Does a Smaller Footprint Mean Fewer, or Just Smaller, Shoes?
After living in the same lovely house in California for 9 years, my husband and I packed up everything we owned, our two adventurous children and incredibly loyal and flexible dog, and moved to Chicago (oh, and my Mom was packed in there, too, just not as a permanent part of the move.) And "owned" is past-tense because the amount of things that we owned at the time was diminishing rapidly by virtue of a sizable roll-away garbage dumpster, along with a healthy number of trolls that would reliably pick clean our alley each day. Friends, family and local charities all benefited from the purging of belongings in order to lighten the load (a phrase which has more meaning as one funds a cross-country move.) The house to which we were moving wasn't so much smaller in living space or even storage capacity, but it lacked the advantage of a long-lived-in home in that we hadn't yet figured out all of the insane ways to store away lots of stuff that we didn't really need to keep... that subconscious system that starts with the "junk drawer" and then becomes so incredibly efficient at enabling the collection of uselessness that its function becomes autonomous and invisible.
As I lay procrastinating on a lazy Sunday, I began to think about the lava of shoes that has crept out of the closet (a large walk-in) as well as out of smaller armoires and under-bed storage around the master bedroom. What volcano have we landed upon that one woman's shoe collection, most of which go unworn in a new climate and new profession, can take over square footage? I half-nap and think, do I really have to get rid of these things, these friends of the foot, these size-never-changes accessories that are always ready to bring a smile to the worst outfit? Isn't this problem a function of needing to buy more of a storage system? And then I remembered hearing about a guy named Dave and his quest to live with just 100 personal things. And the aforementioned people of Denmark. And how often "clean the closet" or "rotate the wardrobe" show up on my weekend to-do list.
Refreshed with the idea of living with less, I arose and, after skating past the lava with barely a scalded little toe, immediately found Dave's list. But I really like my shoes. I love my shoes. I can probably get rid of quite a few pairs and still feel grand abundance. But for a girl like me, with really good intentions, could the plural of the thing just please please please count as one? I could make it fair for the family by granting the same stretch to my son (legos), my daughter (earrings) and my husband (books.......well really we all hoard books but we'll let the Master of English hold the bag.) Thank you, dear muse of minimalist virtue, we appreciate your support.