Janitorial Closets and Creative Solutions for Storage

Janitorial Closets & Creative Solutions for Storage019

What are the characteristics of a good janitorial closet?

  • It is spacious.
  • It contains shelving for supplies.
  • It contains a floor tub, not a wash basin.
  • It is clean and organized.
  • It is preferably not shared with anyone else.
  • It is located inside and near the areas to be cleaned.
  • It is lockable.

Why is it helpful to have a good janitorial closet?

  • When there is enough space to contain all the janitor’s cleaning equipment & supplies, it makes it much easier to keep things organized, clean and accessible.  It’s more efficient.
  • Shelves allow space for stocking supplies and paper products so they are readily accessible for the janitor, and s/he doesn’t have to go to other parts of the facility to gather supplies.
  • A floor tub makes it immeasurably easier and safer to fill and empty mop buckets.010
  • When a janitor has his/her own closet space for supplies and equipment, s/he alone is responsible for keeping it clean and organized, and no one else can enter to disturb or remove things.
  • Sharing a closet with others in the facility usual results in them using the janitor’s cleaning supplies and equipment and frequently not putting things back.  There is nothing more irritating than getting to work and not being able to find your cleaning products!  The worst case scenario is when a space must be shared with other janitorial companies and they begin to “borrow” your supplies and equipment.
  • Having a closet located in or very near the areas to be cleaned makes the job more efficient and saves time.  It has a positive effect on the janitor’s attitude also.
  • It’s optimal to be able to lock a closet. It keeps everything safe and prevents others from stealing or removing things from the closet.

The first photo shows the janitorial closet that I enjoy at a building I’ve been cleaning myself for quite a few years.   Even though the closet is not huge, I’ve organized it in a way that works for me.  Everything has its place, and one feature of this closet that I really like is the rack over the wash basin.  It allows me to hang the wet mop over the basin instead of propping it up in the bucket.  I keep the bulk of the toilet paper in a kitchen cupboard, but I am able to keep a good stock of multifold towels, toilet paper and dispenser soap in the janitor closet along with my own supplies so everything is close by.  Since it’s my very own space, I can keep things clean and smelling good all the time, which is important to me.  I’m very fortunate to be working for these clients, and it makes me feel appreciated that they made sure that I got a good closet all to myself.

Not all situations are this optimal, and not all clients are even able to provide good storage areas for the cleaning crew.  Over the years there have been many times when we have had to023 keep our supplies and equipment in a dirty and dusty shop, and we still do.  The way we manage these conditions is to do the following:

  • Keep supplies in a plastic container with a top lid.
  • Keep the vacuum covered and a sign on it to inform people not to use it unless they put it back.
  • Cover the cart each time with a large liner and drape it over the side as far as it will go to keep the dust and grit off. Hopefully workers will not use it as a trash bin when they see the liner is draped over it.

Photo number four shows what I do at one building where we have to store the equipment in a construction shop.   I keep supplies under the sink in the break room at this building, but if there were no space available then I would keep the supplies in a large covered plastic container with our name on it near the cart.

Many times the cart, equipment and supplies must be located in a closet or other room that is accessible to everyone.  When this is the case, you are just about guaranteed that your cleaning products will be “borrowed” from time to time, and frequently they will be missing when you show up for work.  One way to get around this problem is to always hide your cleaning supplies inside the cart and cover them with a big liner.  It may also be necessary to have a sign up near the supplies telling the employees in the building to “Please do not remove the janitor’s supplies and equipment. If you must, please return the items immediately.  Thank you!”   We’ve had several clients over the years take our vacuums home with them and forget to return them before the next cleaning.  Sometimes employees in the facility will move vacuums to other areas too.  Either way, you end up spending a lot of time looking for things, and it is costly and aggravating.034

When there is no appropriate space to store a cart, it can be a challenge to find a spot that works, or that isn’t an eye sore for the client.  One of my clients came up with a very creative solution when there was no closet space or appropriate room to store a cart.  She found a corner near a file cabinet in the copy room where we could store the cart, and then she put a Japanese screen around it to hide it from view.   Brilliant!  Since mopping is minimal at this place, I didn’t need space for a mop bucket.  I use a clean microfiber mop each time and take the used one home to wash each week.  This ensures that there never will be any foul mop odor coming from the cart area.  I could store a vacuum in the cart, but since this office is only a once a weaker, I bring my vacuum from home.

If there is a free corner anywhere, there is always a creative solution for storing a cart and not taking up too much space.  If an office is really small, then it’s easy to do without a cart and just store a hand caddy in a closet space or under a sink.  It isn’t good for the back to have to dump many trash cans into a big liner without a cart, but for less than a dozen trash cans it can be done correctly with minimal discomfort if one uses proper ergonomic form.  Straight back, knees bent.  Use your thigh for support. This only works in small offices, of course.

These are some basic ideas for a few creative storage solutions.  The most important thing to always consider is no matter where you store your cart, supplies and equipment, make sure everything is always kept clean, organized and stocked.  Never let the mops become smelly or you will get a complaint from the client!  Wash them regularly in bleach or switch them out for new ones.  A neat and tidy janitor closet or space is a reflection of the cleaning standards of the janitor and the standards of the cleaning company s/he works for.

Staff writer, Jan Nash


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Nash Janitorial Company

89074 Bridge Street

Springfield, OR 97478

Phone: (541) 747-6947

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