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Leave Your Toxins at the Door

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Lisa Sharkey: Quite often, people ask me how much more it costs to "go green." And often my answer is that rather than spending money, there are free ways to go green that actually save you money.
dirty man at front door with muddy shoes
Here's one of my favorites. Leave your shoes, and their toxic soles, at the front door. This sounds so obvious and simple, but for some reason, we Americans traipse all over the place, stepping in all sorts of environmentally unfriendly things, from what dogs have left behind on sidewalks, to pesticides on the grass and other chemicals that pollute our streets and grassy fields. So why are we bringing them into our bedrooms?

I suggest a shoe rack at the front door of every apartment and house as the best place to leave your dirty shoes, sneakers, and boots. If you don't have a rack, take off your shoes, wash them off, and carry them to the closet, where at least you can keep the toxins from spreading. There is a reason why people in Japan, Turkey, Thailand, and many other cultures give their guests slippers in exchange for their shoes at the front door. How many times have you come in from the office, or the park, headed into your favorite room and onto your favorite chair, and kicked back, with your shoes on, to relax? Imagine how happy that's making the toxins and germs -- they have just been invited into the comfort of your own home. The same rule applies to your dogs. Why not consider wiping your pet's paws at the door before Fido jumps up onto your bed? This suggestion can also apply to your visitors, even on nights when you're having a party.

As for saving money, think of how much less dirt you'll have to vacuum, mop up, or use  cleaners on when there is no more mud tracked into your home? And think about how much longer your wood floors will hold up without stiletto heel marks all over the precious planks. Not every green idea requires a wallet. It's as important to think about your indoor environment as it is to think about the air you breathe outside. You're probably spending a lot more time inside than you spend outdoors. Have fun in your bare feet or your socks!

next: Throw a $10 "Twilight" Party!
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