I’m sorry, Momma, but it’s time to clean out your storage closets. We couldn’t resist the play on Eminem’s famous words, but to be serious – it really is that time. The weather is still warm enough to make multiple trips to the office dumpster, but cool enough to let you avoid excessive sweating. And, since we know the holidays will be here much faster than we care to admit, you’re going to need to get down to business, if you want to get to those office decorations before the New Year.
With that in mind, we have pooled our collective knowledge from our decades of closet cleaning experiences to come up with a few tips to help smooth the process. The first of which is, pool your own resources. The best part about an office family is that it is usually bigger than your own immediate family – that means more helping hands and a better assortment of strengths. Get the fitness buffs to handle the heavy work, the detailed-oriented to organize and the Type-A tidy bunch to do the cleaning portions.
Once everybody knows their assigned tasks, turn on some music, start some gossiping and follow these basic steps:
Step 1: Move EVERYTHING Out. Try separating things into piles as you pull them out in order to start the organization process. Work together – as one person pulls something out, have someone to direct them where to go with it. And for goodness sake, do NOT make the piles right in front of the storage closet, or you will soon find that you are all trapped and frustrated.
Step 2: Evaluate. Make sure to spread out the piles so that a team can evaluate the things in them as quickly as possible. Reorganize items that are no longer needed or broken into separate trash and donation piles, and take stock of what is left. While the cleaning team moves forward with Step 3, have the organizing team trek to the store for baskets, boxes and anything else that will help to categorize the remaining items.
Step 3: Clean the Actual Closet. Start by dusting off and wiping down the shelves, and sweeping the floors. If you see any mold, mix a 1:3 solution of bleach and water and scrub the affected areas. When every corner sparkles, finish it off by mopping and scrubbing the floors.
Step 4: Fill It Back Up. Once the organizing team arrives with the necessary bins and storage equipment, wipe down the items that will be returned to the closet and categorize them. This can be as simple as putting similar items into different sized boxes and labeling them, or as complex as a new, color-coded system designed to rival that of the Dewey Decimal. As long as it works and everybody understands it, go for it. Just remember to make use of the often-overlooked spaces by adding hooks or organizers to the back of doors and installing high shelves for out-of-season items.
Step 5: Enjoy. Stand back and take in the fact that not only did you just clean out your overstuffed storage closet, but you did it as a team. These kind of exercises do more than organize your office supplies, they help your employees learn about each other and develop better communication. We’d say that’s an all-around win.
We want to end this blog entry with one final caveat – some things are better left to the professionals. If you’re storing hazardous chemicals, for whatever reason that may be, or you have a large amount of mold growth, play it safe and consider hiring a professional janitorial service.