I said at the start of 2020 that I was going to spend the whole of the decade Not Buying Shoes (other than running shoes, which need to be replaced often due to my daily run habit), as I had more than enough high heels and ballet flats and Reebok Freestyles and I wasn’t getting much wear out of a lot of them.
However, something I did not take into account is that the cheap kind of shoes I used to buy in my teens and twenties when I was usually flat broke are not designed to last for decades, even if you don’t wear them to death. For Jen and Chris’ wedding at the weekend, I was wearing a green outfit, so I dug out a lovely pair of dark green peep toes that I originally bought in Schuh (when Schuh were still doing high heels… like most high street brands, they’ve largely moved to trainers and flat boots in this age of athleisure). However, that Schuh purchase was made in 2008, and it turns out that high street level shoe glue doesn’t stick for thirteen years. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, both of my soles were detaching from my shoes, and I had to switch to my emergency smart flats. (Good thing I brought those or I’d have been there in a dress and trainers all evening!)
So RIP to my emerald peep toes then. But it left me without a green pair of high heels, and I plan to wear that green outfit again many times before 2030! So I succumbed to an ASOS bargain…
Oh well. The resolution was perhaps a bit ambitious!
I have however been inspired to go through my neglected collection of high heels again though… just in case I can identify any more that are on their last legs!
I still have all the shoes I was wearing at the end of each decade so far in my life. Because I am that much of a hoarder.
On Hogmanay 1989, I was wearing my brand-new bumblebee slippers, which had been a Christmas gift from my Grandad MacLeod. They’re not exactly party shoes, but then I was only four (very nearly five). I was very excited about staying up for the bells for the first time though!
On Hogmanay 1999, I wore a pair of silver Barratts sandals (super ’90s with minimal straps and a blade heel). I’d bought them specially for the millennium. It was the first year that I took in the bells with my friends instead of my family, drinking Bacardi Breezers and shots of tequila, which feels very grown-up when you’re fourteen (very nearly fifteen). It felt like the start of a really special phase of life, which in a way it was, but it was also the start of something that turned out to be quite dark and destructive. I suppose that’s teenage turning points for you.
On Hogmanay 2009, I wore my Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragons, which had just come out that year and were all the rage among shoe fans. They cost about half of what the Lady Dragon range costs today, but they were still a hugely extravagant expense for a broke recent graduate, and so I absolutely treasured them and looked after them very carefully. As a result, they’re still in good condition, unlike my very battered Barratts millennium shoes! At twenty-four (very nearly twenty-five) I felt a bit aimless, but didn’t really want my life to change – I took in the bells in the same pub where I’d been drinking since I was sixteen, and thought that I would be doing that forever.
It’s Hogmanay 2019, and for tonight I have got some very special shoes that I’ve been saving for my one-year soberversary. My soberversary isn’t for another five days, but I thought it’d be okay to wear the shoes early seeing as it is the end of a decade and all. When I was younger and extremely broke, I adored beautiful designer shoes, and would have killed for a pair of Christian Louboutins, but I was never anywhere close to being able to afford them. In late 2018, I was able to buy a pair in a sale, and, knowing that I was about to quit drinking, decided to save them as a gift to my future self for when I’d managed a whole year sober. They are very definitely not outdoor shoes – I would only ever wear them in the house so as not to spoil the trademark red soles – but that’s okay, seeing as these days my preferred place to take in the bells is at my parents’ house, in the same room where I said goodbye to the ’80s thirty years ago. At thirty-four (very nearly thirty-five), it’s nice to come full circle.
My very first New Year resolution for 2020 is actually a New Decade resolution – for the entirety of the decade, I will not be buying shoes (except for necessary purchases like running shoes), because I already have far more than any sane person could possibly need, and the ones I do have are well-made and timeless. I will make an exception in December 2029, when I will find myself another nice pair of end-of-decade shoes. In the meantime, I will just enjoy my existing collection!
One of the shelving projects that Dad and I (mostly Dad) did over the weekend was for my shoes. Even though I got rid of a lot of shoes, I still need a good amount of storage for my remaining 59 62 pairs, especially as I’ve been on a bit of a shoe binge lately (though I think I’m satiated for now). Some of my pairs are ‘legacy shoes’ (i.e. old pairs I’ll never wear again but am keeping in storage boxes or on display for sentimental reasons), and there are a couple of pairs for gardening that I’m keeping in the cupboard off the kitchen, and my dancing shoes live in my gym bag, and my running shoes tend to stay in the Skubb hanger I bought for the hallway…but that still leaves a good 48 pairs that needed a place to live in the dressing room. Which they now have:
As you can see, there’s plenty space for more, which is probably a good thing knowing me.
It’s very nice having all my shoes to hand. Of course, since I put them all up, it’s been pouring with rain and I’ve not been out (save for a very wet run this morning) so I’ve been living in my slippers indoors. It will be good to get some use out of them once the weather clears up, though!
I’ve been buying a lot of stuff the last few weeks. At first it was all house stuff, but lately it’s been mostly treats for me. New clothes for my almost-at-target figure! New makeup for my new makeup storage unit! New shoes (quite a lot of new shoes) for…uh, they’re not for anything in particular, I just love shoes.
I mentioned before that I always feel a bit guilty if I go on a spending spree, but I’ve found it difficult to resist these last few weeks. It’s mainly because I’ve been carrying out a ruthless cull ofmy entire wardrobe and so the state of this particular collection is always on my mind at the moment. Post-cull, the gaps in my wardrobe are far more apparent, and there are a few areas (underwear, jeans, skirts) where I genuinely do need to buy new things.
