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Published April 25 2010

Swift: Big purse creates excess baggage

During a phone conversation last weekend, my mother told me two things that blew my mind:

1. A relative had dropped by to pick up some items Mom had been storing for their family in her 5,500-square-foot house. Mom was relieved, as she “didn’t have any room.”

2. My parents, who already have one small garage, one very large garage and a 40-by-60-foot shop, have decided to move an old outbuilding into their backyard. Their reasoning: It will give them someplace to store the lawn tractor.

It’s a little-known theory that I’ll call the Law of Swift: “If you build it, they will come. And then they will fill it to the rafters with crap.”

The very same thing has happened to my purse.

It’s true. It has grown so massive, so heavy and so cumbersome that it is no longer functional.

I can’t carry it without looking like a silverback gorilla dragging an antelope carcass. It feels like Dumpster-diving whenever I try to find something in it.

And it seems to contain nothing that’s really useful. A recent purge revealed that it contained $3.47 in pennies, mostly Canadian; a bottle of ear medicine for the dog; a really unflattering shade of lip gloss; a book of 32-cent stamps; a VIP card for the Petco Catlitter Club; a soggy piece of unwrapped gum; a coffee-stained packet of Splenda; something that was either a knot of black thread or an old false eyelash; and 18 pens (of which only two worked).

So I now avoid carrying the purse. Although I will still bring my purse to work, I will leave it under my desk for “short trips” such as lunch breaks or coffee runs. For those brief outings, I’ve resorted to toting around money, key card and cell phone in my pants pocket.

Yes, I realize this is ridiculous. It completely defeats the purpose of a purse. And yet my attempts to de-clutter my handbag have never really worked. I’ll valiantly dump out the contents of the purse on the floor. I will itemize, categorize and toss. The pack mule will be dismissed.

Then a few weeks will pass. Eventually, I’ll wind up back at square one, toting around an 11-pound purse stuffed with expired coupons and tile samples for the bathroom.

But I recently stumbled across a possible solution. It’s a purse organizer known as a “Purseket.” Apparently, it carries all your most important essentials in one carry-all pouch. One compartment, for instance, carries your cell phone while another slot carries your lipstick. If you wish to switch bags, you just lift the Purseket out of one purse and drop it into another.

The creators of Purseket seem like geniuses. I’m sure the inventor is making so much money off this clever invention that she needs an extra Purseket just to carry around her gold bullion.

Still, the whole premise seems unnecessarily complicated. It’s like a couple who abandons their McMansion so they can sleep in their son’s treehouse. If the Purseket actually carries everything you need, why do you need a regular purse? Why not just live in the treehouse?


No wonder they call it baggage.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525 or tswift@forumcomm.com