Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks: Making the Most of One Day

At Castle, we can create a special event out of anything—even spring cleaning! On the afternoon of Friday, June 6, Castle shut down its offices to conduct a thorough and much needed spring cleaning throughout our office and storage area. Here are some ideas on how to turn this monumental chore into a fun and rewarding event for your employees.

Send a “formal” invitation. Be sure your employees understand that your spring cleaning event is equally as important as a company meeting by sending out an official meeting invitation. We emailed a simple calendar invite but you can make it even more fun by sending a themed evite (from Mr. Clean, perhaps). Our spring cleaning event was mandatory for all employees. Regrets only (and there better be a good reason). Dress code: Cleaning casual.

Order Extra Cleaning Supplies. Have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand so no one is searching for a bottle of cleaner or a paper towel (the extra supplies will get used, I promise). We ordered lots of extra Windex, 409, paper towels, monitor wipes, keyboard cleaners, storage file boxes, manila folders, hanging folders and commercial-sized trash bags. Centrally locate your supplies on spring cleaning day to make it easier for all to share.

Research Recycling & Shredding Options. We looked into purchasing large capacity shredders vs. hiring a shredding service. Hiring a service was the way to go for us (we’ve dealt with enough jammed shredders). There are companies that will deliver bins right to your office, pick up the contents at the end of the day, ship back to their warehouse, shred, and then provide a certificate of destruction. There are also companies that will come directly to your office and shred on site. We opted for removal and off-site destruction. Thank goodness…we filled 16 bins!

Donate to a Local School or Charity. If you have school-aged children, you know how expensive school supplies are—and September will be here before you know it. We contacted our local YMCA and day care center to see if they were interested in receiving a donation of excess office supplies from us. Both organizations provided lists of acceptable donations (be respectful of this) and were very happy to take our extra paper, card stock, pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks and 3-ring binders. Who doesn’t have a mountain of these items in their desk drawers, overhead cabinets and supply areas? You will most likely have to drop off the items directly to the organization, so plan accordingly and call ahead to let them know when you’ll be arriving so there are no surprises—for you or them.

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Castle team at the kickoff lunch!

Host a Kickoff Lunch. A major cleanup takes energy. Hosting a simple grab-and-go lunch to kick off your spring cleaning event gets everyone fueled and revved up—and it is greatly appreciated. Our lunch and afternoon break menus consisted of 6-foot submarine sandwiches (they’re just fun), chips, sweets, power drinks and power bars. Mr. Clean was our spring cleaning day mascot (images of him were displayed on the conference room monitor all day). We also gave out bandanas to help get everyone in cleaning mode.

Determine Ground Rules! Provide clear guidelines around what items can get tossed, what items are to be security shredded, what items gets donated or centralized, etc. We decided to centralize old proposals, media clipbooks and client files (keep one hard copy, centralize, shred duplicates) to free up space in employee offices. Be sure to check your client contracts to determine how long you are required to keep their information. Assign one or two senior members to answer questions—and keep track of those questions so you can build an FAQ for future reference.

Motivate, motivate, motivate. You’d be surprised how a little competition can motivate your employees to go above and beyond. A few days before our spring cleaning day, we announced that we’d be raffling off three really great prizes for participation. Each employee received 5 raffle tickets for cleaning their individual space. We also created a “honey-do” list of cleaning jobs around the office and assigned a raffle ticket value to each item—the dirtier or more complicated the job, the more raffle tickets awarded. You wouldn’t believe how competitive people got about “winning” the dirtiest job so they’d get more chances to win a great prize. Teehee!

Here are some of our “honey-do” list ideas: Clean out the science lab (aka office refrigerator) (20 tickets); reorganize supply and copier area (20 tickets); clean interior office windows (16 tickets); reorganize kitchen cabinets (12 tickets); organize donation boxes (12 tickets); clean out large conference room credenza (8 tickets)—etc. Our three raffle prizes consisted of $150 gift certificate to one of Boston’s hottest new restaurants, a “Day at the Beach” summer package and a Bose Sound Link Bluetooth speaker.

Recognize everyone’s hard work. On the following business day, we placed a “Grow Your Own Bouquet” kit on everyone’s desk with a thank you note and a $5 coffee shop gift card. A little extra thank you—and a fresh start—can be such a morale booster!

Feel free to borrow any of our spring cleaning event ideas. Better yet, take them…we’re trying to get rid of stuff!

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