Keeping Your Floors Free of Winter Gunk

As sure as below zero temperatures, you can count on muddy, wet children tracking the remnants of a good time into the family home.

When asked about this common problem, Lori Berg Michaelides of Skokie, mother of 3 grown children and grandmother to 2 toddlers, adopts an intolerant tone. “No buts about it, shoes off at the door!” she says. But sometimes corraling the troops in an orderly fashion is a little easier said than done.

Dale Spanroff, Store Manager at the Lemoi Ace Hardware in Evanston, says one of this season’s hot sellers is the Boot Scraper Mat, or “boot brush.” The idea is to catch winter gunk before it makes it through the front door by rubbing your boot across the mat to remove debris.

Julie, an employee at The Container Store in Northbrook, makes a case for the boot tray, a more reactive measure that allows children and adults to place their weather-beaten footwear directly into a waterproof plastic dish, “with a lip that catches excess.” Priced at an economical $6.99, the trays can be an easy and cost-effective way to confine winter’s mess to the front entryway.

Crate & Barrel offers a variety of indoor/outdoor mats that can be used to combat winter sludge before and after the children come in for the evening.

If all else fails in the quest to keep the family home winterized, Francesca Lukidis, a single mother living on the border of Chicago and Evanston, has a tongue-in-cheek, outside-the-box plan. “Not only shoes off, but how about a big litter box to sit the kids in until they dry?!”

Whichever method you choose, North Shore parents have their work cut out for them. According to historical weather trends, Chicagoland records about 40% of its annual snowfall by the end of January. And there’s more sledding and snowman building to come!

Need a few quick ideas? Try:

Container Store Boot Tray
An easy and inexpensive option

Scrusher Boot & Shoe Brush
Knocks off excess slush and debris before the boots even make it inside the door

Water and Dirt Shield Mat
Pricier, but absorbs a gallon of water per square yard