How to Complete the Shoeper Shoe Challenge: Shoeperwoman’s Tips

There’s just a few days to go now until the start of the 2011 Shoe Challenge, and I have to admit, I’m feeling a little bit daunted by the thought of having to “rescue” all my babies shoes again. Every time I completed a challenge last year I’d heave a little sigh of relief, knowing that another pair of shoes was “safe”, but now they’re all vulnerable once again, which is a bit of a disturbing thought for a shoe lover, so just in case you’re taking part in the challenge and having an attack of the “OMG-what-have-I-let-myself-in-for’s”, here are some quick tips I put together on how to get through the challenge with your shoe collection intact.

1. Purge your shoe collection before you begin

Be ruthless. Will you really be able to find a way to wear those worn-out old pumps you’ve had since high school? Or the super-high heels you’ve never been able to walk in? Or, to put it another way: do you even want to wear them? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, the shoes have got to go. (Poet/Didn’t know it.) Trust me: you don’t want to spend the last two weeks of the challenge wearing nothing but old pairs of shoes that you now hate, so get rid of them now and make it easier on yourself.

2.  Reorganise your shoe storage

If you followed my last challenge, you’ll know that the thing that helped me most was moving my shoe collection (or at least part of it) from the dark depths of my closet to the shelves in the office, where I can easily see what I have, and which shoes I haven’t worn yet. Now, obviously this isn’t an option for everyone, but even if you’re not able to keep your shoes where you can see them, it’s a good idea to try to organise your storage in such a way to make the challenge easier. I’d recommend:

  • Putting out-of-season shoes into storage somewhere to clear space for the ones you’ll be wearing right now. Obviously this depends very much on your shoe collection and the type of weather you have, but for instance, I know that I can only wear sandals, peep toes, espadrilles etc during the summer, so before I set up my current storage system I put all of those shoes at the front of the closet during those months, and put the boots into the attic: there’s no point spending the summer in boots and then realising in November that you only have a couple of months to go, and you still haven’t worn all of those sandals that were lurking at the back of the closet!
  • Using a system whereby as soon as you’ve worn a pair of shoes and eliminated them from the challenge, you put them to the back of the closet, say, and bring an unworn pair to the front. That way the unworn pairs will be the first thing you see when you’re deciding which shoes to wear, and you won’t be tempted to just keep pulling out the same pair and putting them on.


3. Reorganise the rest of your closet

Yes, I know, I’m asking quite a lot of you with this challenge, aren’t I? First I want you to reorganise your shoe collection, now I want you to start in on the clothes… If you’re anything like me, though, I bet you do much the same thing with your clothes as you do with your shoes, i.e. cycle endlessly through a few, favourite outfits, and leave the rest hanging there all sad and neglected.  In fact, if your closet is a big ‘un, you’ve probably forgotten half the things that are in there, right? By sticking to the same old tried-and-tested combinations, though, you lower the opportunities you have to wear all of those shoes you now have to “rescue” by Valentine’s Day next year, because the chances are that you have certain shoes you wear with certain outfits, and the rest just lie there gathering dust. When you have your closet clear-out, you’ll rediscover items you’d forgotten about and be able to put together new combinations to wear with those shoes: and even if you don’t manage to come up with new outfits to get your shoes through the challenge in, at least you’ll get a better idea of which shoes you should’ve ditched in step one. (You’ll also probably discover that you’ll never need to buy another black sweater/cardigan again until at least 2020. Or that might just be me…)

4. Only buy shoes if you know you could wear them tomorrow, if you had to.

Ever found a fabulous pair of shoes and thought, “Hmmm, I have absolutely nothing to wear with these, but they’re so pretty I’m going to buy them anyway: I’m sure I’ll find something to wear with them!” Yeah, me too: and nine times out of ten, those shoes NEVER get worn, or I end up spending more time and money than I really wanted to shopping for something to wear with them. These days I try to only buy shoes if I think of a way to wear them using what’s in my closet right now. (I say “try”: I still have slip-ups with this. Well, there are always those shoes that just HAVE to be worn, aren’t there?)

