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I have moved over 20 times in my entire life. In all of these times there are a few things I’ve learned about moving. One of those things is how to do move out cleaning that gets your deposit back. Now I am sharing my move out cleaning checklist and schedule with you.
While the majority of this cleaning takes place in the last 2 weeks I personally start the process weeks ahead of time.
We recently made our final long move from central Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh. At about 6 weeks to go I started working through some of the cleaning and decluttering in preparation for our move.
The goal is to make moving as easy as possible so that the actual moving day goes as smoothly as possible.
Moving also gives you a great reason to start decluttering your home.
Move Out Cleaning Tips
About 4-6 weeks before the move I deep clean my house. Cleaning all of my furniture, decluttering, and getting things ready to be packed up and move. Doing deep cleanings this early helps in making the final cleaning as easy as possible.
Moving is hectic and there are a lot of steps to it. Do not leave all the cleaning till after all the furniture and items are out. While it might make it easier it also means needing to return to the vacant apartment for a final cleaning.
The goal with move out cleaning should be to get the majority of the cleaning done before moving day. This allows you to do a quick wipe down on the actual moving day.
I have done cross state and long distance moves. When you don’t want to drive the 5 hours or a day back to the old rental using this move out cleaning schedule works best.
Space Out Your Move Out Cleaning
Spacing out your move out cleaning as you pack also means setting up staging areas for movers to move things out quickly. The more organized the move the cheaper the movers will cost, due to less time being spent moving.
2 Weeks Before Move
About 2 weeks before the move you should take some time to do some deep cleaning and planning. Now is the time to plan out your meals for the next 2 weeks based on what will be packed away last on your last night in the home.
Deep Clean Appliances
Go through and deep clean all your appliances. Chances are pretty safe at this point that deep cleaning your appliances will leave you with nothing more than a wipe down later.
While you are deep cleaning your fridge plan out your meals for the next two weeks in order to get rid of anything that you don’t want to move.
Deep clean your dishwasher and oven too. If you have a spill inside your oven it will be fairly easy to do a wipe down a day or two before the actual move out day.
Take this time to clean your washing machine, dryer, and any other appliances that need a good cleaning before you move.
Vacuum Around Baseboards and Stairs
Take the time to run your extendable vacuum hose around the baseboards throughout the whole house. This makes that final vacuum when everything is out of your house go quicker.
Also, make sure you vacuum your stairs too. Again, two weeks before is perfect for vacuuming your stairs because chances are high you won’t mess them up completely in the next few weeks.
Dust And Clean Blinds
This is the perfect time to dust and if necessary to clean your blinds as well. You can remove the blinds and wash them outside or in your bathtub easily enough. Otherwise just give them a good wipe down.
Try to make sure any strings are untangled at this point too.
Related: How To Clean Blinds Easily
Dust Light Fixtures
Two weeks before moving out is the perfect time to clean all your light fixtures. Dust your ceiling fans and wash any removable fixtures. At this time replace any burnt out light bulbs too.
Wash Up Walls
Go ahead and wash your walls too. If you have painted walls that are a taupe or beige color go ahead and just dust them to collect any cobwebs and dust that’s collected on them. Spot clean where necessary.
If your walls are white I recommend using a damp rag with a gentle soap to wash up your walls. This will get rid of marks, stains, grease, and dust.
While most apartments and rentals will usually paint between tenants if they can avoid it they will try to do so, this may also make them more willing to give you a deposit back.
1 Week Before Move
With only 1 week to go the majority of your house should be packed up with the exception of the few things that you need. So at this point it’s pretty safe to finish up your move out cleaning so all that is needed in the few days leading up to the cleaning is a quick wipe down or spot cleaning.
Deep Clean Bathrooms
Clean your bathrooms from ceiling to floor, literally. Get into every nook and clean your bathroom as perfect as you can.
Clean Kitchen Cabinets
Clean the insides and outsides of your kitchen cabinets. This will get the dust out and get any stains from spilled food off of them too. The less your landlord has to do, the happier they are with the move out, the more likely it is that you get your deposit back.
Related: 10 Spotlessly Clean Kitchen Tips
Clean All Windows
Clean your windows spotless at this point. Don’t worry if your animals or kids touch the windows and leave a spot you can do a spot clean later.
3 Days Before Move
At this point your staging area and house should be pretty much all packed up.
Do All Laundry
Do all of your laundry and pack it away. Only pull out and pack a duffel bag or two with the items you most need before the move.
Deep Clean Floors
At this point with most of everything packed away you can clean your floors spotless. Clean all hard flooring until it shines. Now you can decide to put down mats, plastic, or just do a spot clean when the move is complete.
Clean Banisters and Doorways
Grab your magic eraser and get your banisters, doorways, and railings clean. This will remove dirt, grime, and fingerprints making it less work for your landlord.
Day Of The Move
The goal on the day of the move is to spot clean each room as it gets emptied. Take photos of each room after it’s cleaned.
Give all appliances one last wipe down to remove any grime, grease, or crumbs.
With your kitchen completely empty wipe down your counters one last time to remove any dust, crumbs, or sauce.
Wipe Down Bathrooms
Give the bathrooms one last wipe down to remove leftover soap. Clean the toilets a final time as well.
Spot Clean Windows
Spot clean your windows of any fingerprints or noseprints.
As each room is emptied go ahead and vacuum the room one final time. Once the room is vacuumed take your pictures, record any damage you can’t fix, and close off the room one by one.
Related: How I Keep My Floors Clean and Fast
Spot Clean Hard Floors
Once everything is completely moved out and the truck is shut up take a paper towel or a damp rag and wipe up any dirt that may have been dragged in during the move. There usually isn’t much of this but it’s important to check anyways.
Move Out Cleaning
The final step to move out is to do a walk through with your landlord, if possible. If not make sure you take as many photos as possible and let your landlord know that you took photos. Arrange for key drop off or pick up. At last you can gather up any leftover trash and leave.
Do you have any moving tips to share? Share them in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more cleaning tips and tricks and pin this to your cleaning boards.
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