Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 15 of 365: Broken Window Theory

We scrambled around the house yesterday, trying to prepare the house in time for the painters (which, unless they're running late, are probably already at the house right now setting up). This included finishing up various projects -- making sure all cables were run; making sure all nail holes and dings and dents were spackled up, sanded, and primed -- as well as things like unscrewing and removing wall plates. But it also included cleaning up the house. We cleared the kitchen and island counters, we vacuumed and swept (knowing full well we'd have to do it again after they were done), we even organized the things that were moved into the few rooms that weren't being painted.

And why? I've already mentioned that I take more and more pride in the appearance of where I live. But it's more than that. It's the Broken Window Theory.

Put simply, if you keep something well-maintained, people will treat it better. On the flipside, if you don't maintain something, people will treat it worse than they naturally would. Like a house with a manicured lawn and clean walls versus a house with a broken window. They were able to curtail graffiti on the sides of T cars in Boston by militantly cleaning a car the day it got tagged. Because they knew that, if they let one piece of graffiti go, it would invite a whole ton more.

Now, I really respect our painters. I had talked and met with a bunch and these guys blew me away with their professionalism (and reasonable prices). I don't expect them to be the type to see a dirty dish in the sink and go, "Well, fuck this house! I'm dinging up all the shit." But the unconscious mind works in very interesting ways, and I will gladly give my house any boost it can get.

Our painters are scheduled to finish on Wednesday. That following Friday, the movers come and bring all of our furniture and major boxes. And I couldn't be happier. As much as I love how close everything is to my apartment, I can't wait to have access to all my clothes and books again.

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