Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Is your laptop bag getting too heavy?

What better time than now to go through your laptop bag and find ways to lighten your load?  When I was preparing to hit the road this week, I noticed just how heavy & cluttered my laptop bag was.


I set aside some time on Sunday night to reduce my “travel weight” by getting rid of some things in my bag.  Here are some strategies to help you if you decide you want to lighten your load:

  1. Move into a smaller place

    • Nothing forces decisions like having to fit your stuff into a smaller laptop bag.  This is a good strategy if you want to become less of a packrat with the things you carry along with you.  Don't go too far, though - remember sometimes you need room to bring back the things you bring on the road with you.
    • I have done the "try out" process on laptops before since I have a local luggage store with a very customer-friendly return policy.  I buy a bag, take it home and, if I don't like how it accommodates my stuff, I return it.  You can do the same via eBags - their selection is amazing - but it might take a little longer due to the shipping time..
  2. Start with a clean slate

    • This is an extreme approach.  You empty your bag ad put in absolutely the bare minimum of “stuff” back in.  Travel like that for a while, and only add in things that a) you discovered that you really needed during a trip; and b) you are absolutely sure you will need within your next 3 trips.
  3. Find lighter alternatives to the things you carry

    • This is the kind of approach that extreme backpackers take when they select their backpacking gear – ultralight tents, cups, etc.  You don’t have to go that far, but you could do things like:
      • carry a Kindle instead of books;
      • carry an iPad instead of a laptop;
      • move to a smaller / lighter laptop;
      • carry a smaller note pad instead of the larger one you’ve been lugging around;
      • stop carrying chargers you seldom use on the road;
      • find multi-purpose items (like a single charger that will charge multiple devices)
  4. Audit your stuff

    • If you can’t decide what to leave behind and what to keep, audit your bag at the end of each trip.  What things did you ignore, what things did you use?  Are there things you can drop from your bag for your next trip?  If you’re not sure, leave it behind and see how much you miss it.
    • If you are a GTD follower, you could weave this into part of your inbox processing at the end of a trip – don’t just empty your inbox -- empty your bag, too.

These are just some ideas to help you lose some weight really quickly and make it easier on your back.  Got strategies of your own?  I’d love to hear them.