What Are the Rules at Your House? Shoes On or Off?

I’m nowhere near neurotic about cleaning my house. Between my 4-year-old son and 21-month-old daughter, it’s a good day when I can keep dinner on their plates and trains, tracks and Legos off the stairs (where they patiently wait to trip us up). But when it comes to the floors, we have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy. My kids are trained to take their shoes off as soon as they get home. My husband even has two sets of slippers -- one for indoors and one for outdoors. (Did I mention that I’m really not that neurotic?)

But here’s the thing: I never ask guests to take off their shoes. I don’t want to impose or make anyone feel uncomfortable. What if they don’t have socks on in the summer? Or what if their socks have holes in them? What if you’re hosting a party and your friend’s gorgeous 3-inch red heels are key to her outfit? (Though I must admit, this isn’t usually the case at our house.) It just seems to be a request guests need to prepare for in advance. My husband sometimes asks -- if it’s a family member or close friend or someone who plans to hang out in our carpeted basement. And then there’s my son, who will sweetly implore anyone and everyone to take off their shoes. Four-year-olds can be such sticklers for the rules sometimes.

There are plenty of good reasons to take your shoes off. It keeps dirt and other bacteria away from babies, pets and everyone else in the house. It improves indoor air quality, which is especially important if anyone has allergies. It keeps the house cleaner, obviously, and quieter. It’s green, since no shoes in the house means less vacuuming (and less energy use). Plus, I really can’t stand the black streaks my boots leave on our hardwood floors.

What about you? Do you have a no shoes policy? Do you offer guests socks or slippers if you do? Do you take your shoes off at other people’s houses? Chime in with your comments below!

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