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Leah Kennelly

Do you take off your shoes in your house? We started doing this many years ago now. Aside from how much cleaner it keeps things, the real reason we do it is that it significantly reduces toxins in the home—some studies claim by up to 60%Just by taking off your shoes! What could be easier or more effortless? And if Dr. Sanjay GuptaGoop and the Honest Company are all on board, the concept is definitely gaining popularity. And toxins really are no joke—especially for children and pregnant women. If you need an extra nudge, check out this very compelling article from The Atlantic.

I will admit it takes some time getting into the habit of taking off your shoes, but the trickiest part is asking guests to do the same. For a while I felt very badly asking, almost embarrassed. So here are eight tips if you’d like to consider implementing this in your house:

1. Leave a basket at the front door. And have a place to sit if you can. We pile all of our shoes in this basket when we come in (if they are nicer shoes, they get set next to the basket). When we are tidying up at the end of the day, I take the nice shoes back to our closets (gym shoes, boat shoes and flip flops all live in this basket).

2. When a guest arrives, you can say something like “Oh, you can leave your shoes here, if you don’t mind!” No one has ever put up a fight.

3. Offer socks or slippers. We offer clean pairs of socks, especially in colder months.

4. Carry your shoes to the front door. Once I’m dressed and ready to leave the house, I get my shoes from my closet and carry them to the front door and put them on there. At first it seems a little kooky but it doesn’t take long to forget you ever wore them in the house.

5. Have a pair of slip-ons. When you need to run out to the car really fast (or water the plants etc), it is helpful to have a pair of slip-ons at every major door.

6. Have disposable shoe covers for workmen. It would be a major pain for them to take off their boots so much.

7. Roll up the rugs for parties. Fortunately, we have wood floors throughout the house, so for really big parties, we just roll up the rugs. Everyone can keep on their shoes and the floors are just thoroughly washed afterward.

8. Accept the exceptions. There are some people who should not have to take off their shoes. My husband’s 94-year-old grandmother was one of them. I just couldn’t ask!

MAJOR MOM BONUS: You always know where your kids shoes are!! And your house is seriously so much cleaner.

I know this is a touchy subject for some people. I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but ultimately my family’s health will always trump awkward moments. In other counties throughout the world (Sweden!), it is considered rude to not remove your shoes. Get with the times, America!