this thing's incredible

I Use This Canvas Karate Pouch to Store My Passport

Photo: Zoe Dubno

Last winter I was in a martial arts store in Chinatown looking for Gi pants (another great secret — excellent for lounging, yet more respectable than leggings) and, amid the heaps of T-shirts, multicolored rank-belts, and exercise equipment, I saw a mystery pile of black and tan canvas pouches. They looked a bit like overinflated versions of the standard-issue pencil cases from middle school meant to be clipped into binders, but the man at the store said they were supposed to be filled with sand and used as punching bags. Though I could see the appeal in mounting one above my desk, letting it serve a somewhat aggressive stress-ball function, I had another idea.

I brought home a tan pouch, but instead of filling and punching it, I hung it from two hooks over my closet door, where I use it to store my passport and other important things that are easy to misplace. It is excellent in this function: I am an extraordinarily messy person, one who tends to follow the thought “where did I put X?” by emptying my drawers and throwing everything around the house. Now in those situations, before I am become death destroyer of bedrooms, I dig around in the weird pouch first. At least 99 percent of the time I find whatever I was looking for in there. My checkbook, a single earring, dry-cleaning tickets — have all, at some point, taken up residence in the pouch.

You can buy the exact bag I have directly from the martial arts store. Otherwise, Amazon sells this similar product that comes in a longer, three-section setup (so you could hold even more stuff).

It’s the perfect size, about the dimensions of a 33’’ record sleeve, and a lovely bone shade with attractive silver rivets. Aside from its practicality, it’s also a lovely piece of minimal décor. I’d believe it was an objet d’art if someone with the right haircut told me so.

Upon further investigation, I now see that there’s an option for sale online with three zip-up sections, which actually confuses me about the object’s utility as a punching bag (why would you want to punch three identical sections?) but it would be a nice addition to my closet door for holding other ephemera and doodads like hair ties, receipts, or tweezers.

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I Use This Canvas Karate Pouch to Store My Passport