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As we bounce into Spring, pun intended, it is customary to feign, at the very least, desire or simulate effort, for fear of self-loathing, at answering the annual call to renew, refresh, and refine. That is why it is called SPRING CLEANING!
The immediate but short-term benefits of seasonal exercise are obvious. When the closet is tidy, I can find my shoes quicker and with more efficient pairing (I’ve left the house with very similar but non-matching shoes on my hooves). Our cars seem to run better after a thorough cleaning. The house looks substantially more worthy of the monthly expenditure when the lawn is mowed, the garden is freshly manicured, and the windows sparkle from the sun’s approving beams.
Regretfully, those benefits are temporary and, unfortunately, fade rather quickly. If we focus on that contingency, we can logically resolve to do nothing, leading to complacency, neglect, and, eventually, total devaluation. I am as guilty as any, except for the completely committed from the television show “Hoarding: Buried Alive.”
So really, what is the upside? It will just result in less to “renew” next Spring, right?
“Wrong, sir! Wrong!” – Willy Wonka. (Did I just scream at myself? I probably deserved it.)
The build-up from repeated “putoffskies” always leads to unnecessarily difficult rehabilitation and I oughta know. I was once President of Putoffskia. I still visit as a dignitary but have no claim to any authority. During my reign, I often delayed the simplest tasks in, never realized hope that it would either become irrelevant or magically disappear. I was eventually elected out of office because I was buried under so many things left undone that my subjects thought I was missing and no one vote for me, and I was running unopposed.
That aside, I learned that periodic routines like spring cleaning have true value and purpose. And so it is with our gear. Every year, for several years, I take every piece of equipment. There are many, every cable, table, and case and, using the most effective mild cleaner (typically a soft damp towel, you can use your Sham-Wows), proceed to give each weapon in the arsenal a through wipe down and if necessary, a run through.
On more than one occasion, I have not only found my self in possession of a much prettier rig. Still, I have uncovered and averted potential problems with a simple fix, so simple even I successfully completed the repair.
Therefore, I vow, and invite the thousands that have joined me in this crusade, to embrace this season of renewal and cleansing to take inventory of, not only our intangible assets, but of our gear, our tools, our weaponry!
Next Sunday or the one after that, but no later, when you are basking in Saturday night’s standard but phenomenal performance and replaying, in your head, the “Attaboys” your received from the drained but cheering fans, join me some spring cleaning .
Please do not ignore, disregard, or breach the following warnings:
Always turn off, preferably unplug all components before cleaning them.
When ever possible, use a damp (distilled water works well), soft cloth to remove dirt..
Never spray cleaners on your components, apply them to a cloth instead.
Don’t use furniture polish or wax on your gear. Ever.
Check your owner’s manuals for cleaning instructions — the manufacturer’s suggestions are often very helpful (and if they run counter to suggestions, by all means follow the manual).
Return your gear to as close to new as possible present-ability by carefully and gently cleaning all the glitter, dust, bubble juice, and other unidentifiable stains from the surfaces. Remove the fossilized fingerprints from screens and buttons. A small paintbrush can be used to brush dust off of jacks and cables.
Wipe every speaker and power cable from end to end. Use goof off to remove any duct tape residue. Shrink wrap or remove all cable gashes.
Tighten any fasteners, replace worn bumpers and/or protective components. And do the same to your back up gear.
Refinish, repaint and renew the grilles on speakers, the visible parts of trussing and stands, and, if necessary, give your carpeted components a shave with a lint remover.
Your gear will work better, it will present a much more professional appearance, and you’ll look better standing by it. Clients and potential clients might not have any care about the brand, type, or coolness of our gear but they do care when it look dirty or unkempt.
Customers appreciate but rarely comment or commend on a clean presentation. Why should they, it is to be expected. Conversely (the adverb not the shoes) an unclean presentation, no matter how minor or insignificant, is fair game for an unflattering review.
Make your tools look as good as you do and in the process, make us all Shine and Rise in the eyes of our clients. In Dude Walker’s case I suggest aiming for better looking than you are.