Pocket organization
February 22, 2008 6:58 AM   Subscribe

How do the guys here creatively and efficiently organize their pockets to carry the three essentials: cell phone, keys, and wallet?

Current system:
Front left pocket: cell phone
Front right pocket: keys
Back right pocket: wallet

This reorganization is occurring because my current wallet is falling apart. I am thinking about switching to a slim front-pocket wallet because I am dissatisfied with carrying my wallet in my back pocket. This would probably mean the front right pocket shares the keys AND wallet. I am also thinking about minimizing my key situation by using only a ring and the 3 keys I need at all times. The slim front-pocket wallet AND minimal keys still seems a bit much to carry in one pocket and might create an annoying situation when I need either my keys or my wallet and would require the removal of both at once.

How do you carry your stuff? Are you satisfied with your pocket situation? Any creative pocket organization solutions?
posted by comatose to Grab Bag (76 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, I have the same exact system as you (during the winter months, I add chap stick to the front left next to the cell). When I don't want to carry a wallet, I keep my debit card/ID/subwaycard with my cell.

I've been using the same system since I started carrying a wallet and keys as a kid. I'd say I'm pretty satisfied with it.
posted by General Malaise at 7:05 AM on February 22, 2008

Cell phone in holster.
Wallet in back right pocket.
Keys in front left pocket.

Unimaginative, I know. I've found that the most important factor is ruthless triage as to what goes on the keyring or in the wallet. I have an L2 cache at home, where I keep the special-purpose keys, the store gift cards, and the like. Change gets purged every few days. Keeping the bulk of the keyring and wallet down makes for a comfortable experience, and less fumbling when looking for any particular key or card.
posted by grimmelm at 7:06 AM on February 22, 2008

All-Ett European in front right pocket. Keys in coin pocket of jeans. My key ring is a small-diameter ring with just house key, mail key, car key, and a small Swiss Army knife. Any other keys go on a separate ring that I only have when I need them. If I'm not wearing jeans, the keys stay in a jacket pocket or clipped into my briefcase. Cell phone is usually in a jacket or coat pocket, or in my briefcase. If I need it on me, it also goes in the right front pocket on top of the wallet.
posted by stopgap at 7:06 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hate carrying stuff in my pockets. I either keep things in my coat pocket or in my shoulder bag.

In the summer when I have neither I do the following:

1. Break up my key ring and only carry the most essential ones. Usually just 2 keys; house and car.

2. I switched from a flip phone to a small candy bar size one (upstage II).

3. Only carry my drivers license, credit card and a full bills in a clip.

This keeps bulkage down and works pretty good.
posted by bleucube at 7:08 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I put my most important three keys in a ring in my wallet (that's what those leather things are for in the fold.) then I put my wallet in my pocket and wedge my cell phone in next to it. Viola!
posted by parmanparman at 7:09 AM on February 22, 2008

Yeah, don't put stuff in your back pocket, it's the perfect place to get it stolen from.

Start wearing a jacket. That brings you at least four more pockets. And you'll look stylin'.
posted by chrismear at 7:09 AM on February 22, 2008

I think most guys here use a portable hole.

Yes, if "portable hole" means asking my wife to put my stuff in her purse.

I do front left = wallet, front right = keys, and the cellphone goes where it can -- shirt or jacket pocket, cargo pants pocket if I'm wearing those pants. I used to have a belt-clip for the cellphone, but it kept snagging on things and falling off, so I scrapped that idea.
posted by Forktine at 7:10 AM on February 22, 2008

(Not a guy, but feels lost without a pocket for my keys). I'm presuming that a bag, lanyards hooked on your belt, cell phone belt cases and cargo pants are all off the table, right?

These sites on minimalist wallets might be useful: 43Folders; LifeClever (yes, that is a binder clip!).
posted by maudlin at 7:10 AM on February 22, 2008

I carry a slim 4-pocket credit card case like this in my back pocket and limit the contents to my ID and 3-4 other cards. I don't notice it all. I keep my cash in a simple metal money clip in my front pocket.
posted by mullacc at 7:11 AM on February 22, 2008

Money Clip. Golden. Nuff said.
posted by markovich at 7:11 AM on February 22, 2008

Like chrismear, I rock a jacket. Even in the summer. Because you can carry it on your arm, and a lot of times places are so heavily air-conditioned you need a jacket anyway, or you can then be a handy guy if one of your companions gets cold in a restaurant.
posted by cashman at 7:12 AM on February 22, 2008

Skinny wallet in the back pocket, tiny flip phone in front right, keys and a pen in front left. Pretty boring.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:15 AM on February 22, 2008

You'd be surprised to find that you probably don't need a pocket devoted to just your cell phone. I started carrying my sunglasses case in my pocket, and that necessitated I clean out a front pocket. I carry my cell phone, my 7 keys (on 3 rings with a pillbox fob), and a jar of Carmex in my front right pocket. It doesn't cause me much trouble. So try putting the wallet in its own pocket and the phone with your keys and see if that works.

