Open Thinkering


The Essentials? (#divest12)

Following on from my ‘stripping back’ post I’ve been thinking about what I need in life, over and above those things I share with my family. What are my bare essentials?

Everyday bag

I suppose it’s kind of like zero-based budgeting:

In zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget must be approved, rather than only changes. During the review process, no reference is made to the previous level of expenditure. Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base.

So if I was starting again, knowing what I do now, what would I need?

Everyday bag

  • Laptop (+charger)
  • Mobile phone (+charger)
  • Kindle (+charger)
  • Headphones
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Bank cards, library card, gym card, passport, etc.
  • Card case


  • Shoes
  • Trainers
  • Thick socks
  • Coat
  • Underwear x7
  • Jeans x2 (+belt)
  • Trousers (+belt)
  • Shorts
  • Shirts x3
  • Jacket
  • T-shirts x5
  • Swimming shorts (+goggles)


  • Towel
  • Sports towel
  • Contact lenses
  • Glasses
  • Flannel
  • Migraine medication
  • Inhalers x2
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Multivitamins
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturiser
  • Razor/beard trimmer (+charger)

My aim with #divest12 isn’t to go ultra-minimalist, but rather to reflect upon what is absolutely necessary to maintain my current lifestyle.

58 items, I reckon.

Have I missed anything?

7 thoughts on “The Essentials? (#divest12)

  1. You have (to my mind) written a holiday packing list.
    Recent acquisition of a Kindle (not in Britain so had to be more patient about that) has made me think about why my flat is full of books (and other things). 
    The appeal of the empty flat photo in that minimalist post the other day, it suddenly occurs to me, was the empty space … in a flat (room / house / tent) … the flat is not on your list. That’s what nags  … where will you plug your chargers in ?

  2. I had cause to do this recently, for various reasons, and my list was similar. But I took a few books rather than a kindle, added a cleanser and exfoliant to the wash bag (come ON Doug, skincare 101: cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise! ), took a spare pair of smart shoes along with my regular boots, and also grabbed a sleeping bag and an acoustic guitar. Oh and a car. The car was pretty important, but the guitar was essential.

  3. When I went to work in the USA I travelled with 2 carry on bags and a year later I returned with the 2 carry on bags (but filled with different things).  That was pretty minimalist but I was only 22 at the time.  When I went to work in India a year later I had just 1 bag though it was heavy and I checked it in.  Now I’m trying to find a way to pack up everything for myself and my family into a 20 foot container as we’re planning on heading back out to Asia.  It’s hard!  I’m ditching the car, but I’m tempted to take my bike.  Not quite sure what to do with the ski/snowboarding stuff, but I’m guessing we won’t be using it for a while.  However it’s going to break my heart to ditch the piano …..

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