I’ve been actively involved in 12Stone Church for over 21 years (as a volunteer for 6 years and as a staff member for the last 15 years). Our staff has grown significantly over that time…and a few years ago we outsourced our facility management. But for the majority of those 21 years, I was consistently one of the last people to walk out of the building after an event.
Cleanup is the hardest part of an event. All the team’s energy has been consumed in the planning, recruiting, setup, event execution. Once the last participant walks out after the last event of the day, everyone is exhausted and ready to go home.
It doesn’t matter if the facility is completely under my control…or whether I am renting it from someone else…I am supposed to leave the space like I found it. I generally don’t have to tear down the tables, empty trash cans, or vacuum the space, but I do have to remove everything I brought to the event.
At home, at work, or at church…someone will be using the facility tomorrow morning after the event. Leaving a mess behind is a great way to ruin relationships and damage credibility. Nobody likes cleaning up my leftover mess before setting up for their event.
Here are some ideas that help with the cleanup:
- Recruit a clean-up crew to help after the event. They will bring fresh energy to help get everything wrapped up. Beware: You can’t walk away and dump on them. No one wants to do your work for you. But, there are plenty of people who want to help you do your work with you.
- If we know ahead of time that it will be a late night, we can sometimes extend the room reservation through the next morning. Just make sure the facility team knows ahead of time so no one freaks out when they walk in and see the mess.
- Identify the “Last Man Out”. This person is the last one out the door that checks every room. They make sure that every last piece of trash is picked up, that our stuff is put away, and nothing is left for anyone else. This person closes the door and turns out the lights.
If we don’t define the “Last Man Out”, people tend to walk out thinking it is someone else’s job. There is no greater frustration than to become the “Last Man Out” by accident. When that happens, we often discover another hour or two of work that was overlooked. So – protect your relationships and plan ahead.
Thanks for listening.