OK, I am as neurotic as the next person about keeping my floors clean. With dogs and kids, the inevitable mess happens. The kids are trained to take their shoes off. The dogs know that if they wait on the mat while their feet get cleaned they will get a treat, and my guests are kind and gracious. They usually offer without being asked.
Last week my husband and I stayed at my brother’s ski house in Vermont. Ski and snowboarding boots are messy. My brother and his wife have a whole room dedicated to shoes/boots/ski stuff. It is a neatly organized mudroom that provides a barrier between the outside and the inside with storage for lots of stuff.
Architect Susan Susanka, the author of the Not So Big House books, is a big fan of mud rooms that can keep shoes, outerwear, purses, keys, back packs and other belongings in a central place near an entrance to a home.
Mudrooms encourage friends and family to take their shoes off. Here are some of the benefits of removing your shoes before entering a home. Creating a healthier home by taking your shoes off is good for the environment. Cleaner air quality and less cleaning products consumed is an advantage. Even if you clean with vinegar and baking soda, taking your shoes off by the front door will save. More importantly, the EPA found that pesticides on shoes are considered to be a major source of toxic exposure for children.
While I surf the ecosphere often, it still surprised me to find a whole blog dedicated to leaving your shoes at the door. Shoes Off at the Door Please encourages people not to wear shoes in their homes. UK blogger Celestial Fundie provides 37 reasons why you should have a shoes-off policy.
A mudroom is a perfect place to leave those shoes behind while providing all the elements for a cleaner, healthier home. Here are some ideas for creating an eco-mud room:
• Floors should be dark and durable. Mudroom floors take a beating. Eco-friendly rubber floor tiles are made with recycled rubber and are perfect for messes. Stone floors are attractive and are great at hiding dirt. Floor mats made from recycled materials are another alternative.
• Determine the type of storage you need–sports equipment, kids, dogs. Bins, baskets and shelves can give each family member a space. Pegs on the floor for upside down boots or a lattice-work shoe shelf with a drip tray underneath can keep melting snow and rain off the floor. Cubbies for each member of the family keep homework, lunches and other belongings organized. This small storage unit is made from Bamboo with eco-fabric upholstery created from re-purposed denim.
• Some additional decor like a mirror (hat-hair can wreck an entrance), coat tree, key holder, indoor/outdoor thermometer and bulletin board give mudrooms multi-purposes.
Got mudroom? I wish I did.
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.