I hate having stuff in my pockets, so I use a Waterfield Gear Pouch (size medium) Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch (size large) to keep my pockets empty. It’s small, it holds a basic set of things I both want and need around me at all times, and it’s always nearby.

What’s in it?

The most important (and most often used) items are the pen case/notebook and the headphones. Also–oddly–the nail clippers see a lot of use (toddlers are apparently prone to breaking nails and cannot continue their day without having it remedied immediately). The Leatherman comes in handy a lot for replacing batteries in toys and opening packages.

I can’t say enough nice things about the Nock case. It’s extremely well-made with durable fabrics and great stitching. It just feels good, and I want to buy several of their other cases.

If I had a monster phone, it would easily fit along with everything else, but I haven’t made that leap yet. For now, my iPhone 5 lives in the left pocket of my jeans. Point is: there’s ample room in the Gear Pouch for more stuff.

Using the pouch this way is part of a larger system I’ve put together over the years. I have many small bags and pouches (several from Waterfield and a couple from Tom Bihn) for different things. First aid kits, snack holders, tech and cable organizers, diaper sacks. They’re all organized to serve a specific purpose, and they’re all meant to be modular.

I tend to carry a couple of different full-size bags depending on the occasion. There’s my regular shoulder bag for coffee shop trips. There’s my kids’ diaper bag for extended outings and trips to the park. Moving from one bag to another is simple; toss in the small bags of stuff I need, and remove any I don’t need. The whole process only takes a couple of seconds. It’s a good system that’s served me well, and I’m a fan of how it helps instill a certain amount of focus into what could otherwise be a jumbled, bloated mess of wires, pens, and Goldfish crackers.