However, a lot depends on the kinds of pants you wear. If I wear more fitted pants (an extreme rarity for me, but I have a girlfriend who likes to see my tush every now and then without having to depants me), I have to occasionally adjust the things in my front right pocket so that they bulge no more than one layer.

If you're looking for a slimmer wallet, then try it in your back pocket and see if just slimming it down satisfies your problem.

Only slightly related: I deliberately keep my left rear pocket empty and devote it to anything I didn't expect to have to carry (shopping list, receipts when I don't want to get out my wallet, loose change). I stopped carrying a spare elastic hairband in there because it looks like a condom (and because I had a hard time fitting the synthesizer and drum kit).

Somebody once asked me why sitting on my wallet didn't bother me, so I examined my sitting patterns and noticed that my wallet would shift to the side of my buttocks and that I wasn't sitting on it at all. I do it every day, and yet, I'm not entirely sure how this works. Sir Mix-a-lot wouldn't write a song about me, but my rear end is not bony enough for this to make a lot of sense. It seems to happen even when I'm not wearing ridiculously baggy pants, though every now and then, I can't get it to work out right. One of life's great mysteries, I guess.
posted by ErWenn at 7:16 AM on February 22, 2008

Back right - Wallet.
Front Right - Cell (very slim Motofone F3)
Front Left - Chapstick, Flash Drive, Pocketknife, keyfob transmitter for my car, and change.
Keys hang on a mini-carabiner from the center back belt loop. My workplace is really informal (jeans and a hoodie most days), so I can do this. When I have to wear a suit, I'm screwed, and I lose my keys every 10 minutes.

It seems like a lot, but it's amazing how easy it is to get used to.
posted by god hates math at 7:17 AM on February 22, 2008

I live in central Madrid, so back-pocket wallet is not feasible thanks to all the pickpockets (and that being pale and blond makes me look like a tourist/mark). I used to have the same config as you, but I switched to this one, using only two pockets:

Front left: Money (cash) and mobile phone.
Front right: Keys (way too many of them at the moment) and a slim metallic card holder.

If you're a fan of tighter trousers than I, I recommend a murse or a coat. Both of which I use on occasion.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:18 AM on February 22, 2008

I don't have a car, so my recommendations are based on having nowhere other than the house and my classroom to keep stuff. I am an uber-minimalist.

I have a tiny magic-flip-wallet from J. Crew for money and cards (no more than a few banknotes, two bank cards, my driver's license, and a piece of paper with all my library card numbers and PINs written down so I can check things like the library-website-accessed OED online, plus two small (one house, one classroom) keys on a simple ring in the little coin pocket inside the right pocket of my trousers, and my candybar-form cell phone in my left. Everything else is in a little desk organizer thingy like this at home.

I've had the wallet for 4 years and it's great because you physically cannot make it any thicker without everything falling out, so it's got a slim profile and forces you to purge every few days.

Coins (which I only receive in change!) go in a jacket or shirt pocket until I get home, when they are dumped into a little jar and taken to the bank every few months.
posted by mdonley at 7:18 AM on February 22, 2008

slimepuppy: Murse! I love that word!
posted by mdonley at 7:20 AM on February 22, 2008

My setup isn't creative, either:

Cell phone in left front pocket.
Keys in right front pocket.
Wallet in left back pocket.

Why do you want to move your wallet to a front pocket? Front pockets are more inconvenient to get stuff out of when seated (like paying the check at a restaurant).

Does your wallet need to go on a diet? Get a smaller/thinner wallet for your back pocket, and keep less stuff in it. I also keep my key ring as minimal as I can -- car key/alarm fob (Audi, so it's one piece), house key, office key, Photon LED light.

In general, I suggest carrying less stuff rather than rearranging a system that has presumably worked for you for years.
posted by flexiblefine at 7:20 AM on February 22, 2008

I have a front-pocket wallet because I think it's a little more secure. That goes front right. Cell phone, chap stick, change front left. My keys I attach to a belt loop with a carabiner and dangle into my right rear pocket.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:20 AM on February 22, 2008

I'm a front-pocket wallet devotee, for the security reason as well as others. I'm also a wallet minimalist - anything I don't use on at least a weekly basis goes into a secondary wallet I keep in the car.

