The wheelchair purse dilemmaNov 04 07:29
It takes some creative juices to meld someone who uses a wheelchair with the right purse. I’ve long shunned the notion that all we should use backpacks because, “Hey! You can just it strap on the back!” Do we really want to look like juvenile girls our entire lives? Every grown woman deserves a sexy purse, and if you use a wheelchair, wearing a purse can be done with flair, and here’s my how-to.
There are billions of purse styles out there and about just as many wheelchair styles. First things first: The chair and your mobility. If you use a manual chair, using a purse that requires you to hold it, say a clutch for example, is a joke. Clutches are meant to be carried for visual effect. You could place it on your lap of course, as you push, and then hold it when you’re stasis, but this can get annoying. The clutch can also easily slide off your lap while you’re in motion. Not cool.
When you’re pushing, the purse can be placed in a handful places: 1. Hung on the push handles, 2. Placed on your lap, 3. Stored underneath you or 4. Hung criss-crossed on your body. All of these have their pros and cons, so its up to you to figure out which cons you can live with. Personally, I can’t stand my lap being cluttered with anything, let alone a purse, so I’ll hang my purse (which is a big black faux leather purse with long handles) on the back of my chair. While this option is perhaps the most dangerous in regards to theft, for me it works in every other way that I’m looking for, so its worth it.
The purses that do actually work well for someone who uses a manual chair-user can go in a few different directions. Simple handbags with short handles, like these from eBags, work great because they‘re not too tall and can fit in under-the-wheelchair storage netting. They can also sit on your lap more stable. And I love hobo bags for anyone with limited finger dexterity. They provide a big, easily-accessible storage area in a giant zippered bag, and they work great for hanging on wheelchair push handles.
If you’re a powerchair user, I recommend a bag similar to the Hobo or a Tote Bag, like this, with large handles, which you can use to hang somewhere on your chair so you don‘t have to hold it (out of the way yet you‘re still showing it off). Also, for a purse that can be criss-crossed across your torso, a handmade cloth purse like this one from Etsy, is a great inexpensive option.
I love accessories, and purses are right up there, but I refuse to succumb to the brand name hysteria trend. I do not own a Louis, none of my purses cost more than $50, and since my purse is usually always hanging off one of my push handles, I’m ok with that.
Wheelchair-using ladies: What is your all-time favorite purse and how do you like to wear it?
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1. Busy Mom | Apr 11 05:41
For me the best I have found was attaching 2 Giant Carabinbers to my chair. Even comes in colors, ( found in contratcors tools Home Depot / Lowes's ) This way I hook handles of plastic bags and my handbag to my chair. I usually do not drop, spin off, or lose my cargo. Also I have added a saddle bag ( yes it was purchased from the saddle shop ) and another small bag to carry attached to the side of my chair to carry small items in reading glasses, pen/pencil. I even carry a flashlight and set of screwdrivers. All are tucked out of the way and I stay organized. If you have a need and a little imagination it will all work out. Small basket zip tied purchased from a cycling shoop to bottom of chair for everything else.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.