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!
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.
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.
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.
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.