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Somehow I Manage | Revitalize Your Workspace: Spring Cleaning Tips for Higher Ed AV Pros

by Britt Yenser

When your environment is clean you feel happy, motivated and healthy.

--Lailah Gifty Akita

For many people, the start of spring means spring cleaning. While you might feel motivated to wash your curtains or finally vacuum behind the entertainment center, you might feel less motivated to clean the office. This might be especially true for Higher Ed AV pros, who have been strategically saving and storing equipment for years. But, you spend just as much time in the office as at home (maybe even more so) and you deserve to feel happy, motivated and healthy at work! So let's unpack some ways you can bring spring cleaning to the office.

  1. Create a task list or check list. Make sure to identify what needs to be cleaned and organized, who is responsible for which task, and when the task should be completed. As you list your what, identify the equipment or resources you use the most, and what is already working about your current system, if anything.
  2. Identify categories. Identify what you have and what it does. A rule of organization is to keep like things with like things, so creating categories of equipment or resources based on their purpose helps you identify what should be stored together. Also identify the frequency in which you use the items you are storing. Keep frequently used equipment and resources easily accessible. Ease of use is another rule of organization: if you put something somewhere that feels complicated or annoying, you'll stop using that space, and your system will fall apart.
  3. Use the right tools. Make sure your shelving, hooks, and bins are all the right size for what you are storing. You might need to take some measurements and invest in better tools. This is worth doing-- when equipment is organized, it is less likely to get lost or damaged! 
  4. Label and Color Code. When you've put everything in place, label your shelves, hooks, bins, cases-- everything should be clearly identified by what it is and where it lives. I personally label all cases with the items that belong in the case, and label all shelves based on where items are stored. You can also color code to create clear visual cues. For example, I've placed red ("stop") electrical tape on cases for equipment that is AV-department only, and green ("go") electrical tape on cases for equipment that can be loaned out. Color coding can assist in identifying where something should be, how something should be used, or even cable lengths. 
  5. Get everyone on the same page. Once everything is where it should be, get your team together and make sure they understand the new system. Everyone on your team should understand where equipment goes, what your color coding means, and what next steps might be. Do you want people to start doing inventory more frequently, or to dust the shelves at least once per month? Now is the time to tell them that!

While keeping equipment and resources clean and organized might feel daunting, especially at the end of the academic year, it is worth revisiting how things are stored and maintained. Creating a structure that everyone on your team understands and follows results in equipment that lasts longer--which is often the goal in Higher Ed. It can also result in fewer calls to management when everyone (including student workers) know where to find things! You deserve a nice environment and easy workflow, so take some time to create it!