Photo courtesy Flickr
Navy Seals cut the compartments out of a new pack, reducing it to a simple bag on a frame. Heart in mouth, I took scissors to a fancy new ultralight piece of gear and discovered that it was more flexible and accommodating after I had chopped it.
I keep individual kits for personal care, first aid, cooking, and repair in zippered nylon packing cubes. A few months of managing gear like this taught me to gut my side bag. It takes seconds to change purses, and I always know where to find something.
The cubes and their related envelope packing sleeves have revolutionized my systems. These units live in storage chests, a fundamental Medieval furnishing that evolved into the“chest of drawers” for convenient access to the contents. A chest is more economical use of space, since it can seat or support sleeping as well as contain. It is stronger and cheaper to produce, with a smaller carbon footprint. English colonial wives in India covered transit cases with quilts. Covering a case expands the range of choice: any surplus foot locker or sturdy plywood crate will suffice.
Bulky gear lives in flap-lid plastic bins on coated, adjustable wire shelving. The stuff ain’t cheap, but it’s elegant, flexible, multi-purpose, self-cleaning, recyclable, and there’s a good secondary market for used units.
These sophisticated technologies have blown away problems with inventory. If I can handle gear quickly and easily, I can review and manage what I have in seconds. Problems with clutter are problems with finding the time to edit.