Considering: No Shoe House

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I don't like to be barefoot. Really ever. My feet are usually cold, and uh, stepping in crumbs or liquid? Horror (#firstworldproblems, I know).

If Jonathan ever does see me walking around barefoot, he gets all proud and congratulates me. Ha.

Spending all this time in my house, I have realized how quickly my floors get dirty. The area of the kitchen floor underneath Juliette's chair is unavoidably messy at this stage of life. But's occurred to me that if no one wore shoes around my house ever, the mess would be even less. Right? It's common sense, yes?

There are a few issues with this:

1. Is it just plain weird/awkward asking guests to take off their shoes? How much of a stickler do you have to be? Do people freak out and never want to come over again?

2. Do you have to have slippers or something out for guests to wear? If so, that would stump me (where to put them, what kind to get, how to point them out normally, etc).

3. Is the weird factor insurmountable? I'm just afraid that it is.

Does anyone operate their home this way? Any words of wisdom?


  1. This is TOTALLY common in Minnesota i.e. places with sloppy winters. You go over to someone's house, see piles of shoes by the door and that signals you to take yours off, too. It was no big deal.

    I'd say the offering of slippers is a little awkward, though, again in Minnesota, people would bring slippers to others houses, especially if you wore boots in the car....

    I know this doesn't totally correlate with your dilemma, but I'd say go for it - we have plans of a shoe-free house when Clara becomes a little more mobile. And we already take our nasty hospital shoes off in the garage.

  2. Our neighbor in Austin had a no shoe policy. Personally, it kinda annoyed me, especially when I was just over for a second had a baby in my arms and tennis shoes on. Super inconvenient. My bent is just clean your floors more often than risk making your guests feel uncomfortable even in the least. But I'm a hostess at heart and so I'm always putting the guests first, wanting them to feel most comfortable and at home in my house, not bending to any of my rules...
    But if you go for a shoe free home, I'll be the first to take mine off when I come visit! ;)

  3. Okay just one question/comment.....not to be a stick in the mud, but what if you go to a no shoes policy and then end up stepping on that cockroach living underneath juliette's chair?!? Im just should go for it. There was an article in a magazine this past month addressing the "normalcy" of a no shoes house....ill try to find and email to you....ive been thinking a lot about this concept too.

    1. Also this is kimmie not a random person named kimberly.

  4. I've been debating the no shoe house as well. I grew up in one, since my poor mother had a house full of white carpet and tile. It drove me CRAZY to hear her yell, "Shoes off!" when we walked in the door, but now that I'm cleaning a home of my own I totally get it. I think if we do it we will probably just apply it to our own family and then not really ask guests to comply. Surely that change alone will be a slight improvement?

  5. it's really, really common in Asian households for people to remove their shoes at the door. I think it's more cultural than about cleanliness, but having grown up that way, doesn't weird me out at all. weird is relative, after all!

  6. It helps! But I don't ask people to take off their shoes when they come over. After all, we are in our own home far more often (and probably track in the vast majority of the schmutz on the floor), so a few guests' shoes aren't going to make much of a dent. But people see our shoes by the door and often offer to take theirs off. I tell them they can do whatever is comfortable.

  7. i would LOVE to do this at our house, especially with a baby soon to be crawling around! but with the dogs, it seems kinda pointless. ugh.

    i'm sure close friends and family would quickly get used to it, but less-frequent visitors might feel weird. and a dinner party or something like that would probably have to be a shoes-on situation.

  8. As said above, this is very common in Asian-American households and is the standard practice in Asia. In China, there were always lots of spare slippers for guests to wear. But I do think it was a cleanliness and not just a culture thing--when you're walking on the most populated streets, where babies are free to answer the call of nature anywhere and everywhere, you definitely don't want to drag that in the house.
    That being said, I really don't think it would make a difference in my house. Within 30 minutes of mopping/swiffering my kitchen floor, Felicity will inevitably drop her cup of milk, or spill her apple sauce, or whatever. Or Hattie will spit up everywhere. I just don't think it's our feet that primarily cause the floors to get so nasty. Just my two cents.
    But I also agree with the previous poster that you could do that yourselves and then guests could follow your lead (or not), but you wouldn't have to require it of them so as to make them feel annoyed or uncomfortable.
    That was a long comment. Sorry

  9. Anonymous9:02 AM

    For your family, shoes off unless EVERYONE takes a turn at cleaning floors every day. Occational guests, spare them your lectures, if they are smart they will notice the pile of shoes by the door and your clean floors. I love going barefoot, cant stand dirty floors - YUCK!


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