Left pocket: Cell phone, keycard for work
Right pocket: Wallet, keys. Note: Keychain is also minimalist, though I do carry a utilikey on it.

Part of the reason for that system is that I used to have a bulkier cell phone - nowadays, slimness is a major priority so it can go into non-baggy pants - and part is that I want my cell rapidly snatchable out of my pocket more than I need rapid access to my keys or wallet.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2008

I don't think there's anything special about mine, but it's minimal and it works for me.

I use a jimi wallet that only contains my license, student ID, insurance card, and my debit and credit card. I generally don't carry cash at all unless I know I'll be needing it. It goes in my right front pocket.

I constantly lose sight of my keys, so I just decided to hook up my key chain to a carabiner on the belt loop to the right of the family jewels.

The phone I just keep loose in my left front pocket.

I'm kind of surprised at how many people use back pockets for anything other than paper. I'd imagine it'd feel really awkward sitting on something like a wallet, not to mention makes it really easy to pickpocket. I always use my front pockets for anything of remote value.
posted by sinscriven at 7:32 AM on February 22, 2008

Everything of mine goes into a murse. No pockets necessary.
posted by andythebean at 7:33 AM on February 22, 2008

Pocket distribution doesn't matter very much to me. It's more about minimalism:

1. Money clip wallet with out-facing pockets for cards (sorta like this)
2. Minimal set of keys
3. Slim cell phone

I eagerly await having an RFID chip implanted in my hand that can open doors because it will reduce pocket cargo.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:36 AM on February 22, 2008

GREAT question. This bugs me.

I keep my wallet as slim as possible, and when I'm walking around it's in my back right pocket.

I'm left-handed, so keys go in front left jacket pocket, and cell phone in front right jacket pocket.

As soon as I sit down, all three come out of my pockets and onto the table in front of me, stacked neatly to the side. I like to have my eye on them at all times.

If I don't have a jacket, they go into my front left and right pants pocket, respectively. I don't really like this because I wear fitted jeans, but I have not found a better solution. I have been considering a money clip. I also keep my keys down to the bare essentials.

In Japan I hear you can use your cell phone for all three purposes. That would rock.
posted by lohmannn at 7:36 AM on February 22, 2008

Fuck a wallet. I carry id, bank card and paper cash in my left front pocket. Cellphone too, for that matter. Keys and change in right front pocket.

And I keep a flag in my right rear pocket, in case I want to signal illegal action on the field, communicate my sexual preferences via an elaborate code, or mark chatfilter questions.
posted by box at 7:39 AM on February 22, 2008

Front right pocket: wallet and cell phone
Front left pocket: keys and pens

The issue is that the keys will scratch up and eventually destroy anything put in with them, including a leather wallet or a plastic cell phone. I don't keep anything in my back pockets because sitting on asymmetrical lumps leads to back pain.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:40 AM on February 22, 2008


Front-right - Cell Phone
Front-left - Smokes
Back-right - Wallet
Right beltloop - Keys

I haven't had any problems with getting keys stolen, and I have a few, including a thumbdrive and one of those Paypal security keys. Otherwise they'd go in one of the front pockets.

And re: wallet in back pocket: I've been keeping my wallet in my back-right pocket for so long, I'm used to the slight unevenness. Honestly, there have been times where I forgot my wallet before getting in my car, and it feels weird.
posted by booticon at 7:43 AM on February 22, 2008

Surprised nobody has brought up smokes.
When i was a smoker, it would be cigarettes and zippo AND cellphone in front left, wallet in back right (I had a George Castanza wallet then) and keys in front right.

Now that i am older, wiser and a non smoker, its cell phone in front left (although it does move around a bit more than i would like), slimline wallet and keys in front right. My ass thanks me every day....
posted by chromatist at 7:47 AM on February 22, 2008

should have previewed. Cheers to booticon for bringing up the smokes
posted by chromatist at 7:48 AM on February 22, 2008

I swear by my Ultimate Hoodie from ScottEVest. It has enough pockets for all my stuff and is light enough to wear or carry in the summer.
posted by Nick Jordan at 7:50 AM on February 22, 2008

Rear Left: Wallet, and sometimes a scrap of paper for notes.
Rear Right: Handkerchief, Cellphone (rarely carried), and Keys (As few as keys as I need for the day.)
Front Right: Knife, and Pen.
Front Left: Empty until needed.

