Conservation work requires a clean space. If you have a lot of dust and lint floating around it can get into your paste and under your repair tissue; overflowing scrap bins can make it hard to find a good piece of board to use for a project; and dirty sinks and lab ware just makes everyone crazy. Keeping the lab clean is necessary, even more so when you are adjacent to a construction zone and have a lot of fans and air scrubbers running.
Every day, Leon from Housekeeping comes and picks up the trash and does routine cleaning for us and we are grateful for his help. Even with this daily maintenance the dust bunnies can multiply under taborets and in corners. Last month at our staff meeting we decided to implement a quarterly Lab Cleaning Day. To keep the labor equitable and to not stick the same person with the worst job every quarter, we divided the lab into six zones each with a checklist to complete. Each zone is assigned to one person, and that assignment will rotate each quarter.
The zones include:
- Dirty room and encapsulation area
- Main sink area including the long counter top and drying rack
- Board shears, floor presses, and vertical board storage areas
- Store room, photo doc room and vault
- Locker area and two computer stations
- Copier and CoLibri area, shared benches and the flat files with oversized supplies
In your zone you are responsible for thoroughly cleaning under things, in things, and around things. If you need to get on your hands and knees to do it (e.g. the dorm sized fridge where we keep our paste) or put in an hour of elbow grease (I’m looking at you, Mr. Sink), then get in there and “get it done.”
In addition to an assigned zone each person is responsible for tidying up their bench, taboret and side table areas. It’s a good time to go through your taboret and get rid of scraps and bits of things, tidy up your press boards, scrub your bench top and generally organize things around you.
Lab Cleaning Day does take time away from repairing materials. However, having a clean lab allows you to find supplies and tools easier and reduces stray fibers and dirt in your past. A clutter-free lab also makes you feel better about coming to work.
Let’s head over to Parks Library Preservation and see their solutions for keeping their lab space clean and tidy.