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A Clean Entryway

Blueprint, 2006

Your house is only as clean as the soles of your shoes. And do you really need a more compelling reason than that to declare your home a socks-only zone immediately? It will benefit your cleaning schedule, your hardwood floors, your carpets, and even your health. A few easy ways to get family members and visitors to fall into step.

Why You Should Ask
Less dirt.
You'll clean less.

Less grit, gravel, and sand.
Your hardwood floors will look better longer if shoes aren't constantly grinding small particles into the finish.

Fewer pesticides and pollutants.
"There's a lot packed into your shoe treads," says Christopher Gavigan of the Children's Health Environmental Coalition. Among the pollutants: pollen, soot, lead, and chemicals, including fertilizer and pesticides. "By taking off your shoes," says Gavigan, "you're preventing toxins from coming into your home and eventually getting into your baby's mouth."

How You Should Ask
Lead by example.
Try the "seed" method for getting guests to take off their shoes. Plant a few of your own pairs next to a basket of slippers by the door and hope they notice it and take the hint.
More slippery ideas

Use humor.
Download and frame one of these signs.

Use reason.
Cry "New baby!" or "New carpet!" or "New floor!" If they fail to pick up the clue, just ask very, very nicely: Please, if you wouldn't mind...

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