Nancy Roman

Starting From The Bottom

It’s time to think about downsizing.

My husband and I live in a very big house. It’s just gorgeous, but it is becoming too much – too much maintenance, too much cleaning, and too much taxes.  As I join my husband in retirement, we can see that it is time to simplify our lives.

As we contemplate moving someplace smaller, I can see that having a big house has allowed us to be very impractical. My husband has bought lots of lots of car and tool toys, and I have bought lots and lots of clothes – and neither of us really had to get rid of any old stuff when we bought new stuff. We had enough room to just put the new stuff near the old stuff.

Plus – turning the corner into a new lifestyle makes me WANT to simplify. For the first time in my life, I am actually looking forward to stop acquiring shit and start getting rid of shit.

I had occasion today to get started.

I thought I would start at the bottom.

My shoes.

I have a ton of shoes, but it’s not really a shoe fetish. I have weird, hard-to-fit feet. So I buy a lot of shoes – always hoping to find a pair that are cute and maybe – just maybe – a little comfortable. It almost never happens. So I just buy more. And hope. I’m a hopeful person. So I have a lot of shoes.

A few days ago, our cat Stewart spent all day in our walk-in closet. Mostly just staring at my shoes. This means only one thing. Stewart was mouse-hunting. We always know when there is a mouse in the house because Stewart’s focus becomes very unwavering.

And then he stopped. He left the closet and went on with his life.

This also only means one thing.

He got the mouse.

And he didn’t bring us the body.

And the next day – maybe it was my imagination – the closet didn’t exactly smell fresh.

So today was my day off, and I knew what I had to do. Find the mouse body.

I took all my shoes out one by one and tossed them aside. And eventually – there was the mouse carcass.

Stewart killed the mouse. I found the mouse. We did our jobs. Getting rid of the body – That’s my husband’s job. (One of those times when I am so glad I finally got married.)

Corpse carried off, I was left with this:


The perfect time to start simplifying.

My goal was to throw away a dozen pairs. That really shouldn’t be so hard since hardly any of my shoes fit me anyway.

The first pair I tossed were beautiful beaded but stiff and uncomfortable sandals. It was an easy decision because the left shoe had contained a mouse body for two days.

Then went ugly thick-soled pumps, platform monstrosities, flip-flops where the toe-thingy was about an inch thick whereas my toe space is about one-eighth of an inch wide, heeled sandals that match nothing, black sandals with ankle straps that made my ankles look enormous (my ankles ARE enormous, but that’s beside the point), shoes that used to be comfortable and quite cute, but I remember wearing them on a vacation to Bermuda, which was in 1988.

All in all, I had thirteen pair of shoes in throw-away pile.

Well, that seemed unlucky, so I took out one pair of old black ballet flats. I have three pair of black ballet flats, and so I was throwing out the two worst-worn ones. But it’s nice to have a backup. So I saved the better of the two pair – and they are quilted leather, so that’s different from the first keeper-pair.

So there were twelve.

Exactly my goal.


As I was putting these shoes in the bag, I gave a pair of embroidered mules a second look. I hardly ever wore these shoes, and they were slightly misshapen and very very dusty. But I reconsidered. I cleaned them up. And put them on.

They were adorable!

And comfortable!


How can you not love these shoes?  How can you not give them a second chance?

So I drove directly to the Goodwill box, and tossed in a bag with eleven pairs of shoes.

Not too bad.

And I gave my embroidered mules the center spot in my closet.

neater shoes


  1. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.


  2. Chris

    I’m glad you kept the plastic/rubber(?) CVS sandals – I still have mine too.


    • My summer gardening go-to shoes. $5.00 eleven years ago – I think I got my money’s worth.


  3. Oh, how I can identify with the “too big for us now house”, adding new to the old because you have the room to do so, and most importantly, having feet that are so difficult to find comfy shoes for…. Good for you on tossing out all those shoes. I do that every once in awhile myself. And then I just go buy more.


  4. I’m in the same boat – trying to reduce what I own as we prepare to retire and move. Last week I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo and was inspired by it (and considering I hate sorting, organizing and ‘purging’, that’s really saying something). Her methods are certainly different from anything I’ve read before by by following them you can seriously reduce what you own (‘keep only what sparks joy’) and organize the rest to make the most of your space (sorting by category was a real eye-opener). A must-read for anyone wanting to reduce and enjoy what’s important in their lives! Good luck.


    • I’ve heard a lot about that book. I think I need it…will buy it today!


      • Chris

        Duh – get it from the library!


        • I was thinking of Kindle… but you’ve got a point!


      • I started with ‘bathroom stuff’ and once I organized it by category and put each ‘group’ of things in a designated (single) location (as opposed to having it scattered in multiple places), I had a TON of empty space (whereas the cupboards before, in both bathrooms, had seemed overwhelmingly crowded). It’s amazing, really. I’m going to tackle my closets next!


  5. I discovered a 12 pair shoe bag under my bed…that I’d forgotten for an entire year. I kind of figured if I didn’t miss any shoes in there, I could probably live without them. But was I able to chuck them all? Of course not 🙂


    • Totally understandable – it’s like all new shoes when you don’t even remember them!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ray G

    Yay for Stewie!


