Getting organized isn’t about picking up your tabletops and putting all your paints, pencils, and reference books back in their drawer or shelf. This blog post is about nitty-gritty cleaning. Bust out the mop, broom, and some surface cleaner, and get those winter dust bunnies out!
Cleaning: Just following an open studio, you may have had hundreds of people walk through your studio space. While you may have cleaned up your workspace and put all the clutter and knickknacks away, open studios still bring in a lot of dirt, dust, smells, and fibers into your working space. Even working in an industrial arts building or workshop has a natural level of grime that settles in. This can damage your art in the long run if you don’t maintain the actual dirt that is in your studio.
After you put away all your materials, equipment, supplies, and other items laying out in your studio, you can begin deep cleaning, that’s what this blog post is about.
- Wipe down all of your surfaces and studio furniture
- Scrape off extra paint, glue, and art materials and get everything back to shape
- Clean handles on drawers and filing cabinets, flat surfaces like desks, shelves, and ledges which all collect germs, dirt, and dust.
- Clean and glass and windows that are in your space too.
Cleansers: Being an artist exposes you to many chemicals, why risk adding more into your working space. Think safe and use non-toxic! A simple google search can find you some non-toxic mopping and cleaning formulas to mix and use safely in your studio. When all else fails, some warm water and vinegar can do the trick.
Vacuuming: Vacuum (or sweep) around the baseboards and in the cracks to get at the dirt that a mop or a broom cant get to. While the first instinct is to vacuum near the ground, use a vacuum (or hand dust) with an extended arm to reach up near any ceiling molding, vents, and exposed pipes where dust sits above your head. Remember to sweep before you mop, this will get all the large particles and pieces of dirt and trash off the ground.
Mopping: Spend a few dollars on buying an industrial mop bucket and cleaner, it makes the job easy and is a good investment for the long run. I found it easier to mop half of my studio at a time and move all of the furniture to the other half. Make sure each side of the studio is dry before moving the furniture back. Note, be careful if you have wood floors! Water and wood don’t mix well. You may need to get on your hands and knees with a damp sponge or vacuum very well if you have cracks or an uneven or dented floor.
Pests: Sometimes deep cleaning will lead you to discover you have some uninvited studio mates! I was not too happy to find mice living with me in my studio after I was away on vacation for a week. Snacks and food attract the wrong kind of studio visitors. Any sort of dry food should be stored in a locked or sealed bin or container off the floor. Food will attract mice. Ironically, I found that the peanut butter on my mouse traps then leads to attracting ants! So while you may be battling one studio pest, you may be inviting another one in.
Keeping your space clean will also help reduce the likelihood of rodents and bugs. Seal up any holes and cracks around doors, windows, and in the floor to plug those pests out. Invest in traps rather than toxic sprays and baits if possible. You don’t want to be spraying toxic chemicals around your art and in the space you are working in. If pests are not a problem, take the time and effort to keep them that way. If pests are a current issue, deal with it now. If you are leasing from a company or studio building, alert your landlord so they can help take care of the problem too.
Trash: Recycle any extra cardboard, plastic, or glass material that you are holding on to and take out your trash! Hopefully, you already do this on a weekly or bi-weekly routine. Old trash will attract pests and create a smelly studio!
Preventative Measures: If spring cleaning means a huge overhaul, take some protective measures to help you before you need to spring clean again. Lay down a rug or plastic flooring if you drop paint, clay, or other materials on the floor. Or stick a rug at the entrance to your space to help prevent dirt from getting in. This will also make mopping easy next time you need to clean.
Make a weekly or monthly cleaning chart, if you find yourself constantly battling to remain some sort of cleanliness and order in your space. I tend to clean after I finish a large project, which is usually a good transitioning point between pieces I am making. If you live in a cleaner studio space maybe you clean lightly every few months, but if your building or studio gets dirty fast, I recommend tackling it a bit each week.