February 3, 2011

to shoe or not to shoe

I need a little advice from the wider world out there. Yesterday I was walking up our stairs to get something, I'm not even sure what, probably my coffee, I'm always leaving it on different floors and it's just about the only thing that I'll keep going up and down the steps for. Anyway, about halfway up I got sidetracked by the state of my stairs. Every single corner of every single step had a little dust bunny and a bunch of dirt. Now, that can happen, I get it. People forget to clean the stairs. Except that I had vacuumed, with a shop vac, every step only a few days before. They had been sparkling. I'd even mopped them, and there they were, disgusting again.
Our house is old and it's not the easiest place to keep clean, what with the pretty much constant construction going on, but still. It drives me up the wall. I stopped, I swept, and this morning, dirty again.

Now there are a couple of culprits here. First, we have a dog and two kids. And a cat. Although I'm not sure she contributes much to the problem since she spends most of her time hidden under the drafting table. But the dog and kids are just going to make dirt. We also need to get out floors refinished. My guess is that they haven't been done since they were put in in the 1950's and it shoes. Even right after modding the floors look dull and dingy. It's on the list. Somewhere.

However, I can't help but wonder if having a no shoes policy would be a big help. When we lived in our little 300 square foot apartment with the toddler Briton we had a no shoe policy out of necessity. It was always raining out (as it does in Ireland) and our vacuum was terrible so it was hard to get mud up out of the carpet. Plus we had downstairs neighbors and a toddler, so feet had to be as quiet as possible. And it was great. But it was also set up for no shoes. We may not have had room for a bathtub or a real closet, but there was a teeny little entryway set up for depositing ones shoes. This house is not set up for shoeless living. At least not at the moment. When the mudroom is finished it would be much easier, but at the moment there isn't really a good place to put shoes right inside the door. We'd have to tromp through the living room to the mudroom (which is at least clean and usable, just no door from the outside, and it's freezing in there) to deposit our shoes. But maybe it would be worth it.

What is your experience? Is it worth the hassle of retraining the family? Does it make that much difference? How do you handle guests? The closer we get toward spring the more I know the mud is a-comin, which means the floors will be even dirtier. Steps must be taken! What's your advice?