It took a while to get used to the keys against my butt, but I prefer them there where they don't press against my thighs.

I often fantasize about ditching the wallet and carrying a little cash and a credit card. Someday, I'll do it... perhaps tonight. That might just be the kind of radical change I need.
posted by Science! at 7:50 AM on February 22, 2008

Front right pocket: Wallet
Front left pocket: Cellphone
Back right belt loop: Carabiner with my keys which hang down and usually end up in my pack right pocket. I have a lot of keys for work and trying to carry them in a packet would drive me mad or cause massive blood loss.
Both front pockets: Kleenexes.
posted by jmd82 at 7:58 AM on February 22, 2008

I do cell in front left, keys in front right (house, chain lock, motorcycle, don't have a car), in the back I carry debit card, credit card, license (sometimes), and cash held together with a couple of the extra thick/strong girls hair ties. I started out using rubber bands, but the rubber is too sticky, it grips jeans when you try to pull it out. After a period of experimentation, I settled on the hair bands. They last about 6 months and run like $3 a dozen.
posted by youthenrage at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2008

Wallet front right
Keys front left
Cellphone in watch pocket

The watch pocket really is a perfect place for a phone. The pocket looks a little small but a decent sized flip phone will slide right in there and disappear. Especially discreet since you can leave it on vibrate all the time and never miss a call.
posted by pocams at 8:03 AM on February 22, 2008

i stopped doing the wallet in the back pocket because it was causing back problems. i now have a slim money clip wallet from fossil that i love. debit card, credit card, license, and cash, thats it. everything else is in a rubberband in the locked glovebox.

front left pocket: knife clipped to edge, keys, usb microSDreader/flashdrive, slim wallet
front right pocket: cell phone, usb flash drive, chapstick, ocassionally gps

downsized from pda and cellphone to pda cellphone. no going back.

then there's the manbag that follows me around in the car. chargers, mp3 players, cables, book, etc.
posted by phritosan at 8:03 AM on February 22, 2008

Do you need all the cards in your wallet? Do you need a wallet? Can you use a money clip? Can you keep cards you kinda need, but not often, in your car/house? Is you cellphone too big? Can you carry less keys, or minimize your keyring? (I carry only a ring with keys on it, no bauble). For a while I carried all my credit cards/id held together with a hair elastic. You can really minimize that way. Don't carry change. Throw it in a jar at home.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:12 AM on February 22, 2008

I don't carry a wallet. I just wrap a dollar around my cards and put it in my back left pocket. If I'm on a crowed street or something, I might shift it to a shirt/jacket pocket if I have one.
Cell phone in front left pocket.
Keys in front right (only if no jacket).
Lighter and chapstick in coin pocket.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:13 AM on February 22, 2008

Front left: Cellphone
Front right: Keys
Back Right: Torus Smart MoneyClip
Back Left: Coins/small bills.

Works pretty well for me, I haven't been a victim of pickpockets yet.
The cardholder + moneyclip is a pretty small, light combination.
posted by juicedigital at 8:13 AM on February 22, 2008

Cell phone - shirt pocket(if available), or front left pocket
Keys - front right
Wallet - back right
Coins, etc - wherever I happen to put them

I carry a pretty small cell phone(Sony Ericsson w580i). Larger ones might have trouble in the shirt pocket. I like it in my shirt pocket because I never get "phantom vibrations" like I do if I keep it in my pants pocket.
posted by owtytrof at 8:39 AM on February 22, 2008

Not a guy, but:

Wallet - back right
Cell - front left
Keys - front right (this pocket also contains a pocket knife, coins, little box of tea tree oil toothpicks)

I've considered giving up the wallet for a clip, since if I have a wallet it will be filled with random business cars from people, raincheck cards from Peet's, bits of paper w/ phone numbers, and then the various cards - ID, debit & credit, insurance, and a zillion membership cards for REI and Safeway and BevMo and whatnot. I fear that without a wallet, I will still accumulate this stuff, and it will inevitably end up loose in a pocket. Sigh.
posted by rtha at 8:53 AM on February 22, 2008

Get the cell phone out of your pocket. That will make the rest of it a lot easier. Use some sort of holster or clip on case. I have a Treo but I've seen very few cell phones that are thin enough to give up pocket space to. The All-Ett European goes in the front left along with a USB drive and when I remember, a pocket knife and spare house and car key. Right front gets my keys and cash, coins in the coin pocket. Left rear holds one folded sheet of paper that I use to jot down a note if needed (directions, shopping list, etc.) and I carry a pen or mechanical pencil in my right rear pocket.

