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ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

Spring Cleaning

Published March 1, 2012 12:12 PM by Kerri Penno
Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, we're experiencing one of the mildest winters I've ever seen. Whereas last year, we were getting hammered with snowstorm after snowstorm, this year--knock on wood--with the exception of one early storm in October, we've had just a few light dustings, and warmer temperatures than we're used to.
The result? Signs of spring are already upon us. My daffodils are already shooting up, the trees are beginning to bud, and--in a less welcome site--I even saw a couple mosquitoes this week. This time last year, my husband and I were preparing to move into our first home.
Facing spring cleaning of a whole house is a slightly overwhelming concept to someone who has moved into a freshly cleaned apartment nine times in the past 11 years.  Adding to my anxiety, as we approach the 1-year mark, it's time to tackle some of those projects the home inspector recommended, now that we've finished sprucing up the place.
From years of working with clinical laboratory scientists, who are constantly documenting instrument calibration, QA/QC, proficiency testing, etc., I've picked up a few organizational tips. I'm working on a home chart, with everything from daily cleaning tasks (e.g., dusting, emptying the dishwasher), to weekly jobs (laundry, washing the floors), monthly and annual projects (cleaning out the dryer hose, getting the water heater serviced, moving furniture and appliances for cleaning, etc.).
Do you have a similar chart for your lab? Sure, you have the mandated checks and balances you keep up with for your inspections, but what about inventory, ordering supplies, continuing education, cleaning behind instruments, organizing paperwork, dusting computer keyboards, etc.? Do you scramble everytime an inspector is coming, or do you have an organizational system that keeps your lab running smoothly? In honor of spring, send us your charts (, or comment below. We'll gather your suggestions and share them with your colleagues.


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