Cleaning Machines!

Bolton has adopted a new system for room clean inspections. Traditionally, it has always been the houseparent on duty who has pestered the boys to clean their rooms on each respective day. This method has led to varying levels of buy-in from the boys, and not always the cleanest of rooms. We’ve also tried consequences and rewards, but neither positive nor negative reinforcement seems to do the trick. The various strategies implemented over the years have only had temporary success, and sadly, we haven’t found a permanent solution to ensure the perfect room clean.

Enter new Bolton houseparent acquisition, Evan Fryer. Being the ideas man that he is, Mr. Fryer came up with an interesting new approach. Our sister house, Timmis, has been awarding “Silver Dustpans” to the cleanest rooms each week, a strategy that has worked for them. Mr. Fryer suggested that the Timmis “Silver Dustpan” award winners get an additional reward of inspecting the boys rooms and selecting a “Timmis Trophy” award winner among the rooms for that particular day. Genius. The boys have bought in.

We have now had two rotations of Timmis Trophy room inspections and the progressions from week one to week two have been exciting to see. And the improvements haven’t just been in the overall cleanliness. The boys have tried some novel approaches to enticing a vote from their Timmis sisters. The first week saw some air fresheners being implemented to good effect, while week two raised things to the next level: soft welcoming music, various snacks, and other mood setting techniques.

Despite losing to Iker and Adam for the Timmis Trophy on Tuesday, one of the big innovators was Will Barry. I got a chance to ask Will about his thoughts around our new inspection system:

What do you think of the new room inspection system?

It is a fun and clever way to motivate people to clean rooms. Obviously, an important reason to clean our rooms regularly is so they don’t get disgusting. So if we are preparing for life after boarding, students are learning how to maintain a clean room, promote wellness through organization, and to respect our personal space. The new system builds on what is established by creating a new motivator: people are coming over and we are “hosting”! So this new system certainly encourages that other aspect of why we need to clean our rooms.

What strategies have you used to get the vote from the Timmis inspectors?

I have always had a clean room, so I decided to work on ambiance and hospitality. I hung a welcome sign, played some nice music, offered brownies and juice, and even had the fireplace channel going on my computer.

Any tips for the Timmis girls if the Bolton boys get a chance to do some inspections?

In the end, all the shallow, bribery based strategies didn’t help me win. I think a truly organized room is what is needed to get the win. If someone really takes the time to clean and organize all areas of their room, that will be what shines through. Oh, and also remember to flush your toilet.

As per usual, Saturday activities were in full effect. Trips to the pool, Halloween shopping, a virtual reality arcade, community leaf raking, Japanese cultural experience, and a hike were all enjoyed by many of the Bolton Boys.  

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