Minimalist experiments: the empty bag


In my attempt to find purpose and value in daily activities I have recently played with a number of minimalist experiments.

Those experiments have the scope to create a ditraction-free environment, allowing me to focus on what matters the most and, ultimately, to have more fun.

Today I want to share with you one of the minimalist experiments I am most proud of: the empty bag.

I am recently using a bag to carry my stuff to work. My bag is a manly black bag, with no labels and with three main pockets (one is hidden!). The bag is simple, functional, just the way I like it!

After a few days of using my bag I’ve recognised that some funny phenomena were at play: the bag was becoming a sort of magnet for useless stuff. The bag was magically starting to attract random pieces of paper, plastic, empty bottles, in other words, stuff I didn’t need.

Similarly I’ve realised that the bag was becoming a sort of container for deluded hopes. Those hopes were leading me to overload my bag with stuff I wouldn’t use over the day, particularly books I wouldn’t manage to read. The higher the hopes the higher the weight of the bag. Being an optimistic person did not help as this was making the bag more and more difficult to carry. Not really the best use of energy!

Those observations thought me something important. I needed to apply mindfulness to my bag.

This In the weeks following that recognition I’ve started to put more attention to my bag-management. This is what I’ve learnt:

  • Overloading a bag equals a low ability to let go. If you don’t need it then don’t carry it.
  • A non-mindful bag is a source of pollution (paper plus plastic)
  • Organised bags are much better. They irradiate order and it’s easier to find what you need.
  • Travelling requires low-loaded bags. More space for the unexpected.
  • An empty bag is a school of thought. The same order will (hopefully!) move to other areas of your life.
  • Stuff accumulates in bags, no matter the effort.

My bag now normally contains:

  • A small laptop (if I need it for work)
  • One book (and one only!)
  • A small note book in case of inspiration
  • One black gel pen
  • A re-usable bottle of water (half full!)

Everything else was unnecessary and it has been removed.

Ah! I love my space!

And for you? How does your bag look like?



  1. Madeline Johnson

    I go back and forth with this all the time. Streamlining the bag only to fill it up again. I am curious to know how long your new bag will last. Any tips would be appreciated. Trying to do this for my entire home.

    • pensierifuoriforma

      It is encouraging to hear that I’m not the only one experiencing this issue! It seems quite popular actually. I’ve been going on with this mindful bag-management for quite a while now. It seems that this practice is finally expanding to many other areas of my life, from the house, to my internet use and finally to time-management as well! Again, as with many things, one start small to then expand. Hope it’ll continue and I definitely encourage you to progress your journey!! 🙂

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