Fixing the “Broken Window” in the Schoolroom

I’ve had a broken window in my schoolroom for several months. Oh, don’t worry. There was no broken glass involved. I’ve talked about the broken window concept before in this post. In brief, one broken window in a neighborhood, if left unrepaired, might lead to other windows being broken by vandals, leading to a slow, steady decline of the entire neighborhood. This can happen on a smaller scale right in our homes, too!


 Messy bookshelves in schoolroom

The “broken window” in my schoolroom was actually one broken bookshelf in the fiction section of our home library. Yep, just one broken shelf! The books from that shelf fell to the floor and were stacked on the shelf below “just for now”. My husband was sure he could fix the shelf properly, but he worked so much overtime that he was never home long enough to do it.

As the boys finished various books for school, we’d normally shelve them where they belonged. But it was Christmas time, and we were busy, so I told the boys to just stack them with the other books on that “just for now” shelf, thinking I would shelve them all just as soon as Copper fixed the shelf.


 Fiction Bookshelf

My husband fixed the shelf well before Christmas, but we continued to stack books there anyway. In fact, with the shelf repaired, we now had a whole new place to stack stuff. When both shelves were full, we started stacking on the floor in front of them. The couch in the schoolroom sits right in front of the Fiction bookshelves, so our stacking was out of sight and, therefore, out of mind.

As is usual with the broken window concept, this area quickly grew to be the dumping ground for all sorts of things. The shelves held not only misplaced books, but notebooks, a 3 x 5 card box, boxed software and the CDs for a Geometry textbook.  The paper shredder, displaced by our Christmas decorating, ended up there. It was a great place for storing Size 12 Converse, too. All sorts of things ended up there.


 Behind the Couch

The books, of course, didn’t stay neatly stacked. Eventually, they began to be strewn about and some even ended up under the couch.

Today I fixed that “broken window”. Because there was so much stuff there that didn’t belong, and so many books that belonged in various places around the room, the job took a couple of hours. It looks great, though, and I’m happy to have everything neat and tidy again.


 Neat book shelves

Do you have any problem spots in your home that you’ve allowed to go for too long? Has that area began to become an even bigger problem because it’s been left unattended? Fixing these “broken windows” before they become a big problem is a great way that we can look well to the ways of our own households.


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4 comments to Fixing the “Broken Window” in the Schoolroom

  • Unfortunately my dresser becomes this place…it’s not that the place that this stuff goes is broken, we need to find a place for it all!

    Off to organize!

  • Hi Cheryl,
    The man cave in our home tends to be the dumping ground. After our spring yard sale I am going to get it cleaned out. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Yes! I have two places like this. The worst is the space between the family room wall and behind the big Lazy Boy recliner. It is next to the door leading out to the garage and I developed a terrible habit of stacking things there I want eventually in the garage.

    I’ve also had to go through recently and clean it up (when I had company coming over). I gave myself a lecture about living with clutter I wouldn’t allow visitors to see.

    The other space is behind the wingback chair in the living room. It is a neat stack of large books which have no place on the bookshelves right now. That will be cleared once I get rid of the encyclopedias but I’m waiting until Christopher gets married and moves out to see if he is going to take them with him. So that is a neat stack of “clutter”… 🙂

  • The monster in my house is paper. I never know what to do with it, it makes me feel very overwhelmed. My goal next paycheck is to buy a shredder and slowly get rid of the Walmart bags filled with papers that are stuffed in my closets. YIKES!