After the designers at fashion house Balanciaga knocked off Ikea’s iconic big blue 99-cent tote (in leather for $2,145), frequent contributor Susan Dworski jumped into the fray.

Sally Schneider

She sent us a giant 20 gallon Vivosun Smart Pot, a strong, felt-like bag made for growing plants, including hearty vegetables like peppers, cabbages, tomatoes. Wrote Susan:

The black bag is a wonder.

I call it “The Schlepper”. I keep one at the front door of the house and the barn for lugging all sorts of things back and forth. Throw it into the washing machine, fill it with dirt, carry laundry to and fro wet and dry, haul books or the cat, yoga mat and towel, hiking boots, bottles of wine, whatever.

Knew you’d appreciate the possibilities.

 At $8 a pop if you buy five, less if you buy more, it makes a fab house gift, or simply a useful surprise gift for any of a dozen reasons.

I researched a whole bunch of grow bags and liked this one the best.

We DO appreciate the possibilities — we’re thinking laundry, groceries, small kids, firewood, ancient dogs, picnic accoutrements…— and instantly loaded it up to try it out.  And then we found the fatal design flaw: The handles are too short to carry any but one way, with your hands, which is both awkward and uncomfortable.

Sally Schneider

When we carry weight any distance, we find it MUCH easier to sling it over an arm or shoulder. (In fact, Mira routinely uses the Ikea blue bag for just that purpose).

A fix proved pretty simple. All it took was a length of strapping material and a metal slider available at many craft and sewing stores and at Amazon (we had one leftover from a project).


Sally Schneider

We threaded the strap through the slider and stitched it across to secure it (using a clip to hold it in place while we worked).

Sally Schneider

Then we looped the strap through the bag’s two handles and threaded the cut end through the slider. Then you can adjust the length of the handle as you wish.

Sally Schneider

Et voila! The bag can easily be carried on an arm…

…or shoulder

Sally Schneider

The diy strap extender approach can be used on all sorts of short-handled bags, not to mention several filled grocery carryalls together to haul home over our arm…

And of course, we may just fill that big black bag with dirt and plant some summer flowers…

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One thought on “A Cheap Chic Black Bag to Rival Ikea’s and Balenciaga’s Tote

  1. a nice Article.
    But mostly,
    I enjoy the Photos(!).



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