Sunday, April 15, 2007

Neat Freaks?


It is commonly thought that people who insist on shoes-off in their homes are neat freaks who are obsessed with keeping their homes clean and tidy.

I dare say that there are some people who prefer shoes-off who are genuine neat freaks. And those who are Obsessive-Compulsive about cleanliness may well be among the shoes-off community.

Of course this is culturally relative. In Japan it is thought that money is dirty and unhygeinic because it is handled by untold numbers of people. Japanese people also regard any objects placed in bathrooms, such as books or ornaments to be 'dirty'. A person in a western society who held such attitudes would almost certainly be regarded as Obsessive-Compulsive.

I have known a number of people who really were excessive in their desire to keep their homes clean. Interestingly, these people did not require visitors to remove their shoes. I suspect that they probably spent so much time in cleaning their homes that they were happy to waste time cleaning up afer their visitors.

Many people who keep their homes shoe-free are not domestic goddesses who like nothing better than spending whole days doing spring cleaning. Rather, they are busy working people who have far better things to do. They do not want to clean up for the sake of it, but they know that living in a clean environment is healthier and far more pleasent. Knowing that time is precious they would rather keep the mess to the minimum and spend as little time as possible cleaning up after their visitors. Prevention is better than cure.

Nobody needs a house that is spotless, but it is pointless to allow dirt and dust to accumulate when it could easily be kept out by leaving shoes at the door. A floor is meant to be walked upon, but that does not mean that one should not reduce wear and tear and save time and money.


Dawn said...

I agree with the Japanese. Money IS very dirty. It has been found to have all sorts of disgusting material on it. Of the worst kind!

I also agree with them about objects having been in bathrooms. Eeeeww!

I am usually seen as weird in these areas. I don't think I'm weird, I just KNOW about the horrible germs on objects which are handled by many, many people and the fact that many people don't wash their hands after they've used the restroom.

I'm not germophobic, but I know that you tend to get sick if you've touched something that someone is sick has touched. When I'm out and about shopping, etc. I make a real effort not to touch my eyes, ears, mouth or nose (i.e., scratch around the outer openings of these orifices or rubbing of the eyes) with my hands and fingers because these orifices are where the germs enter the body by way of transfer. I keep antibacterial wipes in my purse so I can wash my hands before eating when I'm dining out and I keep a dispenser of antibacterial in my vehicle for after I've been shopping or handling things. Given these concerns it's mostly a "gross" thing for me rather than a germ thing.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Maybe I am going that way. I adopted the Japanese custom of having special bathroom slippers.

richyrich said...

One encounter I had today which was interesting and relevant to the whole issue of "neat freaks" and shoes off policies. There is this lady I work with who is really fussy about cleanliness and neatness, she won't even go inside a shop if she thinks it's a bit dirty. Today I heard her talking to someone else and she said that she was having a builder to come to her house tonight to discuss a job she wants done. The other person, knowing what she is like jokingly told her "I bet you'll make him take his boots off as soon as he comes in". However I was surprised by her response
"No way" she said "I couldn't bear the smell of his feet. My sons (she has 2 teenage sons I think) always take their shoes off at home and leave them in the porch and I wish they didn't, they really smell! I'd rather have a bit of dirt on the carpet than the smell of their feet all over the place!"

So this little story gives the lie to the suggestion that being a neatness freak and a shoes off householder inevitably go together. This lady is obviously more concerned about foot odour than about clean floors! In cases where smelly feet are a problem, it would be easy enough for people to change into slippers(or even special indoor shoes) and take their outside shoes into another room (a sort of mudroom or even their bedrooms) rather than just leave them in the porch or the hallway.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for sharing that.

I think a lot of people who object to shoes-off are far more obsessive compulsive than those who favour it.