all the items…

Miquelrius notebook
Orbit and Trident gum
Carmex lip balm
iPhone with included earbuds
Treo 680
iPod nano
iPod shuffle
with stock iPod earbuds
Brando retractable USB iPod charger
iPod FM radio
3.5mm to Treo sized Stereo headphone adapter
Bang & Olufsen earbuds
Extra mini USB cable
USB extension cable
AMD branded mini 4 port USB hub
Plastic pill case
Inka pen
Waterfield wallet
Huntlight FT-A2 flashlight
Hand lotion
8 different USB flash drives
Vaja SD card holder
2 extra SD cards in plastic cases
Socket SD WiFi card
Compact Flash to PC Card adapter
EagleTec SD card to Compact Flash adapter
Semson’s 4 in 1 CF adapter
CF to USB adapter
IO Data 4 in 1 PC card adapter
Brando 55 in 1 USB card reader
Hard shell sunglasses case
Fuji FinePix F30 digital camera
Car keys
Stack of colored 3×5 index cards held together with a binder clip
Eye drops
Theraaflu and Triaminic cold sample strips
Ziploc baggie with Splenda packets
Moist towelette

Wow, a lot of stuff… and a lot of it I haven’t needed to use in over a year or
more. Time to start the gear diet!

Items that I decided to ditch and my reasons why

I relocated the Brando retractable iPod charger to a drawer at work since that’s
the only place where I ever use it.

Got rid of all but 6 USB flash drives – Who needs 8 different flash drives
anyway right?

Got rid of the FinePix F30 digital camera because I’ve never needed to use it in
all the time that I’ve been carrying it around. I also don’t charge it
regularly, so if I did need to use it, it would probably be dead anyway. I still have the iPhone if I need to take a
quick snapshot.

Ditched the B&O earbuds which I never seem to use anymore – I use the stock
iPhone buds because I like the inline pause button on the cord.

Ditched the Socket SD WiFi card because I don’t have any devices that can use it.

Ditched iPod FM radio

Ditched iPod shuffle and stock earbuds

Ditched nano

Ditched IO Data 4 in 1 PC Card adapter, Semson’s 4 in 1 CF Card adapter, CF to PC Card adapter and EagleTec
SD to CF card adapter – I haven’t had the need to use any of these in eons. I
have the Brando 55 in 1 card reader to use instead.

Ditched one of the mini USB cables since I already have one with the Brando card reader.

Ditched the Miquelrius notebook in favor of the 3×5 cards – Even though I like
the Miquelrius notebooks better than the ever popular Moleskins as they are less
expensive, have more pages and have soft covers. I have decided to go with the
3×5 cards instead. I used the notebook to keep notes and ideas about The
Gadgeteer. Using 3×5 cards is more convenient because I can just throw a card
away after the ideas / tasks are complete.

Downsized from 4 packs of gum to 2.

Ditched the hand lotion – Never used it anyway.

Relocated the umbrella to a drawer at work and keep a 2nd one in my car. That way I won’t have to carry one in my gear bag all the time.

Items that I decided to keep and my reasons why

Kept the Treo and iPhone – The Treo 680 is my current everyday phone and I use
the iPhone as my iPod.

Kept the 4gb Buffalo USB drive and one other 256mb USB drive that I don’t mind
giving away. This way I can copy a file for someone and just give them the

Kept the AMD branded 4 port mini hub.

Kept the Inka Pen.

Kept the Huntlight flashlight.

Kept Vaja SD card holder.

Kept CF to USB card adapter.

Kept USB extension cable.

Kept Brando 52 in 1 USB card reader.

Kept the checkbook.

Kept the pill case.

Kept the sunglasses case – I really need to find a smaller case as I use it to
store magnetic sun clips. Not full-size glasses.

Kept Carmex lip balm, eye drops, comb, moist towelette and Splenda.

Kept the Waterfield Wallet.

Kept the car keys.

Everything is now organized into two Waterfield pouches instead of four. Non
tech items (pill case, comb, etc.) goes in the smaller pouch, and the tech items
are stored in the larger pouch.

Now it’s time to weigh in again! In 30 minutes, my gear bag went
from 7lbs 7oz down to a svelte 2lbs 10oz. That’s the easiest and quickest 5lbs
I’ve ever shed in my life! ;o)

How often do you put your gear bag on a diet? 

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Bob Hamilton August 28, 2007, 11:45 am

    This was a really great article. I really enjoyed it. Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we accumulate and never use. It makes me think I should start a gear bag, but working at home, I don’t really need to. The only thing I carry is my iPhone (so long Treo 680 – although I do miss ALL of its functionality). Hopefully the iPhone will step up to the plate!

  • obscurestooge August 28, 2007, 1:10 pm

    Awesome. I definitely need to do the same. Also for my: desk at work, desk at home, hall closet, clothes closet, garage, nightstand, glovebox, … you get the idea.

    And, the idea of keeping a “give away” USB drive is brilliant. How many times have I wrestled with a file or files that’s too big to email, when I could have just copied it to a USB drive and given it to the person? Great idea!

  • Julie August 28, 2007, 1:43 pm

    I’m the same way… My gadgeteer office is still cluttered even after the garage sale that I had a couple of weeks ago :o) I still have enough items to have a 2nd sale if I really wanted to.

    This exercise has made me think about how and where I use things and ways to best manage my spaces.

    The next thing I want to do is to figure out a minimalist wallet / checkbook solution. I’m a girl (news flash!), so I don’t carry a wallet in my back pocket and I don’t carry my gear bag or a purse when I go shopping.

  • Hellene August 28, 2007, 2:03 pm

    I used to have a similar problem and resolved it by designating one of my desk drawers a “going out” drawer. in goes pouches with stuff I only use out of the office/home. Even my car keys!
    Now I select the pouches based on what/where I’m going and empty my bag when I return. Aaaah peace of mind…

  • Julie August 28, 2007, 2:42 pm


    That’s a pretty inventive solution :o)

  • Alan Hoyle August 28, 2007, 2:50 pm

    Why are you keeping the CF to USB when the Brando 52-in-1 can do the same thing? Do you often find you need to copy from CF to CF or are there other compatibility issues with the Brando? Also, why do you have a separate USB key, when you have the Brando reader and SD cards (presumably kept in the Vaja SD storage case)?

  • Julie August 28, 2007, 4:14 pm


    You’re right, why the heck am I keeping that CF to USB adapter? It’s now gone. Not sure what I was thinking last night… I guess I wasn’t ;o)

    As for using the Brando card reader instead of the USB flash drive, the flash drive is more comfortable / easier to carry in my pocket when I am walking back and forth from my desk to the training room where I install software (day job). :o)

  • carly August 28, 2007, 9:17 pm

    Julie, one idea for keeping your wallet minimal is to keep one or two “emergency checks” in your wallet for those times you need to write a check. I have found that to be a way to keep my everyday needs slimmer.

    I feel your pain, as I usually wear cargo pants outside of work and so generally “pack my pants” with wallet, iphone, keys, digi cam, mouthguard (if i am going to rugby practice later), and god knows what else. Have you thought about using a slightly bigger wallet to give you more space for checks?

  • Judyh August 28, 2007, 9:20 pm

    Julie – If you find a slim hard case that will work for your magnetic sun clip-ons I would be very interested! because I have the same problem.

  • Julie August 28, 2007, 10:15 pm

    Good idea for the check problem. The only issue I can see with that is if I forget the checks are in there and write another out of order. I really don’t write very many these days though…

    I’m still looking, but so far no joy.

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