Studio Spring Cleaning

If you already have not made your way over to Local Artist Interviews to read my guest blog, then begin here.

I wrote a guest blog about how to become an organized artist! In the post, I wrote a basic month-to-month list on how an artist can easily work on becoming more organized throughout an entire year. For each month, I am writing a blog post on my blog site, The Suction Cup, to offer more guidance and tips on becoming more organized.

June is spring cleaning!

Cleaning and Cleansers

This isnt about picking up your table tops and putting all your paints, pencils and reference books back in their drawer or shelf. This blog post is about the nitty gritty cleaning. Bust out the mop, broom and some surface cleaner and get those winter dust bunnies out! Just following St. Paul Art Crawl and Art-A-Whirl, you may have had hundreds of people walk through your studio space. While you may have cleaned up your work space and put all the clutter and kicknacks away, open studios still brings 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. Wipe down all of your surfaces and studio furniture. Scrape off extra paint, glue and art materials and get everything back to shape. I make sure to clean handles on drawers and filing cabinets, flat surfaces like desk, shelves and ledges which all collect germs, dirt, and dust. It may be smart to have some cleansers around to clean up messes and spills as they happen. I always kept some near by along side a few extra rolls of paper towels too.

Don’t forget to clean and glass and windows that are in your space too. Dirty windows stops the natural light that is coming in.

If you head on over to http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm, you can find some non-toxic mopping and cleaning formulas to mix and use safely in your studio. Being an artist exposes you to many chemicals, why risk adding more into your working space. Think safe and use non-toxic!

Mopping/Sweeping/Vacuuming

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 a knees with a damp sponge or vacuum very well if you have cracks or an uneven or dented floor. Vacuum around the baseboards and in the cracks to get at the dirt that a mop or a broom cant get too. While first instinct is to vacuum near the ground, use a vacuum with an extended arm to reach up near any ceiling moulding, 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. I try to sweep after I finish a large project and I mop once I notice that my shoes are tracking dirt. My floor in my studio was so dirty when I moved in, it took me three hours to clean it! Not even exaggerating. After mopping the floor I could see the yellow paint that was painted on the concrete that barely visible underneath all the dirt and grime. Its easy to track in dirt from outside, or from the rest of your building or other studios. So while you may have mopped 6 months ago, it may be time to mop again!

Pests

Sometimes deep cleaning will lead you to discover you have some uninvited studio mates! I was not to 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 lead 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 at. If pests are not a problem, take the time and effort to keep it that way. If pests are a current issue, deal with it now!

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.

 Goals for this month are:

1. Pick up the art materials, supplies and other items that are left out

2. Wipe down all surfaces with non-toxic cleaner

3. Sweep your studio

4. Vacuum the cracks, holes and dents in the floor, the baseboards, and window ledges. Don’t forget to vacuum vents and any exposed pipes where dust and mites will sit.

5. Mop the floor

6. Take out the trash and the recycling

7. Take any additional pest prevention or elimination measures

8. Make a simple monthly or weekly cleaning chart

9. Reward yourself for all that dirty spring cleaning!

In November, I will be returning to discuss Fall Cleaning and discuss removing extra or unnecessary materials from your studio!

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