One of the foundational pieces of an outstanding housekeeping routine is the discipline to follow the wall. When I learned this principle it was a professional life changing experience and I encourage you to follow it as well for ultimate success in your turnovers.
This principle has served me well when I clean and when I inspect during a changeover. Essentially, it is just using the wall as the roadmap for the cleaning practice by literally touching the wall as you move through the property. It ensures that every part of the property is looked at in a systematic and orderly way, including the closets, cabinets, under furniture, and behind doors.
In the hospitality industry, both the housekeeper and then the inspector practice following the wall. When following the wall, either to clean the property or to inspect it, there are several things to remember.
1. Scan from top to bottom as you move through the property.
In other words look start looking at the top corner of the wall and continue all the way to the bottom of the base board.
2. Use furniture, counters, or differences in flooring to create invisible walls.
This ensures you check every part of the property. (If you don’t do this you risk missing kitchen islands or the furniture in the middle of the room.
3. When checking dressers or cabinets, start scanning at the bottom and work your way up.
This allows for a more efficient flow around the property.
4. If there are multiple levels to a property work on each floor as its own section.
5. Finish the route in the kitchen (or at least have the kitchen as close to the end as possible).
The location of the kitchen which is where you will be finishing shall determine which hand you will follow the wall with.
Following this pattern creates a repeatable process that allows for quality and speed to follow as the work is completed.
Durk Johnson has over 15 years experience as leading authority in the vacation rental housekeeping industry. Currently he serves as the executive director of Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP), a national organization that specializes in housekeeping principles and procedures. To learn more about VRHP visit www.vrhp.org.
Before VRHP, Durk worked with vacation rental companies from the snow capped mountains of Park City, Utah to the sugar white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama to the countries of New Zealand, Spain, Chile, and Italy. You can read more of Durks’s cleaning and housekeeping posts on his bi-weekly column on the Properly blog.