For cleaning professionals, a janitorial closet is usually their "center of operations." The way it looks can say a lot about a cleaning crew, how they view their work and even how effectively they perform.

To help custodial workers get their "headquarters" in order, Mike Englund, product manager for Powr-Flite, offers the following tips and suggestions:

• Have a "meeting" with your closet. Custodial workers usually open their closet's door, reach in for what they want, and close the door without ever really looking inside. The first step in janitorial closet organization should be to give it a top to bottom look over.

• Empty the closet, removing absolutely everything. Don't be surprised if things turn up that you did not know you had. A good rule of thumb is that if something has not been used in a year, throw it away. 

• Clean, paint, and light your closet. Clean the empty closet thoroughly, including the walls, and paint them if possible. Also, make sure there is a light in the closet. Lighting makes janitorial closets easier to maintain and increases safety. "And don't install a bare bulb on a string," adds Englund. "Put up a nice fixture that gives the closet a professional, upscale look."

• Install racks and wall mount holders to organize and prioritize your closet. Rack-type shelving helps improve air circulation and enhances organization. Some wall mount holders can hold as many as four different tools, allowing for effective drying of mops and blades. Organize products by type or by how they are used. Some custodial workers even color code their closets based on how products are used. Place products used most frequently in easy-to-reach locations.

"As to chemicals, only stock enough chemicals in your closet for about a week's worth of work," adds Englund. "Do not store large containers of chemicals in the janitorial closet; instead, put them in a safe, well-ventilated storage area."