In the story of A Sorcerer’s Apprentice an old sorcerer departs his workshop, telling his apprentice to clean up. Tired of fetching water by pail, the apprentice enchants a broom to do the work for him. Wouldn’t it be great to have an apprentice of your own when it comes time to spring clean? Spring cleaning should go much further than simply a bottle of Mr. Clean and some Windex. In the absence of magic and with some advice that will actually get the job done.

25 Cleaning Tips for Your Retail Business

For Your Merchandise

  1. Start in the stockroom and clean, organize and label. Any defectives need to get call tags or thrown out.
  2. If you debated on throwing it out last year, donating it or whatever else, it needs to go this year. “No item should make it to another spring unsold.”
  3. If you are in doubt, put them in a box, label it with the date and put it away. If you don’t open it in the next 12 months you donate or throw it out without opening.


For Your Records

  1. This is a good time to make sure your employee files are correct with emergency numbers, addresses and to be sure that you have all I-9s.
  2. How many outstanding POs do you have? Go through them religiously and cancel if still on backorder. There’s nothing worse to your cash flow than a forgotten shipment.
  3. Who owes you money? Now’s the time to collect. Make a call and followup with an email. Do you offer layaway? Go through all of them and put back on the shelf or call and get them paid off and picked up.
  4. Clean out your CRM. If you had a tickle file for customers you haven’t seen in awhile, try once more to reach them with a call, email or text then archive them so your most important, recent customers are top of mind.


For Your Physical Space

  1. Make spring cleaning a fun day. Invite all of your staff to come in their dress down cleaning clothes and supply them with colorful cleaning supplies (gloves, buckets, whatever). Make it fun! Give them all their new “cleaning” names using thoseHello My Name Is badges (Dusting Donna, Mopping Margaret, etc) Provide lunch. Play loud fun music that everyone knows the words to sing to. Have a posterboard with all of the things to get done and have them sign their names/initials when they have completed that area. Take photos along the way to post on Facebook (with a BIG thank you to them). Silly stuff but it gets the job done and makes it fun to be part of it!
  2. Buff and re-polish the floors and clean out air vents in the ceiling. Especially shelving and storage by the air vents.
  3. Cleaning also goes for your office. You know no one has vacuumed the space behind the modem or printer in years.
  4. Dust and clean the areas in your window displays. Dead flies do not sell merchandise.
  5. Wash light fixtures and the bulbs. If you have them, dust lampshades. If bulbs are out, replace them.
  6. Remove staples, tape and other remnants of decorations past. If window props are faded, replace.
  7. Wash windows both inside and out.
  8. Touch up any chipped or missing paint.
  9. Check your smoke detector batteries.
  10. Clean out and organize counter drawers.
  11. Deep-clean employee refrigerator (including fridge coils).


For Your Online Space

  1. Clean out your email inbox. Devote no more than 15 minutes per day for a week.
  2. Clean your website. Any text that is old, vague or not useful delete.
  3. Trim down your social media. Are you a passionate Candy Crush player? Social media games shouldn’t be part of your profile. Cut down on your “likes” “follows” and apps to just the ones you get a lot out of.


For Your Human Resources

  1. Give employees an evaluation on how they are doing. Look over everything, one on one, and discuss what things they think they did well, what they would like to do over the next few weeks in, and discuss raises if they are up for a raise
  2. Take a minute to reflect on what positions are being filled well, which could be better executed, and which ones are no longer needed. Consider hiring to ramp up for increased demand.
  3. Take this time to train or retrain all your employees and if you feel they still aren’t making the cut, let them go. Out with the old dead weight, in with fresh faces and new beginnings.


For Your Own Mindset

  1. Take a day off. Go to the Spa and have a massage. Treat yourself to a nice lunch with a friend. Go to a movie, play or musical matinee just because. You want to work on your business because you love it, not because you hate it.


In Sum

Let this time of the year renew your spirit and hope to have the best year possible with your retail business.