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Experiments in Minimalism and New Thinking

John Federico

Look at this beautiful iPhone 4 leather wallet. Just look at.

Let me tell you why I got one.

For years, I've been one of "those geeks." You know, those guys who clip a cell phone holster somewhere on their person like some pseudo superhero utility belt?

Yeah, that's me.

My reasons for doing this are simple. First, I've nearly lost my phone on many occassions because I left it sitting on a table or chair. That's a very expensive lesson to learn.

Second, I generally don't like putting my very expensive glass iPhone in my pocket as I'm concerned that I may torque it and break the glass.

Lately, I've been rethinking my approach to "Phone Fashion". The holster look is kind of dorky and it generally just gets in the way of of shirts, jackets, etc.

So when I saw this iPhone 4 wallet from Etsy seller TuchMade, I made a committment to change.

In addition to being a beautiful, handmade case for the iPhone, it's also a wallet for carrying credit cards and other stuff. But not much "other stuff." The volume of items it can contain is pretty limited.

In this way, it fits another practice I've been seeking to master: minimalism.

When it comes to my gear, I follow the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. I always carry a crapload of gear, "just in case" I may need it and the contents of my wallet is no exception.

That kind of thinking is fine for business trips and conferences but for a typical day, it's overkill. (Not to mention what the extra weight does to my back.)

So, I've pared down my everyday bag. I got a MacBook Air, which is incredibly light and ditched my Moleskine notebook which is now replaced by my iPad + Penultimate (and PhatPad and Note Taker HD). The iPad is a bit heavier than the notebook but it also doubles (triples?) as an eReader.

And now, I've pared down my wallet, too. It's amazing what you can leave behind when you have no other options. In my new iPhone wallet is an American Express card, a Visa (for those places that don't accept Amex), my medical insurance card, a Metrocard, a couple of train tickets, my driver's license and my ATM card.

What little cash I carry is in another pocket organized with a money clip.

Even better: I no longer have to carry my Starbucks card as I can pay with my phone! One less thing to carry...

The whole process has been somewhat liberating. It's forced me to rethink all the stuff in my life and shift my thought process to the bare essentials.

My next experiment in minimalism? My office.

OMG. If you saw this place, you'd cringe at the gear lying around...