During a summer from when I was in High School, the school offered a trip abroad as part of a national unity program, for the low, low price of twelve hundred dollars. Per person.
A broke and teenaged version of me could not afford that (for some reason), and the school agreed to let me work over the summer for the school to reduce the price. (They called it a “scholarship” but required me to work for it. I was basically being paid in credit for the trip. Credit that was worth less than my Thunderbolt casino bonuses, but whatever.)
Over that summer, I picked up a bit of knowledge as I scrubbed floors, cleaned air-conditioners, and painted half the building. Here are some tips I picked up for a more efficient workflow!
Painting… so much painting….
One of the most time-consuming tasks I had was painting all the classrooms in the middle school (which was joined to my high-school). As I’m sure you can imagine, every surface within reach was covered in scuff marks, pencil lines, markers, doodles, and footprints. Notice the condition: every surface within reach.
About five feet off the floor, the wall remained immaculate until the ceiling. In other words, there was no need to repaint it. My boss would have me measure up five feet using a big stick, and then lay out a line of masking tape around the classroom, and paint only up to that height. Once the masking tape was removed, a smooth, clean line separated the old paint of the top half from the new paint of the bottom half.
My boss’ lazy shortcut doubled as a stylistic choice. It’s a simple example of working smarter, not harder.
- Roller Brush
- A paint tray
- Newspaper (to put on the floor)
- Hand brush (for small touchups)
- Wet cloth (to clean up mistakes)
- Masking tape
- A measuring pole (a broom handle, or a big stick)
One of my jobs was to clean out the air-con filters in all the classrooms I was in charge of. It turns out that it’s actually pretty easy to do. You climb up, pop the thing open, and remove the filters by hand.
Once you have them on the floor, you can take a broom and simply brush the dust off of them onto the floor, and then either vacuum or use a dustbin to get rid of the dust. Replacing the filters is just as easy; climb up, put ’em back in, close up the machine, and you’re good to go. After all, they’re designed to be easy to clean. In your own home, you should do this every so often to improve the efficiency of your unit.
There are some things you should be careful of. Step ladder safety is very important. Make sure that your step ladder is secure on a flat surface before attempting to use it. Otherwise, you will fall, and it will hurt.
Air-con filters are dirty, and cleaning them will throw dust into the air. If you have breathing problems, like asthma or an allergy, you’re gonna need a face mask. If you’re on the fence about it, remember that a majority of the dust that collects in our homes is human skin. Wear the stupid mask.
- Step ladder
- Gloves (if you’re averse to dirty hands)
- Surgical Mask (you don’t want to breathe in dust)
There’s not really any simple “trick” you can do the haul a piece of furniture. If you can, and have the time, disassemble it and bring it in parts. In many circumstances, this isn’t ideal for whatever reason, and the only tip I can really give is to either use a dolly cart when possible and lift with your legs when it isn’t.
My final tip is to get someone to help. Dividing the load between you, even if one person is just helping to balance the load, is so incredibly helpful.