4 Simple Steps to Spring Cleaning
As a jeweler, you should be grateful for the opportunity late spring presents to do some much-needed spring cleaning, organizing, and freshening before the heat of summer sets in.
And as for your store, here’s a few pointers on where to start.
Step 1: Wipe the ceilings. Wipe the walls.
“Seriously?” you’re asking.
Seriously, friends. Cobwebs are only appropriate at Halloween, and even then, not in your store. Buy an inexpensive ceiling broom and start from the center of the ceiling, working your way outward toward the corners. Now go down the walls in a continuous pattern, taking care not to miss a spot.
The extra mile: Dilute one part vinegar in four parts distilled water and wipe the baseboards, chair rails, and any smudges on the paint. Do this the night before to give the vinegar smell time to evaporate.
Now take the light fixtures off the lights and wash well with soapy water. Spritz with glass cleaner, dry thoroughly (don’t miss this step or subsequent cleanings will be gross), and reinstall. You’ll wonder how you ever worked in the dark so long. As an added bonus, your jewelry will shine as it should.
The extra mile: Unscrew air vents, wash thoroughly, and remount.
Step 2: Take the blinders off your nose!
Remember those funny air freshener commercials about nose blindness? Turns out, nose blindness is an actual scientific phenomenon. And the not-so-funny reality is that while we don’t notice the scents we’re around every day, our visitors sure do. Unfortunately for us, they’re far too polite to tell us anything. So you need to find your most brutally honest friend (preferably one with a discriminating beak) who will walk into your store and give it to you straight. They may tell you that last week’s tuna salad sandwich is still permeating the showroom floor and that the carpet you installed five years ago reeks of onion and moth balls.
And if this is indeed the case, you have a few options. First, empty the fridge. Really. You don’t think that the odors from the back office can reach the front of the store, but they absolutely can. Clean the fridge, wash shelves and racks with soap and water, defrost the freezer, and put fresh baking soda in both. While you’re in there, flush all the drains with baking soda and boiling vinegar. You’ll notice a dramatic difference pretty quickly.
You’ve already dusted everything, so now is the time to vacuum. (I don’t care what anyone says: Dust first, vacuum second. Unless your vacuum cleaner was manufactured before 1972, it won’t kick up enough dust to justify vacuuming first.) Better still, have the carpets professionally cleaned to remove stubborn odors and deep-set stains. Ideally, you should change your carpet every three years. With high traffic, the pile inevitably wears down and accumulates stains and odors. If you can’t afford to replace the carpet so often, consider moving your cases around to cover the worn, splotchy areas.
Extra mile: If you’re really serious about investing in high-quality flooring, have hardwood installed. But be aware that the upkeep on hardwood is neither cheap nor easy. Or you could consider some fun alternative surfaces like stained concrete. Just watch for slippery floors in rainy weather.
If you have window coverings, take them down and wash them or have them dry cleaned. The thicker they are, the more likely they are to absorb odors. Now clean the windows inside and out. Let that golden sunshine in for a bit.
Last, spray some of that air freshener. Find an odor-neutralizing one or at least something subtle rather than an overbearing scent like cinnamon or piña colada. Lots of people have fragrance allergies, but even those who don’t won’t necessarily enjoy the sugary sweet smells found on store shelves.
The extra mile: Investigate commercial air fresheners. Some companies will even work with you to create a custom scent. And what better way to brand yourself than with a signature scent? Again, be mindful of fragrance allergies. Consult that bosom buddy with the sensitive schnoz – or several – when selecting your scent.
Step 3: Tackle the cases
Remove the clutter – the daily newspaper, the random loupe, the out-of-date brochures – and toss with abandon (well, maybe not the loupe). Don’t hold back here. If you really can’t part with it, find a logical, permanent home for it that doesn’t cover your $3,000 diamond stud earrings.
With the same vinegar-and-water solution you used on the baseboards, spray the tops of your cases. If you have a lot of real estate, save time by wiping with a squeegee. Wipe any streaks clean. Don’t forget to get the inside of the glass, too. You don’t think about it, but your fingers routinely make smudges when you reach in to place or retrieve merchandise. If you have lights inside your cases (and you should), wipe them down with a dry cloth.
The extra mile: Use a cotton swab with your vinegar solution and get corners and inside the tracks of the cases. You’ll be more than slightly grossed out by what you find there.
Step 4: Move your merchandise around
That’s right – time to focus what’s in your cases. Now’s the time to fill empty holes in your earring displays. Neck form missing a necklace? Replace it! There’s no excuse for glaring holes in your displays. Or holes anywhere in your cases, for that matter.
Look through home design magazines and find inspiration in their decor. Go to a hobby store and put seasonal items inside your cases. Use a seashell as a ramp for your tennis bracelet. Spread spring flowers along the baseboards. Do this sparingly and carefully; you don’t want it to look cluttered or haphazard.
Bonus Step: Breathe
You’re getting ready for summer and working your way through allergy season. That means it’s imperative to take care of you right now. Stay hydrated and rested. Yes, it’s hard to find time to eat lunch, let alone sleep eight hours a night, but you won’t endear yourself to your customers by sneezing all over your cases. Besides, you just cleaned them…
So what are you doing to prepare for summer? How did you clean this spring? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.