Living A Simplified Life!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Take Your Shoes Off Lucy!

Can't remember how many times I heard that phrase growing up!  Funny the things you remember about your mother after she is gone.  What is even funnier is the fact that my name isn't even Lucy and she used to say it to my brothers as well.

This weekend, after attempting to mow some very wet grass and tracking it into the house, this phrase immediately came to mind and I had to smile.  It also got me to thinking about exactly where the custom of removing one's shoes came from.  I had always heard that it started in the orient, in Japan, mainly because their homes had mats on the floors which were used to sit on and sleep on rather than having beds, couches and chairs. They have low dining platforms for dining off of, sitting on the floor on mats and often with thin pillows on top of the mats.

But actually the practice is found throughout Asia and is also common in Scandinavian countries and in Hawaii and Alaska.There are practical applications for leaving ones shoes outside, if you are farmers you don't want to track in the mud and debris from the barnyard into your home!  Or if you live in Alaska, you don't want to track snow into your home. Keeping the contaminants out of your home also saves wear and tear on your carpet and your hardwood floors.

In many of the foreign countries, places where you are expected to remove your shoes, will have foyers where you can hang your coats and remove your shoes. There often are benches available to sit on while you do this. Your host will most likely also supply slippers for you to put on while you are in their homes while others, will just expect you to wear just your own socks.

Besides removing your shoes for cleanliness sake, I personally feel that it also has a spiritual meaning for me, it is like shedding the worries of the outside work world and releasing all that hustle and bustle of the day to sit down and relax with family and friends. Some people get this same "shedding of the outside work world" feeling when they get home and remove their work clothes and slip into something comfortable to  lounge around the house in. I find it interesting how many American households are actually doing this now, especially with their children, even if the adults in the family don't do the same thing.

If you haven't gotten in the habit of taking your shoes off at the door, give it a try. You might be surprised at not only how it helps keep your home cleaner and more germ free, but also the way that it helps you emotionally to just let go of the days worries and leave your troubles at the door.

I found these slippers and thought to myself how comfy these would be to slip into.

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