Wednesday, August 5, 2015

That'll Learn 'Em

A few weeks ago a friend of mine came a-calling, telling me all about this "apartment turnover" thing, how fun it was, how much she looked forward to that weekend every summer, how it was a nice way to make a few bucks each August, how I, too, should join in on the festivities and work with her this year.

Apartment turnover is where you clean and paint a slew of recently vacated apartments in preparation for their new tenants.  It involves scrubbing and brushing and rolling and going up and down thousands of stairs for a total of 42 hours over three days.

It turns out this friend has a somewhat different definition of "fun" than my own.

Listen to me, friends:  I am in pretty good physical condition.  I love running and exercise and throwing my body around in a variety of different ways, but after the previous weekend of "fun," it took eleven straight hours of sleep and one solid hour of yoga to work out the various nagging aches afflicting this body.  Because cleaning those apartments is nothing like cleaning your own house; it turns out university students have no problem whatsoever living in utter squalor, paying God only knows how much to live in a box of their own filth.

The depressing part is knowing that these new kids are going to come in to those nice, clean, newly painted (BY ME) apartments and junk them up again.  It's an endless cycle, a horrible, horrible loop without end.

My question is:  Why?  Why does it have to be this way?  Yes, there were a few apartments that had been decently maintained, but not many.  Couldn't the management of said apartments have some kind of orientation for all those fresh, new, dirt-mongering students the first week they move in?  Things as simple as:

  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil at the bottom of your oven to catch spilled food, so the apartment turnover people don't have to spend hours scrubbing in there and you have a prayer of getting your security deposit back.
  • If something spills on the floor, clean it up.  Immediately.  It will take you maybe three minutes if you do it right away, rather than half an hour for the apartment turnover people and you'll have a prayer of getting your security deposit back.
  • Wipe down the bathroom.  It doesn't even have to be that often!  Twenty minutes, once a week is enough to stave off certain entropy, and you'll have a prayer of getting your security deposit back.
I am not asking for a miracle, here.  And perhaps I'm naive to believe that the eighteen- to twenty-something crowd are capable of looking away from their phones a couple times a week to pick up a sponge, but I feel like some basic education could go a long way.  

Failing that, I'm also not opposed to the use of shock collars.  Not after the weekend I had.

BZZZT!  Wipe off the stove!  BZZZT!  Scrub out the tub!


  1. I highly recommend you get some new friends who have a more accurate sense of fun!

    I also enjoyed a little snicker at the nose out of the phone comment--I seem to recall your being on that soapbox before.

  2. Having moved a few college students out of their dorms, I can attest to the fact that college students don't give a #$*#& about cleaning their space. I do not maintain a super-high level of neatness or cleanliness in my own house, but I was shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, at what I saw.

    I hope you made a goodly amount of money at that job.

  3. When my son was moving out of his college apartment one of the moms made a deal with the guys. She volunteered to clean and they'd paint her house. They jumped at the deal. I think it took her longer to clean the bathtub then it took them to paint....

  4. I remember those days --no matter how much you cleaned, you never got your deposit back. The landlord (slumlords where I lived while an undergrad) could come up with tiny little infractions and it wasn't worth fighting them. So, you assumed that money was gone, and didn't give a rip about keeping things like the oven clean. (Mind you, we did keep our bathrooms clean, because yuck!).

    I too hope you made a lot of money for that weekend!

  5. I went one or two times. I've now decided I like not-cleaning better than money.


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