Sunday, June 18, 2017

Becoming an EDC woman

Last month, when I blogged about my new refillable roller-ball pen, I gave several reasons why I was so pleased with it. I liked the fact that it was comfortable to hold, laid down a neat line, and most importantly, was refillable. It uses a cartridge system, which is the easiest method of refilling, if not the most ecofrugal—and if I ever decide I'm willing to trade off some convenience for sustainability, I can switch it to a cartridge converter or ink-dropper system. So, ideally, now that I own these two refillable pens, I should never need to buy and throw away a disposable pen again.

However, there was one other thing that pleased me about these pens that I didn't mention at the time: adding this pen to my purse made a great upgrade to my everyday carry, or EDC.

What's EDC, you ask? Well, there are two answers to that question. Your everyday carry, or EDC, is simply the stuff that you carry around in your pockets on a day-to-day basis. This doesn't mean the detritus of gum wrappers and cash register receipts that accumulates over time; it means the items you carry deliberately, because you need them and feel lost without them. Your keys. Your wallet. Your smartphone, if you're like most people, or your little notebook and pen, if you're more like me.

But the phrase "EDC" means something more than that. It refers to a whole philosophy built around the idea of choosing your EDC as wisely as possible. People who belong to the "EDC community"—and yes, there definitely is one—put a lot of thought into what they carry in their pockets every day. They invest considerable time and energy into clearing junk out of their bags and pockets, paring down their EDC to a few basic essentials—and then making those essential items as useful and well-crafted as possible. Their goal is to have an EDC that can get them through any event they're likely to run into on a day-to-day basis, without weighing them down.

I first discovered the EDC community while shopping for my new pens. I went searching for reviews of refillable roller-ball pens, and I discovered that some of the most thorough ones were on the Everyday Carry website (yes, of course there's a website). Because naturally, if anyone's going to put a lot of thought into which pen is the best pen to keep in your pocket, it's going to be the EDC folks. These people pay attention to every aspect of a pen: functionality, comfort, build quality, size, and style. Some of them even write, in all seriousness, about how well a pen functions in "the harshest conditions," as if they were planning to take their pens on an Arctic expedition. (Who knows—maybe some of them are.)

People get involved with the EDC lifestyle for different reasons. To some, it's all about being prepared for emergencies. These are the ones who want their watches to have built-in compasses and their pens to stand up to "tactical" use. (The EDC movement isn't the same as the "prepper" movement, but there's definitely some overlap.) Others, by contrast, like the idea of being outfitted as a proper gentleman (since most EDC'ers are male) should be. These are the types who prefer fountain pens and pocket watches and always have a clean handkerchief.

I haven't seen any articles that specifically talk about EDC from an environmental perspective. Nonetheless, it seems to me that the EDC lifestyle is a perfect fit with ecofrugality, because it's all about choosing wisely and wasting nothing. You choose only the exact items you need to carry in your pockets, so you don't waste space; you choose the most efficient set of items, so you don't waste time; and you avoid wasting money and resources by choosing sturdy items that are built to last, not cheap ones that get replaced often.

So when I purchased my new pen, I privately labeled it as my new "EDC" pen—and mentally, I made a vow to start improving the rest of my EDC, as well. As a start, I went on eBay two weeks ago and tracked down a working copy of my old, much cherished Timex watch, which died after ten years of loyal service shortly after I'd invested in a new, solid stainless-steel band for it. It was the only watch I'd ever found that really met my short yet stringent list of requirements: a face with all twelve numbers visible; hour, minute, and second hands; a night light; a metal bracelet band (NOT an extension band that snags my hair all the time); and a design that works with any outfit, dressy or casual. So I decided that rather than searching site after site trying to find another watch that meets all those needs, I should just track down another copy of this old, discontinued watch and buy that. (And, as a bonus, if the band wears out, I already have a stainless-steel one to replace it.) So now I have the perfect EDC pen and the perfect EDC watch, and I'm still working on the ideal phone.

All this inspired me to write an article about the EDC lifestyle for Money Crashers. This piece explains the concept of EDC, outlines its benefits (e.g., saving time, saving money, and being prepared for any emergency), and then goes into details about how to craft your own personal EDC. I discuss the nine essentials that show up on most lists of the ideal EDC—wallet, key fob, cell phone, flashlight, pocketknife, multitool, watch, notebook, pen—with details about how to choose the best ones for your needs.

Here are the details: 9 Everyday Carry Items You Need to Have to Be Prepared for Anything
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