A day in the life of a night custodian….

A friend of mine were talking about how most people have no idea what a night custodian does per some conversations we have had with people. Now, rather than go into the odd nights with activities, plays, conferences and games where we have to clean up, set up and take town on top of our normal night- I’m going to give a run down of what MY normal night looks like. Every “run” is different, but one things is the same, being a custodian for a school is a fulfilling, but physically challenging career.

I arrive at work, grab a radio, do a quick radio check and head in for our custodial meeting which lasts about a half hour. This is where we are updated on any activities in the building, fixes we need to do or things that need some extra TLC.

Meeting adjourns to grab rags and we head to our individual closets where we stock our chemicals, and fill the mop buckets. Usually, we take a moment to get our head in the game.

I head down to my first hall which is called the health hall. I dust mop the first corridor dust the locker tops, and the second. I enter classroom one to sweep the floor, change the trash, wipe down the boards, dust the room, empty the pencil sharpeners, wash the floor, wash and sanitize the desks. I do this to two other class rooms in this hall way. This is standard to class rooms.

My next stop is upstairs where I sweep and mop the staircase. I have 4 classrooms that I need to clean up there. The only difference up here is instead of mopping, I have to vacuum and the rooms are much bigger and more detailed. I wipe down 7 tables in the hallway and dust mop that corridor. I pull the humidifier tray and dump it. Our school is old and so humid so we have to keep the dehumidifier going at all times. I close the big doors to the hallway to secure this hall. I stock the “gang” bathrooms, pull the trash and make sure kids didn’t decide to have some “fun”. I tidy up all the windows and glass, check ceiling tiles, lights and replace any that need replacing. I make sure everything is locked up and shut down the lights.

The next part of my run is the most detailed and takes the longest part of my night.

I head to the nurses office and pull 9 trash cans and rebag. I sanitize and wipe down EVERYTHING. I clean the cots. She has two bathrooms in there that need restocking and cleaning, so I scrub those. I quick wash her floor, wait for that to dry, then come back and wash the bathroom floors. ( we change water in between). I shut down the lights and lock everything up.

I pull rugs from the corridor and dust mop that long corridor.

I head over to the main office which has 9 smaller offices to detail clean. I pull 16 trash cans, vacuum, wipe down and sanitize everything, dust everything, wipe down the glass, clean the desks, dust the chairs and make sure everything is nice and neat the way it should be for each office. I lock everything up and shut down the lights.

Some nights I do laundry and if it’s a laundry night, I am washing towels, drying, folding and putting them away in between my run.

I head over to the main entryway to clean up to straighten rugs, vacuum, sanitize the doors, clean the glass, wash the floors, dust, check the locks and shut down the lights.

I move on the the attendance office to empty 3 trash bins, dust, sanitize, vacuum, water plants, wipe down tables and desks, phones, computers etc, clean glass and windows shut down lights and lock up.

The next stop is the staff lounge. I have 4 conference rooms, meeting room, staff lunch room, 2 bathrooms and a copy room. All need dusting, sanitizing, vacuuming, scrubbing, floors mopped, and glass wiped down. I pull 13 trash cans and rebag from this area.

The next thing is another entryway which is the same thing as the prior entryway. Wash, wipe and vacuum. Opposite end of the building.

I run downstairs to grab the kyvac, which is a machine that is similar to a power washer. I always leave the actual cleaning of the gang bathrooms for the end of my night so I don’t get behind and lose my stride. The machine is extremely heavy and weighs more than me. I get it to my gang bathrooms and I take any frustrations out on the germs infesting the bathrooms. Fun times even if it does soak my feet. After cleaning bathrooms, I have to clean out the machine and return it to it’s station so others can use it.

I grab my all 4 of my trash bins, my 2 recycling bins (they look like big garbage cans) and load them on to the elevator. I’m vertically challenged, even at 5′ 6″, so I radio a team member to go to the recycling with me. I can’t reach the lid to open it without a step ladder. They grab their bins and meet me. I work with all men. They help me lift the bins and dump them. Each recycling bin only weighs about 40lbs but it’s over half my height and awkward. Next stop is rolling the trash out. Trash gets heavy and the boys love to laugh at me pulling the large bags to toss. I have been knocked over a time or two by the real heavy ones.

Unless we are pulling overtime with is picking up another persons run or two, we head back to our closets to break down our carts, dump mop buckets, vacuum dust mops, and clean up our closets.

Prior to leaving we check all the doors are locked one last time, and shut down all the remaining lights prior to clocking out. By the time we leave our feet our aching, and our step count is well over 20,000. Most days I’m over 30,000. I would love to say I come home and soak in a hot tub but reality is I’m to lazy and usually just crawl under a heating blanket for my sore muscles.

We are the unseen of the school and many times the forgotten when it comes to appreciation. Society sees day Custodians, and while they work hard, their job is very different from ours. They get noticed and included in appreciation days, and seen by students and staff. We both work hard, just in different ways.

I love being a night custodian for the school. Society may think we are the under class, but I love my school, and love the challenges my job presents. I struggle to balance home and work, but I think all working families do. The only thing I wish is that we had a take your spouse to work day. LOL! I’ve gone to work with my husband, I would love for him to run with me for a night! It would be fun!

– Rambling Ceejay


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