This is a trick that I’ve been using for years and have refined for my own purposes (that is, refined in the things that I carry / the bags that I use) as opposed to the concept itself. It’s a trick that I read many, many years ago from a mother that I can’t remember the name of, but she was a blogger and blogged about this concept which blew my mind at the time.
The go bag is a concept where in the case of an emergency, you have all the things that you need to head out (think like fire or major earthquake). The bag contains all of the essentials – some spare cash, a cellphone, flashlight, unspoiled meals, water bottle, water purifying tablets and other things. This is incredibly useful because in the case of an emergency, you may not have the time to pack all of these things together in a few seconds and rush out the door and then if you don’t have anything, you’re left stranded and potentially in a bad situation.
While it’s still on my to-do list to create a go bag for emergencies, I do have go bags for other situations.
Gym go bag
For example, I have a gym go bag – it’s a simple duffle bag that I purchased from Amazon but it contains all of my work out gear that I need. I’m not saying that going to the gym is an emergency but if I decide on a whim to go to the gym, I don’t have to decide what to wear, what to pack, etc., I can head out right away – especially since waiting may eliminate my motivation. The gym go bag has work out gear (shorts, work out shirt, work out socks), has a spare water bottle, a towel, extra change of clothing (socks, t-shirt, boxers) and because I do orangetheory, it has the orangetheory wrist band and charger. Although I don’t go anymore, I used to go to to the YMCA so it has my membership card inside and a combination lock. I don’t think about what to bring, I just bring my gym go bag whenever I want to go to the gym (though if I have more time, I’ll change into work out clothing at home before heading out). Whenever I ‘use’ up an item from the go bag, I replace it right away (e.g., if I use my work out gear and take a shower, I’ll put everything into the laundry and when it comes out, I put it bag into the go bag right away). This takes some discipline but it’s certainly easier than trying to find everything when it is time to go to the gym and remembering to pack all of it at that time.
I’m sure every working professional has a work bag that they pick up every morning and go to work with – I work as a consultant and therefore have at least a laptop to carry with me. But I also carry a few more things in my work bag that have been indispensable wherever I go: a Tide to go pen, extra pens and pencils, sticky notes, a notebook, my IDs (for my company and any clients I am working with), my laptop charger and other computer accessories (mouse, headset, earbuds), a travel mug and I also carry a few extra bags with me (in case I am carrying food or drinks inside my bag, I double bag it in case they spill or break).
Though this may not apply to you if you do not travel a lot, I still recommend having a travel bag – it makes your life much easier whenever you head out to travel – mostly because you do not have to spend time looking for things that you normally only carry when you travel. Since I travel so much though, it just saves me time every week or every other week when I travel and it also helps put me at ease and reduces the times where I think “Oh crap, I completely forgot X” on my way to the destination.
In my travel bag (which is a carry on bag that I use but can also be a larger duffle bag that I have from Red Oxx), I put my sleeping mask, some meds (allergies, tylenol, vitamin C), ear plugs, a shoe horn for my dress shoes, some packing cubes and usually a book or two. I also carry my toiletry bag which has all the usuals – toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, moisturizer, sun screen, bandaids, another Tide to go pen and mouth wash.
I don’t have kids but I’d probably have a go bag for my kids as well – extra wet napkins, bibs, towels, a sweater and other things that I’m not aware of right now. What go bags do you need in your life?