Making People Take Off Their Shoes in Your House Is Not Rude

slippersA lot of families have a no-shoes rule for their homes. It just makes sense, especially for those of us who do the cleaning up after our kids stomp around in mud, playground gravel, and goodness knows what else. And wearing slippers or socks indoors makes everyone feel more cozy at home. I feel like taking my shoes off as soon as I get home helps me transition into a totally different (more relaxed!) mindset. It's the way I was raised, and wearing shoes inside just feels weird.

But I take this healthy habit a step further. I make all our visitors take off their shoes, too. Whether it's kids on a play date or adults coming over for dinner, I'll politely ask you to remove your shoes. In fact, I'm totally shameless about asking everyone.


I know some people think it's rude to ask visitors to remove their shoes. And I still remember that Sex and the City episode where Carrie's Manolos got stolen when a host forced her to remove them. Not everyone comes over prepared to go shoeless, I know -- and I'm not sure hanging out barefoot in my home is much better. 

But ... I just can't abide shoes indoors. In New York City, we're always walking over urine, garbage juice, dried vomit, and all kinds of toxic waste. I don't want that tracked into my home! Plus, I don't want to torment my downstairs neighbors with the sound of noisy shoes clunking around overhead. That sound carries like crazy in my building, even with rugs on the floor.

The only people who are exempt are workers. If you're here to fix the sink, install cable, or paint the walls, by all means: Keep your shoes on. Asking fix-it guys to take off their shoes just feels like going too far.

You know what, though? Asking our guests to remove their shoes in my home is never a problem. Maybe it's just that in the city, it's sort of a given that most people take off their shoes when they get home. Usually, my adult visitors kick off their shoes automatically out of habit (on the other hand, most kids will just run in). I don't even say anything.

And by the way, shoes are safe in my hallway. I've known my neighbors for 14 years. They are not shoe-stealers. And none of my friends wear Manolos. For the record, no one covets their dusty brown Merrell mocs, their dingy gray New Balance sneakers, their scuffed clogs. No one. And for those who are worried, I have no problem with people leaving their shoes just inside next to the door.

Ideally, though, I would have a lovely basket filled with soft guest slippers in all sizes. I've known other families who do this and I've just never gotten organized enough to do it myself. I know it would make asking a lot more gracious if I could also hand over the perfect pair of slippers. Make yourself more comfortable! (And help me keep my home clean ...)

Do you ask visitors to remove their shoes in your home?


Image via Ingermaaike2/Flickr

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