My first memory of understanding the filth we bring into our homes from our shoes was when I was a pre-teen.

In the summer it was common to go barefoot outside- all day.

This meant no shoes on the walk to a friend’s house, no shoes while playing in the yard, no shoes going to the neighborhood pool.  Forget the pain of the hot pavement.  It was an exhilarating sign of summer to be able to go barefoot.

I remember one night coming home after dark.  I had walked all over the place barefooted.  I happened to look down at my feet and noticed how dirty the bottoms of them were.  I still can visualize the blackness of my feet.  All the grit and grime I had walked on was now on my feet and I was getting ready to enter my family home.  Here before me was proof of what shoes have lurking on their bottoms we cannot always see.

Horrified, I got down on all fours and crawled to the bathroom.  I crawled along the fairly new golden shaded wall-to-wall carpeting in the hallway leading to the bathroom.   (My mother loved Colonial Williamsburg and the historic colors, so the carpeting was Williamsburg Gold.)

No one ever saw me doing this.  No one told me to crawl to the bathroom and not dare let my feet touch the floor.  Instinctively, I knew not to.  Instinctively, I knew my feet should not get on the carpeting.

Years later as a mother of three children, the house rule was that outdoor shoes had to be removed before entering the home.  I was so worried at what surprises these three pairs of feet would bring in to the house!  Then, as my children grew up and friends became a constant in our home, the rule applied to them as well.  It was a habit that stuck.

Now, “God’s Little Angel”, (yes, my granddaughter) will soon be crawling around the floors of our houses.  I shudder to think what she could pick up on her exploratory travels through the house if shoes were allowed.

It is summertime now.  What a perfect time to instill changes in your homespace with regard to shoes.

Hazards of wearing outdoors shoes in the homespace

Did you know?

  • Experts say that up to 80% of indoor air pollutants are caused from wearing shoes inside that have been worn outside.
  • Outdoor pollutants from your shoes get trapped in rugs and carpets requiring more frequent cleaning.  More frequent cleaning decreases the lifespan of these rugs and carpets.
  • Removing your shoes before entering your homespace lessens the risk of surprises brought into your home such as ABC gum (already been chewed by who knows) and animal waste.  No one enjoys cleaning these things up!

Make a change

Agree to change for the health of your homespace.  And, if you cannot make abrupt all encompassing changes take baby steps.  First, make sure you and those that dwell in your home remove shoes when entering the space.  Then, gradually you will become more comfortable with asking others to do so as well.

One thought…

A healthy homespace environment makes for a healthier you.

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

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Jamie Balzer

About Jamie Balzer

Jamie has worked in the field of interior decorating for over 10 years and has owned B&A Interiors, LLC for almost as long. Partnered with her daughter, Sammi Blake, Jamie has been honored to work in homes and businesses across the country. Knowledge and experience is but part of what she has to offer. As a young girl, Jamie intuitively understood that the placement of things, the color of things, and the arrangement of things evoke certain feelings. Working together with this knowledge, experience and intuition Jamie has answered the call to her life’s purpose- teaching the spiritual truth of what she believes- “Everything begins in the home”. As a branch of B&A Interiors, LLC, Living In Perfect Harmony emerged to teach her philosophy. Jamie believes, “if you live peacefully and beautifully at home, you are well, your family is well and that helps to make the world a better place”. Jamie's most passionate role is as a mother and grandmother. Jamie currently lives and works in the Chicago area but also continues her business in Charlotte, NC as both a decorator and a homespace coach. She is certified in Reiki Therapy which she believes broadens her success as a homespace coach. Jamie is available for private consultations, lectures and seminars.

7 thoughts on “

  1. I am so glad you talked about this! I cringe at the thought of Ansley (and other babies) crawling around on her hands and knees, touching the floor where people have walked with their shoes on. There is not much difference with her crawling around on the floor at a restaurant or at the mall. As we all know, babies put everything in their mouths……..#1 being their hands!

    Another thought…….Think about going to bed each night with your shoes on. Wouldn’t that be gross? I would think most of us have just as many germs on our bare feet. I at least like to think of my bed as being clean. And what about our furniture when we prop our feet up to rest?

    How do we get more people to catch on to this? It is very difficult to ask people to take off their shoes when they come into your home.

    • Your question of how we get people to catch on to this is a good one. I say- lead by example. I have to honor my homespace enough to respectfully remove my shoes upon entering. Gross but true story- last Saturday night David and I went to a street music festival two blocks from home. We took our lawn chairs so we could be up close and personal as Motown singer, Martha Reeves was the headliner. Early in the evening a gentleman (obviously drunk) sat near us on the curb. He began to throw up! I was so upset that I went to get a policeman to ask him to leave. Upon my return he had already left to find a better place to finish getting sick. Before long a couple came and sat where he had been. I didn’t know what to do. Should I say something? Should I speak up and show them his spitup? Too late- both the man and the woman’s shoes were in it. (It was mostly liquid and he was clearly a drunk as his empty bottle of cheap whiskey peeked out of his jacket.) My point here is that they had no idea of what their shoes were touching. All I could think of was, “Please don’t wear your shoes into your house”. Everything starts with each one of us, one at a time. Always, lead by example and when asked why you don’t wear outdoor shoes inside, you can tell this story!

    • Believe me, it’s not difficult to ask people to remove their shoes. Just ask them politely. They are unlikely to be offended.

      I’m sure you have asked people to do lots of other things before.

    • Hi Matthew, thanks so much for your comments and the kudos for my article. Seriously, this is such a common sense approach to what you allow in your home but, at the same time it gets down to how much you respect the sanctuary to your soul- your homespace. Why shoes would be allowed to infringe on your (our) most private domain is hard to fathom. I remember when I first moved to the Chicago area, we were in an apartment for temporary housing. I smiled broadly the first day I arrived as in the hallway to several apartments, lined up outside the doors were the shoes of the people that dwelled within. In other words, smart people inhabited these homes! It was a perfect example of people who understood the importance of what they allowed in their homes. For me there are two things that are absolutely key to my homespace- no shoes and a wonderful smell! I hope your blog and my message help other folks to apply the rule of “No Shoe Zone” to their homes. We all deserve the respect of our inner most sanctuaries! Let’s hope others understand. I believe it will create better environments in which to blossom!

    • I am checking out your blog! Good luck with it! I hope you will continue to read mine. I believe that as part of humanity we must both singly and collectively understand the need to reconnect with nature. My approach to everything I do and everything I teach is to honor the earth.

    • It’s not that I think anyone will be offended, I just think some people think it is weird or uncomfortable to take their shoes off. I am proud of myself though because we had a party at our house this weekend and I found a way to get most people to take their shoes off. Before the party we put a few pairs of shoes right inside our front door hoping that when people came in they would see them and know to take off their shoes. It worked for most everyone. I guess that is my way of easing into it. I am sure I will get more and more comfortable with it!

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