Currently most of my content is shared on my MakeSimpleHappen Instagram Page, but check back often for new posts and projects. I’d love to connect with you for your design, staging, or home organization needs–fill out the form below to shoot me a note. -Amber
If you have followed me for a bit, you know that this is one of the FIRST things I advocate for when trying to create a cleaner, more organized, and most of all HEALTHIER home. (And it happens to be the question I get asked the most frequently, too!).
There are so many good reasons to leave the shoes at the door–the biggest being viruses, bacteria, waste, herbicide and pesticide toxins, heavy metals, and dirt & grim, in general, which Medical studies show are very common on the bottom of your shoes, AND can live there for several days. A friend shared an article today about the corona virus and how it can live on your shoes for up to 5 days. So there ya go! YUCK.
The good news is, you only need 4 key things to make a Shoe-Free House happen!
For EACH Entrance:
1. Rug or Mat to wipe shoes off when you immediately enter.
2. A Shoe Rack/Basket/Tray to store your shoes in an orderly way.
3. A organized corner to store the “goods”.
This is important, because if you come in through the garage one day, the front door another, or in-and-out from the backyard when playing or gardening, you’ll need a spot at each entrance to kick off the shoes right away. It defeats the purpose if you walk through the house to get to the spot where your shoes are stored.
4. A commitment from the members of the house to make it a habit.
It may take a few kind reminders but after a week or so, everyone will be in the groove of kicking off their shoes as soon as they walk through the door. If you aren’t used to bare feet at home, you may want to stick some socks or indoor slippers nearby for family members to slip on. 🙂 I have found this especially true for guests–like when my in-laws come to visit. After a bit, they got used to packing a pair of their own socks to bring along when coming over.
First Step: Prep
To start out fresh, spend an afternoon doing a deep clean on the hard surfaces and carpeted areas of your home. (Sweep/Vacuum, and wash). Dont forget to throw the mats and rugs in the washer, as well.
We love Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner for a safe and effective option. For other hard surfaces, a mixture of White Distilled Vinegar with warm water and (optional) a few drops of DoTerra’s Lemon Essential Oil for extra disinfecting power and a great scent. Remove all the rugs and move the furniture to do a full-floor clean! This helps with the motivation to keep them clean and free of outside germs.
Second Step: Procure your supplies
Here are a few of my favorite options (click the photo to shop the images):
Third Step: Find a corner or closet near each entry and set up your shoe storage zone!
This doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make it work for your family. I like to have a rug immediately in front of the door, and then a tray, rack or basket next to it where we can easily and neatly store the shoes. Some friends have a closet or a cupboard where their shoes fit in. Awesome. Once the bin fills up, it is time to store some pairs in the bedroom, or distribute to the other “shoe storage zones” around the house. You’ll probably find you have to sweep and vacuum less, too!
Have an outdoor pet? You can add a hanging towel nearby to wipe their paws as they come back in the house. (Norwex would be my preference with natural antibacterial qualities). Because they typically don’t go with you to public spaces like stores, restaurants and public bathrooms, their paws won’t carry nearly as many germs as the bottom of your shoes, so even if you have a pet that comes and goes from the house, having your family remove their shoes is one BIG win in the health and cleanliness column. Whoohoo!
Hello! I have been wanting to write this post for a while, and NOW seemed like the perfect time to kick it off, with mostly everyone at home and perhaps even with some extra time on our hands.
Focusing on what we do have control of right now, and enjoying the safety and comfort of our home, our family has created some household goals for spring cleaning and organization! I wanted to put a little extra love out in the world, so I’ve created free worksheets that go along with it. Simply download the empty templates and personalize them, or use the already completed task sheet we are following in our home. (You are welcome to tag “MakeSimpleHappen” and share with friends as well!).
Healthy Cleaning Tips
I have spent the last several years transitioning our household over to safer, more natural products, and some DIY cleaners as well.
