When you write about shoes for a living, one question tends to crop up more than any other. (Well, OK, maybe slightly less than “And you actually make money from that?”, but still fairly often.) “So,” people will ask, preparing to be shocked, “How many pairs of shoes do you actually have?”
Until yesterday, I didn’t actually know the answer to that question. My house is small, you see, and my shoe collection lives in various different corners of it, so counting shoes had never been a huge priority. Last night, though, I decided it was time I was able to answer the sixty-four-thousand dollar question, so I got out my shoe collection, and…
Seventy one pairs of shoes. (Excluding purely practical shoes like slippers and running shoes and the like. They don’t count.) I have to be honest: it’s less than I thought it would be, and much, much less than the collections of some shoe lovers I know, but all the same, as I looked at the shoes – some of which I hadn’t seen for months because they’d been crammed at the back of the closet – I realised something: although I have seventy four pairs of shoes (ahem!) currently in my possession, I only actually wear a small percentage of them on anything like a regular basis.
There are lots of reasons for that, of course. The aforementioned storage issue is one of them: out of sight tends to be out of mind for me, and if a particular pair of shoes is tucked away somewhere, I’ll tend to forget all about them and just keep going back to the same old favourites, time after time. Add to that the fact that I work from home, which means I don’t need to get dressed up every day (I actually don’t need to get dressed AT ALL every day, but perhaps the less said about that, the better…), plus the fact that I live in the kind of town where people tend to dress very casually, and you end up with a very lazy Shoeperwoman, and a closet full of sadly neglected shoes.
But no more, though! Today, I’m setting myself a challenge: to wear every pair of shoes I own at least once within the next year. So, rather than sitting unloved in their boxes and on their shelves, every pair of shoes and boots you see above will be worn at least once: and just to keep myself accountable, I’m going to take a photo each time I wear a different pair. As extra motivation, I’m also going to have a forfeit and promise that any pair of shoes that remain unworn in one year’s time will go to the thrift shop if they’re still wearable, and to the giant shoe shop in the sky if they’re not. (I’m going to cheat slightly here and exlude a couple of pairs of “special” shoes I couldn’t bear to part with, although I will do my very best to wear them anyway!)
Now, 71 pairs of shoes isn’t a huge amount to get through in 365 days, but I foresee some problems, particularly with the summer (we don’t get one, basically, which makes it hard to get any use out of sandals) and “special occasion” shoes, so hopefully this will inspire me, not only to wear all of the shoes I keep on buying, but to be a little more creative about what I wear WITH them, too. And, if nothing else, it’ll help me think a little more carefully about future shoe purchases!
Want to join me in your own shoe challenge? Here are my self-imposed rules:
1. Each pair of shoes I own must be worn at least once by January 26th 2011.
2. Photos must be taken to prove that the shoes were worn.
3. New shoes can be purchased (because, let’s face it, it’s not like I’m going to give up shoe shopping), but any new purchases must ALSO be worn by the end of the challenge.
4. Any shoes NOT worn will be donated or dumped at the end of the challenge: use ’em or lose ’em!
If you want to join in, all I ask is that you link back to this post when you do. Oh, and that you tell me: how many pairs of shoes do you actually have, anyway?
UPDATE! To see how I’m getting on with my Shoe Challenge, click here!
FLICKR GROUP: If you want to join in the challenge, but don’t have a blog, please feel free to join the new Flickr Group I’ve set up for the challenge, and post your photos there!