A Creative Freelancer’s Gig Bag: The 10 Essential Items

For me, onsite freelance assignments come in waves. I’ll go months working from my home office, just me and the cats, with Spotify cranked up and the windows wide open. Then an onsite freelance design gig comes in and I switch gears (and out of my yoga pants).

It can be tough to live in both worlds, but I find that having an organized setup for freelance gigs helps me to reduce stress and transition easily from one office to another.

Here’s a look inside my creative freelancer gig bag. These are the 10 must-have items that I pack the night before an onsite assignment:

1. Laptop
I just upgraded to a new Macbook Pro. It goooood.

2. Cords
Stash your laptop cords and phone charger in a pocket.

3. Cordless mouse and mouse pad
And the USB receiver, if your mouse has one.

4. Extra batteries
Nothing’s worse than running out of mouse juice and having to trackpad your way through the rest of the day.

5. Sketchbook or notebook
Record brilliant ideas and be prepared for creative sessions and meetings.

6. Pens, pencils and highlighters
Never enough.

7. Headphones
Sometimes the muse needs her jam jams.

8. Reusable water bottle
More convenient and saves money. Getting up to refill your bottle also helps prevent hunched-over-desk-troll syndrome.

9. Sweater or scarf
For those clients that crank the AC until you see your breath.

10. Mileage log
Record your work miles and you’ll be prepared for that nice deduction come tax time.

Don’t forget: A starved muse is a cranky muse
It’s also a good idea to pack a lunch and snacks, especially on the first day until you learn the lay of the land. While some places are Wonka-like and offer lots of free goodies or a swanky cafeteria, at others you have to leave the building and burn up all your time finding grub. Having food with you is also good for those days when you’re on deadline and can only graze at your desk.

What do you keep in your gig bag?

  1. I’ve yet to do any on site freelance gigs but will keep this handy list for such times. But I will add this… I find it really hard to sit at my desk in my office without a bowl of snacks. In fact, I probably Instagram my snacks a little too often! My current favourite? Maple covered cashews. Yum!

  2. Great list! The headphones are a must!

    I would add a good book, (non autobiographical for me!) when I need to get away..when even jamming with the headphones wont work!

    Great site guys! Having fun devouring all your info!