I'll admit that a cell phone holster looks particularly bad with shorts. Don't wear jean shorts; try to find a pair with an extra pocket or two.

If you only have 3 keys, you could get a very small ring, or even a twist tie, and keep them in the coin pocket.
posted by BigSky at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2008

I use the Slimmy wallet from Koyono one of the best purchases I have ever made. As far as the pocket situation, I keep my wallet and cellphone in my right pock (I have the Razr v3xx) and it works out great since in most of my pants i can keep them side by side and not on top of each other. Keys go in the left pocket and anything random I might pick up usually goes in the back pockets.
posted by thenuts at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2008

Yeah, it's all about the All-Ett, once you have that the rest falls into place. I like the little junior one. (uh, apparently it's been renamed to "european." NICE.)

Also, nothing in back pockets. Also, for the love of god NO CELL PHONE HOLSTER. Get a nice slim phone like a Razor or LG VX8700 or something that can fit in your front pocket easily.
posted by 1 at 9:02 AM on February 22, 2008

Wallet and keys in the front right, cell phone in the front left. That way I know they will be less likely to be stolen, it's more comfortable when I sit down, plus the keys won't scratch the phone.
posted by Camel of Space at 9:03 AM on February 22, 2008

Front right - cell phone, wallet
Front left - keys, 1-2 pens

Judging by the replies in this thread, I'm apparently in a minority in putting my wallet and cell phone in the same pocket. Surprisingly, I don't find this particularly bulky. I don't put things in my back pockets, not so much because of the threat of pickpockets, but just because I don't like sitting on my wallet or other items.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2008

I carry phone and sunglasses/glasses case in the left front, keys in the right front, wallet in the right back. I don't live in a metro area where I'm likely to get pickpocketed, though based on the comments above if I ever move to one I will be rethinking where I keep the wallet.

Also, nthing "NO CELL PHONE HOLSTER." Ya, rly.
posted by Alterscape at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2008

I always, always, always notice how much crap guys are carrying around in their pockets. No offense, but some of you look like you're packing in for some urban camping. Do you really need your Best Buy, Safeway, Mileage, and burrito cards with you, everywhere you go?!? Not to mention all the receipts and business cards and change and post-its and lists and directions and...

If you can slim down that beast of a wallet you will have soooo much room for other things. Plus your pants will look really slick. So my vote is for the small front wallet, as has been suggested above.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:13 AM on February 22, 2008

Phone and keys in left front pocket.
Slim Wallet (formerly the awesome J.Crew MagicWallet, now an even slimmer one with built in money clip) in right rear pocket. I don't usually keep more than 3-4 cards and 5-6 bills in it at any given time.

The right front pocket is available for change, business cards, transit-transfers, etc. etc. If I end up with a bunch of 1 dollar bills, they usually go in there too.

My phone is an old, unkillable nokia candybar that takes up less space in my pants than my dick. I can't imagine not being able to fit a newer, slimmer one. N-thing the "NO CELLPHONE HOLSTER". Unless you're the type who wears a fanny pack on the beach.
posted by toxic at 9:23 AM on February 22, 2008

Keys in front left, cash in front right, cards in back right, no wallet. Cards probably wear out a bit faster, but not that fast and bank gives new ones when they do. Plenty of room in either front pocket for phone if I've got no coat on.
posted by biffa at 9:49 AM on February 22, 2008

Cargo/Leg/Front-Right (if the other 2 aren't available on the pants I'm wearing): Jimi Wallet
Front-Right Pocket: Chapstick, Quarters, Lucky Frog & Rock
Front-Left Pocket: Pen, Sharpie, Lighter, Cell Phone
Back-Left Pocket: HPDA
Back-Right Pocket: Empty, ready for anything extra

Keys - Carabiner clipped to a back belt loop so they dangle into my back-right pocket.
Multi-Tool - Sheathed on my belt
Kershaw Lockback Knife - Clipped to front-right pocket
posted by ekstasis23 at 10:07 AM on February 22, 2008

I never put much in my back pockets because it makes sitting uncomfortable and is bad for the back.

Left front pocket contains cellphone right next to wallet. In my case, I switched to the Money Clamp wallet you see advertised in the back of Rolling Stone. It's a good product and it keeps you from filling your wallet with useless crap you're never going to use again. It keeps the pocket from bulging as well.

In the right pocket go the house keys, car keys, and pocket knife clipped to the pocket liner. I keep cellphone and keys separate because I don't want the keys scratching the phone.

