U.BAG flat lay with lime green bag and light blue strap

The Small Bag Theory – a life changing hack

If you are like me, or perhaps like most people, you are at least somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of belongings you own, things that you have to take care of, repair, charge, and clean. The minimalist movement that was brought into the mainstream by, now celebrities, Marie Kondo,  and The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus), has hit major nerve.  As a society we swing back and forth between over consumption and purging. I believe improving the quality of our lives doesn’t require extremes, but it does require attention and for me – systems. 


Reducing distraction is a constant topic in a world that wants our attention, but typically when we talk about minimalism we talk about our homes, our work spaces, and maybe our digital lives, but these aren’t the only topics we should consider. Getting organised and reducing distractions in every area of my life has been a way to cope with my ADHD. I’ve discovered, focusing on the really small choices I make on a regular basis, has more impact than the once-a-year huge life reorganisation projects. 


Our real estate of belongings (or burden) includes what we carry with us when we leave home.

Being mindful of what we carry across – or over, our shoulder(s) whether it is a backpack, a purse, or simply what we stuff in our pockets, is a way to reduce distraction, lighten our burden, and maybe even give us a little more bounce on our step. Carrying less stuff makes us much more mobile. When you are weighed down by a heavy bag, full of, you’re not really sure what, you cannot move freely. It can have a huge impact on our day, our patience, and our energy.


This is where “The Small Bag Theory” comes in. What is The Small Bag Theory? It’s the idea of carrying the smallest possible bag you can on any given day or outing. 


Why a small purse? Because big bags are like fish bowls. The bigger the bag the more you’ll end up carrying. This was the inspiration for the first U.BAG I designed. The weight of the bag can quickly add up and cause physical strain, just like a too tight bra you don’t notice until late afternoon. Even when it’s not heavy, it’s still a constant reminder of all the stuff you’re carrying, it becomes a mental burden.


Being mindful about what we carry when leaving home is a way to check in with the chaos level of our lives. Before I leave home I ask myself, what is important enough that I really need it with me… not for every what-if scenario, but because it will increase the quality of my time away from home?

I don’t use my bag as a portable trash can (anymore). If you can reach into your bag without feeling something sandy at the bottom, you’re not going to be distracted by whatever negative thought comes up. Don’t put that gum wrapper, or receipt you’ll never look at again back into your bag. The way that we care for our future self quickly catches up to caring for our current self. 


Carrying less in your bag or purse will help you stay more organised. It’s easier to keep track of everything when there’s less of it. It’s an obvious truth that is easy to forget. If it takes more than a couple seconds to find your keys, it might be time for a smaller bag and less stuff in it. If you feel you need a big bag to fit your wallet, it might be time to downsize your wallet. 


Reducing distraction to increase mindfulness, presence, and productivity,  can extend beyond our homes, our desks, and our digital worlds. Minimalism and intentional ownership of things, can also be applied to the things we carry on our bodies (our bags, our purses, and our pockets), to reduce the stress of life’s chaos and help us to experience the world more peacefully. 


If you don’t already know, I make super small lightweight bags from retired paragliders. I designed the first U.BAG because I wanted to try out this small bag solution, and since then I’ve convinced thousands of other people how life changing this can be. Try it out for yourself, with a bag you already own, or get your own ultralight crossbody U.BAG here.


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