Maintaining Clean

Communal Living Facilities

Contributing to Healthy & Hygienic Shared Human Habitat

As communitarians, our central lifestyle objective is to demonstrate the ways and means of sharing all with all as antidote to the global impacts of social erosion, economic insecurity and ecological destruction. In practical terms, this collective mission requires an honest wholehearted commitment to contributing to the cleanliness and maintenance of shared communally-owned facilities, including buildings, furnishings, appliances, tools and equipment that support our collective domestic and economic every day functions.

In essence, this requires consistent responsible stewardship of collective resources that involves meticulous cleaning and maintenance of accommodation, kitchen & recreational equipment, washing machines, along with common facilities such as dining halls, renewable energy equipment and shared vehicles. For these reasons communitarians follow detailed cleaning and maintenance schedules that involve an ‘All Hands-On Deck’ rostered and rotational-task approach to ensuring high standards of hygiene and responsible stewardship of resources is consistently achieved.

Doing Our Fair Share

The functional aspects of communal living and loving require a well-grounded principled attitude of ‘doing our fair share’, and then some. Communitarians advancing toward ‘deep union’ acknowledge that the task of cleaning and setting things in order, demands diligent daily commitment to creating healthful, harmonious communal human habitats. Clean well-organised communal spaces are created and maintained through the practical application of ‘love-in-action’ that necessitates the willingness of all within ‘union’ to take an active role in what often feels like ‘cleaning up’ messes that are not solely our own.

In practical terms this means cheerfully standing and washing, perhaps, 12-30 or even 300 plates, cups & sets of cutlery, along with a multitude of assorted pots and pans, instead of just one of all of the above. This is the reality of communal living and loving. Some days we are completely catered for – waited on hand and foot; while on others, we are required to contribute our labour to serve our fellow associates, who have and will, in turn, serve us.

On the days or evenings, we are rostered on for kitchen duty, we may be expected to work the entire time undertaking menial tasks that are well-below our skill level. As an example; we may be a highly-skilled electrical engineer, yet living within ‘union’ we find ourselves 1-2 evenings a week cleaning down benches, mopping floors and emptying compost bins after washing umpteen dishes and serving trays, along with breaking down and putting back together a half-dozen or more food prep apparatus. 

It is common for those new to associative living and loving to question whether the extra time and energy required to share accommodation, meals, vehicles, renewable energy systems, composting and recycling facilities, kitchen gardens and recreation facilities and equipment, is worth the effort. If and when the advantages and disadvantages are weighed, some may think seriously about returning to individualistic living believing that it is a far easier lifestyle than combining forces with many others on a local, regional and global level to own and access ‘shared’ living facilities.

While living only for ourselves may seem the easier option, is it even possible to create a satisfying and stable life, while exposed to fractured, and thus, constantly collapsing socio-economic systems? Is separatist living even a realistic lifestyle choice? Can we make it on our own, or does the truth of the matter lie in the fact that to survive let alone thrive, demands that we cooperate and share with others of like mind and commitment to evolved social, economic and ecological principles and practices?

If we begrudge undertaking a few extra ‘chores’ to avail ourselves of the many benefits of cooperative living and loving, what becomes of us other than returning to selfish separatist living that inflicts the continuation of suffering that includes social isolation and unsatisfying trivial token relationships that are underpinned by competitive ‘dog eat dog’ insecure conscription to wage-slavery coupled to non-compensatory consumption – till death do us part?

Sharing All with All – everyday on the ground socio-economic & environmental activism

The amount of ‘stuff’ individual communitarians hold for their exclusive use within their personal living space, determines the amount of time and energy available to contribute to cleaning and maintaining collective living facilities. For these reasons, communitarians practice ‘living simply’ in the form of minimalism, thereby consciously limiting their personal effects to effectively share living space with those who are ready, willing and able to offer social stimulation and affection as well as emotional and physical support and interaction.

Living Kitchen Hygiene

Storage & Preparation of living foods

Within communal kitchens, food is prepared by many hands on a rotational-task assigned basis. For these reasons, everything must be meticulously cleaned and returned to its proper place. It is essential that everyone involved in preparing take-away breakfasts, packed lunches, the daily communal meal, or putting down stores of sundried fruit, bread and crackers, practice uniformed standards of hygiene combined with ordered processes of living nutrition food preparation.

A well-ordered communal kitchen benefits those assigned kitchen duties by enabling them to immediately begin the assigned tasks with relative ease while also reducing the amount of time spent preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards.

In practical terms maintaining a well-ordered hygienic communal kitchen requires those assigned to prepare food for meals or stores, to take care to thoroughly clean vegetables and fruits as well as clean the kitchen and utensils and remove compostable kitchen waste to the compost areas at the end of shift.

