by Kent the Maintenance Gent
It’s Spring Cleaning time according to the calendar. But before you get to enjoy the warming temperatures and sun (oh, wait, we’re in the Pacific Northwest), you need to organize, reduce and scrub so you have a respectable home to return to after you enjoy a few post-hibernation outings.
As someone who has been maintenance-genting for many years, I can assure you the pay-off of spring cleaning done right is worth the afternoon you may sacrifice. It will make for a happy tenant, and a home with less maintenance quagmires. Besides, spiders, insects and rodents don’t pay rent!
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
When you say the word saving, I hear the word hoarding. And when you say the word hoarding, I smell the word mold. Psychologically, someone can make a great case that decluttering will lead to a less stressful and happier environment. But as someone who has spent years in the damp trenches of Oregon and Washington, I cannot emphasize enough how important air flow is to preventing mold issues. If you have less stuff, you have more air flow. Who doesn’t like breathing?
Location, Location, Location
Air space is important. We established that. Wall space is also a factor in reducing mold. It is tempting to try to create more floorspace by shoving all of your sofas and other items against the walls. When one does this, air gets trapped and that creates the perfect habitat for spores. This also gives cover to pests ranging from spiders to mice. I recommend not pushing one’s sofa or bed against a wall if you can avoid it. Also, throw away that box of rags or find a better place to store that case of antique nail clippers and marbles than shoved against a wall.
Be a Closer
Let’s talk about garbage can etiquette. No one wants snow drifts of garbage bags lining their hallways, but there are a few rules you need to follow when taking out the trash.
Furniture does not belong in dumpsters. Sofas, TV’s and large appliances need to be hauled to a dump site. If you call a hauling service, there is a fee. But this fee is smaller than the penalty you would have to pay for breaking the property’s rules.
Regarding Christmas Trees, there are two important points. First, it is already Spring, why do you still have a Christmas tree? And second, this too needs to be hauled away by an independent service. For Christmas trees, call your local Boy Scout troop. The Girl Scouts may have the market cornered on Thin Mints, but Christmas Tree hauling… that’s the Boy Scouts’ territory.
If you discover any new “pets” while Spring cleaning, then it is probably a very good thing you got around to doing this. And please call your onsite manager or maintenance technician immediately so we can get rid of your unwanted roommates.
Regarding cleaning supplies, use only appropriate cleaners and take special care with anything that is caustic. And under no circumstances should you ever use Liquid Plumber, no matter how stubborn the stain.