Right now my phone is relatively narrow, but I plan on going iPhone soon, so I might have to reevaluate.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:24 AM on February 22, 2008

Keys on an industrial metal key ring with retractable cable. Fits nicely on my belt.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:24 AM on February 22, 2008

I found that the best thing is to replace the wallet and get an ID holder. Pocket change has to be loose in the pocket, but bills will fit into it. I currently have 14 cards in it, and I could maybe fit one more in, but then it would make it harder to fit dollar bills in.

The one that I have is from http://raneeleedesign.com/ (choose "Miscellaneous and the id card holder is 3rd from the top (horrible site design IMO) - this direct link may work).

If you don't want to look at the image essentially it's just a cheap piece of plastic large enough to hold about 15 credit cards. Like'y it would be considered a woman's item, as they could hold id cards in a purse. I find it a perfect wallet substitute (before this because of my hatred of wallets I just carried bills quarter folded in my pocket, and all ID/credit/bank cards in my back pack). Wallets suck.

For all three, keys go in left front jeans pocket, "wallet" in front right pocket, and cell phone in my flannel shirt pocket. However sometimes when I bend over the cell phone falls out of my shirt pocket, so I wouldn't mind a cell phone holder that would attach to a belt loop. In the meantime I'm amazed that my cheapie phone is still working perfectly. Heck, I even dropped it in my sump pit once (fortunately it had run out of battery during the night so it was off for that).

I have giant key rings for work - they go in my back pack; there's no way I'd consider the injury that I'd get trying to jam them in a pocket.
posted by nobeagle at 10:25 AM on February 22, 2008

Nth-ing ruthless triage, especially on ATM receipts and other wallet detritus like that never-used library card (put it in your glove compartment or in your desk).

Left pocket: change, keys, pen. Right pocket: cell phone. Hip pocket: wallet with: ATM card, credit card, cash, license, and health insurance card. No grocery loyalty cards (I can always give them a phone number instead), no movie rental cards (tel. no again), no library cards (I only go a few times a year).

Key ring: house keys, car key, bike key, Quarter-size penlight, that's it. No fob and no keys that I don't use every week.

Cell phone: a cheap phone that I don't care whether it dies or gets scratched. These tend to last 3 years in my pocket, even with the abuse of my daily bike commuting.

I also use a slim wallet - single fold. It doesn't get in the way, but holds all my cards and cash.
posted by zippy at 10:28 AM on February 22, 2008

Oh, I left out the SOG multitool in the same pocket with my keys. Either this or a
Swiss-tech Utili-key (actually, both at the moment, time for ruthless triage).
posted by zippy at 10:30 AM on February 22, 2008

Not a guy, but I don't like purses.

Nthing the All-Ett. I use the card case. In it is a Just One Club Card and a few other cards.

Front left: cash. Front right: keys (2, on a thin hardware-store ring). Back right: card case. Back left, occasionally: cell phone (iPhone) under an overshirt. I prefer to have the phone in my jacket pocket. Not sure what I'll do with the phone in hot weather.
posted by PatoPata at 11:00 AM on February 22, 2008

Front right: Keys

Front left: slim wallet, cell phone, fisher bullet space pen

Rear left: Handkerchief

Rear right: Receipts, maybe some cash if I'm actually carrying any

The phone frequently ends up in a jacket pocket. The jacket usually has a small moleskine too.
posted by ericales at 11:29 AM on February 22, 2008

I've never really differentiated between my left and right front pockets. It's always wallet in the back, keys and phone up front. Which particular pocket just depends on how I picked them up.
posted by casaubon at 11:29 AM on February 22, 2008

I've got everything in my front pockets -- cell and lip balm in front left, pen and wallet in front right, keys in watch pocket. At my job I have to go through locked doors all the time, so I stick the keyfob into the watch pocket and allow the keys to hang free. Right now I've got six keys plus a bottle opener on a mini carabiner stuck in my pocket. It's easy to pull out and put back quickly.

However, like god hates math, I wear jeans pretty much every day. If I had to wear nice pants I don't know what I'd do. (Of course if I had a job that required fancy clothing it probably wouldn't be in a place that was locked down like San Quentin.)
posted by harkin banks at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2008

While I used to keep a wallet in my back pocket, eventually I stopped due to fear of theft and also the strange shape my wallet would eventually take on as a result of being sat on everyday.

