As court reporters, there’s no getting around it – we have a lot of stuff. In addition to our steno machine and laptops, we can be found carrying around all kinds of cords, cases, chargers (and many other things that start with “c”). With all of this equipment and gear, staying organized becomes even more important. No one wants to have to dump the entire contents of their bag only to find the cord they were looking for safely tucked in the outside zip pocket.

Packing smart means carrying the essentials you need for life as a court reporter as well as having a systematic way of storing them. Your life on wheels (or in a bag) should be compartmentalized and organized in a way that makes sense for how you use it. Let’s start with what to pack before jumping in to how to pack.


The essentials for in your court reporting bag

  • Devices: iPad(s), laptop(s), steno machine, phone(s)
  • USB-to-serial cables and other cables as needed (i.e., ethernet cable)
  • Chargers and power cords for all devices, including USB charger station
  • Power strip with adjustable outlets
  • Flat extension cord
  • Wireless router/MiFi
  • Back-up microphone
  • Miscellaneous: jump drives, SD cards, earbuds/headphones, office supplies, notebook
  • Small snack and a water bottle


How to organize your bag

If you have a system that works for you, by all means, stick with it (and share your tips with us!). For others of you who may find yourself scrambling around the depths of your bag or suitcase, fear not. Try these organization tips:

  • Bags within bags –Compartments are your friend when you’re carrying around so many different types of items. Sort similar items and keep likes with likes in a smaller bag or case. For example, your charging cords should all be kept together.
  • Label – You should be able to see at a glance what is in each compartment or bag. Use clear containers or bags when possible so you can see what’s inside and label each item for quick identification.
  • Accessibility– Your most frequently used items should be within easiest reach. Put those items near the top or to one side and place back-up items in a separate location.

What’s in your bag? Let us know your must-haves and best tips and tricks for packing, too.