Taking Shoes off in the House
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Taking Shoes off in the House
I prefer that my husband and daughter and I take our shoes off
when we come in the house. We live in an urban area, and we all
do a fair amount of walking. As someone who's fond of
sitting/sprawling on the floor, I think it's a good way to keep
unnecessary dirt off the carpets and floors. I also think it
keeps down the expense of shampooing carpets or having them
My husband has never liked doing this--apparently a combination
of his disagreeing with me and also not wanting to be told what
to do in his home--and my teenage daughter is now starting to
rebel. I'm not persnickety about it; I don't yell or comment
when my daughter occasionally runs around with her shoes on. I
have offered a compromise: just keep our shoes off upstairs
where the bedrooms are, but they are still reluctant to do so.
Both my husband and daughter claim that the carpets are
perfectly clean. The upstairs carpeting hasn't been
professionally (or otherwise) cleaned since we moved in 9 years
ago, and we also have one dog and two cats!
Any perspective on this? Does anyone else agree that it makes
sense to take outdoor shoes off while indoors, or am I being
unreasonable? Any advice that might add to everyone's
Ask your family to think about what's really on the sidewalks outside, and whether they want the same stuff on their bedroom carpets, or on floors/carpets where people sit. We have been shoes-off for many years, and then when our children started crawling, it made even more sense. Would buying some nice comfy slippers inspire them to take their shoes off?
You are not crazy. People have been taking off their shoes before entering the house for centuries all over Asia! The vast majority of my friends and family (mostly Asian, but many
not) also do this -- even when guests are over. It is cleaner AND more comfortable. Keep trying!
No shoes in our house
Although it is an annoyance to some, I insist that family members and kid friends take off their shoes when entering my house. Yes, there's lots of junk that you walk on out there, and bringing all that dirt in is unnecessary. Taking your shoes off makes a HUGE difference to the amount of dirt that is on the floors and carpets (the carpets just hide it much
better.) I, too, have to remind my husband occasionally, and maybe he's irritated, but hey, he doesn't clean! I don't insist that visitors do it, but many do offer, even tradespeople, before entering my home, when they see the stack of shoes outside. Other people I know put out a polite sign asking people to take off their shoes. I think your daughter and husband should respect your wishes, because it's not that big a deal and it really makes a difference. BTW, if you are the one who cleans, I think you have an absolute right to insist!
Boy, can I relate to this - it's a pet peeve! I'm from Canada and have British parents. We always took off our shoes at the door of our own home as well as other's homes. When I first moved here I couldn't understand why people kept their shoes on in the house. It seemed like such a dirty habit. Also, I noticed how trashed most people's carpets were and wondered why they even HAD carpets, they collect so much dirt.
I have since come to the conclusion that many people don't notice how trashed their carpets are, or at least don't narrow down the culprit to the filth they track in on the bottom of their shoes.
My husband is American and never took off his shoes in the house until fairly recently. I have always taken off my shoes even when he didn't.
A combination of things seems to have made him more likely to take his shoes of now. They are 1) I bought him some mocassin- type slippers, 2) We had children and I pointed out that if he didn't take his shoes off, then the kids would not take their's off either and they would not be so particular about what was on the bottom (mud, gum, etc). 3) I said I didn't mind him (and the kids) keeping their shoes on if we replaced all our carpet with hardwood which we could all take turns sweeping and washing. The cost of doing this seemed to freak him out.
Seems like the combination of those three things (and consistent repitition) have made him more likely to take his shoes off most days.
My friend installed new carpets and a small, but obvious sign by the front door asking people to please remove their shoes.
Also, I notice that when you take your shoes off in your own home and there are some pairs by the door, others are more likely to do the same.
Keep trying - Let's start a shoes-off revolution. Good luck!
Not a neat freak
I don't have any suggestions for encouraging your family to take their shoes off, but I do have a different perspective.
Personally, I take my shoes off inside because I prefer to be barefoot. I've never really believed the idea that shoes-off keeps the house cleaner because I don't think our shoes get that dirty in an urban setting. It would be different in a rural setting where we're walking in the dirt and mud all the time.
I would say there have been times at other shoes-off places when I wanted to keep my shoes on because I was afraid my feet were smelly. Could that be the case with your family?
Perhaps they prefer to wear shoes and not walk around in socks or barefoot.
Perhaps if you got your carpets professionally cleaned, your family would be more inclined to keep them clean by taking off their shoes.
Just some ideas . . .
Barefoot in the house
We do this at our home. It took a little getting used to but we do this in our culture and persistence paid in my case. I find many of my non-Indian or non-Asian friends who have carpeted homes doing the same. May be you can agree on a place near the stairs where you swap ''outside'' footwear for ''inside'' footwear. Good luck!
likes clean floors
Supposedly 80% of the dirt in a house is tracked in by shoes (at least according to a recent issue of Parenting magazine), so there is some validity to taking your shoes off.
