Friday, January 6, 2012
I was talking with my husband tonight about making our new home better over time, both with cleaning effort and low-cost updates. He told me about kaizen, which is Japanese for small and gradual improvement and that’s how their successful companies work.
I actually got very excited by this as it's how I live my life, and there’s a name for it. How often does that happen? I don't really go for high-cost, high-maiintenance but enjoy finding the d.i.y. low-cost, creative route.
Because we are focused on paying our home loan off in a much shorter time than the standard 25 years, we have decided to wait and see what improvements we want to do that require serious capital input.
We also practice this with our shop. I see other retail stores that spend big dollars on a fancy fitout (and make me feel like we should do the same) but within a few years have closed down.
Everything we do in our business we ask ‘how many pairs of shoes do we have to sell to pay for this, and is it worth it?’ Of course we have to be professional, but there are many, many ways to waste money I have found.
And we want our shop to be around for a long time. Being fiscally responsible is one way to ensure that as much as possible.
I often think imagine if you had a camera set up that took time-lapse photos of your home. It would show from the date you moved in how much better it looked month on month and year on year.
I’m sure ‘kaizen’ isn’t a better known term (or maybe you’ve already heard of it) because it’s not as exciting as the ‘big reveal’ of a makeover programme where everything is changed in an instant and everything is brand-new.
Just like a diet, slow and steady brings gradual and permanent change. As others have wisely noted in the comments section, our tastes change over time too, so if you redecorate your home all at once (obviously having just won the lottery), mightn’t you get sick of it soon?
As with personal style, I think it’s better to grow into your home look.
Click here and here for Wikipedia entries on Kaizen.