A source of clutter my in my home that has long bothered me is the shoe rack inside our door. Rather than tucking the shoes neatly inside an available space my kids usually just throw them into a pile on the top shelf until they spill onto the floor. The shoe rack was a step up from the basket we used at our old place but that was cluttered and messing looking too. I am still looking for a way to hide the shoe clutter but we won’t budge on having that designated space because the shoes come off first thing after entering the house. And while it does keep mad searches for shoes to a minimum we do this to keep nasties out of the house.
When you walk around inside the house with shoes you just wore outside you are likely bringing with you dust, dirt, lawn and garden pesticides (even if you don’t use them yourself), industrial toxins, animal feces, dust mites, and allergens. The dust and dirt is reason enough for me to make sure we are all taking off our shoes when entering but the idea of pesticides all over our floor when we already try to minimize this my nixing those products, is kind of scary. A report from a few years back called The Door Mat Study also shows us that lead contaminated soil from outside the home is being transported into our homes in the form of lead dust. I have also heard that somewhere between 80 and 85% of the dirt in our homes was brought into the home via our shoes and considering what we may have stepped on, that is just gross!
Our first line of defense is a good door mat where all family members need to wipe their feet. It is pretty easy to find ones made of recycled materials like tires or even flip-flops. Scrape or shake off as much of the dirt and dust from your shoes as possible. Then the second line of defense it to take your shoes off and keep them somewhere near the door so you never have to trek around the house in shoes. A simple shoe rack or even a shoe bench which also has seating is nice. To ensure space we have to rotate the shoes between seasons because few benches can handle everyone’s summer and winter shoes all at the same time. And we have to remind our kids that roller blades are not meant for this space… put those in the garage or carry those up to your room… do NOT roller blade to your bedroom!
When you have visitors it is up to you on how to handle this. You can ask them to remove their shoes or let them wear them in the house. We usually make exceptions for visitors. Babies and little children can be used as a great excuse to ask people to remove shoes though, aka “We would appreciate it if everyone removed their shoes.. we have a little one who likes to crawl on the floor and we want to keep it clean.” That same study I mentioned earlier claimed that a door mat and taking shoes off got rid of 98% of toxic dust over a 5 month period. Now if only I could keep the shoe area from looking so cluttered!
How do you handle the shoe situation?