Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place

January 11, 2012

Webster''s Dictionary defines organization as "the act or process of organizing or of being organized."

Webster''s then defines organize as "to arrange elements into a whole of interdependent parts."

All in all, the strict definition as set forth by the dictionary might not be that helpful.

Yes, it gives a literal definition so inquiring minds might better understand the word they use without needing to think about it, but what does organization or to organize mean on a more practical level?

The Custodial Closet

The custodial closet, the utility room, the janitorial closet: This is a room called by many different names but, no matter what it''s called, it has the same general purpose.

The custodial closest is the place a professional custodian starts and ends their job each day.

It is a room that contains all of the equipment and chemicals that a custodian will need each and every day to complete their daily tasks.

While it is considered a storage room, the custodial closet is an integral part of a custodian''s arsenal.

Without a designated place for equipment and chemicals to be stored before and after their use, facilities might run the risk of dangerous chemicals being left just anywhere; equipment could be left lying out, becoming a hazard to those simply walking down a hallway.

While a custodial closet might be housed within a larger space, such as a boiler room, it is important that the space be clean and organized, no matter its size or location.

Setting The Mood

Believe it or not, how well-kept or not a facility''s custodial closet is can dictate the mood and pace of the entire staff for the duration of their shift.

The custodial closet should be seen as the domain of the staff, a place that they can completely control.

It is up to the staff to take pride in their space and, often, the condition of a custodial closet can reflect the type or quality of service the staff is providing throughout the facility.

If they are not taking pride in their own personal space, it is not much of a leap to assume they are taking less pride in the facility as a whole.

A custodial closet that is disorganized, even dirty, can be a sign that the staff is not working as hard as they could be or up to their potential.

The environment in which a staff begins and ends their workday has a direct impact on their productivity throughout the day.

But, if staffs are given everything they need in one neat and organized place, the likelihood of increased safety and efficiency grows by leaps and bounds.

If equipment is where it is supposed to be, they no longer have to waste time looking for any particular piece.

Having a place for everything allows staffs to complete their tasks in a timely manner, which will make clients and bosses happy.

The Right Stuff

A proper custodial closet should start with the proper lighting.

A dark closet is just that: A dark closet.

The space quickly becomes underused because it''s hard to find things or to see what one is doing when needing to clean equipment or do any other task.

Proper lighting will open up a space and allow for those who use it to fully utilize the space.

Staffs will be more inclined to use the custodial closet for things other than storing equipment and materials if it has proper lighting, allowing them to stay out of the way of building occupants.

The ideal custodial closet should also have safe shelving and enough of it to hold all of the equipment and chemicals that will be used from day to day.

Shelving should be used only for designated equipment and chemicals and always be kept free of dirt and debris.

The proper custodial closet should contain everything needed for the daily upkeep of a facility, including:

  • A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) binder
  • Safety gear like gloves, goggles, face shields, aprons, etc.
  • First-aid kit
  • Well-kept cleaning equipment
  • Properly stored chemicals.
Convenience Of Location

The location of a facility''s custodial closet should not be, as some might think, out of the way.

While it is true that out of sight does often equal out of mind, this is not an adage that should apply to your custodial closet.

If the custodial closet is not conveniently located, the likelihood that it will be frequently and properly used decreases.

A centrally located space will allow staffs to have only the equipment and chemicals that they need with them.

A closet located at a point that is far from where they are cleaning or working might require staff to bring anything and everything they might need with them at one time, resulting in loss of equipment and chemicals or slip, trip and fall hazards for staff and patrons alike.