When I visit my Japanese friends in their homes, their shoes are lined neatly by the door. This got me wondering: Are they onto something?
Ever since I started kicking off my shoes when entering the house, wearing boots in the living room feels, well, wrong.
Now, in a way, taking my shoes off at the door once I enter the house is my way of saying, “I am home now. It’s time to change gears.” It helps the mental transition from being out in the world to retreating back into my own domicile.
The merits of kicking those shoes off and staying a while
If you think taking your shoes off in the house is just for propriety, think again. Romping through the house in your shoes can actually make you sick. A study conducted by the University of Arizona found no fewer than 421,000 types of bacteria on the soles of shoes—types of bacteria that can give you nasty stomach bugs or worse. Throughout the day, the soles of our shoes make contact with animal feces, germs on public bathroom floors, and who knows what else.
If you had a choice, would you invite those germs in your kitchen or would you leave them outside?
While your shoes are tracking in nasty germs and bacteria, they’re carrying along toxins and chemicals as well. Lawn treating chemicals, gasoline, coal tar, you name it, can get tracked onto your carpet. This is bad news, especially after this Baylor University Study found that people living close to asphalt roads were more likely to get cancer from coal tar toxins.
And how are these toxins making their way onto your carpet that your kids are rolling around on? Your favorite leather boots are the culprit.
Taking your shoes off also makes it significantly easier to keep a clean, tidy home. How often do you vacuum? How often do you sweep? If you enjoy living in an effortlessly clean home (and, don’t we all?), it’s a good idea to remove those shoes before entering the house. It could save you many hours spent deep cleaning later.
Not wearing shoes in your home can also help preserve the condition of your hardwood floors and carpet. Less grime trapped in the carpet; fewer scuffs on your gorgeous oak floors.
Furthermore, bare feet make quieter footsteps. I tend to clomp around my house like a Clydesdale, so taking my shoes off contributes to a more serene home environment.
Last but certainly not least, removing your shoes in your home is a sign of respect for where you lay your head to sleep at night. This is your haven! Your home is where you dream, create, relax, and spend time with your loved ones. Taking your shoes off is an act that says, “this is my special, clean, relaxing home space. It deserves some respect.”