Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment

The stress of moving to your new apartment is almost over. You’ve packed up all your stuff and have arranged for friends and family to help you get everything from point A to point B. It’s been a lot of work, and you just want to walk out the door and get settled in your new place as soon as possible. But wait. What about your security deposit? To get it back, you’ll have to give your place a good old-fashioned cleaning. We’ll show you how to give your apartment a thorough cleaning from top to bottom.

Tools

Steps

  1. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 1

    Write down everything you need to complete before leaving so you don’t forget to do it.

  2. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 2

    Make sure you have a copy of the apartment inspection checklist so you know what things need to be fixed before inspection.

  3. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 3

    Paint over scuff marks on walls. If you painted a room a different color, you may need to paint over it with a neutral color.

  4. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 4

    Remove nails and cover up holes.

  5. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 5

    Ask your landlord to do a preliminary inspection to be sure you completed everything.

  6. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 6

    Spray down the interior of the refrigerator with warm soapy water and and wipe it dry. You might need to remove the drawers to reach everything.

  7. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 7

    Dust and clean the cabinets and counter tops.

  8. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 8

    Thoroughly clean the stove, oven, and stove vent inside and out.

  9. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 9

    Thoroughly clean the sinks and toilets in the home.

  10. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 10

    Sweep, mop, and vacuum floors.

  11. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 11

    Scrub down bathtubs and showers with bleach.

  12. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 12

    Clean the windows. This includes the window pane and the window sill.

  13. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 13

    Remove stains from carpets.

  14. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 14

    Dust Ceiling Fans and light fixtures. Replace burnt out light bulbs.

  15. Checklist for Moving Out of Your Apartment - Step 15

    Attend the inspection and ask for a copy of the inspection for your records.


Read Video Transcript

The stress of moving to your new apartment is almost over. You’ve packed up all your stuff and have arranged for friends and family to help you get everything from point A to point B. It’s been a lot of work, and you just want to walk out the door and get settled in your new place as soon as possible. But wait. What about your security deposit? To get it back, you’ll have to give your place a good old fashioned cleaning.

Today we’ll show you how to give your apartment a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. We’ll show you where to concentrate most of your attention and give you some tips on working with your landlord to make sure you get your full security deposit back.
So let’s get started.

The first thing we need to do is get an organization plan together. It’s a lot easier when you have help. So instead of just having them help you haul boxes, enlist your friends and family to help you clean the place as well. Assure them you’ll return the favor when it’s their turn.

It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your lease or security deposit agreement handy so you can see exactly what repairs you’ll be responsible for. Most of the time, lease agreements state that if you painted a room, you need to repaint it a neutral color similar to what it was when you moved in. At a minimum, be sure to paint over scuffed marks. For tips on painting a room, see our video “Interior Wall Painting Basics.” Your lease agreement should also contain a move-out inspection checklist. Carefully read this form to see if any damage has occurred that you will be responsible for fixing. Things like nail holes in walls where you hung your favorite painting may need to be fixed before you to get your deposit back. For more information on repairing holes in walls, see our video “Repairing Holes in Walls.”

Another good idea is to ask your landlord to come over and do a preliminary inspection so you understand exactly what you are responsible for cleaning and fixing. Once you’ve done this, write down what your landlord expects you to cover and what he’ll cover. Then ask him or her to sign it. This way, if you do all the work, there will be no surprise charges on moving day.

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start cleaning. The kitchen should always be first, since it will take the most time. And the refrigerator is a good place to start. Assuming you have already emptied it out, remove all the drawers and shelves and thoroughly clean them with warm soapy water and a sponge. If the freezer needs to be defrosted, now is the time to do it.

Next, clean the sides of both the refrigerator and freezer with a cleaning solution mixed with warm water and a sponge. Then dry everything and replace the shelves and drawers. Repeat the same process for all the kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Give your stovetop a thorough cleaning, being sure to remove all dried-on food and grease. Next, clean the oven, both inside and out. If you’re oven isn’t that dirty, do your best with an all-purpose cleaner degreaser. If it’s a big mess, however, you’ll need to spend some time cleaning it with a heavy-duty oven cleaner, like this one. Most manufacturers also have eco-friendly alternatives available.

Clean the vent hood above the stove with some more of that warm, soapy water. Now, clean the sink and kitchen faucet. Save the floor for last. Sweep and mop the floor, and if you are wondering whether or not you should pull out the fridge to clean behind it – don’t. The chances of you damaging the floor, like you see here, are not worth cleaning up the layers of dirt that live behind and underneath the fridge.

 

Concentrate on the toilet next, cleaning the top of the tank, then the top of the lid, then both the top and bottom of the seat and the rim of the bowl. Use a toilet brush to clean the inside of the bowl, using toilet bowel cleaner with bleach to make sure it is thoroughly sanitized.

Using a heavy duty cleaner with bleach or this cleaning eraser, scrub the bathtub and surrounding area, making sure to remove any water stains or soap build-up that is present.

Use a roll of paper towels and go around the bathroom cleaning with a spray bottle of Windex. Shining up the fixtures and cleaning the mirror will make the clean bathroom sparkle. Finally, give the floor a good mopping. Next, use Windex and paper towels to clean the windows in your apartment. Be sure to clean the window panes as well as the window sills.

The rest of the apartment should be relatively easy. In bedrooms, living room, family room, dining room and office, treat any carpet stains with a high quality spot treatment. Here we’re using an eco-friendly spot remover. Also be sure to dust any ceiling fans and light fixtures. Also, be sure to replace any burned out light bulbs and paint over any scuff marks. And finally, vacuum the carpet on your way out.

At this point, your apartment should be sufficiently cleaned. If possible, attend your move-out inspection in case your landlord is holding you responsible for any damages. And always be sure to get a copy of the inspection for your records.

Well there you have it. Now that you’ve done such a great job cleaning your old apartment, you might want to do the same thing at your new place before you unpack all your stuff. And if you need more cleaning supplies, make a quick stop by your local independent home improvement retailer on the way to your new place.

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