How do you start a shoes off in the house rule?

Do you allow shoes in your house? I am moving into a new house with very light colored carpeting and want to keep it clean. I have never lived in a house that has a rule to remove shoes at the door and want to know how to start. What do you do with guests and friends?

Chris:

You have asked an excellent question, my friend, and since I have about three minutes of deep thought to put into this answer before my dinner is finished reheating in the microwave, I am here to help!

His hatred of shoes was only exceeded by his hatred of being silkscreened on to shoes.

The question of whether or not it is acceptable to wear shoes indoors has been a question that has plagued mankind for millions of years (you can trust me on that and there is absolutely no reason to try and look this fact up for verification). As Shakespeare, the master bard, once said: ‘You have dancing shoes with nimble soles. I have a soul of lead.’ Unfortunately, no one has ever been able to translate Shakespeare into English and the true meaning of this line has been lost to us, but I’m fairly certain it refers to his hatred of dog muck being tracked across his carpets.

Before committing to a full on policy that discriminates against the foot clad visitor, other options should be explored if your only concern is the cleanliness of your floors. Here are a couple of ideas, that are so obvious, I didn’t need to put any thought into them whatsoever.

Cat Floor: Cats are notoriously clean creatures, right? Hell…they clean themselves! Replacing your carpet with a sea of living felines will save you hours in the time you would have spent vaccuming, or sweeping, or carpet steaming. Think of all this time that you could save! Admittedly, much of that time will now be spent emptying litter boxes and cleaning cat smell out of fresh laundry baskets…but still…people can wear shoes!

No Floors: This one is pretty easy and involves zero maintenance. Make sure that your house is situated over a large pit. Preferably a Pit Of Doom, since I believe those extend indefinitely into the netherworlds below. All furniture can be safely hung from the ceiling, and a system of zip lines employed for room to room navigation. Any dirt from people’s shoes will just fall harmlessly into the empty oblivion below which will constantly threaten to consume your sanity. You will be the hit of the neighbourhood!

Na…you can leave your shoes on.

Now, perhaps you are pigheaded and stuck in your need to establish podiatric dominance over all those who visit your domicile. As a world traveler, I have visited literally dozens of homes in my lifetime and have established a clear and concise three step plan for announcing one’s intention to ban the wearing of foot wrappings within the shelter of one’s home.
1.    Make Your Policy Known: The expected manner generally involves standing on your front lawn and shouting at the top of your lungs “INDOOR SHOE BAN IN EFFECT!” Megaphones are allowed, but frowned upon by most people as they lack panache and trade off emotion for sheer volume.
2.    Proper Written Notice: There is a chance, though slim, that not everyone was around to hear your proclamation. For these people, it is considered good form to mail out formal notices of intent wherein your position on shoes indoors is clearly stated. This is a good time to state the penalties of infractions. Which brings me to the final stage.
3.    Conditioning (Merciless Thrashings): You need to remember that people are just people, and are going to make mistakes. Not everyone is going to be able to remember your dumb house rules. This is when it becomes important to ‘train’ people to remember to take their shoes off when they enter. Usually, after the fourth or fifth time that someone visits and finds they have been tackled to the ground and administered a near life threatening beating with their own foot garments, they will start to automatically respect your wishes. Or stop visiting. Which also solves the problem.

I hope that I have been helpful. If not, please don’t hesitate to write again and I shall endeavor to help you the next time I need to reheat my dinner.

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