State of the laboratory

Cover of Jillian Jiggs book cover showing three children playing in a messy roomFrom Jillian Jiggs. Copyright © 1985 by Phoebe Gilman. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Scholastic Canada Ltd.over of Jillian Jiggs book cover showing three children playing in a messy room


Chemicals spilled all over the balances and benches. Dirty weighing paper and scoops and spatulas…

Unlabelled vials scattered everywhere.

Dirty dishes left any old where, and God only knows where the EXPENSIVE stir bars have gone…

I am sure you are thinking… but it was not mine… I didn't do it…

If I were paying you to work for me, and asked you nicely to clean up the clutter and you responded, “It's not mine,” I would fire you on the spot and have you escorted off company premises with prejudice.

Leave the lab cleaner, neater and more organized than you found it.

“Please” is no longer required; if you will not keep your work area under control, neat and organized, you will not be allowed to do any chemistry.

You will now spend the first 10 minutes of every lab period putting away the clean glassware on the drying racks and tidying up anything you can, washing anything you find, and ensuring that every scrap of garbage has been disposed of properly.

The balance area will be maintained in such a state of cleanliness that you would be comfortable eating your lunch there. 

The instrument room must be maintained as clean as possible to ensure longevity of the instruments.

Your TA will inform you when the daily 10-minute tidy period is complete. If you arrive 10 minutes late to avoid this, no one will be allowed to do any work until a further 10-minute tidy has been accomplished.

If you are arriving later than 20 minutes, go home (unless you have had important business to deal with and have informed your TA in advance).

To quote the repeated line from Jillian Jiggs,

“Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs! It looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!"   

Editor’s note: Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman, 
Scholastic Canada Ltd, 2004 — a must read for children with messy rooms (all children).