There’s a certain emotional attachment we have to the places we live. They shelter us, acquire our personalities through the ways we inhabit them, they protect us, help raise us – become us. Our homes and apartments, condos, and cottages give a lot of themselves to us as the years go by – so when the time comes to say goodbye to them, leaving them in a state of chaos isn’t just wrong, it’s nearly sacrilegious.
Cleaning and repairing damaged areas of your old address may seem like going above and beyond the requirements of your move, particularly if you’re a renter – but it’s a great way to say ‘thanks’ to the place that’s housed you through so many memories. Consider it your duty to give it a proper send-off. To do this, we’ve put together a sweeping room-by-room index of move out tricks and tips to make sure you leave on the best terms possible.
Take a Breath
We’re going to get through this! Before you start on your move out tear, take a second to ask yourself what needs to be done. The vast majority of people will have respected their apartments and houses to the point where there isn’t a gaping hole in the drywall that immediately comes to mind, but there may be repairs and sterilization that deserves ample attention up front.
Similarly, check over your lease agreement with your landlord (if applicable). Read it over to see what needs to be done in order to secure the return of your security deposit. Further – in the event you’ll be needing a reference for your next rental, keeping your landlord happy will ensure that you’ll be discussed as a desirable renter.
Schedule a time for your landlord to come over and conduct a move out inspection. It not only motivates you to do a great job in cleaning and repairing the space, but also motivated you to get it done by a certain date. Plan it for a couple days prior to moving day so you can complete the majority of your packing while you’re at it. When the inspection is complete to your landlord’s satisfaction, make sure to get a copy.
Take a walk through the space and plan your attack. Determine where you want to start based on workload. Starting with the heaviest workload first means you can look forward to a few easy tidying jobs by the day’s end.
Your living spaces get the most use in your home. Your bedroom is a place of personal solace, and as such may not be in bad shape, and the living room is constantly barraged with foot traffic, entertaining guests, and enduring the odd party. There’s a good chance there could be some miniscule damage to the living room that’s been overlooked or covered up over time. Be sure to move furniture when searching for repairs, you’ll inevitably find them when you move the stuff out of the room, but this allows you the correct amount of time to make repairs without being rushed out the door.
- Dust and wipe down all the windows, sills, blinds, and shutters, ceiling fans and light fixtures.
- Use a broom to sweep up the cobwebs that have built up in corners.
- Rent a carpet cleaner if there is substantial staining on carpets. Deep cleaning is usually the only way to combat them.
- In extreme circumstances, you may need to replace the odd floorboard if scratched and scuffed hardwood is an issue.
- Patch and repair any drywall or plaster damage in walls, including nail holes from hanging your artwork, paintings and posters.
- Paint the room with a fresh coat of neutral white before leaving. In many cases, landlords won’t want wacky and powerful colours in their spaces if they haven’t shown the property to potential renters yet. White both freshens up the space and presents a clean slate for the next people. Win win.
- Touch up the trim with paint, if need be.
Like the living room, the kitchen is a very popular space, and it takes quite a beating over time. There are spots within a kitchen that never see cleaning from one day to the next, like behind the fridge, or in between the stove and the wall – so make sure to move these pieces out and give these nooks and crannies a good scrub.
Check in with your landlord or real estate agent before you move out to ask if new tenants or homeowners are moving in quickly – this can dictate whether or not to defrost the fridge and freezer, and unplug major appliances. If someone is moving in within the week, leave it as is. If the space is going to be vacant for a few weeks, there’s no sense in racking up those power bills.
- Empty the fridge of any and all food – whether it’s coming with you or not. Remove the shelves and crisper drawers to disinfect and clean them to help remove the smell of old food.
- Wipe down the exterior of the refrigerator, stovetop, and oven with a good grease-cutting soap and hot water.
- Empty cupboards of non-perishable foods and sweep/wipe them out of any leftover crumbs or spills. Then wipe the exterior of the cupboard down as well.
- If the microwave isn’t coming with you, wipe it out and make sure it’s clean.
- Disinfect and wipe down the countertops and sink.
- Clean or replace the rangehood filter/exhaust fan above the stove.
The bathroom is a sanctuary of cleanliness. Most of us couldn’t care about putting our clean laundry away its its place promptly, but a less-than-spotless bathroom is simply unacceptable. This one means a lot to your landlord, real estate agent, and future tenants of your home – and it should matter to you as well – make sure this space is spotless and don’t be afraid to put in the extra elbow grease.
Tiles, bathtubs and showers need to be scrubbed extensively with a cleaner designed to cut through soap scum. For tiles, a grout cleaner is a great investment to clean the grime out of the cracks in between tiles. And the toilet; the porcelain throne. Clean it like you’ve never cleaned before.
- Clean and disinfect bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet. Make sure to empty any and all of your belongings to leave it fresh and clean for the next tenants.
- Empty drawers and bathroom linen closets.
- Use a glass cleaner to ensure that the mirror is streak and fingerprint free, use it to clean the fixtures as well.
- Clean out the exhaust fan above the shower by taking it down and making sure it’s functional and tidy.
- Use a toilet brush and bleach cleaner to clean the inside of the toilet bowl in places that don’t usually get cleaned.
- Sweep, disinfect, and mop the floors on your way out the door.
Not usually a place we think of that needs a deep clean, but the garage is a neglected space that can hugely benefit from a good sweep, mop, and spot clean. If you’ve used your garage as a makeshift woodshop, sweep all of the sawdust and wood shavings out of the space. If you’ve used it to work on your motorcycle, dirt bike, ATV, etc – make sure to clean up any leaked oil with a suitable concrete grease stain remover.
Empty all storage cupboards of things like paint buckets, hoses, tools, hardware, and debris, and make sure to take the clutter you’ve been storing in the open rafters with you. Finally, leave the garage door open for a while to air out the space. Garage’s are notoriously musty, and always benefit from a bout of fresh air.
The yard is a great way to judge from the street whether or not a homeowner or tenant cares about their home. Curb appeal means a lot. Keep the grass cut and be sure to edge along walkways, driveways and garden planters with a weed-eater to keep the lawn looking great.
Prune and trim the odd tree or shrub to keep things from looking too overgrown, and pull weeds from your walkways and gardens. Add black mulch to your flower beds to give a nice complete look, and keep walkways unobstructed.
In the backyard, same story. Tidy up and and all toys, fire pit areas, patios. If you have a deck that’s sustained some damage, it’s a simple fix to replace the odd board and staining the whole thing elevates the aesthetic appeal of the whole yard.