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Part of the deal when we moved out to manage the Pacific Beach Inn was that we (I) would be in charge of housekeeping. At first I imagined myself fluttering from room to room with a feather duster and being completely done with 10 turnovers in a matter of minutes. 2 razor clam digs and a sunny week in March later I was reminded that this Inn is located on a beach and when people come and stay here, they tend to spend time on the beach, and that razor clams are really time consuming to clean properly. Those weekends of cleaning the whole hotel alone led me to devise a cleaning plan. I don’t really know what big hotelier’s housekeepers to when you leave and honestly I don’t care. I just want to know that every room I clean is comfortable enough and clean enough to invite our guests to walk around barefoot. Barefoot is best because it shows they are confident in my floor cleaning ability and if they take their shoes off there is less sand in the room.

So here is my method: Strip, Scrub, Stock.

Simple, right?! You’d think so, until you decided to train housekeepers to eagerly follow in your footsteps. The help I have now is far superior and so much more helpful than the first couple trainees, but I’m still dancing along the imaginary line between being a good manager and being a nit-picky jerkface. Just to show you how nit-picky I am, I’ll explain in depth what those three words really mean.

Basically this means tear out everything that can be laundered, throw it in a basket and get it out of the way. It also means open all the blinds and windows and turn on the fans. I also recommend searching around quickly and grabbing any stray garbage (coffee filters, bars of soap, candy wrappers, leftover food) and tossing it in the garbage bag before setting the garbage outside the door. I find if I presume the garbage in the room is gone and I toss out the trashbag before finishing a room I usually lift up a bed skirt to discover something appalling. Then I’m stuck in a semi-clean room with something I’d rather not hold on to or stick into my pocket for later. Keeping a container nearby for trash is a good plan.

Depending on the length of stay and type of unit, there are some really common “high touch zones.” These spots are a top priority and must be done after every guest. Counter tops, microwaves, cooking surfaces, tables, chair arms, and the entire bathroom fall onto the high priority list. Next is things that are often touched, but not considered common contact points or things that may get handled, but are usually not as gross as a toilet. Example; windows, light switches, lamps, arms on chairs, remote controls and tv screens. I usually leave the floor til last so I don’t have to reclean my own footprints. Easy, right?

This last step may be the trickiest, By this point I’m pretty done being in this specific room and ready to move on. I think these steps tend to need more finesse to make things nice. Final chores are beds, towels, comp basket (complimentary coffee, 2 teas, 1 cocoa, filters, cream and sugar) and making those fancy triangle folds on the toilet paper and paper towels. I also like to stage each room by lining up chairs, adjusting lampshades, opening blinds and closing the windows I opened in the beginning. Pretty much setting the stage so guests, walk in and say “Awe, how nice!” not “Uhh, refund?”

So, when can you start?