I’m not delusional enough to think that’s the case with the shoes, obviously. But I did get rid of an awful lot in the cull, and shoes are pretty, and shoe shopping makes me feel better at the end of a difficult day. I’m very aware that I’ll need to replace this habit with something less expensive soon. Seeing as I can’t go back to binge-drinking now that I’m (sort of) healthy and slim, I imagine it’ll be baths, especially as the bath in our new house is so awesome. I just have to hope I don’t develop a ‘luxury bathing products’ obsession instead, although in fairness it would be cheaper than shoes. We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks.
I spent today getting on with my wardrobe cull. I got rid of a lot of dresses, underwear, scarves and hats, and a lot more shoes – I’ve now got the previous total down to 59 pairs. That’s a pretty big drop, and it means my new shoe shelves will look really neat and uncluttered.
Well, at least until I replace all the thrown-out pairs with new ones!
No, I’m kidding. Like with everything else in the house, I’ll be instituting a one-in one-out rule once my shelves are full, in order to avoid things getting back into the chaotic hoarding state that has made this house move so stressful. Neither Geth nor I have ever been in the habit of throwing things away, but that has to change from now on, for my own sanity.
I’m quite looking forward to seeing what it’s like to live without mounds of stuff everywhere!
Well, I didn’t want to start doing the mega wardrobe cull until I’d hit my Slimming World target, but after weeks of chaos upstairs with having to clamber over stuff and not being able to find anything, I admitted defeat and started putting stuff in binbags and donation bags today.
I’ve come a long way with my hoarding problem over the years, but I still find it hard to let go of stuff, especially clothes. I think it’s partly because I was so broke for so many years post-graduation – during that time, even a £5 Primark top was a hard-earned purchase, and it feels almost disrespectful to my struggling younger self just to toss the item away, even if it’s old and full of holes.
I’ve been trying to mitigate this by using the digital hoarding method – taking a photo of each piece so that I still ‘have’ it. I’ll probably never look at these photos again, but knowing they’re there makes getting rid of the physical stuff a lot easier.
I threw out a lot of shoes today. My previous total of 91 pairs first went up to 95 pairs, because I found four pairs that I thought I’d previously thrown out but it turned out I hadn’t. I’ve now got it down to 77 pairs, and I reckon I’ll be able to get it down further when I finish the cull job tomorrow. It’s especially tough to get rid of shoes, because I love shoes, but I’m trying just to keep thinking about the lovely neat shoe shelves I’ll be able to have up in the dressing room (not to mention, I must confess, the shiny new pairs I’ll be able to buy).
The biggest motivation for all this de-hoarding is the fact that I can’t wait for the house to look nice and uncluttered, so that I can finally relax and properly feel like this is home.
I’d almost forgotten about my extensive shoe collection (89 pairs 91 pairs! I forgot about the two new pairs I bought last week). It was the first thing I packed back in January, so it’s been hidden in boxes for some time, and the shoes are only now making their reappearance.
The thing is, they won’t have anywhere to live until I build some custom shoe shelves in the dressing room, so until then, they’re just going to have to snake around the upstairs rooms, maliciously tripping people up.
I’m definitely going to get rid of most of themsome of them a few, but I need to build my shelves first to see what will fit.
This weekend, I finally got round to starting packing all our stuff up for the move, and immediately remembered that it’s a far bigger job than it seems. Guess I’m going to be spending tomorrow afternoon drawing up a minute-by-minute immovable schedule for the next few weeks, seeing as we’re on a strict timetable in terms of moving out. Geth has suggested getting it done bit by bit in the evenings (and is far more excited about it than I am), so it will get done – it just seems like an impossible mountain at the moment.
So far, I’ve packed about 80% of our books (which has reminded me exactly why I asked for a Kindle for Christmas – ideally I’d never buy another physical book again, but not everything is available in ebook format yet, and sometimes for a vintage/retro lover like me it’s nice to have the original physical versions of old books; still, for reasons of space I would need to have a serious book cull before I bought any more physical ones) and about 60% of my shoes. The shoes take up three holdalls so far and I’m not done yet:
I currently have 87 pairs. I’d have a lot more if I hadn’t forced myself in recent years to be better about chucking them in the bin when they wear out. I’d also have a lot more if I hadn’t been so broke during my most shoe-obsessive years – much as I’m still magnetically drawn to The Shiny, with age has come (a small amount of) wisdom and nowadays I’m a lot stricter with myself about only buying stuff that I know I’ll definitely wear.
Hopefully, this time next week we’ll have got a lot more of the packing done and I won’t feel quite so stressed about it.
The first of my online orders from my yearly Christmas/birthday money splurge arrived today: knee high slouch boots from ASOS. They’re a lot shinier than they look on the website, but if you know me, you know that’s no bad thing.
When I told Geth the other day what I’d bought with my Christmas and birthday money (knee high boots! new handbag! nice bracelet! new dressing gown!) he seemed a bit surprised. ‘You buy such grown-up things now. Where are the games?’
I still love games, but I feel like I’ve got enough at the moment (not to mention no time to play them). Not only that, but I don’t really feel like my new fripperies are the least bit grown-up – shiny, sparkly boots are the kind of thing I used to buy back in my teenage years. However, I’ve not bought knee high boots since probably…2007, and there’s a good reason for that. I have ridiculously giant calves, so when I’m even the slightest bit overweight (which I was from 2009 until I started losing the weight with Slimming World last year), knee high boots are an impossibility.
As such, with just over a stone to go till target, these boots are an exciting weight loss milestone. They’re slouchy, so it is kind of cheating – especially as my still-giant-despite-now-being-a-healthy-BMI calves do a very good job of filling the supposed-to-be-slouchy bits – but I’m taking it as a win anyway. Hopefully, when I reach my goal weight, they’ll fit a bit more like they’re supposed to. In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy sparkling through the dull second half of winter!