Now the setup is: Front right: Keys and sometimes cigs. As someone else said above, anything you put with keys gets scratched, so cigarette boxes are the perfect companion. Front left: small billfold wallet and cellphone. I like these two items together because they slide next to each other and keep each other in place while only adding one layer of bulk. Back pockets typically only carry receipts and other trash.
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:22 PM on February 22, 2008

I work with giant magnets all day, so anything electronic or with a magnetic strip stays in my backpack in my office. I do enjoy keeping a tube of non-magnetic lip balm and the occasional non-magnetic dollar bill or cough drop in my right pocket. I usually end up forgetting my keys next to the computer that runs the giant magnet, because that's where I like to keep 'em.
posted by sararah at 12:30 PM on February 22, 2008

Cell in my left pocket, along with cards (credit card, DL, student ID, subway pass); cash and a leatherman in my right pocket. Keys can fit in my right pocket if necessary, but otherwise they - and everything else - get L2'd to a manbag along with my ipod, writing implements, and other odds and ends. Sometimes I put the keys on a carabiner, and hook that to my belt loop.

It's all about cutting down to the bare minimum.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2008

I've never been able to stand a billfold wallet in my rear pocket, so I use a rubber band (a black "snagless" hair band) to bind my I.D., bank card, credit card, insurance cards and a few business cards into a nice slim bundle that lives in a front pocket. I fold and slip receipts under one side of the rubber band and, when necessary, I quarter-fold paper money and slip it into the other.

So my normal set-up is:
Front left: Card bundle, cellphone (smallish flip phone)
Front right: Lighter, pocket knife (clipped to top/outside of the pocket)
Back left: tobacco pouch

Keys are clipped to my back right belt loop with a small carabiner and slip inside my back right pocket when I'm walking to deaden the annoying janitor key jingle.

Great question... This is one of those solutions I'm always trying to refine.
posted by maniactown at 12:54 PM on February 22, 2008

Front left: Keys, Chap stick
Front right: Cell phone, sunglasses
Back right: Wallet

No cell phone holster, ever, ever.
posted by tepidmonkey at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2008

If I put anything anywhere than on me I might lose it.

A jacket? Could lose the jacket, wallet could fall out. That's a terrible idea. And if you're in a hot part of the world completely undoable. A murse? Easy to lose. If I lose my pants I have more problems than my wallet.

As far as wallet being stolen from back pocket, I've never had it happen. If I'm walking in a crowd and feel unsafe I can easily move it into my front pocket for a while.

Audi, so it's one piece

Um, jeeps do it, so do many other cars now. Not exclusive to audi.
posted by gtr at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2008

front left - wallet, iphone, canon sd1000 elph
front right - knife, keys, change, pen
front right small pocket - swiss army pocket watch, iphone headphones, Iphone headphone adapter
posted by brent_h at 1:20 PM on February 22, 2008

I am fascinated by this informal poll. it never occurred to me that people would have different systems OR that I would be so different than what seems to be the norm. For the record, I am as follows (almost never deviating from this way):

Back left pocket: wallet
Front left pocket: keys (which separate in the middle, so I can take JUST home or JUST work keys)
Front right pocket: change, if I have any, and cell phone if I am not wearing a jacket.

If I have a jacket, cell in the right pocket, car keys in the left pocket (if necessary)
posted by indiebass at 2:03 PM on February 22, 2008

Mine is almost exactly the same as yours, except that I'm left-handed, so my left/right pockets are flipped. Occasionally, like if I'm on travel, I use a butterfly-paperclip as a money/id clip and slip it into my right-front pocket with my cellphone and leave the wallet in a secure place in my hotel room. Other incidentals, such as pack of gum, chapstick, receipts, etc, go into whichever front pocket is on the same side as the hand holding the item (usually left, but right makes more sense, i suppose).

The real problem comes when adding change into the equation - putting it in the right-front scratches up the screen on my cell and putting it in my left-front means getting out my keys occasionally pulls a quarter or penny with it, which immediately rolls across the room or under the car.
posted by mysterpigg at 2:16 PM on February 22, 2008

It cracks me up a bit that so many of us are responding to this - that there are so many of us (of both sexes!) that have enough interest in this to carry on a conversation about it. That said; my system? Cargo pants! They don't have to be the sloppy, baggy type, I'm not a frat boy or a beach bum. I recently wore out a pair and got two new pair - one tannish and one black. They both are pretty dressy (especially the black, the cargo pockets don't really show unless you look close). And the current order is:

Right front - pen, paper scraps (soon to be replaced by a small notebook in rear right), change from current day only (gets jarred each night)

Right cargo - pocketknife, keys, lighter

Left front - phone (Razr), money (bills around the debit card), "wallet" (I just got (free!) a new leather photo/ID case to replace the plastic one that came with my business cards. One side is my DL, which I rarely need, other is library card (behind clear plastic so it scans without removing it) with labels stuck on it with my bank numbers. A few business cards sandwiched in the fold.)

