I always close the office for two days during the week at the beginning of May. I wish it was so that I could take a fabulous vacation to some dog-friendly hotel in a gorgeously tropical location, but it is really so that I can clean the office inside and out. Anybody that knows me would never mistake me for a clean freak. However, I do keep the studio much cleaner than my own home. It is partly because of all the expensive and dust-sensitive equipment that is here, and partly because I know what I would notice if I were a customer. Because cleaning doesn’t come naturally to me, I follow daily and weekly cleaning schedules. They help me to keep the photography areas, bathroom, office, and my equipment in presentable shape. If I bring the dogs into the studio for whatever reason, I vacuum and dust the minute they’re out of the building just in case clients have allergies.
It’s the OUTSIDE that gets grubby no matter what I do. I sweep the outside in front of the shop every morning and wash the windows once a week. I keep the sidewalk clear and maintain my parking spaces and the alleyway behind where the dumpster is as clean as I can. However, there is one thing that it is hard to do much about. Maine’s autumns and winters can be incredibly pretty to photograph but they can wreak havoc on aluminum siding. By the time the ice and snow start to melt, the outside of my building is practically unrecognizable. It’s supposed to be white, but after the rain and pollen give it a greenish tint in the fall, it starts to go gray from the salt and snow in the winter. Not really attractive, and I would imagine that customers might not believe I have a good eye for details and beautiful compositions after seeing something like that.
The landlord doesn’t care what the outside looks like as long as I pay my rent and don’t blow the place up. But I am always afraid that it will discourage customers from coming inside. Since it is such a concern for me, I bought a little electric pressure washer from the hardware store down the street a couple of years back. It’s nice and light enough for me to carry around without hurting myself. I take my time and hose down the whole building until it is white again. I can even destroy weeds that are trying to take root in the sidewalk cracks around the building and keep my parking spaces looking clean and safe to park in. I am sure I look ridiculous wearing my safety goggles and rain boots when I’m out there but I’m fine looking a little stupid if it increases business. Once the outside is done I do the inside and then it is open for business once again. I don’t like spring cleaning but I certainly like the end result!