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Mary Poppins has got nothing on my bag. She might have a lamp in hers and some kind of black magic at work, but I’m pretty sure given fifteen minutes I could MacGyver my own lamp AND a handsome set of nesting tables all from the contents of my bag.

Meet My Bag

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Yes, I normally tote around a bag that looks as if it was used on the Pony Express, and yes, I could probably be subletting it out as a LES studio with a sleeping alcove, but I’ve just grown accustomed to lugging it around. The use of my bag has probably funded my chiropractor’s kid’s private school education, but I like to think of myself as an urban-free-thinking-all-inclusive-boy-scout-LMP that lives by the motto, “Be Prepared.” Over-prepared? Perhaps. But my sensible Marc Jacobs denim shoulder tote has yet to fail me.

Everything is in this bag and everything has to be. I’m all over this city doing anything at any given minute and have to have the things that help make “doing anything” possible. Though it can’t just be thrown all in there. There has to be some kind of method to the madness. I’ve organized (of course) all like things into zipper pouches. There’s one for electronics, one for office supplies, and one for sundries (love that word). Here take a look at what’s in this monster of a bag and how I keep it in line.

Meet My Electronics

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I’m MAC-centric… I blame good marketing!

My iPhone is my life line.

My charger is my savior

My MacBook is my rock.

My iPod is perfection.

I keep a microfiber cloth in there to keep my babies looking good!

And the all important USB, a must!

Meet My Office Supplies

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Post-its for quick note taking when I’ve got to remember what’s what, who goes where, and who’s who.

 Binder clips… you’d be surprised how handy these little guys are. Keeping papers and files in line, organizing electronic wires, or an emergency tailoring fix.

Rubber bands always a must.

Sharpie Marker… is there any other way to write?

 Uni-Ball Pen, because you always need a writing implement AND its the best pen EVER!

An envelope and stationary… because you’ll look like a hero when someone needs it.

Scissors… always handy. Just don’t forget to leave at home when going to the airport.

Mini-stapler… because my mini obsession is a sickness!

Super glue, a great quick fix for almost anything and its easier to carry around than Duct Tape (and less creepy).

Highlighter, it keeps you looking prepared for meetings and adds dimension to your doodles.

Stamps… because everyone asks for a stamp.

Meet My Sundries 

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A Mending Kit because sh-stuff happens.

Mints because no one likes a stinker.

Deodorant for those times you’re UNSURE.

Stain Stick… much like that mending kit.

Bacitracin and Adhesive Bandages, because an ouchy needs tending to.

 A Lighter is useful to have on hand to help set some mood lighting.

Tissues for the sniffles.

Chap Stick to keep those lips kissably soft and works as a good cuticle cream in a pinch.

A wine key… because when you need it, you’ll be happy you’ve got it.

With all due respect, take that Mary Poppins.

 

Post authored by Josh Schulteis. 

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You’re staring at your overbooked calendar searching for a time slot to fit in some errands. Aha! You find it. A three hour chunk of time, mid-morning on a Thursday that’ll be perfect. You quickly discern that a grocery run is the priority, as your pantry and refrigerator are rapidly becoming empty.

The decision has been made, but now comes the tricky part – the triple threat to living thrifty in NYC: managing your time, minding your budget and maneuvering the MTA when you’re a pack mule. Minding them is daunting no matter the task, but grocery shopping seems to take the cake as most difficult.

Being new to the city, I learned this fast. I just moved to Astoria, into my new three-bedroom apartment complete with two wonderful roommates and plenty of storage space. It’s a fabulous neighborhood full of families and delicious restaurants, and I love it! But not my grocery store schlep. After some trial runs, some blood, sweat, and tears, I’ve finally got my trip to the grocery store down to a formula. I’ve learned to plan wisely, think ahead, and pack lightly. So these are some of my tips for a joy-producing grocery store trek.

Start with the grocery store that is the closest option for you. Compare prices and products. If it isn’t ideal for you, seek out the nearest alternative that does have what you’re looking for. Please note that by “closest option”, I mean just that – the closest. This does not mean “close”. For example, after I determined that my local grocery store in Astoria was terrible, the Trader Joe’s in Chelsea became my best option and therefore my “closest option”. Being a Midwestern girl, I was familiar with the joys of TJ’s, so naturally I was thrilled!

Plan some meals and make a list. By deciding in advance what you will need for the week, you will ultimately save time and money.

Kill two birds with one stone. Head to the grocery when you are already in the area.

I’ve learned the rewards to strategic bag-packing and the secret is choosing the correct sized bag for your trip. Bring along two large reusable grocery bags (or more, if you can handle carrying them). You will then buy only what you can carry home.

For all other personal items, wear some sort of backpack or tote and pack lightly. Put your metro card and cell phone in your pocket before leaving the store, so you have easy access to them. This avoids the stress of shifting bags around once you leave the store.

Most importantly, make sure you can get the groceries home right away! Allot yourself enough time to make this return trip and be sure to take into account things like rush hour and MTA service changes that might keep your perishables from the fridge.

There, those are my tips. Once you have successfully formulated your own plan, you will save time, energy, and money; you will gain a stocked kitchen, a productive mindset, a happy composure, and a solid workout in the process. Happy shopping!

Post authored by Kristen Evensen

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