Look at your wallet. Now look back at this page. Back at your wallet. Now back at this.
Steve and Jake here. As makers of a popular minimalist wallet, we get asked all the time about how it’s possible to live with a max wallet capacity of only 8 cards and 4 bills.
Everyone thinks they need more than that because they have been carrying around a stuffed hunk of leather for years that’s as thick as a brick. Trust us. This is not the way.
After we walk you step by step through slimming down, you will probably realize 8 cards and 4 bills is actually even more than you really need. Without a doubt, most of us carry way more in our wallets than we need to!
First off, why does this matter?
It’s an often ignored but serious issue. Sitting on a thick wallet can lead to Sciatica and lower back pain. Ask any chiropractor or physical therapist and they’ll tell you it’s a bad idea to sit on a thick wallet in your back pocket, but it only takes a little bit of effort to slim down and carry less. Pair it with the right wallet (we recommend ours, and more than ten thousand of our customers agree) and you could even end up with a wallet thin enough to keep in your front pocket and avoid sitting on it altogether.
It’s time to Marie Kondo your wallet and carry less junk around with you all the time. Believe us - it’s easier than you think!
Here are our steps and tips for How to Carry Less Stuff in Your Wallet.
Empty your wallet.
We mean it. Completely empty it.
Pull every card, coin, bill, receipt, photo, you-name-it from its slot and put it out on a table in front of you. Make sure everything from your wallet is visible all at once and make some space to one side.
Make order of the clutter chaos.
Identify the things you haven’t used in at least a few months, let alone 6 months or a year or more. Chances are, you don’t really need to carry those items with you every single day. You don’t need to ask yourself if they “spark joy,” but it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing to do either.
Here are a few things you might find and some tips to deal with the clutter.
Do you really need them?
No: Throw them in the recycling.
Yes: Take a photo on your iPhone and move them to a designated album or your favorites to make them super easy to find. Then throw the physical receipts away, and actually account for them or document them instead of carrying the paper around until it turns yellow and unreadable.
Do you find yourself always carrying around a thick stack of business cards?
Try only carrying however many of your own cards you need for a meeting or tradeshow. If you’re a salesperson who currently gives them out all the time, keep a stack in the car or in a separate card holder for events. Better yet, create a contact with your own information in your phone and share that by text with new connections instead of a paper card. Sending them a digital contact of your information is greener, free, and saves them the time of typing in your information by hand!
If you have a bunch of other people’s cards with you, take a photo of the ones that matter on the fly, add them to your contacts later, and get rid of them! Odds are you will lose them in a stack somewhere anyway.
Odds are, you’re going to have at least one or two rewards cards in your wallet.
You might even find a card for somewhere that isn’t even open any more (Blockbuster anyone?). For the ones to places that are still open, we know getting that tenth sandwich for free is awesome, and free does always taste better, but you don’t need to keep the rewards card in your wallet.
Most places accept phone numbers now anyway, so throw that Ralph’s card in the trash! For the places that still require a physical card, try organizing all of your them together in a stack where you can access them whenever you need, like a drawer in your desk at the office or a single area of the glove compartment of your car. Key theme here is organized but not in your wallet.
Organizing them that way will probably even help you use them more often so you don’t wind up with four different Cold Stone cards that still don’t add up to a free one!
These go in the recycling, too! If you’re saving them for sentimental reasons, find a better place to collect them that isn’t in your pocket.
Collect the ID’s from the pile.
A lot of people carry around medical and car insurance identification 24/7, but often all that is needed from non-photo ID cards is your account number. If that is the case, take a photo on your smartphone and again, save it to a photo album like your favorites so it will be accessible digitally whenever it is needed. You can also save a note on your phone with the account numbers as an extra backup.
Once they are secured digitally and accessible any time with your phone, file them away someplace safe at home as an extra, extra backup.
Reevaluate your debit and credit cards.
By now you should be down to whatever credit and debit cards you use, your driver’s license, and cash. It’s time to sort through those, too!
Look at the payment cards on hand. Do you actually use all of them? If you are a business owner and have personal and business payment cards, are there any you can eliminate, or are there any you only use at work? Consider storing them there or in your work bag instead of in your wallet.
The key tip here is if you don’t use the card for payment more than once per month (and this is a pretty low bar), it probably doesn’t need to be in your wallet.
If you have an iPhone, Pixel, or Android phone, can you make use of digital wallets and smartphone tap payments (Google/Apple Pay) and not carry at least some of your payment cards? Here’s a list of reviews of mobile payment apps.
Last but not least, cold hard cash.
How many places do you go that only take cash? Our guess is probably about one coffee shop and one taquería (or maybe nowhere at all by the time you read this post). Even food trucks and farmers markets, which used to be notorious for being cash only, are practically all hooked up with Square and Toast nowadays. People are simply carrying less cash nowadays.
This one sounds difficult but is actually really simple: only carry the cash you need to go to places that are cash only, and only carry it when you intend to go there.
There are weeks at a time now that we will go without cash in our wallets and never even think twice about it. We’ve both also experienced times when we will end up carrying the same exact $20 bill for a few months - never spending it, just carrying it.
With a tiny bit of forethought, you can probably carry far less cash than you are accustomed to carrying. Think about how much just the thickness of a stack of folded bills in your back pocket can add up to over a lifetime of sitting lopsided on your wallet; or think about how much less weight (a USD bill is about 1 gram) you would carry over several decades of daily life.
Put everything back inside your wallet and pat yourself on the back! If you followed all of the steps above, you should now have far less in your wallet than when you started.
Cheers to you!
In the words of one of our close friends: “Slimming down is kind of like therapy.” We totally agree. It feels uncomfortable but has a huge payoff in the long run.If you find yourself curious about the best minimalist wallet on the market now that you’ve slimmed down, be sure to check out our Stealth Wallet line. It fits 8 cards and 4 bills, and there is no wallet in the world that is thinner.