My dad’s way was keys, pocket knife, and Chapstick in his left front pocket, pocket change in the right, billfold back left, and folded handkerchief in the back right. (Of course, he carried a handkerchief.) He’d come home after his shift and empty his pockets onto our wooden console TV. That was his place for his stuff. I remember that about him.

I have a mild fascination with what people carry around with them, so called EDC, or everyday carry, the things to check your pockets for before you head out the door, items you’re attached to and would feel naked without or that would completely throw off your day if you had to do without.

Contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets when he was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in April, 1865. (photo: Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.)

What we carry is a personal choice to help us through the day, but more than that and to completely nerd out, it’s a mix of essentials that have an aesthetic to them, a study in discernment. More than the actual carrying, EDC is the art of refining what’s in your pockets, with an emphasis on minimalism and practicality. I did say nerd out, so yeah. People who think about EDC strive for the perfect combination of items.

I’m not alone in my curiosity about the intimate everyday objects people carry. There are sites like Everyday Carry where people share pictures of their perfect EDC combinations of items that reflect their style and priorities. The Verge has a What’s in your bag? series that I enjoy.

I carry a fairly pedestrian list of gear in my pockets or on my body — slim wallet with license, debit card and $60, Apple Watch, iPhone, a couple of Mutt Mitts dog poop bags, silver Hopi border pattern ring, a small lint free cleaning cloth, a single folded tissue — all of which is separate from what’s in my backpack. The urban staple backpack is advanced EDC. Maybe I’ll cover what’s in mine one day.

OK, enough nerdery. Look at what’s in your pockets and ask if it deserves to be there. You’re never really done optimizing your pockets.