Friday, January 4, 2013

What's In Your Design Bag?

Yesterday a fellow PSMM member, Barb from A Life in Balance, had asked a question in our Facebook group about what type of work bag everyone has to keep them organized and still hold all of the essentials. I thought it would be a fun idea to post here and get some feedback from all of you.

I have and absolutely love the Thirty-One organizing utility tote. I had gotten this from my SIL last Christmas and had never even heard of Thirty-One until Karen gave me the bag (thanks Karen!). Here is the bag from the website:

And here is my bag below. It doesn't look like the black and white stripe is an option anymore, but they do have plenty of other pattern options available. I use this bag to pack all of my materials that I need for design jobs or appointments. It holds a ton of stuff and is extremely durable. The straps have not given way at all which I'm very impressed with, and I've thrown a lot of stuff in here (which you'll see below).

See all of the stuff thrown inside? It looks like this all the time.

Here is the breakdown of stuff:
1. A big guy tape measure is a must for getting measurements in a home or even if I'm out at a store and need to measure a piece of furniture. I also have a mini tape measure that I carry with me as well.

2. Color is important of course and paint decks are important because sometimes you need to reference a color chip or you want to reference a color quickly while on the computer. I'm very hands on so I like to have my deck with me whenever possible. Of course color specification requires much bigger samples, but that's a whole other post ;)

3. Notebook is also a must. I've got this marbled copybook like I used to use in grade school and then I have a tablet that I use as well.

4. I've been organizing materials for projects into giant Zip-Lock bags and I must say it's worked quite well. I can see everything (so I know whose project it is) and it's super easy just to throw certain materials into the specific bag and go.

5. File folder to hold all sorts of important papers or forms, etc.

6. This is actually a small cosmetic bag that I had gotten from Target a few years ago and I love it. It's perfect for holding all of the small essentials that I might need: pencil, pen, extra business cards, post-it notes, gum. It's perfect.

7. Masking tape has been floating in the bag because I found sometimes I want to see how big or small a piece of furniture or layout might look without actually having the pieces in the room yet.

And then there are several extra pockets on the sides and on either end of the bag. I throw keys, my wallet, my cell phone - all kinds of stuff in these pockets.

And these weren't actually in my bag, but I also throw in my laptop too and it still holds everything!

The laptop is the pinstripe case on the bottom, and the case above that is the iPad. I don't use the iPad at all really for design work - I'm attached to and love the laptop. I had gotten both of these cases from Etsy seller Bertie's Closet. They are nicely padded and she has a wide variety of patterns to choose from. I went neutral on both cases because I knew both me and my husband would be using them. He mostly uses the iPad.

So that's what's in my bag these days, I'd love to hear any types of bags or essentials that you like to have with you at all times. And doesn't need to be a bag for design - any type of work bag. Do tell!

Thanks so much for all of your well wishes on our big news. It's a very exciting time for us and I look forward to keeping you posted on everything. I will tell you one thing - we agree on our boy name but cannot agree really on a girl name at all - but plenty of time :)

We're also celebrating our 4 year anniversary tomorrow by touring The Barnes Foundation (EEEEK!!). If you're not familiar with The Barnes, please do take a look at the website and see why I'm very excited. And then we're going to a nice dinner afterward and enjoying each other and the city. I'll try to post some photos on Instagram (you can follow me at Hollygruszka on Instagram). I need to figure out my outfit stat!

**Oh and I was not compensated at all by Thirty-One or any of the other vendors listed in this post - just love the products and wanted to share.


  1. That is a great bag...would make a good diaper bag too! :)

  2. What a great bag! I also really like your idea of a small makeup bag to coral pens and business cards.

    And, Happy Anniversary! Sounds like you guys have a great day planned - enjoy! :)

  3. This post is so great! A while back Kristie Barnette had a Q&A on our design bags and I did up a little photo email reply for her :-) It's almost the same as you've done here! I think it's great to share and compare notes, and you always learn a new tip or two... like your ziplocks. What a great idea!

    I can see where a girl's name might be tough... afterall, how can you trump 'Sheila'? LOL ;-)

  4. I have that same pattern from 31, but a different bag! How funny! Your bag is perfect for design related work. I love all the pockets. And congratulations on expecting! That's wonderful news! I'm so happy for you and your family. :)

  5. I so love a good bag that can organize everything! And that looks cute too. Thanks for sharing this one.