This past year I’ve probably been to more open houses than there are houses in certain cities. Though most of them now blur together in my mind’s eye, there’s one I’ve never forgotten. The one with a lovely oak front porch, large bay windows, and a pile of shoes at the front door which soon made sense as I read the sign on the front door printed in black and white lettering informing all visitors to please remove shoes before entering. Well then. It was most certainly strange to walk through a stranger’s home without shoes [reminding me of the burglars of Home Alone and all the um, foot related challenges they faced] but the act of walking barefoot on smooth hardwood floors was not an entirely unpleasant sensation. Their daughter has severe allergies, the agent apologized also, the owners noticed it keeps the place cleaner. Now that we’ve bought a home, it got me thinking:
- I’ve never had allergies. Until this year. This year I’m a coughing, sneezing, watery eyed mess and the EPA found that shoeless homes reduce lead-based toxins in their homes by 60% not to mention all the other pesticides, chemicals, and soot we drag in from all the places we walk.
- The previous owners of our house kept the place immaculate and many bloggers I read wrote about how much easier it was to keep the home clean when they left their outdoor shoes outside and as someone engaged in a perpetual David versus Goliath battle with the state of order in my home, the thought of one step to make things simpler is soothing.
- High heels pockmark hardwoods.
- And 34 other reasons I found on a blog devoted entirely to the matter of going shoeless.
So we’re thinking, in addition to making [and following through with] a cleaning schedule that will [hopefully] keep the home in manageable shape, we’re going shoeless. I thought K would stare at me like I had sprouted antennas on my head when I brought this up but instead, he nodded as we approached the house the next day and promptly removed his shoes before stepping inside. And my kiddo? He’s always looking to ditch the shoes, so as a threesome we’re squared away.
As for visitors, the plan right now is to put up a polite note near the front door with a shoe rack. We’ll buy some slippers people could slip on if they want their feet covered but I do wonder how people will respond to this. As a desi, its not uncommon for guests to take off their shoes, but not everyone does this as a general rule. And many find shoeless requests rude as people coming over may not be prepared and might be sporting mismatched socks or craggy toenails. And how far does one go? Does the plumber remove his shoes as well? The movers? Or are there social exceptions for service folk? What about if you want to step outside to your deck or check in on your [aspirational] vegetable garden? Mats by the outdoor entrances with back yard shoes? Backyard shoes!? Outdoor shoes! Indoor shoes! Shoes for guests! Oh my! Going shoeless could be hefty on the budget!
Have a shoeless home yourself? Ever gone shoeless in the home of another? What are your thoughts on the topic? Any advice or perspective most appreciated!