By Daryl Conner
It’s that wonderful time of year again. The days are getting longer, the hard, cold winter is behind us. It’s the time of year where generations of people have dug deep into the ritual of spring cleaning. Wiping the dust, scrubbing the grime, polishing the… EVERYTHING… to banish winter and embrace the bright days ahead. Here are some suggestions on how you can make your work space, be it a mobile unit, a portion of some other pet–based business, a home–based place, or a regulation storefront, really shine.
There are two ways to tackle a deep clean. One is to bite off a little bit of the project each day until it is completed, the other is to dedicate a day (or two!) to working solely on cleaning and get the whole thing done in one fell swoop. I have tried both, but prefer the latter. There is something deeply soul satisfying to dedicating a chunk of time to a project like this and seeing it through to completion.
Here are some suggestions on how to embark on what I call a “big clean.”
The first step is to do some serious decluttering. The stack of magazines in your waiting area? Pull out everything except the current month and recycle them. Little decorative bits here and there? Give them a hard look and decide if you can live without them. I love the rule that you should not keep any object that is not useful, beautiful, or does not bring you joy.
Have you ever heard of Flylady? Marla Cilley is her real name, and she has a fabulous web site designed to help people organize and clean their homes. You can get a lot of useful (and free!) information about great decluttering ideas on her site.
Look at your grooming area. I can tell you with all honesty that right now, in the cabinet where I keep things like coat sprays, clipper oil, various hair treatments and such, that I have two large baskets overflowing with small bottles. Some are samples sent when I order products, some are things I bought to try but rarely or never use. My spring clean will include doing some very harsh weeding out of those baskets. I can never find what it is that I am looking for, because there are so many items I don’t use stashed there. Do you have a similar problem? It’s time to tackle where you store supplies.
How about your tools? Do you have brushes you never use, combs missing teeth, damaged dematters? They need to go. Remember that damaged tools can injure pets, it will help make the decision to deep–six a once favorite tool easier. Decluttering will save you time when you groom because you will know where everything is. And having less stuff makes for a more serene work space.
Once you have removed extraneous stuff from your space, it is time to do some deep cleaning. I like to start at the top and work down. Use this check list to help you tackle the job:
• Vacuum, sweep or dust the ceiling, any molding you might have between ceiling and walls, light fixtures, ceiling fans and vent fans. Clean light fixtures.
• The walls in grooming areas get frighteningly dirty because we blow dirt, dander, coat products and more off pets and it lands somewhere, often on the walls. Vacuum or sweep from the top down, then wash them to remove residue.
• If you have photographs, certificates of achievement, awards or other things hanging on your walls, take them down. Pet hair and dust gather behind them. Give them a good cleaning before rehanging.
• While you are working in high spaces, clean any smoke detectors and change the batteries.
• Windows should be washed inside and out. This one step will brighten up your space to an amazing degree. Screens should be taken out of the windows and washed with a sponge, soap, and water. Rinse well, air dry, and rehang. If you have blinds, shades, or other window treatments, clean them now, too.
• Wash the trim around your windows. Oftentimes, window sills become mysteriously dirty. Perhaps from little paws bracing on them while pets look out for their owners? If mere scrubbing won’t fix them, make a note to do some touch up painting another day.
• Wipe down trim around doors, paying special attention to the area where door knobs are. They get grimy. Wash doors, inside and out, especially your entrance door, which sees hard use every day.
• While you are working on that door, pretend you are a customer approaching your entrance. Does it look neat, tidy, and welcoming? Do you still have a Christmas wreath up in March? Remember that your entrance provides the first impression of your business.
• If you have plants in your workspace, cast a hard eye on them. Are they healthy and beautiful, or half dead and sad? If it’s the second option, consider replacing them.
• Get down and dirty and scrub baseboards. It’s not a fun job, but it sure feels good to get them clean.
• Move heavy furniture and equipment away from where they normally sit and clean the walls and floor under them. I recently had to pull my tub out to have a plumbing problem repaired, and was excited to have a chance to remove built up hair and yuck that was behind there.
• Clean the bases of grooming tables, inside and out of clipper vacuum systems, and all other large grooming equipment.
• Pull cage banks away from walls & clean on top, behind & under them.
• If you have a washing machine and dryer as part of your work space, clean both. There are products designed to clean modern washing machines that leave them sparkling and sweet smelling. Did you know that thousands of fires are caused each year due to build–up in dryer vents? Dryers used for grooming towels get extra lint build up because we are drying notoriously linty towels and there is all that hair that gets in there. Get a vent cleaning kit (a long–handled brush) and use it often.
• Heating and air conditioning ducts can get very dirty in a grooming environment. Clean face plates and find out how to clean the vents and filters in your space to keep them hair, dust, and odor free.
• Gather up any trash cans and give them a deep clean. Dry completely before replacing bags.
• Shop vacuums in grooming shops can develop unpleasant odors if they are not regularly maintained. Remove the hose and soak it in cleaning solution, then allow to air dry in the sun if possible. Remove/replace the filter, and clean the canister as well.
• If you use box fans or cage dryers, remove the inevitable dog hair that gets stuck in these, and clean well.
• Many groomers use dehumidifiers. They need seasonal cleaning to prevent odors.
• Scrub floors, allow to dry and replace furniture and equipment.
Consider brightening up your beautifully clean work space with something that makes you smile. A pot of daffodils, some bright decorative pillows in your waiting room, a cheery spring time wreath for the door. Then put your feet up and congratulate yourself for a job well done. Heading into the busy summer season will be much more pleasant with the task of spring cleaning behind you. ✂