Get shoes that slip on and off easily. Having to tie/untie your shoes every single time you go in and out is a pain.
Keep some slippers or something by the front door so if you need to run out to the car (for example) you can just slip on the slippers quickly.
If you haven't cleaned any carpets, then no one really knows how dirty they are. Get them cleaned and show everyone the dirty residue. That might be enlightening.
Offer a trade-off. For example, if people don't take off their shoes, then they have to vacuum/sweep every week. If they do, then it's just once a month.
The upstairs/downstairs thing is kind of irrelvant since you might want to run upstairs for just a momont, then come back down and to have to take your shoes on/off every time is a pain. Much easier to do at the front door.
I hate walking around without shoes on - it is uncomfortable, even painful, for my feet. I found a pair of soft cloglike slippers - they don't clonk, but they are hard, and they are super comfortable and easy to slip on. I also like flip flops but the flip-flopping noise bugs me. If your daughter and husband don't like the feel of walking around barefoot or in socks, they might like slippers or flip flops. I still haven't figured out what to do at friends' houses - I guess I should start bringing my slippers. (People with hardwood floors often don't want you to keep your shoes on either -- and that REALLY hurts my feet.) By the way, I got my carpets cleaned recently by "Heaven's Best" cleaners. They have a "water only" cleaning method and it is AMAZING. I could not believe how much better the carpets looked and it only cost a little over $200 for four large bedrooms, a hallway and stairs.
I bet you'll get a lot of responses from Asian families! :-) Growing
up, I was taught never to use shoes in the house (we had special house
slippers for indoor use) and everyone who visited my parents respected
that. Needless to say, we are Asian and so were my parents' friends, so
it was an easy ''rule'' to follow. Now that we have a toddler in the
home, my husband and I follow the same rule and have placed a sign next
to the doorbell to remind people. No one has questioned it.
It's much cleaner for your home to keep your outdoor shoes outdoors. It
may take some time to make it into a habit of taking ones's shoes off,
though. but perhaps you can get ''house slippers'' for your daughter and
husband. Maybe they won't feel so naked.
If your family is uncomfortable taking off shoes inside of the house and
if they don't like slippers, why don't you buy ''indoor shoes'' for
them, the shoes used only inside, just like shoes only used out side.
This way they can still keep their ''shoes'' on, but in a sense they act
like indoor slippers.
We take off our shoes just because we are from Japan. We bought a nice,
large wooden storage by our entrance door, and leave our shoes in it as
soon as we come in. Simply having a place to put shoes when entering may
help develop habit to take off shoes.
We take our shoes off at the door and switch to slippers or just our
socks. Mostly we find it more comfortable, but we also think it is
cleaner. (We offer slippers to our guests, but don't insist they take
off their shoes.) I sympathize with your desire to get everyone to do
it. It is too bad that they don't want to. I don't think you will be
able to convince anyone using logic and arguments. I would talk to your
husband about why he doesn't want to do it, and find out if there is any
way he would be willing to do it simply as a favor to you, an easy way
to make you more happy. Then I would make it as easy as possible with a
shoe shelf by the front door and easy slip-on slippers for everyone. If
he agrees to do it, it can become a habit relatively quickly just
something one does without thinking about it.
I almost posted this originally and then didn't - but now seeing the
plethora of responses on the other side of the argument, I have to add
my two cents.
I hate (hate, hate, hate!) being asked to take off my shoes.
Sure, I take my shoes off often enough in my own house, but I do not
like being required to do so. I feel undressed. And I don't like
walking around someone else's house barefoot (sure, your carpets which
have never known shoes are probably cleaner than mine, but it gives me
the willies). I especially don't like being offered slippers at someone
else's house... as if wearing shoes worn by countless others is supposed
to make me feel better about having to take off my own!
I understand your logical reasons for asking people to remove their
shoes, but from my perspective dirt and such is just a fact of life.
Yes, you are going to have to clean your carpets.
But more importantly, I just don't think this is a logical issue. It
comes down to the fact that I don't feel totally comfortable walking
around outside my own home without my shoes on, and I resent the idea
that someone is asking me to take off some of my clothes.
You have had many posts on this but i didn't see one that is great
especially in the winter. We live on a ranch and my husband is a farmer
so shoes off are automatic...but for those who come with hard to take
off boots or the older crowd I have the slippers that you slide your
shoe in and shuffle around the house in. The one i have now is called
''drywalker'' i think there is also one called ''shuffler''. If they
are at the entry way and you point them out...i use them especially in
winter out here when my shoes are muddy and i needed to come in for only
a minute...we also have a cute basket by the front door with all our
easy-to-slip-on-shoes in and people get the idea...
It's not a cleanliness issue, it's a health issue. Wearing shoes indoors
allows people to track lead, pesticides, and other toxins into the
house, where they sit on carpet fibers or become part of the house dust
that you breathe. in addition, it's disgusting.
