Can You Improve Your Property by Improving Your Community?

So many factors go into making a decision about where and when to buy a home. One of the most common considerations is the neighborhood.

Personal tastes and lifestyle choices will dictate what type of neighborhood someone will want to live in, from a trendy urban area to a suburb with great schools. There’s not much that you can do about a potential buyer’s personal taste, but you can help your neighborhood to shine.

I asked Mary Bruce of Wareham, Mass. about her experience with neighborhood clean-ups, and what she thought the impact on property value might be. Mary is a big advocate of keeping your community clean and getting involved in your town.

Hopefully, her answers will inspire you to run your own neighborhood clean-up!

1) Do you think that cleaning up your neighborhood can have a positive impact on your property value?

Yes, but it has to remain clean. Many cities have done this – like South Boston in some areas. People know when they walk into someone’s house whether they have to take their shoes off or not.
2) How long have you been organizing clean-ups in Wareham?

I’ve been doing cleanups since I was 13 in my neighborhood. First town-wide clean-up was 6 years ago and now we extend it to COASTSWEEP where we also log every piece of litter picked up and submit it to the state’s Keep Massachusetts Beautiful program. Towns all over the state participate.
3) How do you reach out to people and get them motivated to participate?

At first, it was slow with just groups of friends that helped out. People stopped and asked what we were doing and then offered to help. We also get team leaders to “captain” an area and then go out and get their neighbors to join the team. Lots of people have great stories of meeting neighbors this way.
4) What supplies do you need to have?

We supply gloves and bags but most people bring their own. Disposing of it in the end is a problem but we have companies donate dumpsters or people with trucks and dump stickers come down and grab bags.
5) What is the biggest obstacle in organizing a clean-up?
Getting enough people in enough areas has always been a worry but it usually works out.

Needles! They are everywhere so you have to really have – especially – kids supervised! I personally just use a thick plastic container like Gatorade but people are scared of them and they should use extreme caution. If there is a pile of leaves along the curb I tell people to just leave it, don’t reach in it.
6) Why do you continue to organize them?

Because people really like it and now it takes a fraction of the time to clean up. It used to be really bad. Still not great but better. Also, our Town Administrator wasn’t a huge fan of the “Big Belly” trash barrels that we wanted to put in town until his brother rode through town during the Pan Mass Challenge and told him how great the town looked. That helped to get him on board because of the progress that was being noted.
7) How can people get involved in the Wareham clean up?

People expect it now and a lot of people really like doing it. Last COASTSWEEP it was hard to find any litter because there were so many people out. We do advertise in the local paper, Facebook, and that gives people info on how to join in. We also have a team that goes out and helps in other neighborhoods where the response is low. In larger areas, we set newbies up with the team captain in their area.



Mary is an active member of the Wareham community who has helped organize several town-wide clean-ups and has taken on personal projects to give back to her town. She is currently running for Town Selectman and is a current member of the Beach & Tourism committee in Wareham, which assists in putting on the quite tasty and fun Wareham Oyster Festival. A big thank you goes to Mary for answering all of my questions, and for all her hard work in her community.

You can take part in the next COASTSWEEP or another clean-up effort in your area!


Don’t Trash Wareham Facebook Page


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