Many times warm water 💦 ,basic soap, and a good scrub, are ALL that is needed to give a deep clean and protect from nasty germs—hands included. So PRETTY PLEASE don’t bring back the yucky harsh chemical cleaners 🚫 (the coronavirus has shown to have a lipid barrier and proteins, which can be broken down by regular soaps, if washed long- and well enough! Isn’t that reassuring?).
There are some fabulous resources out there (👇) so I won’t go into too much detail, but here are our “always have on hand” basic household items for cleaning:
- Distilled Water
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner’s is our fav)
- Rubbing Alcohol (or a cheap vodka works too!)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (if you can find it right now)
- Reusable Brushes and Rags (Full Circle Home is our fav for these items)
- Norwex Cloths (Especially the Dusting Mit, Window Cloth, and Enviro Cloth–you can get all three in this set here).
Favorite Safe Cleaners:
Humble Suds I especially love the All Purpose Cleaner, Scour Cleaning Paste and Laundry Soap. Use code MAKESIMPLEHAPPEN for 15% off your orders.
Branch Basics is also wonderful for safe and effective cleaning. Their concentrate lasts quite a long time and makes a wide variety of cleaners for around the house. Get $10 off your first purchase using my link.
DoTerra OnGuard Concentrate is great when we need to do a deep “disinfect” (I’ll mix it and spray on door handles, light switches and other frequently-touched surfaces after someone comes home with a bug 🤒), and for surfaces like our yoga mats! Below are the DoTerra oils I keep on hand for cleaning, as well:
The @EWG has a great “Guide to Healthy Cleaning” and does the research for you on toxicity, giving “grades” for products. The “🅰️“and “🅱️“s are the safest. 🌱
Happy Cleaning! Reach out with any specific questions and let me know how your spring cleaning goes!
Sharing some of our favorite SUSTAINABLE Waste-Free (ie: reusable, recyclable and/or compostable) School Favorites, particularly for lunch and snack, for this new school year… or whenever you are on-the-go with your littles. I happen to also own a Yumbox for myself–it’s like my personal Smorgasbord away from home!
Sure, you invest a little more $ up front on reusable options, but I assure you, you save lots of money in the long run , and provide your kids with healthier non-plastic options, while simultaneously helping mother earth 🌍!
P.S. I added lots of promo codes for even more savings. Scroll down…
Our family’s purchasing decisions come down to the following criteria:
1. Safety (clean & safe ingredients and/or materials for our bodies and endocrine systems. That means no known carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals),
2. Ethics of the Company (Transparency of the ingredients, and ALL of them, Sustainability efforts for packaging and products, Certified BCorps, and Certified Leaping Bunny–cruelty free, are a bonus! I will always support these companies first).
3. Likability. We actually have to use and love the products before I will invest in additional options, or recommend to friends and family!
Here are our most favorite On-the-Go Kid Essentials:
- Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Waterbottles--Super Durable, fun patterns, and a really cool Bcorp and sustainbility-focused company.
- YumBox bento boxes–All food safe materials, BPA-free and phthalate-free. And they are easy to open for littles, everything stays in their individual compartment without leaking, and you can throw the trays in the dishwasher! LOVE ours. They also fit in almost all popular brand lunch bags, with a flat icepack and a little room to spare. Use code “Try20” for 20% off your first purchase online.
- LunchSkins Dishwasher-safe reusable bags can be used again and again (I personally like the zipper tops, over the velcro), and their recyclable/compostable paper bags are easy to use once and toss responsibly. This is good for super little ones who may accidentally lose or toss the reusable ones 😉 Use code “2019LS” for 10% off online. You can also find them at Target!
- Stasher Bags! The coolest sealable food-grade silicone reusable bags–they come in many fun sizes and colors AND are dishwasher safe on the top rack. We have obsessed over these for a long time now. Bonus: A women-owned, certified BCorp and of member of “1% for the Planet” (1% of all sales go to high-impact non-profits that protect our oceans).
There are so many great alternatives to one-time-use ziplocks and paper sacks in the marketplace these days—let’s make this school year a much more sustainable and healthier one for all! 👌👌👌❌⭕️❌⭕️
Reach out with any questions! Much love, Amber