i remember growing up as a kid in new hampshire and playing in all kinds of dirt piles, sandboxes, and mudholes. i remember the pile of shoes in our den that seemed to stay there year round, however i never remember being told to take our shoes off in the house except in the winter. looking back now, the pile of shoes were probably all of our winter boots collecting dust in the summertime. we also had the long shag carpet in our rooms too. so imagine a mix of dirt and crud from our shoes and the shag carpet in our home. as kids, we never thought anything of it.
nowadays, i make it a point to take off my shoes when going into our home and try to remember to do the same when going into someone else’s home. the main reason for a “shoes off” policy in our house now is because it’s just plain cleaner and healthier in our house as a result (that and i have two young boys who would lick ice cream off the floor if they were allowed). shoes track in all kinds of dirt and debris. if you can leave all of that literally at the door, you’re on the way to a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.
you can put a small shoe rack or bench by your door or, if you’re renovating, you can install a recessed niche or a built in bench with storage for your shoes. the leed for homes program gives one full point of credit for implementing such a measure and, i might add, the program does not hand out points like candy. it’s further proof that more people are recognizing the benefits of such a simple idea. in fact, it’s such a simple idea, it’s almost not even worth writing about…almost.