To Things

Have separate footwear at home

Key Takeaway: Aside from cleaning shoes regularly, I invite you to consider a separate footwear policy at home Рa pair of in-house slippers just for the upper floor/s or the more sensitive rooms (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) Рor restrict all shoes to the porch! This would also promote a clean air at home and reduce the need for more intensive cleaning.


Last Saturday, I wrote about the benefits of cleaning your shoes regularly at home. Doing so helps ease the cleaning job and clean the air of harmful particles that can cause malaise at home – something I learned the hard way.

Today, we’re taking it one step further, inspired by my cousin and my aunt.

Copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

Copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

Copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

Copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

One thing in common with the houses of said cousin, said aunt, and our family is that our houses have two floors. Furthermore, my aunt’s and our house have doors at the top of the stairs as well. In my ideal house, I’d rather not have a door there, but the house I currently live in does, and it’s also a wise decision to keep off any harmful particles floating upwards from downstairs.

The aforementioned harmful particles can also come from – yes, you guessed it right – our footwear. That is why both my cousin and my mother have implemented a policy of no shoes upstairs. They use special in-house slippers for the upper floor of the house only – or, in some cases, they go barefoot instead.

As a result, the floors upstairs are pristine – you could lie on them and not worry about dirt, and¬†even still eat¬†dropped snacks without fear of a stomachache. Although our floors aren’t that blessed, I believe that this is a smart move to both minimize cleaning and promote a healthy air around the house.

As such, I began implementing, at first on my own, my own separate footwear policy. In the photo above, the slippers on the left are for upstairs only. The ones on the right, the blue FitFlops, are actually my going-out sandals the rare times I do wear sandals, but also serve as my back-up house slippers for downstairs use (my primary ones are Mickey Mouse Crocs). Those three pairs are my only slippers; as I said last time, I gave up flip-flops after, despite my best efforts, their lives were always cut short. I’m not even used to the sensation of wearing flip-flops anymore…

I really make it a point to use the upstairs slippers only upstairs. Currently, I “switch” the slippers on the stairs landing, but based on what I’ve been reflecting on now, I probably should restrict the upstairs slippers even more, to the other side of the second-floor door, then go barefoot on the second half of the stairs instead. If both pairs of my downstairs slippers are “engaged” (meaning, they’re in the wash) – hey, this really happened¬†last week! – I just wear a pair of boots with no socks on until I come back upstairs, then I don’t store them inside the shoe cabinet until they’re cleaned.

For visitors, the policy is the same. We like to take home, when we can, the carpet slippers provided every time you go to a luxury hotel, every time we go abroad or out of town, or stay at a hotel in the city. These we reserve for visitors, and I have them regularly laundered once they become a little off-white. I took it one step further and had a carpenter working on our renovations at the time make a DIY slipper rack, which now stands at the foot of the stairs.

Copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

Copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

Now that I think of it, if the carpet slippers are at the foot of the stairs, then there should be no dirty soles on the stairs at all. This means I should be removing my shoes at the foot of the stairs, not halfway up them…

If my house were a single-floor apartment, I’d probably implement the separate footwear policy outside my bedroom and bathroom (my best friend, who lives in a townhouse, has a separate pair of slippers just for the downstairs bathroom). If it were a studio, well, I’d just restrict the space in the room shoes can be in, perhaps a square meter or two by the doorway.

In my ideal house, I would also probably implement a no-shoes policy inside; I’d restrict all shoes, including our own, to what I envision to be a small foyer between the¬†entrance door and the door leading inside. But at the same time, I’d still advocate cleaning shoes regularly. One might say, “So shoes should be left just outside? Why not leave them outside everywhere you go, and not bother with cleaning them anymore? After all, they’ll never set foot inside a house.” Well, three¬†reasons. One, you’d¬†eventually become a walking dirt magnet. Two, your shoes would look dreadful, which is irresponsible. Three, and related to the second reason, you’d be taking poor care of them, which is also irresponsible.

How do you deal with shoes at home? Comment below!

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