Committing to the minimalist lifestyle means carrying less so you’re free to do more. But how do you know what you should keep on you and what should stay home?
Organizing a slim wallet comes down to removing anything that can be thrown away, digitized, or kept elsewhere. Efficiently stacking the cards and cash that you do need can go a long way in keeping your wallet neat and tidy.
Whether you’re transitioning from a traditional billfold to a minimalist wallet or the one you have needs some housekeeping, here are a few simple steps you can take to carry less and organize more.
Evaluate What You Carry
The first step in organizing a slim wallet is to pull everything out of your wallet and lay it out where you can see it. After all, before you can start to organize your wallet, you need to know what’s in it.
Sitting at your kitchen table with all the contents of your wallet spread out may feel a little silly at first, but trust us. This first step is critical in allowing you to see exactly what you’ve been carrying around with you. It’s probably more than you realized.
The next part of the process is to separate your wallet’s contents by type. Cash should be in one pile, credit cards in another, gift cards in a group, etc.
Now that you can clearly see what you carry and how much of it you have, you can move on to the next step: downsizing.
Prioritize Your Wallet’s Contents
Now that you know what you have, it’s time to decide what you really need to carry around with you on a daily basis and toss the rest (or stuff it in a junk drawer somewhere).
Here’s how to prioritize what goes into your wallet:
Take Out The Trash
Look through everything on your table and pick out anything that can be tossed. That includes things like old receipts, expired coupons, gum wrappers, and anything else that has found its way into your wallet over time.
Take this time to check the balance of any gift cards in your wallet and get rid of any that are low or empty. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your wallet, you may even find some gift cards to stores or restaurants that are now closed.
Throw out business cards you no longer need and anything that has been there so long it’s no longer legible. Old grocery lists, notes, ticket stubs, and checks you’ve already cashed should all go into the garbage.
Remove Anything You Don’t Use
Now that you’ve thrown away all the actual trash that’s been piling up in your wallet, it’s time to look for things you just don’t need or use regularly.
The first thing you should remove is your social security card. If you’ve been carrying it around on your person, stop. Not only is it a dangerous thing to carry around (the last thing you want is for it to get lost or stolen), but it’s unnecessary and takes up space you could use for something else.
Next up are any cards or gift cards that you don’t intend to use in the near future. Just because you have a gift card to Olive Garden doesn’t mean you need to carry it around with you for the next few months. Put it in a drawer at home, and grab it when you intend to use it.
Finally, if you’re a person who still carries blank checks around with you, it’s time to get with the times (no offense!). Thanks to debit and credit cards, and digital services like Zelle and Venmo, it’s pretty rare that you need to write a check for something. And even if you do, they won’t fit in your slim wallet, so you may want to invest in a proper checkbook if you haven’t already.
Other things that should leave your wallet are spare keys, voter registration cards, credit cards you no longer use, old hotel keys, and anything else you haven’t used in the last few months.
Digitize What You Can
One of the best tools you can use to help slim down your wallet is your smartphone.
So many things can be digitized and easily accessed on your phone, eliminating the need to carry a hard copy with you. You can digitize things like receipts, business cards, loyalty cards, insurance cards, and pictures by either taking a photo or digital scan of the item.
Apps like Dropbox, Adobe Scan, PhotoScan, and even iPhone’s Notes app all allow you to scan and save important documents right to your phone. So, look through the contents of your wallet and evaluate how each could be used. You’ll probably find that you can make digital copies of more than you think.
Carry Less Cash
Even though the GeoGrit Wallet is designed so you can carry your bills with either a Cash Strap or Money Clip, odds are you don’t need to carry as much as you think.
Excess cash, while nice to have, adds bulk to your otherwise slim wallet. Since you can now pay for virtually anything with a debit or credit card, with the tap of a phone, or even through apps like Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal, you don’t really need to carry much cash. Carrying a lot of money is also a risky move, as there is no security that protects you if it gets stolen.
The best way to carry cash is to keep $20-100 of bills in your wallet for emergencies. You can carry more if needed, but if your money clip wallet is overflowing, it’s time to stash some of it elsewhere.
And we shouldn't have to tell you that loose change has no place in a front pocket wallet. Save those pennies for the piggy bank!
So, What Should Go In Slim Wallets?
We’ve talked a lot about what you should take out of your minimalist wallet. Now it’s time to go over some of the essentials you should never leave your home without.
First up is any credit or debit cards that you use regularly. This also goes for prepaid gift cards and other forms of payment you use often.
Next is your ID. Things like your driver's license, concealed carry permit, student ID, or any other government-issued IDs you need on your person should always go in your wallet.
The next thing you should carry is cash. While we’ve already stated that you shouldn’t carry too much cash, carrying a little – anywhere from $20-100 – is wise as it comes in handy in an emergency.
Finally, don’t leave behind any wholesale club cards, gift cards you intend to use, your insurance card (if it’s not digitized), and any coupons or items you want to use in the near future.
Really, what you carry in your wallet is a personal choice. Anything you use often that can’t be digitized should go in your wallet.
Now that you know what you want to put in your wallet and what needs to go, it’s time to organize the contents so that it’s easy to access the things you need.
When organizing a slim wallet, there should only be two groups to work with: cards and cash.
To organize your cards, stack them with the one you use most often situated at the top and the one you use second most often placed on the bottom. This allows you to access those cards quickly without digging through anything to get to them.
From there, you can put your least used card at the center of the pile and work your way out with the least important in the middle and the most important on the outside. The best way to access the cards in the middle is to fan out all of the cards together and grab the one you need.
When it comes to cash, you’ll want to start by sorting it out into groups of $1, $5, $10, $20, etc. Next, stack your bills from highest to lowest and fold everything together with the smallest bills on the outside (you don’t want to advertise to the world that you have a $100 bill in your wallet so you don’t become a target).
Once everything is sorted properly, simply slide it into your slim wallet, and that’s it! Well, that’s almost it. The final step in wallet organization is keeping it tidy. Don’t go cramming receipts or useless coupons into your wallet, and hopefully you won’t have to go through this process again anytime soon!
The nice thing about a minimalist wallet is that it regulates itself to a certain extent. Once it’s full, it’s full. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need a bit of organization from time to time to make sure it is set up efficiently.
To organize a slim wallet, you first need to sort out any trash, items you no longer need, or anything that can be digitized. From there, all you have to do is organize your cards with the most important on the outside for easy access.If you’re interested in carrying a minimalist wallet made in the USA, check out our entire collection at GeoGrit.com. To learn more about why we do what we do, read our story here.