Our Thanksgiving weekend discussions ranged far and wide, but one that became particularly animated was our conversation on the ever-controversial…Church cleaning assignments. Apparently, people have really strong feelings about it. Some vehemently advocate “job creation” by way of returning to the era in which a professional cleaned the building. Others are quite certain that their family is the only one who actually DOES their cleaning assignment. There are the few who support the idea of lay cleaning people, but feel that their wards have not yet found the magic formula that actually produces a clean building. No matter what their individual positions, it seemed we all had excuses, too: I don’t have keys, why should my family have to clean up after the random people who play basketball every day of the week?, since our building is a stake center there is just too much to do, I can’t get there early/stay late/come in during the week, how can I as a single mom/nursery leader/old person/single old lady/busy person/bishopric member/inactive member/stake leadership/couple/large family be asked to do this?

Aside from those complaints, it seemed that every ward had a different approach to the assignments, all with their own merits and problems. Popular systems include:

o Family assigned on rotating basis
o pros: only have to worry about it once or twice a year
o cons: those times a year, the work load is heavy; often have incongruous families assigned, making coordination difficult; need reminders about assignment
o Auxiliaries given specific assignments
o pros: weekly, so it could become a routine; no one auxiliary has to do too much
o cons: “auxiliary” almost always means the presidency members, not other groups of the auxiliary; every family belongs to multiple auxiliaries; since a large group of people share a responsibility, it is easy to assume someone else will do it and hard to be accountable
o Every family given one specific task
o pros: weekly, so routine; no one has a big assignment
o cons: you have to do it every week; with everyone focused on small portions, no one looks at the bigger picture; some things just never get done; lots of people want access to the building during the week

The system in my building works moderately well. Every family has one specific task (my family washes the tables in the nurseries [we have 4] every week). In the last year, we have combined these weekly efforts with some larger “ward activity” cleaning projects where we do some of the jobs that don’t need doing every week (like dusting the chair rails) and things that require special equipment (like cleaning the basketball backboards). One element of our moderate success (that is my characterization–not sure how others feel we are doing) is a semi-tyrannical but beloved grandmotherly Cleaning Coordinator. I loathe to imagine what will happen when she is released.

What works well in your building? Is there anyone who still has a professional cleaner? When ward shopping, would the presence of a professional cleaner give a ward and edge?