Around here, after the holidays comes a mass exodus and then a mass influx. For the last two days, we’ve been helping pull all the used linens out of rental units (park models) and trying to help with the laundry as well as do our rounds.
Imagine, if you will, a full-sized laundromat being closed to the public, plus a smaller commercial laundromat, and running continuously, all day and all evening. Imagine further that, even after all that, there are still mountains of laundry to be done. Then you have a pretty good idea what this operation is like.
Each person on the housekeeping staff has either been pulling linens from ten or more units per day, cleaning units for the incoming guests or working in the laundry room full time. Today was the first time they shut down one of the laundromats in the park. There are three laundromats in all, so the guests can take their laundry to the other two. We also have seven washing machines and two huge, industrial-sized dryers at the Housekeeping office, so those were all going as well.
For those who are doing the laundry, it’s a matter of pulling linens out of big black garbage bags and stuffing them into the washers with soap and bleach. Then they move the laundry from all those washers to the dryers and fill up the washers again. When the laundry is done in the dryers, they pull it out, switch the laundry from the washers to the dryers, reload the washers, and then fold everything that came out of the dryers. When they get large piles of laundry folded, they bag it up and send it back to Housekeeping to be shelved. While they are working at this, the rest of the housekeeping staff is bringing more bags of used linens to them, so I imagine it feels like it’s never ending. I heard one woman say, as she was preparing to go home this evening, “If my husband asks me to do the laundry tonight, I’m going to brain him!”
This evening, when everyone else left, Mark left me at the laundromat while he did all our rounds alone. I make kind of a game out of it, trying to see how much I can get done so the others can come in tomorrow and not have to feel quite so overwhelmed.
The good thing is that the housekeeping staff doesn’t have to clean all the rental units immediately after pulling all the linens. Each morning, there is a list of which units are being moved into that day, and those are the ones they clean. By pulling all the linens at one time, they don’t have to do both the pulling and the restocking when they do clean. They can get more units cleaned faster. There is a lot of logic to this process, but when the staff is tired, sometimes they have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. It’s hard to see the big picture – how it will benefit them in the end – when they are pulling extra duty now.
What will happen as we finish this process is that the snowbirds will arrive to take up residence from January through March. That will bring a lull, of sorts, and then I’m guessing that this process will begin again when the snowbirds all head north for the summer. And when I say “a lull”, I don’t mean that things will slow down. Long term renters still require weekly cleanings. I’m just saying that things will become routine again. I kind of like the change up periodically. It keeps things from getting boring!