Arriving in the kitchen, all fruits and vegetables are recorded and dated on the manual or computerised ‘Stores Register’ before undergoing thorough washing and storage processes in either fridges or pantries, while also ensuring food is stored at correct temperatures.

During the course of meal or stores preparation, those contributing to the function of the Living Kitchen, routinely:

  • Record items that require replenishment on the Stores Order Form
  • Record broken items that require replacement or repair on Maintenance Register
  • Record food spoilage on the Food Stores Register
  • Undertake Weekly Stocktake
  • Undertake Weekly, Monthly and Seasonal Kitchen, Fridge & Pantry Cleaning & Maintenance tasks – entering completed tasks on Cleaning & Maintenance Register

Evolved living nutrition - easy meal preparation & clean up

The living foods diet and lifestyle is the easiest in the world requiring only a small number of kitchen appliances and implements to prepare meals. The diet’s value lies in its simplicity; saving time and labour that can be used to further important social, economic and ecological missions.

The clean-up after meals is also very quick and easy. Dishes and cutlery are washed, food prep appliances such as food processors and graters pulled apart and thoroughly cleaned, floors swept and mopped, compost bins taken out – Job done. Lights out. Easy as…   

Clean Drinking Water

Access to safe drinking water that is free from chemical pollutants as well as contaminants such as harmful algae and parasites, is essential to the health and longevity of everyone.  

For these reasons, across the board, it is common for communal unions to collectively purchase and install rainwater tanks and Atmospheric Water Generators, coupled to high-quality water filters. To ensure adequate and safe supply, all water collection and filtering equipment is monitored and maintained, via scheduled inspection and recording of maintenance tasks as per the Water Supply & Maintenance Schedule by those assigned this task.

It is usual for Water Supply and Maintenance Committees to be formed and report directly to the Provisioning Committees to ensure this vital element is available in adequate quantities for the benefit of communal unions and wider-community access.

Contributing to installing secure clean water supply is an area of ‘Right Livelihood’ that many communal unions focus on as part of their Home Front ‘Outreach’ Activist programs.

Maintaining Renewal Energy Generation Systems

cleaning & maintenance of Solar Power energy equipment

To ensure the proper output and safety of Solar Energy Equipment – solar panels, batteries, connections, inverters, and controllers, are regularly monitored and receive scheduled maintenance and cleaning.

Solar panels need regular cleaning to remove dust, dirt and debris to ensure the ‘array’ is operating safely, correctly and efficiently to generate energy to supply the needs of the communal union. The time between inspections and cleaning will vary depending on location, environmental contaminants i.e. falling leaves from trees, and climate. Cleaning of solar panels can be carried out by wiping over with a soft damp cloth, or cleaned with a wet soft-bristled broom.

Yearly maintenance of renewable energy systems involves the following tasks:

  • Solar Panels and entire energy generation equipment inspected by licenced Electrician
  • Switches inspected for defects
  • Wiring inspected for damage and deterioration
  • Electrical appliances Tested & Tagged to ensure all are safe and operating as intended
  • Fittings and cables inspected to confirm all are securely attached
  • Inverter inspected to ensure faults are displayed and resolved
  • Ensuring access to the isolator switches has not been impeded, and/or
  • Ensuring the emergency procedures for shutdown and isolation are clearly displayed and known by the majority of users

Maintaining Efficient Biogas Generation equipment

Operation of biogas digesters involves ‘feeding’ the digester raw materials such as ‘humanure’, grass clippings, and kitchen waste. The nutrient-rich water that overflows from the tank is released in the process of decomposition needs to be collected, watered down further before distribution to kitchen gardens as ‘plant food’. The thick sludge that accumulates at the bottom of the tank needs to be removed occasionally and composted further before being applied to fruit trees as a nutriment-dense growth stimulator.

It is also important to monitor the pH inside the tank on a regular basis – usually once a week, depending on the amount and type of ‘contributions’ to the digestor’s ‘feeding’. Depending on the types of raw materials ‘fed’ to the digestor as well as environmental factors such as heat and cold, the slurry inside the tank can slide toward the acidic end of the pH scale, which may result in the microbes dying off. If this occurs through accident or neglect, biogas production will cease, curtailing the amount of fuel for cooking and heating water.

Still, all is not lost. While it may take some days or even a week or more to overcome acidification, the correct environment for the essential microbes’ proliferation can be restored by adding appropriate amounts of alkaline substances such as lime or baking soda.

Annual Communal Cleaning & Maintenance 'Work Parties'

Many hands make light work of the annual ‘work party’ common facilities and equipment, cleaning and maintenance tasks. These events enhance the comradery as well as skills transfer between communitarians contributing their skills and labour to thoroughly clean and maintain the many and various common facilities and equipment held by local and regional communal associations, formed and forming, across the global.