I lost my boots two days ago.? Not bell boots or sport boots, not muck boots, but my tall black boots, the ones I use for showing.? First I was aghast, then I was agog.? How could such a thing happen'! Easily, I guess.? My horse and house life have been turned upside down since we started preparing to move ? not just move but downsizing into retirement mode.? This means sorting through stuff that We've carried with us from move to move for 40 years, most of the time the house (and storage space) getting a little larger and dust-covered boxes getting swallowed up.? I started out several decades ago with a farm and five horses.? Through a bunch of moves, I always planned to have a farm again, so I kept most all the farm stuff I could, plus supplies like wraps and blankets, for a small herd. We've given up the farm plan now (anyone want to buy 12 acres near the Potomac in West Virginia') and are heading for a townhouse with one horse boarded nearby. This means, in addition to sorting through my closets, that I'm also sorting through my garage, attic, basement, closets, loft at the barn and horse trailer for all my horse stuff and then deciding what I need to keep for my one mare.? Everything goes into one of four categories:? Keep, Toss, Give Away, or Sell.? Toss is the easiest, Sell the hardest (obviously I need to learn eBay).? Give Away means new clean stuff (most leftover from ?Horse Journal? product surveys or purchased on sale to stash for ?someday?) goes to my local dressage association for their yearly silent auction, and the clean, serviceable used stuff goes to friends who can find a place for them. I just gave a box of ?metal? to my trainer, and looking through it was a trip down memory lane ? which bit worked for which horse over the last 40 years, although I'm down to one double-jointed loose-ring snaffle that came with a horse I purchased two horses back and haven't needed to change.? My two double-bridle bits came from my trainer?s own box of ?metal,? and they've worked great, so I didn't need to purchase any.? ?Some of the stuff in my own box of metal looked really weird ? what was I thinking 30 years ago'!? Guess I've finally learned that simpler is better. The Keep category is being sorted into sub-categories: Stays at the barn; Stays at home within easy reach; Stays at home for now but may go into storage.? I decided to put all my show stuff, including overnight things like a fan and stall guard, into one box that would be ready to go next year without more searching and sorting.? that's when I went looking for my boots.? They weren?t in my closet, as expected.? Yes, there were three pairs of boots in there, but not the ones I wanted. I've always been ?boot-challenged.?? I bought a pair of customs in the mid-?90s but could never get into them (the usual scene of screaming agony).? With a show coming up, I bought an emergency pair off the rack that slid right on, and those have been the ?go-to? boots ever since, sort of expanding and contracting with me as I have changed sizes.? I ride in half-chaps most of the time, but a week before any show or clinic, I start wearing the tall boots again to re-check stirrup length, spur placement and timing of leg aids.? So, I haven't worn them out. I tried again last year for a sleeker pair, but right afterward I broke my leg.? Three months later, the only tall boots I could get on were my old-faithfuls, and it was still the case this spring? (Anyone want to buy a pair of unused Cavallos and a pair of unused Ariats, size 9') The other pair of boots in my closet were left over from a product survey in the ?90s, but they were a funky style with zippers in the front.? They should have found another home a long time ago. ??There was an old pair of paddocks and some Bean gum shoes, but my ?old faithfuls? were gone. I slowly reconstructed my life over the last two months, including a move to a new barn, to figure out where they could be.? Could they be behind the door in the new tackroom' In the loft with my travel saddle rack' The last time I wore them was in April as I was preparing for a show, which I had to pull? out of at the last minute.? In my mind I could picture them in front of my saddle rack in the old barn.? I drove by there yesterday afternoon, and there they were, back in a dusty corner.? I guess I'd set them aside when I picked up my saddle rack for the move and forgot to go back. I might never have seen those boots again if I hadn?t been packing a special box for show stuff.? I would have assumed that they were in my closet where they belonged.? Next spring I would have been in the same last-minute panic as last year when I couldn?t find my show helmet the night before a show (I had my trainer?s tiny helmet, and I have no idea where my own show helmet was ? fortunately I had a ?stashed? new helmet) THere's still a bunch of stuff strewn in small piles around the garage, but I'm almost to the point where I know every bit of horse equipment I own, with everything clean, repaired and stored where I can find it.? I even have a list taped on each box of the contents and another master list in the computer.? As they say in the ad -- Priceless.