So there you have it: how to complete the Shoe Challenge in four, um, “easy” steps! Any other suggestions are, of course, more than welcome!


  • Useful advices! I promised to myself this morning I will reorganize my closet. But hell, no chance I will have time for this tonight..
    And *whispering..* my shoes are still at exactly the same place where I put them while making the shoe collection photo.
    I’m horrible(
    AND I have no idea which shoes I’m going to save first!

    But somehow I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun)))

  • Good tips, I really need to organise my entire wardrobe but just do not have the appropriate storage space at the moment… hence I keep dreaming of a walk in wardrobe.

    Can I also suggest that it might be useful to keep a list on paper of your shoes, and tick them off each time you wear a pair? That way you can keep abreast of what has been worn and what hasn’t. That’s what I’ve done so that I know exactly where I am.

    I’m excited about the challenge, excited about the prospect of wearing all of my shoes!

    • I would love a walk in wardrobe at least sometime in my life 😛
      I may try the paper way since I have no other storage mathod. In fact I will, thanks ^_^

      • Me too – I’ve made Terry promise me that if we ever manage to buy a house with more than two bedrooms, I can turn the third one into a walk-in wardrobe. At any given time, half of my clothes are in storage in the attic, so I would love to be able to have them all out and properly organised!

  • I am so guilty for wanting shoes I’ll never wear, so it is probably good I can’t afford all of them.
    I really need a new storage method, at the moment there is a stack of boxes in the bottom of my closest which are attacking my clothes… I would love a shelf to put them on or those see-though-stackable boxes but my room is so tiny they wouldn’t fit. Ah well, the closet method it is.

  • Oh God! Organise my wardrobe?! I’d need a week and my husband to be absent or I’ll have to listen to the “you have too many clothes” lecture, Again!


  • WOW great advices!!
    Thank you for your comment on my blog!! I misunderstood that point, about new shoes during the challege, 😀 I’m feeling light now!! ^_^


  • On tip one- I haven’t worn this one pair of silver heels that have been sitting in my closet for five years now. But I just can’t throw them out. Why? Sentimental value. They were the shoes I wore when I was crowned homecoming princess in eleventh grade. That year was my golden year, and that night was the best night of that year. The blue dress I wore no longer fits, but while those silver shoes continue to fit I can’t bear to throw them out!

    On tip four- you need

    • Argh! Posted too soon!
      On tip four- you need to add a “weather permitting” clause. I had forgotten about this pair of sage green kitten heels I had buried in the back of my closet for three years. They are super cute and have these rhinestone dragonflies on the toes. But would I wear them tomorrow? Hell to the no! They are sandals and there is snow on the ground!

      Recently did tip two- I had been meaning to clean out my book collection for months now. I have books in there I haven’t read since I was twelve. So I did and once I was done I was able to move my books so they weren’t on my shelves anymore- except the bottom shelf. So I put a select collection of my shoes in the shelves and now they are sitting next to my bed, staring at me as they whisper “wear me, wear me!”

      • Oh, I didn’t mean literally tomorrow, I just meant you should consider whether you already have clothes to wear with them already in your closet so you could wear them right away if you wanted to, without having to go out and buy a new outfit. I didn’t mean to imply that you should try to wear them the very next day or anything 🙂

  • I’m a tidy freak, so all my stuff is ordered already 🙂 and yes, I’ve actually got an excel sheet with all my shoes in it…….is that bad? (actually I made it to see how much I spend on shoes and hopefully make myself buy less)

  • I totally purged before I finished my tally. I think I threw away 10-12 pairs that were either too ugly or too run down that I know I wouldn’t want to wear them in the next year.

    Organizing my clothes is a much bigger challenge b/c I’ve got everything from size 8’s to size 16’s in my closet. As I lose weight, I’m tossing (or tailoring) the “too big” clothes, but I’m not mentally ready to toss the clothes that are too small now, but might fit again as I lose more weight.

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