Left cargo - chapstick, small flashlight, sometimes USB flash drive

Rear pockets - usually nothing

Belt - sometimes a multitool

Yeah, it's quite a bit of stuff, but I use much of it daily, and almost all of it weekly. I heard a guy give a talk about being prepared for sudden disaster, bugout bags etc - in reference to carrying a lighter all the time (though he doesn't smoke, neither do I) he basically challenged us all to carry one and find out how useful it is...he was right! As he put it, "If you don't have it, you don't have it!" (i.e., if it's not on you, it's not available to you.)

Then again, that's my current situation, I've carried more (in less pockets!) and much less.
posted by attercoppe at 3:45 PM on February 22, 2008

Wallet extremely skinny. I can't read every comment, but if no one said it do this:

Go through your wallet and photocopy every card that can be copied. I replaced three plastic health care memebrship cards with paper copies, thinning my wallet considerably.

Car insurance card and owner's card now stay in car. Non-essential cards stay home. Cell phone is a Razr, keys are pared to a bare minimum. I'm a skinny freak and I like to wear my pants tight to show off my firm cheeks.

Oh yeah, wallet is left rear, celly is front right, keys usually stay in desk drawer while I'm at work or left front if I'm walking around. Keys are on a two-ringy system (REI) where house keys go on one ring and car keys on the other. House keys go in center console of car (winter). Spring, summer, fall it's bike commute so it's only one key, house key.

No offense, but you could not pay me to wear anything on my belt ever.
posted by fixedgear at 4:17 PM on February 22, 2008

Deep front pockets.
posted by lalochezia at 8:11 PM on February 22, 2008

I'm surprised there's nary a mention of mp3 players (other than those resigned to man purses). I keep mine in my right pocket and would go crazy without it.

Small but somewhat fat cell in my left, along with my keys. Wallet in the back, usually. I start out with a couple of quarters in the wallet's loose pocket, and any other change I acquire ends up with the mp3 player. Once I'm home, it's emptied into a cup.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:07 PM on February 22, 2008

Left: Cellphone
Right: Wallet
Back: Nothing, paranoid of stuff falling out, don't want to sit on stuff
Lanyard: Keys (I have 9, for some reason)
posted by BeaverTerror at 12:34 AM on February 23, 2008

I got myself a vest several years ago when the fleece vest phenomenon hit among the tech crowd, and still wear something similar to this day. My latest "vest" is a jacket with removable sleeves from Scott-e-vest. Tons of pockets, and the pockets all zip up, which is great for making sure things don't accidentally fall out. The other nice thing about it is the pocket design can carry all my crap without any obvious bulges. Previous vests sometimes made me look like an incompetent shoplifter...

My usual "loadout" is:

Left outside lower: Keys
Left outside upper: Palm Tungsten T5
Left inside lower: Leatherman multi-tool
Right outside lower: Wallet
Right outside upper: Nintendo DS
Pants, front right: Cellphone.

This leaves me with pretty much everything I need to have on me for 98% of anything, job or leisure related. And there's still additional pockets for things like a water bottle, etc.
posted by barc0001 at 2:39 AM on February 23, 2008

barc0001 is my brother from another mother!
I, too, look at it as a 'loadout' kind of situation. If I carry a lot of stuff, it's because it's going to be needed. I'd rather have it and hafta carry it than not have it and dream about it when I need it. go to edcforums and see what real...'devotees' is a nice word, eh?
right front pocket has Tiffany key ring with 10-12 keys, LED 'fauxton' light, dog tags for my two beloved dogs, a Countycomm mini pry bar and a CaseLogic case for my SD cards, an earphone adapter and a spare 20. I have a few Swiss Army knives, but I usually carry the One Hand Opening Victorinox.
left front pocket has my Treo 700 with the huge battery and a pair of earphones
back pocket has a chunky North Face wallet with a dozen cards, some allergy pills and cash.
Is it bulky? Sure. But when I need something, you don't see me smacking my own forehead and going, 'durn, I left it at home...'
Embrace the urge to carry stuff or carry a murse. Mountainsmith Day lumbar pack or Fish Climbing are great and not too, too popular.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 1:49 PM on February 23, 2008

left frong - phone
right front - petty cash, thumb drive
right back - wallet

No keys (I have electric door locks and no car).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:35 PM on February 23, 2008

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