One of the things I've learned from my blogging and writing is that the more inflammatory you are and the more drama you create, the more hits and readers you will get.

It is unfortunate that serious, important points and posts don't generate much interest. People flock to the drama.

Today's post is important but rather boring, so if you are one of the above, look elsewhere for your drama.

Today's topic? Church building cleaning.

Hear me out.

I have refused to do any building cleaning for years, not because I didn't want to but because of how it was handled in my various wards and branches. Too many barriers made it impossible for me to participate.

Willing But Wary

It wasn't handled the same way in all my units, thus my problem. I've been in somewhere around 35-50 wards over the course of my life. I don't know exactly how many, but quite a number.

Everyone, everywhere seems to think that everyone knows how to clean the building, where everything is, and how it works. I don't. I never have.

Trying to find out the process has been mystifying. Usually, all I hear is a general announcement at church that we should all clean the meetinghouse. This is usually followed later by a guilt trip for not doing so.

It never seems to be accompanied by sufficient information for actually doing it.

The Cleaning Schedule

Once, I was standing outside my small, rural branch meetinghouse. A woman I barely knew, came up to me and started jabbering away. She was incomprehensible. I finally stopped her and asked, "What are you talking about?" She replied, "We have to clean the building together next week." My response was, "We do?!?!" She said, "Yes, we're on the schedule." I asked her where the schedule was. She told me it was next to the Primary room on the bulletin board.

Great, there was no reason to go into that remote portion of the building unless you had kids or responsibilities in Primary. I had neither, and no reason to frequent that location. How on earth was I supposed to know the building cleaning schedule was there or that I was on it?

In another ward, I wanted to be more proactive having felt a little guilty over not performing any cleaning responsibilities so I asked about the cleaning schedule. I was told it was set a year in advance. We had just moved in. Great, I thought, I guess I wait a year.

When the year was up and I was actually on the schedule, I asked about how I was supposed to know what to clean, exactly. I was told, "Oh talk to Brother [name redacted], I think he has some ideas. Great, "ideas" just what I need.

In one ward I was handed a paper telling me I had been placed on the schedule and giving me the information I needed to know including where and when to show up and what to do once I got there. I was over the moon until we had an ice storm that scuttled things.

Some units simply do it via volunteers or sign-up sheets or it doesn't get done at all.

Every unit does things differently.

However, you should never assume everybody knows anything about cleaning responsibilities.

You are obviously free to set up any system you want for cleaning but you need to be transparent about how things are done and inform people as to the schedule and the process.

The Cleaning Materials

One of the concerns I've always had is whether the cleaning materials will affect my clothing. Since I'm tall, pants, especially jeans, are hard to come by. Sometimes, it can take me up to two years to secure the jeans I wear with the inseam I need.

Soiling a pair of jeans is a serious issue for me. It is not something I want to risk. If I can do some other cleaning chore that doesn't endanger my clothing, I'll do it.

Trying to find out anything about the cleaning chemicals involved and what risks I'm taking has been difficult.

Making it too difficult to find this information has always been a barrier for me to clean. I would imagine people with allergies are also hesitant for other reasons.

The Cleaning Process

Don't assume people know where the member closet (custodial) is. Tell them. For me, it is a no-brainer that they need to be told. For people who have been in the building since birth, it isn't.

It seems that the people called to be in charge of cleaning the building are often old-timers. They know everything. They forget that many of us are new, green, and uninformed.

One new brother who recently moved in from another area of the country told me that in a prior unit of his, they had everything organized into carts and baskets. There was a checklist of cleaning duties and the requisite cleaning materials in each one. All you had to do was pick one and go to work.

What's Really Supposed to be Happening

The Church always has guidance for these tasks. Finding it online is not difficult.

These are the links to the Handbook and the sites on the Church's website that deal with Meetinghouse Care.

Handbook guidance 35. Care and Use of Meetinghouse

Meeinghouse Care

Maintaining Meetinghouses

There are "Cleaning Cards" for weekly cleaning as well as a checklist for non-routine cleaning. The non-routine cleaning should be done every three months.

The Church doesn't leave these issues up to chance. It doesn't leave us to flounder either. Check the website and the instructions there.

We just have to be motivated enough to look for the resources and training and help people, especially new members, navigate the nuances of a particular building.

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