    • My mother needs to borrow him for a week. Too bad she is more afraid of cats than she is of mice.


  7. Christine

    Ever since I retired I have tried to be ruthless throwing things out. My rule is that for every new thing I buy I get rid of two things. I still have too much, but at least the clothes in my closet now have breathing rom and all my drawers will close.


    • For me, just one for one would be progress!


  8. Just did a major toss from my closet. I’ve been retired 4 years and still have about 20 blazer/jackets that really bring joy. None of which I’ve worn in 4 years because I’m now into that really casual thing. (Ok, I’m really easy on the clothing joy part.) I’ve heard about the book and should read it. Last time I cleaned out my shoes, I went out the next day and bought 3 pair. I really needed them though….maybe. Perhaps there are meetings?


    • Maybe we should have someone ruthless come in and dispose of stuff while we are out of town.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A purpose for every shoe and a shoe for every purpose! Besides they are cute.
    Must check out that book. Mom always said “You can only wear one pair of shoes at a time.” Grandmother said “The pair to give away may be the shoe someone needs as they have no shoes.” Oh, the guilt trips…
    Note: be careful not to downsize the house too much. It doesn’t always work. Not for our neighbors or us. They moved a few years back. We are looking after being tired of feeling cramped. Feeling a bit like Goldilocks looking for “just right.”


    • I agree. We won’t go too small. There is such a thing as too much togetherness.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I, too just went through my shoe closet & re-gifted a number of pairs to a local bin.

    In addition, I am trying something I saw on Clean Sweep a number of years ago. They suggest you reverse the hanger for all of the clothes hanging in your closet. Each time you wear something, rehang it the way you would (hanger forward). At the end of the season, take a look at all of the clothes that are still sitting on the reversed hangers & purge them because you don’t wear them! The exception would be those few pieces in our closets that are for special occasions. It is an interesting exercise.


    • A friend just posted a bunch of neatening up tricks on my Facebook page, and the backwards hangers was in there! It’s a great idea, but down deep I already know which clothes I never wear.


  11. You DO have some cute shoes, Nancy! All my shoes are either black, brown, or tan, and a few grey. I think I need to do some shoe shopping! Thanks for the enlightening post! 🙂 And it must be great having a cat around to catch the mice. We end up looking like Wile E. Coyote when we have a mouse to catch in our house.


    • I especially love the wine colored penny loafers with the purple penny slots. And they are almost comfortable too! And I highly recommend a cat if you want a mouse free home. I should warn you though, that there is a worse thing than finding a mouse body: Finding half of a mouse body.


  12. I’m fortunate in that there are very FEW shoe vendors who carry a size 12M women’s shoe and even fewer who carry size 12M pretty women’s shoes so I have very few pairs of clothing for my ski-sized feet. Now, t-shirts are another thing entirely …


    • I don’t have many tees. But let’s not discuss camis.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, so there are two of us in that situation! In fact, I just found a catalog that had women’s sneakers in 12 and I took a chance on wides just to see. For once, my feet are comfortable, and inside I know they are actual women’s shoes even though they are pretty unisex. I keep a minimum of shoes because there are so few that fit both my feet and the situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t generally consider myself that much of a shoe enthusiast…until I attempt to update my closet. I can donate clothes like nobody’s business, but when it comes to footwear suddenly I’m little miss sentimental. I still have the strappy heels I wore to prom. They’re incredibly ornate and darned if I’ve been to anything fancy enough to wear them again since, but I can’t bring myself to toss them because they still fit, they’re gorgeous, and they’re – so far – free of mouse corpses.


  14. We recently downsized and we are very pleased with the new digs and reduced upkeep You do need to might the right choice so take your time. I share your struggles with having a lot of stuff. I, too, have an abundance of shoes and even though I am pretty good about thinning out ones that I don’t really like or don’t fit well, I find myself often sticking with a few favorites and have many pairs that I hardly wear. The other day I decided that in December I am going to wear a different pair of season appropriate shoes or boots each day with no repeats and that I will do a weekly blog report on this endeavor.


  15. That’s a good start. I found the shoes and clothes easier to sort through and get rid of than the boxes. Boxes of stuff that I don’t even know what is in them. Boxes that haven’t been unpacked for two moves. How do we acquire so much stuff? Good luck in your quest.


  16. Those are rather cute. But I am going to give you a rule, it works for me. When I redesigned my closet to fit exactly 160 pairs of shoes summer to winter, so room for storage this was the rule I created. If I buy 1 pair, 1 pair must go. There is not room for more than 160 pairs, no pairs on the floor. 1 pair in 1 pair out.


    • I can do that! I can cut back to 160 pairs! I can maybe even cut back to 158 pairs!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. It took me four days to clean three large dresser drawers. I have a marching band t-shirt for every contest H has taken his students to for the last 12 years! That’s too many I don’t need. He gets upset when I tell him I don’t need another so I just take it and put it in the drawer. You think he would notice I never wear them? Tackling those shoes next week. ~Elle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank God my husband stopped buying me tee shirts when he went on business trips. A miracle happened and he started bringing me jewelry.

      Liked by 1 person

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