Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Tip of the Day: Lose the Shoes When You Roost

Here’s an exercise: Take some dog feces, antifreeze, herbicides, gasoline, motor oil and most any other common toxic substance you can think of, mix it all together, then rub it all over your home’s floors. While this might sound a bit dramatic, it’s exactly what happens when we wear our shoes in our homes.

The outside world, while filled with great people and opportunities, is a cesspool. And our shoes are the main point of contact with this wondrous cesspool, so it only makes sense that when we get home, we should take our shoes off.

Few single actions are as effective at keeping our homes sanitary as well as dirt, dust and stain free as taking shoes off every time we enter our home. It also has the benefit of preserving the finish of our floors.

Many countries, particularly in Asia, seem to get this. Most every Japanese home includes something called a Genkan (pictured above), which is an area by the front door where you keep your shoes. It is recessed so dirt and debris is quarantined to this front area.

So you know all of this, but you still don’t do it. Here are a few tips to lose the shoes forever:

  • Don’t make exceptions. This is the most important tip in maintaining a shoe-free home. Even if you’re popping in for a second, even if it’s your rambunctious nephew or new friend, get your shoes off.
  • Put a sign at the door asking guests to take their shoes off. Sometimes asking others is the hardest part of maintaining this rule. A sign lets people know the policy is universal, not personal. Put it in a few different languages if you have a lot of foreigner guests.
  • Have a place to remove your shoes such as a bench. Make it easy for people to get their shoes off.
  • Have a place to store shoes such as a rack or cubby holes. 
  • Keep slippers or some other type of footwear used only indoors. They’ll keep you feet warm, and protect your floors from bare feet, which often are dirtier than socks or slippers [Note: make a no-exception policy about slippers as well–they are only for indoors. No runs to the mailbox, etc.]. While slippers for guests might not be feasible, a few pair of nice, clean socks are.

What are your experiences or tips with keeping (or not) a shoe-free home? Let us know in our comments section.

  • Minnie

    Problem getting in the habit of wiping my pup’s feet too. (No exceptions)

  • Mark

    We always take off our shoes at the door and change into slippers and we also have a sign reminding our guests to lose the shoes.

  • Ian

    I won’t remove mines. I find it painful to walk barefooted, I need support. I have had several operations on my feet following a car crash. If I knew what I was going to be made to remove them then i’d have to just avoid visiting.

  • There are lots of places in the world where a “mud room” is usual to have. In these rooms, people can get rid of their dirty footwear and external clothing (especially in places like Alaska) to avoid getting all those filth in the house.