Have you heard of the Broken Windows Theory? It’s a criminology theory introduced in America in the 80’s.
“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.”
From this theory the police were able to develop crime prevention in their neighbourhoods by getting broken windows fixed as soon as they appeared. It nipped the inevitable increase in crime in the bud.
Well this theory also applies to our homes, cars, even handbags! In fact, it doesn’t just stop at the application of physical stuff. Our inboxes and relationships are also at risk of the Broken Windows Theory.
We’ve all made jokes about how the piles of laundry seem to multiply during the night or how you end up with everything except the kitchen sink in your handbag. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to apologise for the state of the inside of my car when giving lifts to friends…
According to the Broken Windows Theory, its that one apple core, or discarded sock or saved receipt kept “just in” case which causes a spiral out of control and that’s how we end up with a bedroom that resembles a Chinese laundrette. Anyone else acquired a “floordrobe” since having a baby?
Having children means your priorities change and it can be even harder to get housework done when there are little ones to juggle.
One thing not in its place suddenly attracts more of the same and the piles of laundry become bigger and bigger and in turn our regard for looking after these purchases diminishes.
Once we stop caring as much for our “stuff”, we start to incur costs.A spilt drink on an already messy floor gets left a little longer because of the existing “state” it is in and creates a worse stain.
A nice purse given as a gift quickly becomes tatty due to the hundreds of receipts inside of it and then the zipper breaks because it can’t close around the clutter. Not only will the purse need fixing or replacing but the receipts could have been scanned into the mobile phone app Receipt Hog and potentially won cash from them!
As I’ve mentioned in my recent #maternitymillionaire post, I’m planning a big spring clean and declutter again to try and get on top of things and then be in a position to nip these “broken windows” in the bud and prevent the chaos of not getting on top of the washing or over flowing bins.
I started with my handbag yesterday because as above, I figured there might even be things in my bag which could MAKE me money but also save me from carrying around such a load and hurting my back. By tidying it out I may have even saved thousands on physio sessions by preventing a bad back!
So I uploaded my receipts to Receipt Hog, although many were too old to use sadly. I found some receipts with invitations to do surveys to win cash, so will be completing those tonight and I found some rare pound coins in my purse too so they’re going to go on ebay this weekend! I also found some coupons which I can use during my next shop and a Boots gift card too.
I feel good for starting the declutter but I can definitely see why applying the prevention from the Broken Windows Theory will help save me money. We’ll take better care of our belongings and it is sure to be easier to keep on top of things if we have less stuff so looks as though we might be adopting even more of a minimalistic approach to our home life too which in turn will save us cash as well.
You can read more about the Broken Windows Theory here if you wish.