I’m sure you are thinking I must be crazy for even attempting a year of no buying shoes. I sure thought I was. I didn’t think I could do it. The rules were simple: don’t shop for shoes in stores or online and don’t buy any new shoes. I also made it a general rule to avoid walking past shoes in stores when I was doing an errand for my family or shopping for a gift. Also, I could be gifted shoes, but couldn’t use that as a loophole to buy shoes.
Now that you know the details, let me share something with you: I already completed this challange. I do swear that I did not buy a single shoe for 13 months. That’s 398 days! You can ask any of my family members: my mom, dad, sister, and boyfriend can all give you their word that I didn’t purchase any new high heeled beauties.
I started back in February 2015 with a goal of doing a year. Wait, that makes it should akin to negotiating jail time, which is what it felt like at first. No really, I started the ban after one day I ordered a pair of shoes to be delivered to my home and then subsequently ordered 2 other pairs to be delivered to Austin when I was on vacation. Ordering the shoes didn’t phase me. When I was in high school and college, I always acquired a steady stream of clothes, accessories, and shoes. These items are classified as “non-consumables”, or things that couldn’t be used up like soap or toothpaste. This was normal to me and this was the first time in my life where I understood I seriously had an addiction, or at least the beginnings of one. If I didn’t, I envisioned myself ending up with a huge home full of stuff I never used and thousands in debt (the opposite of my dream).
At the same time, I happened to be watching the show Intervention after taking an Abnormal Psychology class. I was hooked on the show. All jokes aside, I’m in no way comparing my shoe love to a serious eating disorder or drug addiction. Intervention had got me thinking. If I had a problem, I needed to address it. So, I researched what others did under similar circumstances and came up with a plan. I told any family and friends about my shoe ban. This helped keep me accountable and made my challange more real. I even posted about the ban on social media. I told my therapist and members of a National Allience on Mental Illness (NAMI) support group I attend.
I experienced a whole shift in how I looked at my love for shoes. If the tinge of wanting to buy a pair hit, I asked myself why I needed them. Most of the time, it was because they were beautiful or the classic “but I don’t have that style in black.” Seriously, how many black pairs of shoes could a gal own? Apparently, ALL THE SHOES left to my own devices. Turns out I only needed a few. I also learned that I could treat the shoes in the store like works or art-lovely to look at, but highly impractical and unneccisary. I still have quite the collection and I’m constantly re-evaluating whether what I own is functional and is in line with my current style. The most common question I get asked is: how many pairs do you own? I always answer that I own somewhere around 45 and I honestly don’t obsess over the number, but I just got rid of X more pairs!
When I finished the shoe ban, the first thing I did was do my happy dance. Then, I continued the ban. It was another month before I bought a pair in over a year: a black (lol) pair of New Moto Ankle Booties by Rebecca Taylor for $45 that were originally $595. I had 4 pairs of suede booties, but no simple leather ones. The second was a pair of Used Silk Red Kitten Heels with a wraparound strap by Anthropologie for $55 that were originally $150. Then, I ditched my red flats that were always too big on me along with 3 other pairs.
What on Earth do I do with all those unwanted shoes? Personally, I tend to go through my favorite shoes quickly from wearing them constantly, so some end up being donated or put in the trash. The ones that are in wearable or good condition, I give to friends who call “dibs” on an item in my closet should I ever get rid of it or I sell them. I used my money from these sells to buy things I actually need, gifts, and for books for school.
In all, I’m very happy that I went on the ban. I actually re-started my shoe ban in May. I have another ban I’m enacting, but more on that later.
If you would like help starting your own ban, leave a comment. I can help you start your own ban, help decide what shoes to keep/purge, and answer additional questions you may have. Let me know if you have ever done anything similar.
If you or someone you know needs help recovering from an additction, please call 1-800-622-HELP. Alternatively, call your insurance to find out what benefits are offered to you or simply tell a loved one you need help.