Tell your family members to think of all the disgusting things they see
on the street -- dog poo, lugeys, etc. That's what you walk over in your
shoes, and that's what you track into your house if you keep them on.
Here's an idea, if all else fails - if anyone in your family insists on
wearing shoes indoors, try having them purchase a pair of ''indoor
shoes'' - shoes that never leave the house. Once they get used to
changing shoes at the door, they may be willing to try slippers.
We are about to move to a new home and are interested in starting
a ''no shoes in the house'' policy. For those of you who practice
this custom in your home, could you please advise about:
(a) how to tactfully ask guests to remove their shoes,
(b) how to sensibly provide things like houseslippers for those
who chill easily or are self-conscious about their feet (what size
do you get? how many pairs? what kind?),
(c) how to avoid shoe clutter at your entryway(s),
(d) how to deal with multiple entries?
We do this in my house and it has been pretty simple. There are
three pairs of ''house shoes'' at the front door. Two in the
garage and two out back (I say house shoes, but they are really
just modified flip flops). We bought ours for a buck a pair in
china town and they are generic enough in size to fit size 5 to
probably size 10.
When we were in Maui last we bought a sign that says ''Please
remove your slippers before entering. Mahalo''. It is ceramic and
quite lovely, complete with gecko. :) It does the trick--most
people when they see you barefooted at the door will get the
message quickly and take their shoes off anyway.
As for shoe clutter...doesn't happen. We carry our shoes to the
bedroom and put them away. Guests shoes are lined up behind the
front door in the foyer.
Hope this helps!
(a) how to tactfully ask guests to remove their shoes:
well, maybe I'm not so tactful, but for folks who are visiting
our home for the home for the first time I say things like,
''Come on in. We're a no shoe house. You can leave your shoes
here. There's a basket of slippers if you'd like... Now we
live in Wisconsin and the winter floors can be chilly. Some of
our friends who know our policy prefer to bring their own
(b) how to sensibly provide things like houseslippers for those
who chill easily or are self-conscious about their feet :
When we were still in Oakland, we went to China town and got
those black cotton slippers: 2 women's pairs and 2 men's (about
the equivalent of women's 7 and 9 and men's 10 and 12)Since then
we've collected more winter slippers. When I find them on sale
for cheap I get them. The above size ranges seem to work; with
slippers you can wear a slightly bigger size if need be.
(c) how to avoid shoe clutter at your entryway(s):
We enter through the mudroom, where we have a tray for shoes
currently being worn (we try for no more than one pair per
family member). If the shoes are dry we put them in the mud
room closet where we have shoe shelves as well as one of those
over the door shoe pocket things. The remainder of our shoes
live in here too. Before we had a mud room we had a shoe shelf
in the foyer. Out of season shoes got stored in the bedroom
closet. Hold Everything makes something that looks kind of like
a dresser with hiden shoe shelves. When we have a party, the
foyer looks like a shoe department!
(d) how to deal with multiple entries:
We make an ocassional trip in with shoes. If someone is holding
a baby and needs to go back for a forgotten item, if the shoes
are not slip on, we usually leave them on. I think Plough and
Hearth makes slipper like things you put on over your slippers.
You could put these on while lugging in groceries and slip them
off and on easily enough, but we've gotten used to just taking
off our shoes.
We've had a no shoe house for a long time and love it. Hope
If I go casually (dropping by or 'just us folks', etc.) to a
friend's no-shoe house, and they provide clean socks (if winter)
and decent slippers or zories, and they let me leave my shoes
inside- I'm fine with it.
But, if I go to an event such as a party or holiday dinner, and
have dressed up nicely, I really resent having to take off my nice
looking clean shoes and put on schleppy slippers. I feel deprived
of looking my best and it strikes me as inconsiderate.
You always have to clean up after an event anyway, and a few sets
of shod feet won't make or break a nice floor or carpet
(especially compared to spilled food and drink), so what's the big
I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and we were never allowed to wear
shoes in our house or anyone eles's. It was considered rude to
wear your shoes inside the house. To this day, I still follow
this rule. I post a pretty sign outside our door saying, ''please
remove your shoes upon entering''. If someone misses it, I
politely request them to remove their shoes. I have beautiful
oriental rugs which shoes and/or dirt from shoes would ruin, and
I'm able to keep a cleaner home with the no shoes policy. For
some reason, shoes inside the house gross me out!
I find it unfortable when people request I remove my shoes before
entering their house. Socks or slippers don't provide the same amount
of support as shoes, especially those worn with orthotics.
But it's equally unconfortable to request an exception.
We have a no-shoes policy in our house, but decided not
to ''enforce'' it with guests. After all, we are the ones most
frequently tracking dirt in, since we live here. However, most
guests seem to take the hint from the lined up shoes, and
automatically take their shoes off. If they don't, we do not ask
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