By Kay Miller Temple
Get that “to-clean” list out and tackle it with the energy and freshness that comes with spring! A spring cleanup will not only give your self-storage property and tenants a lift, it will invigorate you and your staff, too.
Step 1: Create an all-encompassing list.
- To see your property with "fresh eyes," walk around your grounds and buildings with a staff member, trusted business associate or even a family member.
- Develop a visual scan left to right, up and down to ensure a full view of the property inside and out.
- Don't forget to pay attention to those nooks and crannies, which signal “attention to detail” to potential and current tenants.
- Make note of items that can be done by you and your team and those that will require professional expertise.
- Consultations for job estimates from various professionals can provide valuable insight and trigger the need for additional items to add to your spring-cleaning list.
Step 2: Make a completion-date column for all the items on your list.
- Make it fun by color-coding items by timeline, subject or other delineation.
- Scratching off to-do items on your list comes with guaranteed satisfaction!
- Winter weather is bound to create plant debris, if not from your own property, then from other properties nearby. Take some time to clean up your landscaping.
- As clean-up proceeds, consider a landscape makeover that will require less ongoing effort like xeroscaping, which reduces or even eliminates the need for watering.
- For do-it-yourselfers, local plant nurseries and county extension agents are good sources for plant suggestions.
- If you use a landscape service, have a conversation about any new plant varieties that can be used to replace plants suffering from winter-kill.
- Green tip: If available, use your city's composting program for plant debris you've collected during your spring-cleaning efforts.
- With vehicles or mobile-storage units, make sure winter slush and dirt is washed off the exterior.
- Clean windows for good visibility. This also helps avoid sun glare.
- Shop vacuums are a great tool for getting at the dirt and debris on floors that accumulated from melting snow on winter footwear.
- Gutter clean-out is a must on every spring-cleaning list since they are a largely ignored area during winter. Late fall leaves and twigs can block water flow from snow melt and rain. Get to that debris before it becomes disgusting with warmer temperatures.
- Doors are another important focal point. Sometimes "clean" comes only as the result of a fresh layer of clear coat or paint when soap and water just doesn't seem to remove the dinginess.
- Include elevator interiors on your walk-around. Cold temperatures and wind chills lend to unconventional trash left in protected, out-of-the-way areas.
The office is the heart of your operation, and extra efforts will pay off big! Here the basics of traditional spring cleaning are easily applied.
- First take a look at your ceilings from the altitude of a good, stable ladder to assess cleaning needs. Take note and assemble the needed supplies.
- Cleaning corner cobwebs with a duster, mop or cloth-covered broom works well.
- Fan blades usually need a bit of soapy water to cut through dust and grime.
- Don't rush these jobs. Make sure you are on a height-appropriate, steady ladder so you don't put your body through unsafe contortions leading to loss of balance and injury.
- Using a two-person team can actually be a time-saver for window cleaning. Positioned on both sides of windows, team members can signal each other regarding missed areas.
- Cloth cover treatments such as drapes should we washed and ironed. Blinds or other window treatments can usually be cleaned with soap and water.
- Green tip: A homemade mixture of water, ammonia and vinegar is a great cleaning fluid that can be applied by a spray bottle. Recycled newspapers function as wipes, or use those handy reusable terry cloths or jersey wipes that can be purchased in bulk.
- Use a soft brush to vacuum, and then wipe down with a cloth-covered broom or mop.
- Patch any holes with drywall-repair kit.
- Consider a fresh coat of paint to liven up dull walls.
- Wipe non-fabric chairs and benches with mild soap and water.
- Repair or replace any furniture that’s ripped or has broken springs.
- Declutter! Recycle unnecessary and expired paperwork.
- Remove everything to get a the dust accumulation in nooks and crannies.
- Clean all surfaces.
- Winter weather is tough on carpets and even tile. Spring is a good time to invest in a professional tile-revitalization or carpet-cleaning service.
- If your flooring is in good shape, give it a good clean by taking out all the furniture and do a thorough mopping or vacuuming.
- Daily maintenance should leave nothing to add to a spring-cleaning lists for these areas, but it may be a good time to reassess decor and equipment needs.
Office equipment and electronics
- Canned air works great to safely clean food particles in keyboards and dust in other areas. Otherwise, clean according to manufacturer's directions.
- Spring cleaning is a traditional time for security equipment checks such as carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and to change batteries.
The results of spring cleaning give your property that well-maintained look that keeps your current tenants and catches the eye of potential customers.
Kay Miller Temple is a physician and recent graduate from the master’s program at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. To reach her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.