Try one small thing each month to live clean and eco-friendly like removing your shoes inside the home. Free printable no shoes sign included!
I’m thrilled to be participating in a new monthly series called One Small Thing with a group of bloggers passionate about helping the environment and making healthier choices for their families and themselves.
One Small Thing
If you’ve been around my blog for awhile you know I’ve talked about green living before and even shared ideas for how we can use clean living habits when decorating our homes!
Please remove your shoes at the door!
Living in Japan taught us so much about clean living. Hygiene is a major part of their culture. They take extra care to wear masks in public even when they are not sick to reduce the risk of spreading germs. You can also find a hygienic tool for just about anything in their drug stores.
We had the opportunity to live in two houses in Japanese towns where we quickly grew accustomed to their no shoes tradition.
When we were visiting our Japanese friends’ homes kids would run in and out of the house but would also grab their shoes and carry them to the door and leave them neatly facing toes in to quickly transition from outside to inside.
Even the movers slipped off their shoes when they were moving my 500 lb baby grand piano inside and you can bet there wasn’t a single ding or scratch in our house. Seriously impressive!
Our kids, my husband, and I carried this tradition back to the states so our one small thing to share this month is no shoes in the house.
It was definitely easier to follow this habit in Japan where there was plenty of shoe storage in the foyers. I mean aren’t these cabinets great?
I also noticed that most people wore shoes that easily slipped on and off and slippers were often readily available in homes, restaurants, and other establishments.
Now that we are back in the states we follow this rule about 90% of the time. When we are entertaining a large group especially in the winter season we don’t expect them to remove their shoes or for some people, like my mother and grandfather, need to wear shoes all of the time for support.
Why don’t Japanese wear shoes inside their homes?
The traditional Japanese custom of not wearing shoes inside is to keep their floors clean from soil, dust, and sand. Some of the older homes still use earth as flooring in their entryways .
While I lived there I observed that a lot of materials used in Japanese homes have a spiritual significance and they treat their homes just like they do everything else, with high respect.
Have you seen Kondo Marie on Netflix yet? This is why she welcomes and “feels” the homes she works in. You may have noticed how she thanks everything. Even items we just see as inanimate objects. Kind of weird but also kind of neat.
Humility and appreciation are common in the Japanese culture. They even have a word they say before and after they eat a meal that means thank you for the food in a humble manner. The kids and I like to use that word before or after we bless the meal. 😉 It is also fun to say “itadakimasu”.
Notice in the two Japanese foyers from our rentals that they sit at a lower level. That is because the inside of a home is in an intimate place.
When you enter a home you are stepping up into someones’ personal space. I love the respect that is shown to others everywhere in Japan but especially in homes!
Why should you take your shoes off in the house?
- To keep from transferring toxins, bacteria, and germs including E. Coli inside. Just think of everything the soles of your shoes have come into contact with outside….feces, tar, dirt, trash, and unhealthy herbicides.
- To keep floors clean which can be especially important when you have little ones crawling around. Keeping shoes off can also reduce wear and tear on your carpets and rugs!
- For comfort! Give your feet a break from shoes and stretch your toes. 🙂
- For respect of others. Some people might think it strange but we try to always ask if we should remove our shoes when we visit someone in the US now and my kids automatically take them off and set them by the front door.
Make this habit easier.
- Have shoe storage nearby with a shoe rack or cabinet. Baskets are easy to use in a cinch too!
- Make sure there is a place to sit down to remove tricky buckles and laces.
- Display a sign to help your family and guests remember!
- Don’t forget other exterior doors that are used often. Shoe storage makes it so much easier!
- Have an easy slip on shoe by the back door for your family members.
Take off your shoes sign!
A great way to gently remind your guests to remove their shoes is to have a sign in the entryway. I decided to create a printable inspired by Japan (hence the cherry blossoms!) that I could put in a pretty gold frame in our foyer! Just click the image or link below to grab a copy for yourself.
Looking for other signs? Check out these affordable options.
*This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience to products I love.
The One Small Thing series is in collaboration with some other fantastic bloggers. We believe with climate change, chemicals in our products, and the footprint we leave on the planet can easily make us feel overwhelmed but changing one small thing a month and encouraging our readers to do the same can create a larger impact over the course of a year.
This is a great way for us to use our influence in the online world to better our community, society, and culture. You can check out other ideas below and make sure to stay tuned for next month’s post in this series!
One Small Thing
Now I have to know, are you team “shoes” or “no shoes”? 🙂 Whatever the case may be I hope you enjoyed reading about the fascinating culture of Japan!
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